For months now we have seen a well orchestrated smear campaign aimed against the government of Ukraine by small but influential groups on both the far left and far right.
One of those progressives leading the Smear Ukraine Campaign is rock and roll legend Roger Waters. One of his high-profile, far-right counterparts is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene’s an idiot, but Waters is a widely respected musician-activist. However, he recently penned an open letter to Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska. In the letter Water asked Zelenska to beg her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to stop accepting weapons from NATO countries and make peace with Russia. (Waters has written no similar open letters to Jill Biden or Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longtime mistress Alina Maratovna Kabaeva.)
In the letter, Waters makes a couple of curious assertions.
The major one is that President Zelensky is little more than a puppet manipulated by “forces of extreme nationalism.” Nazis, for short. Putin has made the same allegation, which is reportedly why he sent Russian troops into Ukraine more than six months ago—to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Putin has repeatedly talked about the “neo-Nazis who settled in Kyiv and took the entire Ukrainian people hostage.”
More than 300 scholars of genocide, Nazism and World War II labeled these claims “Russian propaganda.” In a joint statement, the scholars noted: “We do not idealize the Ukrainian state and society. Like any other country, it has right-wing extremists and violent xenophobic groups….Yet none of this justifies the Russian aggression and the gross mischaracterization of Ukraine.”
“Neo-Nazi, far right and xenophobic groups do exist in Ukraine, like in pretty much any other country, including Russia. They are vocal and can be prone to violence but they are numerically small, marginal and their political influence at the state level is non-existent…I would consider the KKK in the US and skinheads and neo-Nazi groups in Russia a much bigger problem and threat than the Ukrainian far right.”
Indeed, Ukraine’s far right parties—National Corps, Svoboda, Governmental Initiative of Yarosh, and the Right Sector—formed a nationwide united party for the 2019 elections and managed to win only 2.15 percent of the popular vote, meaning they received no representation in the Ukrainian parliament. Zero.
However, Waters isn’t entirely wrong. After wrongly accusing Ukraine of being governed by fascists, he rightly accuses the US and NATO of “throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a fire fight.” Of course the US is only too happy to spend tens of billions of dollars waging a proxy war against Russia while its own citizens go without basic services like running water, health care and decent public schools. That’s the American Way. Waters is well aware of this.
As for a way out, Waters says he would like to see the Minsk Agreements put into effect, but it was Putin, not Ukraine, who pronounced those agreements null and void.
What’s puzzling is why Waters and many others on the far left have bought into this fascist-Ukrainian-regime-is-the-real-aggressor nonsense? Perhaps it is the only way these leftists can morally justify their opposition to arming Ukrainian forces.
The far left has long objected to the working class (of whatever nation) going off to die in wars that ultimately benefit only the ruling class—which is most if not all wars. Similarly, the far left abhors the thought of the military-industrial-media complex raking in huge profits at the expense of working class Ukrainian and Russian lives. Last, the far left cannot abide that the US is using this proxy war as an opportunity to secure its place as lone Superpower. (Now we just need to needle China into starting a war with Taiwan. Oh yes, Nancy Pelosi is already on that.)
If the smear campaigners can paint the conflict as a war pitting fascists against fascists, well then of course the US and the West should stay out. It hardly matters which fascist regime wins.
The smear campaigners are wrong to say that Ukraine has no right to seek NATO membership when it is obviously in its interest to do so. Ukraine also has a right to defend to its sovereign territory.
We can argue over why the US ruling class is so hellbent on arming Ukraine—not because we care about Ukrainian lives—but as an opportunity to make billions of dollars for military contractors, while, better yet, knocking down Russia a peg or two, and widening the buffer between NATO and Russia.
But let’s stop lying about Ukraine being a fascist state that deserves to be defeated and at least partially swallowed up by Russia.
It’s simply not true.