Despite the confusion manufactured by the Russian fascists and their allies around the world, not all forgot what the Fascists had done. They remembered the young students who were beaten on a cold November in the Maidan in Ukraine in 2013. Ukrainian Mothers and fathers heroically came to the streets in support of “their children.” Thousands of people came to Kyiv and put their lives in danger. Since then and again in 2022 people around the world have come to appreciate the heroic defiance of ordinary Ukrainians. No one else has defended truth like Ukrainians. Timothy Snyder described their appearance in the Maidan and Kyiv in 2013 this way:
“One can record that these people were not fascists or Nazis or members of a gay international conspiracy or Jewish international conspiracy or a gay Nazi Jewish international conspiracy as Russian propaganda suggested to various target audiences. One can mark the fictions and contradictions. This is not enough. These utterances were not logical arguments or factual assessments, but a calculated effort to undo logic and factuality. Once the intellectual moorings were loosed, it was easy for Russians (and Europeans and Americans) to latch on to well-funded narratives provided by television and the internet, but it was impossible to work one’s way towards an understanding of people in their own setting: to grasp where they were coming from, what they thought they were doing, what sort of future they imagined for themselves.”
Ukrainians were not only fighting for their country they were fighting for the truth. They were battling unreason. I am sorry to say most of us around the world did not realize that at the time. At least I know I did not realize that until about 6 years later.
Ukrainians had begun by defending a European future they had chosen but, as Snyder said, they found themselves fighting for a sense that “there could be a past, a present, and a future.”
Russian propagandists claimed the protest at the Maidan was “a right wing coup,” but the real coup according to Snyder was when Putin in 2011 and 2012 returned to the office of president in Russia, which was then not allowed by law. Snyder believes that Putin wanted to divert attention from his illegal usurpation. He was quite successful as many people in Europe and North America were duped into thinking it was a right-wing coup. As Snyder said,
“The Russian claim of a “coup” in Ukraine was among the most cynical of the Kremlin formulations, since the very Russians who made it that, had expected Yanukovych (Ukraine’s president ) to be removed by force and organized (failed or successful) coup d’état in nine Ukrainian districts. The issue in Ukraine was the weakness of the rule of law and the associated inequality of wealth and ubiquity of corruption. It was obvious to protesting Ukrainians that the rule of law was the only way to distribute resources collected by oligarchs more equitably through the society, and to allow others to succeed in the economy. Throughout the entire period of the Maidan, social advance in predictable and just conditions was the central goal. The first protesters were concerned with improving the rule of law by the Europeanization of Ukraine.”
In the current war in Ukraine, the Russian propagandists have been trying similar tricks, like claiming the Russians are there to remove Nazis in control of the Ukraine government and many people in Russia believe that. However, I have not seen much evidence that anyone else believes their propaganda except to some extent American conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. That is a huge improvement over what happened in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014.
Once again it seems like Ukraine is the bulwark against fascism and once again it is paying a heavy price, but this time at least with great support from the west. Once again Ukraine is defending truth again under siege.