Genocide in Ukraine?

November 29, 2022
By
Syndicated Columnist

Memo to both newly elected members of Congress like J.D. Vance and incumbents like Josh Hawley and Kevin McCarthy: It’s time to stop sloganeering (“America First!” “No blank checks for Ukraine!”) and get serious about what is happening in eastern Europe. 

A good place to start would be to revisit the 1948 Genocide Convention. That treaty, to which the United States is an accessory, defined “genocide”  as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Yale historian Timothy Snyder thinks that, measured by the criteria of the Genocide Convention (to which Russia is a party), the Russian war in Ukraine is genocidal. That judgment is shared by the leaders of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who have tried to explain Ukraine’s situation to Pope Francis in precisely those terms. In a recent lecture, Professor Snyder amplified the case for charging Russia with genocide by identifying additional “markers” of genocidal intent and activity, drawn from his study of genocidal aggressions over the past several centuries. Those “markers” include denying the statehood of the people a colonizer wants to control; declaring that a historic people or nation is neither; denying the humanity of others; refusing to admit that one has previously committed genocide against a certain population; propagating “replacement” theories claiming that “others are taking our space so we’re going to take it back;” and overloading the world’s conceptual circuitry by committing so many acts of cruelty that those not directly affected, stunned, ask whether what’s going on is really “genocide.”

A good place to start would be to revisit the 1948 Genocide Convention. That treaty, to which the United States is an accessory, defined “genocide”  as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

A mine danger sign is pictured near the main road to Kherson, Ukraine, Nov. 16, 2022. (CNS photo/Murad Sezer, Reuters)

In addition to meeting the Genocide Convention’s criteria, how does the Russian war in Ukraine exemplify Professor Snyder’s further “markers” of genocidal intention and action?

Denial of statehood and nationhood. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose claims have been buttressed by a false religious history propagated by high authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church, has been denying that Ukrainians are a real nation, and that Ukraine is a genuine state, since at least 2011. The Russian dictator has continued that prevarication ever since, not least while occupying (and now claiming to have annexed) large swaths of eastern Ukraine. Putin also used overtly genocidal language in the days immediately before launching his invasion on February 24, 2022. 

Dehumanization and demonization.  Putin’s excuse for invading a peaceful, non-threatening neighbor was that it was a fascist non-state ruled by “Nazis.”  Russian propaganda during the war has continually described Ukrainians as demonically possessed or satanic — and therefore an affront to the Christian nationalism that Putin grotesquely claims as the justification for his regime and its actions.

Displacement/Replacement. Putin and his propaganda machine have declared that the rightful inhabitants of the territory that is now Ukraine are Russians, subjected to servitude by an international conspiracy that manipulates Ukraine’s pseudo-leaders. If the usurpers can be exterminated, right order will be restored. This foul line of argument has been a staple feature of televised Russian propaganda, even as more than 100,000 Ukrainian children have been taken to Russia to be “Russified.”

Denial of Previous Genocidal Acts. Putin’s Russia continues to deny that Stalin’s Soviet Union conducted a program of mass starvation in Ukraine in 1932-33, calling that politically motivated genocide, which killed at least three million people, a “natural disaster.” Today’s Russian attempt to cut off water, electrical power and food in Ukraine cannot help but recall the bestiality of the Stalinist terror-famine known as the Holodomor.

Dulling Sensibilities and Consciences by Constant Prevarication About Mass Murder. International investigative bodies have confirmed genocidal Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Yet the constant denial of these realities by Russian propagandists, and by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, may have dulled the world’s sensibilities — as they were dulled in the Balkans and Rwanda in the 1990s; as they are being dulled today in the face of China’s genocide of the Uyghurs.

Professor Snyder’s 20-minute lecture is available on YouTube: “Timothy Snyder: 6 Steps to Prove Russian Genocide in Ukraine.” It is required viewing for any member of the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate who wishes to enter the Ukraine debate in an empirically informed and morally serious way.

28 comments

  1. This needs to be said again. Putler’s Holocaust of 2022 is already one of the worst crimes in history.
    If it is allowed to succeed, it WILL be the worst.
    Putler’s intentions are the perpetration of evil on a truly staggering scale.
    We don’t know what will happen if the tiny nazi loses, but we know for certain what will happen if he wins.
    The complete destruction of putlerism is essential.

  2. Presidential candidate Josh Hawley said on Thursday, February 24, 2022:
    Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) released the following statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
    “Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine and invasion of its territory must be met with strong American resolve. President Biden must act now to hit Vladimir Putin where it hurts, beginning with Russia’s energy sector. The Biden Administration should sanction Russian energy production to a halt, and help arm the Ukrainians to defend themselves. At the same time, the White House should reopen American energy production in full. This is the time to show Russia and the world that America will not reward aggression and it will not be dependent on its enemies.”

    However: Monday, May 16, 2022
    “U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) blasted the $40 billion in proposed aid to Ukraine after he voted ‘no’ on tonight’s procedural vote to move forward with the aid package.”

    https://www.hawley.senate.gov/hawley-blasts-40-billion-ukraine-aid-not-americas-interests

    Who got to this guy?

    • No one got to him. Sir Scradgel the issue that hawkey and the 12 other senators were that the legislation specifically allowed Biden and the DOD to divert the use of the funds approved under that bill to anyone they want. In other words they could divert funds from Ukraine to any where else which what the senators were against. They wanted the funds used specifically for UKRAINE.

      • Clearly you did not click the link I provided, which shows his exact words. He specifically opposes the $40bn being sent to UKRAINE.
        He is one of 12 assholes who voted against it. Every single one of them is a known putler shill, including the two most vile : Taylor-Greene and Paul.
        That $40bn has not been spent btw; only a fraction of it so far.
        Relative to the US’s mighty economy, it’s just chicken feed.

        • And this my friend is Harley’s quote during those debates

          “What about taking the $40 billion from elsewhere in the budget?  The US spends more on our military than the next 8 countries combined.  Couldn’t Congress simply shift over the $40 billion and not add it to the debt? If the defense of Ukraine is really in our national security interest, shouldn’t their gift come from our military budget?”

          • Cannot you see the venom in his words: “If the defense of Ukraine is really in our national security interest…..”
            He has already stated previously his belief that it is NOT in the US’s interests.
            He is little better than the worst of the lot: Trump.
            A vote against this relatively tiny amount being spent helping Ukraine is a vote for genocide.
            A Ukrainian voting for any of these 12 is tantamount to a Jew voting for Hitler.

            • Hawley can’t be trusted. If a former military officer can not see that our interest is served by Ukraine defeating Putin, then he’s blind.

              I will point out that Trump gave Ukraine its first lethal aid and also started the US Army training Ukrainians. he also sent national Guard troops to Ukraine for training and liaison work. There is a reason why Putin did not move while Trump was POTUS. Putin knew that Trump meant what he said. Putin knows Biden is weak, and Biden’s dithering on aid that Ukraine needs to win is a demonstration of that. Retired Gen. Kellogg is of the opinion that Biden is not allowing Ukraine to win, and there is more than a grain of truth in that.

              • “I will point out that Trump gave Ukraine its first lethal aid and also started the US Army training Ukrainians. he also sent national Guard troops to Ukraine for training and liaison work.”
                ~The first lethal aid Trump sent, (figure you mean the javelins) was a proposal drawn up by Biden which Trump ironically signed.
                Trump did not start the U.S. Army training Ukrainians nor was he first in sending National Guard troops to help train. Even when lethal aid was not being provided, U.S. personnel were in Ukraine helping Poroshenko reboot Ukraine’s military. However Biden admin can and must do way more, Gen Kellogg’s comment is correct in that point that by not providing what is needed as well as lifting any limit on targets is slowing Ukraine’s victory. I will be checking it out in context though.

                • It matters little who drew it up. The Obama maladministration refused to send lethal aid. Trump sent it. While there were some relationships established between certain National Guard and Ukrainian units, formal training was not begun by the US until the Trump admin.

                    • Look it up yourself, and keep your delusions to yourself. I have no time for an uninformed idiot. I get enough of that from the loony left here in the US.

  3. Trump in February:

    “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump said in a radio interview with “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.” “He used the word ‘independent’ and ‘we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy.”

    Trump in May : “The Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children,” ……

    At least Trump stays consistent: with his support for genocide.

    • With his most positive attitude towards a murderous, barbarous system, I hope that this orange monkey will never see the inside of the White House again.

        • I noticed that GOP and Dem politicians and media figures all wrote Trump off after the midterms.
          I thought they were wrong at the time and unfortunately it seems they were premature.
          Musk is going to use Twitter to try to get Trump re-elected and he might be successful.
          All the “alt-right” (code for Republicans for putler) vermin are back on there now.
          Only Alex Jones was denied and that was because of his repulsive conspiracy theory about a massacre of children, not for his pro-putler output.

          • The establishmentarian GOP wrote Trump off because they had no desire to see what was in front of their faces. They hate Trump as much as they hated Reagan. It matters not those who he endorsed overwhelmingly won, as compared to those endorsed by the party idiots who hate Trump.

            One reason for ranked preference voting is to prevent people like Trump from winning. that such is illegal matters not to the Uniparty.

        • U.S. elections are one of the most secure globally. I’m so tired of hearing the same election denying bs. As Bill Barr stated ““My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr said. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit.”

          Barr has been viewed as deeply loyal to Trump before the election, often criticizing what he called partisan attacks on the president and defending his criminal justice record. But Trump’s efforts to overturn the election appeared to shift his allegiance.

          “We realized from the beginning it was just bullshit,” Barr said of Trump’s claims that voting machines nationwide were switching Trump votes to Biden votes.

          He told Karl that even if the machines had somehow changed the tally, the issue would be made obvious when the votes were recounted by hand.

          “It’s a counting machine, and they save everything that was counted,” Barr said. “So you just reconcile the two. There had been no discrepancy reported anywhere, and I’m still not aware of any discrepancy.

          • I haven’t denied elections, my young friend. You can get as tired as you like, but there was massive fraud in the 2020 elections as well as 2022. US elections are some of the most insecure in the world. Mexico has more secure elections.

        • Sadly, it’s hard to decide which is the better party. It’s not even possible to figure out which is the worst.

    • Had it worked for Putin, and it didn’t, it would have been a smart move. Trump, however, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to geopolitics.

  4. Sir Oh I look up references for you backing up my claims and all you do is spout nonsense, and misinformation without a shred of evidence to support your arguments.

What is your opinion?