American Communist and later chief witness for the prosecution, Whitaker Chambers, explained his disillusionment with communism and remorse by comparing Russian communism with German fascism. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Soviet-Nazi alliance of 1939 was the breaking point. Hitler entered into the pact for tactical reason, to undermine the alliance. Stalin entered because of clear ideological similarities which he stated on more than one occasion. Lenin had often remarked that terror was necessary for the implementation of communism. In fact Hitler borrowed much from the Russians including concentration camps.
Russian warfare (modus operandi) during World War 2 consisted largely of war crimes. In fact when the Russian invaded Western Ukraine (then occupied by Poland) in 1939 they executed indiscriminately. As they were compelled to withdraw in 1941 as the Nazis invaded, the Russians murdered their prisoners of war, employing a scorched earth policy. Since they were the victors and allies of the United Sates and the United Kingdom, no indictments were filed and no Russians were accused, tried or executed for war crimes even though Russia perpetrated war crimes throughout the war.
War crimes as recognised today have been the mantra of the Russian soldier dating back to, at least, the XVI century and the war ravaging of the notorious Czar of Moscow Ivan the Terrible. In the XVIII century when the Ukrainian Cossacks revolted against the rule of Moscow, Czar Peter who later declared himself a Russian emperor razed the Ukrainian capital Baturyn killing anyone he could. This, in fact, was Moscow’s first attempted genocide against the Ukrainian people.
All of this had been ignored by the civilized world until now. Thanks to technological advances everything is becoming transparent. More and more articles are appearing in the West about Russian crimes. They were glaring in Chechnya, outrageous in Syria and now exposed to the world in Ukraine. Are the war crimes of Russian soldiers in Bucha and Irpin, executions of civilians with hands tied behind their backs, an aberration? Rockets fired on prisoners of war in Donetsk, mothers in Mariopil and the kidnapping of children have been added to the list of crimes and proven that Bucha and Irpin were merely the beginning. Many have concluded that this is Russian warfare.
There is no justification for this Russian acquired psychosis. Putin and Lavrov are clearly war criminals. So is the Russian soldier, and even his mother and the purported church of Moscow. The Russians are well aware that their style of warfare constitutes criminality and much more than simply the crime of aggression. Russian troops seem to believe that killing children or any one else is the way that war should be.
Almost immediately with the formation of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Russia withdrew its signature. Recently it withdrew its membership in the Council of Europe and its signature from the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. Russia has more judgements against it in the European Court than any other state. Ukraine remains a signatory to the ICC and any aggression, crime against humanity, war crime or genocide perpetrated on its territory remain within the Court’s jurisdiction.
Early on, Ukraine, recognizing the fecklessness and ineffectiveness of international institutions such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and international criminal judicial tribunals, established its own separate unit at the General Procurators office charged with investigating, indicting, trying and punishing Russian war crimes. To date one such proceeding against a Russian sergeant for the blatant murder of a sixty-two year old man pushing a bicycle has been completed with an admission and a life sentence. However, this is one case among thousands.
Russian warfare of perpetrating crimes will not be stopped by an international institution or court. This Russian psychotic cancer has to be eliminated on the battlefield. Frankly, concern for Russian behavior has gone well beyond Ukraine. The world (not only other countries surrounding Ukraine) itself is threatened by this Russian psychosis which has become almost innately a part of Russian culture, its egregious behavior and arrogant scorn for the international community. Russia exemplifies the most heinous crimes: aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. There is ample evidence of all four in the current war, but simply securing the evidence will not prevent the crimes.
10 August 2022 Askold Lozynskyj