Let me explain. In the old Soviet Empire, Stalin cut a deal with Hitler to allow for Soviet forces to take over places like eastern Poland. (We won’t get into the mass murders there, which even made the Nazi Regime recoil when they finally took over the rest of Poland.) In fact, avid historians will note that Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and even members of the military staff, was constantly walking a very thin tight rope in their dealings with Joseph Stalin. Now the point of my digression is simply this: The oppressive nature of Stalin was ever bit as horrific as what would come from the Nazis in occupied territory throughout Europe and the Soviet Union. Noting this oppression is what sets the stage for what happened in several areas of the former Soviet Union during World War II. Places like Ukraine had many folks who were delighted to have the Nazi in town, at least at first, and some even sided with the Nazis in their fight against Russian Soviet Union. This is the principle of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Did some adopt those fascist ideals? Sure they did! Was there a great loss of life, especially in the Jewish Communities? Absolutely. These were horrible times, and they made for some rather evil bed fellows, all in an attempt to save their collective arses from oppression. So, were there fascists in Ukraine? Yes, and it is a charge that will haunt many countries, not the least of which would be Germany. Still, these charges are now being taken way out of context, and are about 70 years too late.
Now is Germany fascist today? No, and neither is Ukraine, but this won’t stop the use of terminology to spread fear in Russia. Sure, you’ll find some who are fascist in their leanings, but they sure aren’t limited to Europe. Ask anyone in Venezuela. Still when you want to rally the Russian populace, one of the first words you toss out will be the “fascist” word, since it will strike fear that the events that took place in Russia during their last encounter with fascists, will take place yet again. This plays into old hatred, prejudice, and more importantly, it creates the “us vs. them” mentality. This type of fervor plays well with the masses, since they can only think of the dreaded “wolves in the night.” All good stuff, if your goal is to control that same group, and set yourself up as the “defender” of the people. Putin knows exactly what he is doing, and he is operating off that same plan that was used with some success in the last century by his distant predecessor, Stalin. If I lived in Eastern Europe right now, I’d be worried. Actually, I would be damn worried, since it seems that we have an unbridled expansionist at the helm of a large and dangerously misled and misguided nation. As a student of history, I have seen this movie before, and the ending simply isn’t pretty. ~ Michael S. Pauley