Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on incitement to violence in the context of the situation in and around Ukraine
I thank the Albanian Presidency for having chosen this pressing topic for our discussion. Unfortunately, one of our briefers, Ms. Tsybulska, follows in the footsteps of former Ukrainian Ombudsperson for Human Rights L.Denisova, who was kicked out from the office for spreading lies about sexual crimes. The eagerness of Ukrainian propaganda machine to demonize Russia at any cost and through whatever lies is dazzling indeed. Everyone will long remember fiction stories by Mr.Cohen who claimed it were Russian hackers who made up Ukrainian Nazis and instilled this concept in collective conscience. Maybe you forgot to mention that our hackers also learned how to make innocent Ukrainians adorn themselves with Nazi tattoos, shout Nazi slogans, kill and torture Russian-speaking Ukrainians.
The ideology of violence and hatred, i.a. to its own people, stands at the core of present-day Ukrainian state policy. This ideology provoked atrocious crimes of the Kiev regime against its own people that became one of the key reasons of today’s crisis in Ukraine.
Russia already raised these issues at the Security Council. In May last year, we held an informal Arria meeting of UNSC members on the topic of neo-Nazism and radical nationalism in Ukraine. Our today's meeting is a good opportunity to figure out why current Ukrainian leadership is in fact inseparable from hateful rhetoric.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine, just like other post-Soviet republics, had an opportunity to build its independent statehood as a sovereign country. Ukraine had freedom of will and of geopolitical choice. But the elites that rose to power made their choice (not without some prompting from the Ukrainian diaspora abroad) in favor of outspoken nationalism, glorification of deeds and legacy of the leaders of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a nationalist organization that had collaborated with Hitler. This predestined the political stance of the new Ukraine towards its neighbors.
There are incessant attempts to convince us that neo-Nazism and nationalism in Ukraine are a marginal phenomenon. But in reality, this extreme nationalism is Ukraine’s mainstream policy. We have no time now to lay out to you the genesis of Ukrainian nationalism and cite all its founding fathers. I will mention one, Dmytro Dontsov. He came up with a theory of integral nationalism that he had borrowed from a Frenchman called Charles Maurras. By the way, the latter founded a pro-fascist organization ‘Action Française’ in 1899. Without going into detail of this theory, I will just tell you that it was based on the ideology of hatred. It advocates for a sectarial society, promotes immoral ways of achieving one’s goals, welcomes cruelty, suggests imposing the will of active minority on a gregarious majority, promulgates superiority of Ukrainian race. All this envisages hatred to Russians and to Russia as a “kingdom of darkness”. We will certainly find a way to bring to your notice all details of Ukrainian nationalist theories.
One of the ideologists of Ukrainian nationalism, Nikolai Mikhnovsky, whose monuments are plenty in modern Ukraine, handed down to posterity his concept “Ukraine for Ukrainians”. He himself articulated the essence of this concept as follows: “All people are your brothers, but Moskalis, Polacks, Romanians, and kikes are our enemies”.
Those were not just words. During the war, Ukrainian Insurgent Army killed hundreds of thousands of Poles, Jews, and Russians. Even Hitler’s occupants were appalled at their ruthlessness. No surprise that antisemitism, racism, and Russophobia are thriving in today’s Ukraine.
However Ukrainian authorities had to postpone their Russophobic plans, because the moment Ukraine became independent at least 60 % of the population was Russian or Russian-speaking, and only dwellers of Western Ukraine could actually speak Ukrainian. First denial, and then besmirching of Ukraine and Russia’s shared historical memory, as well as hatred towards everything Russian were instilled gradually, with every passing year.
It is worth mentioning that the United States and its Western allies were rather interested in this spread of Russophobia-based Ukrainian nationalism, because they perceived it as a good opportunity to sever historical ties of Russia and Ukraine, as prompted by their geopolitical considerations.
As a result, the new “statehood” of once multicultural Ukraine was tailored according to Western gauges on the basis of primitive Russophobia, meaning that it initially proceeded from the ideology of hatred. Contrary to its national interests, Ukraine forsake true sovereignty and opted for becoming an anti-Russian geopolitical project. This was not easy to achieve in south-eastern Ukraine, which was Russian and Russian-speaking by essence. To provide an example, we can recall a famous Russophobe Iryna Farion, who was member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of several convocations. She said repeatedly that “all Russians are mentally retarded”. After the unconstitutional Maidan coup, Farion who curated language and humanitarian issues at the Ukrainian parliament, lamented in one of her interviews that 14 %of Ukrainians said that Russian was their mother tongue. “Those are 5 million Ukrainian degenerates that need to be saved. Up to full isolation of those who do not speak Ukrainian”, she added.
I am giving this quote so you better realize how Ukraine treated its Russian-speaking people after the 2014 Maidan coup.
The very first steps made by the Kiev junta incited violence against Russian-speaking population. All Ukrainians were divided into “first and second class people”. All ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking people were labelled second-class. A number of laws were adopted that undermined their rights.
In the years to come after the Maidan coup, the Kiev authorities (with the help of such Rossuphobes as the mentioned Iryna Farion) have been cultivating hatred to everything Russian and uplifting it to the level of state policy. This includes hatred to Russian culture, language, and our very civilization, as well as all those (i.a. Ukrainians) who identify themselves with any of these.
If anyone spoke out against the illegal Maidan authorities, Kiev dubbed them ‘terrorists’, ‘separatists’, ‘puppets’, and ‘monsters’. Violence-associated intolerance was Kiev regime’s signature line.
As an example, I will cite member of the Verkhovna Rada turned the Mayor of Dnipro, Mr. Boris Filatov. In March 2014, when he was just an official in the Dnipro Administration, he said the following: “In my view, it is okay to expand Crimea’s autonomy and make Russian our state language. This will let us avoid escalation and safeguard Ukraine. <…> We need to make any such promises to those rascals, offer any guarantees, make whatever concessions. And have them hanged… Have them hanged afterwards”. By the way, those were not empty threats. Just recall more than 40 Russian-speaking activists who were burnt alive in Odessa in May 2014.
The population of long-suffering Donbas also knows this firsthand. Back in August 2014, a pro-Maidan journalist, Bogdan Butkevich, called the people of Donbas superfluous. “Donbas is not just a depressed region. There is an incredible number of unnecessary people there. <…> In the Donetsk Region, there are approximately 4 million people and at least 1.5 million of unnecessary people”.
Again, it went farther than just calls to “shred the Moskalis” and “annihilate russkies”. I apologize for these obscenities, but this is a quote. With Western support, the Kiev authorities decided to put these threats to life. In 2014 first O.Turchinov and then P.Poroshenko, instead of starting a dialogue about the role and status of Russian culture and language in Ukraine, attacked their own people, the Russian-speaking population of Donbas, having ordered to shell and bombard peaceful cities. P.Poroshenko made himself very clear as to what future he envisaged for the residents of Donbas: “We will have jobs, they will not… We will have pensions, they will not… We will have benefits for children and elderly, and they will not. Our kids will go to schools and kindergartens, while theirs will be hiding in basements… This is how we are going to win this war”. In 2014, Iryna Farion represented the party “Svoboda” in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. She rather clearly identified the main goal of these efforts. It was to “destroy Moscow”. “This is what we are living for, what we came to this world for – to destroy Moscow. Destroy not only Moskalis on our lands (meaning Russian-speaking Ukrainians), but destroy this black hole of European security that should be erased from the world map”.
V.Zelensky, then only a comic actor, when performing at a concert for nationalist battalions who took part in Kiev’s punitive operation against Donbas, cried out ecstatically, “Guys, hats off to you for protecting us from such rascals”. When already president, he never changed his rhetoric. In November 2021, he said the following about the people of Donbas. “There are human representatives. Not all human representatives are human. There are species as well, I believe”.
Adviser to the President of Ukraine M. Podolyak keeps pace with his boss. As he put it, the people of DPR and LPR are “dirty miscreant subjects”, “bandits and dwarves, the offcast waste”.
Ukraine’s Minister for Social Policy Andriy Reva said in April 2019, “I feel no pity for them (the people of Donbas). I feel pity for the soldiers and officers, and their families who were killed for those rascals”.
I stress that those were not words by some marginalized radicals. Those were words of representatives of Ukraine’s higher authorities, of prominent “systemic” politicians.
Just like their idols from the Third Reich, Ukrainian nationalists believe the issue of Donbas can be solved through vacating the living space. Thus in May 2019, former member of the Verkhovna Rada and participant of punitive operations in Donbas Semyon Semenchenko said the following. “In my understanding, Ukraine needs a strategy to depopulate Donbas”. And again, this call not only existed on paper. Today it is being implemented by nationalist battalions like Azov, Aidar, and others, whose shelling of peaceful quarters of Mariupol, Kharkov, Severodonetsk has been confirmed by plentiful evidence. Only someone who loathes both the Donbas residents and Russians in general (the way the mentioned politicians do) can do such thing.
Thanks to recent revelations of P.Poroshenko, the world learned that Ukraine had never intended to implement the Minsk Package of Measures that the Security Council worked so hard to get observed according to resolution 2202. Ukraine merely used the Package to win some time for military preparations against the Donbas and Russia. While doing so, Ukraine was under the patronage of our Western colleagues, who kept using it for more Russophobic campaigns and projects. Among them a discriminatory law on the Russian language, oppression of Russian-language media, persecutions and murders of Russian-speaking politicians, journalists, public activists. In post-Maidan years, dozens if not hundreds of them suffered across Ukraine.
Encouraged and incited by our Western colleagues, Ukrainian authorities never remained complacent. Before our special military operation started, we received trustworthy reports that Kiev had finalized preparations for another large-scale offensive on Donbas. Those plans were curbed.
We can spend much time speaking about Ukrainian nationalism and its hateful rhetoric. To save you time, we have compiled some quotations from Ukrainian officials and popular activists. We will soon circulate them in the Council so you can see for yourselves what real hate speech is in present-day Ukraine and how it is used to justify violence against the Russian-speaking population.
Here are the most recent Russophobic steps made by Ukrainian authorities. A ban on being educated in the Russian language and on import of Russian books, prohibition of studies of Russian literature in Ukrainian schools and universities (even as part of foreign literature courses). Some of you would say – Russia has only itself to blame. But if we look back at what I just said, those steps appear a logical continuation of Kiev’s post-Maidan policy. The only thing is that now it is being carried out at a quicker pace.
Despite ravaging primitive Russophobia and racism in Ukraine that our African colleagues could feel during the first days of the SMO when trying to evacuate their students, we hold nothing against the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian culture and language. The people of Ukraine is near and friendly to us. It is just that their leaders are pursuing a geopolitical agenda that is alien both to us and to Ukrainians.
Today we heard allegations that Russia is going to obliterate Ukraine and burn off everything Ukrainian that it has. This is not true. What we want to burn off is neo-Nazism and nationalism that have been turning Ukraine into an anti-Russia and posing real threats to both us and the people of Donbas. Unfortunately, our Western colleagues are complicit in this Ukrainian tragedy.
There is real incitement to violence and Russophobia in Ukraine that is coming from your part. Western sponsors took Kiev’s negotiators out of a diplomatic dialogue and in eager rivalry started to convince themselves and the whole world that “solution can only be found on a battlefield with Russia”. One of such phrases was uttered by Head of European diplomacy J.Borrell who briefed the Council last week.
Besides, the West pumps up Ukraine with weapons. Now it delivers long-range artillery to launch targeted strikes against Donbas and obliterate peaceful Russian-speaking population. The United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Poland, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Finland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Baltic states – here is a non-exhaustive list of states that deliver billions dollar worth of military-purpose products to Ukrainian regime. Last week alone, 6 people were killed and more than 30 injured by strikes against Donbas launched from European and American weapons. Each of the states I named is directly responsible for dragging out the Ukrainian crisis, deaths of civilians, and also of Ukrainian military personnel whom corrupt Ukrainian leadership thrusts to the frontline as cannon fodder.
You spend billions dollars to fight this proxy war on Russia “to the last Ukrainian”. This is nothing but incitement to violence on your part. You also encourage brazen Russophobia back in your countries, thus playing along with Poles, Czechs, and Balts who fixated on this long ago. Some stores and bars in your countries display stickers that they do not serve Russians. How is it different from racism? Just put “black people” or “Jews” instead of “Russians”. You cringe at such associations, but why do you think Russians can be treated like this?
If you do not think so, then why do you support the Cancel Russia campaign that is promoted by Ukrainian political strategists and that boycotts Russian writers, musicians, performers, athletes? Isn’t it hateful rhetoric and policy?
Speaking about hate speech, this is exactly what we hear the Kiev representative say every time he addresses the Council. With your connivance, he insults our country, our President, addresses threats to Russian diplomats. And none of Kiev’s Western sponsors checks him.
No matter how hard you try, you may only drag out the agony of Kiev’s Russophobic neo-Nazi regime, but never stop it. The regime was doomed back in 2014, when it waged a criminal war on its own people. Millions of Ukrainians wait to be absolved of it, which we can conclude from people's attitude to Russian troops in the liberated territories. Our special military operation will be carried through, and all its goals will be achieved.