Just when it seemed that the Kremlin’s manipulative and war-mongering rhetoric had reached the bottom, it sunk to a new low. In a repeated attempt to denigrate Ukraine and its president as “Nazi”, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, suggested that Hitler “also had Jewish blood” and that the “most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”
Such claims, aiming to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are not just factually false. They trivialise the Holocaust, fuel anti-Semitism and corrode collective historical memory. It is no wonder that Mr. Lavrov drew heavy condemnation from the Israeli Prime Minister, EU-leaders and many others.
Far from being an accidental slip of the tongue, Lavrov’s claims are a part of deliberate and repeated attempts to revise history for political ends, such as the mobilisation of public domestic support for the war. It is also an overture to international fringe movements and fans of (anti-Semitic) conspiracy theories – audiences the Kremlin has courted in its disinformation campaigns in the past.
Earlier pro-Kremlin disinformation claims alleging that the world’s globalist “Jewish-Masonic” powers were seeking to incite war between Ukraine and Russia, illustrate the trend. In another notable example dating back to 2017, Russia’s state-controlled Pervyi kanal (Channel One) shared an anti-Semitic cartoon during its most watched analytical news programme “Vremya”, asking viewers: “how did the Rothschild family struggle to control the world?”. The host of the programme is currently serving as Chairman to the Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council.
Now, caught in its senseless and brutal war, the Kremlin is further isolating itself from the world not only with its actions, but also with its rhetoric. Instead of retracting the statements of Mr. Lavrov, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs doubled down on its anti-Semitic rhetoric and accused Israel of supporting “neo-Nazis in Kyiv”. Tellingly, several damaged Holocaust memorials in Ukraine are among the casualties of Russia’s war.
From Radioactive Ash to Radioactive Desert
In another notable example of warmongering and disinformation this week, EU-sanctioned Russian TV Host Dmitry Kiselyov lashed out at the UK, accusing it of pushing Ukraine to continue fighting against Russia and threatening the UK with nuclear annihilation.
First, Mr. Kiselyov falsely claimed that the Prime Minister of the UK made nuclear threats against Russia, an allegation debunked by independent Russian outlet the Insider. Then he proceeded to threaten the UK with various scenarios of nuclear annihilation, claiming that one Russian nuclear missile would be enough to “sink the British Isles once and for all”, and that a Russian torpedo could cause a nuclear tsunami that would turn “whatever is left of the British Isles into a radioactive desert”.
As the UK continues to support Ukraine, it has become a prominent target of the Kremlin’s ire (see earlier attacks on Russians who defected to the UK, and earlier disinformation claims alleging for example that the UK together with the US were mainly responsible for escalation around Ukraine and that the UK was falsely implicating Russia in the Bucha massacre).
Nuclear annihilation is one of the favourite tropes of Mr. Kiselyov, who in the past has claimed that Russia was capable of turning the US into “radioactive ash”.
Finally this week:
- As the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church claimed that “Russia has never attacked anyone”, pro-Kremlin media outlets accused Ukraine not only of “Nazism”, but also of Satanism, “paganism and German occultism”. This is not the first time that pro-Kremlin media invoke religious and metaphysical terms to justify Russia’s war against Ukraine.
- Pro-Kremlin media continue to obfuscate atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha.
- Pro-Kremlin media continue to label EU leaders as “war criminals” for their continuous support to Ukraine.