A new (and fairer) Nuremberg

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by Lucas Leiroz, Strategic Culture:

The Russian Federation continues to play its civilizing role in Ukraine, capturing, trying and punishing Nazis who participated in massacres against the civilian population of Donbass. Recently, a militant from the infamous Azov Regiment was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering three civilians in Mariupol in the spring of 2022. In total, more than 250 sentences have already been passed by Russian courts against Ukrainian and foreign criminals, neo-Nazis and mercenaries – 32 of which are life imprisonment sentences.

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The act of capturing and imprisoning enemies during or after a conflict situation is commonplace in the international scenario. However, we cannot confuse the Russian attitude with a merely punitive gesture against the enemy. Moscow has at no time violated international standards of humanitarian law, with no Ukrainian soldier being tried or punished simply for fighting for Ukraine. Russia recognizes the role of the common soldier and respects it, having several rights and guarantees for all surrendered and captured Ukrainian fighters.

However, as has been made clear since 2022, special courts are being established in the New Regions to specifically judge those Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries involved in neo-Nazi activities and war crimes. The militants of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions are excluded from the norms of humanitarian law, since, like the foreign mercenaries, they are not ordinary citizens mobilized by the State for a war effort, but people who voluntarily chose to fight against Russia. Members of the so-called “Foreign Legion” and Nazi groups such as Azov, Aidar, Right Sector, S14 and several other Ukrainian militias are tried as criminals, without any special protection.

It is important to remember that these fascists and mercenaries have since 2014 been the main actors behind the massacre of Russian civilians in Donbass. The genocide has been carried out mainly by paramilitary groups, as among the ordinary soldiers of the regular Ukrainian armed forces there are also many ethnic Russians, Russian speakers and Orthodox Christians. The Kiev regime relied heavily on the work of neo-Nazi groups, ideologically driven by anti-Russian racism, to promote Ukraine’s “de-Russification” policies. After the start of the special military operation, Kiev began to internationalize its neo-Nazi apparatus, welcoming fascist militants from all over the world into the ranks of its “Foreign Legion”.

Obviously, Russia could not remain silent in the face of this scenario. Eliminating foreign mercenaries and neo-Nazis has been Russia’s top priority since 2022. The goal of denazifying Ukraine remains vital. The process of eradicating fascism as a state ideology and military instrument in Ukraine needs to be completed, not only by military means, but also through law. For this reason, a special Investigative Committee has been operating in the New Regions, researching evidence of war crimes on the part of every enemy soldier. Those identified as neo-Nazis and mercenaries are often tried and punished.

Recently, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that a new Nuremberg needs to be established to punish today’s Nazis. More than that, he made it clear how necessary it is to go beyond the limitations that occurred in the Nuremberg Court of the past. According to Medvedev, all those responsible for Ukrainian Nazism must be captured and punished, which includes decision-makers, politicians, commanders and sponsors of the genocide in Donbass. In practice, the entire political structure of the Kiev regime and its international supporters must be investigated and tried by the Russians, thus avoiding the mistakes made in the previous Nuremberg.

Although it was an important milestone in the history of international law and civilization as a whole, Nuremberg, unfortunately, was an extremely limited event. On the part of the Soviets – who were the true winners of the WWII – there was always a real desire to capture and punish the Nazis. However, the other “allies” had other intentions. Americans and Europeans made secret agreements with hundreds of Nazi criminals, granting amnesty and asylum to several Germans in exchange for political favors and military and scientific secrets.

The result of this process was a true import of Nazi ideology into the West. Former members of the Nazi Party began to occupy positions of state officials in the US, Europe and NATO. Nazi inspiration drove the Russophobic sentiment that came to dominate the minds of Western decision-makers during the Cold War. After this, this same ideology began to be used in political experiments in the post-socialist space through the promotion of extremist nationalism in Eastern Europe – the most successful experiment being that of post-Maidan Ukraine.

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