Timothy Snyder: Why the West Hasn't Recognized Russian Aggression as Genocide against Ukrainians

Monday, 11 September 2023

Timothy Snyder is a renowned historian whose name needs no introduction, especially in Ukraine. As a historian, he has diligently researched the crime of genocide.

He insists that Russia is committing genocide. However, proving this crime is currently one of Ukraine's key international challenges.

Editor of European Pravda, Sergiy Sedorenko, discussed this issue with Snyder in Kyiv. He highly recommend watching this short and emotional conversation.

Read the full interview "Putin, like Stalin, Makes Genocide by Defining Who Gets Food and Who Doesn’t."An Interview with Timothy Snyder

According to Timothy Snyder, Ukraine finds itself in a historically unique situation. The Russian authorities, he argues, do not conceal their intention of committing genocide; they openly talk about it, essentially acknowledging this intention.

"For example, Russian state television is an actor of the Russian state, and almost every day they say something genocidal. But we don't have to content ourselves with that. Dmitry Medvedev is constantly saying genocidal things, and even the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, fairly regularly says genocidal things,'" says Snyder.

Furthermore, the historian adds that the term "genocide" defines five categories of actions that can lead to such qualification, from killing individuals to deporting children.

"Russia has done all five of those things. It's a very clear case of genocide of Ukrainians," he asserts.

In his opinion, in the West, people avoid recognizing the genocide precisely because acknowledging this fact would demand action from them and raise questions about their inaction.

"So, the war is based on the principle that you don't exist," the historian explains.

He reminds us that when Russians started the war, they openly spoke on air about it being a colonial mission. They stated that they intended to kill the elite, put people in camps, and then the rest of the country will go along.

"That's already genocidal. But then it escalated," says Timothy Snyder.

The historian notes that the Russian blockade, designed to undermine the Ukrainian economy, also exhibits clear signs of genocide.

"When I look at this war – and this has to do with the South – when I look at this war, and Russia destroying the port of Mariupol, and controlling the other Azov ports, and just trying to destroy the port at Odesa, attacking the ports on the Danube, mining the fields of Ukrainian farmers, flooding the plains south of Nova Kakhovka, all of these things have to do with causing hunger.

This time, Ukrainians aren't going to starve, but the Russians are starving the rest of the world, or they're threatening to starve the rest of the world. Putin, a little bit like Stalin, becomes the master of who gets food and who doesn't get food.," Snyder explains.

However, he also emphasizes the concept of collective responsibility.

According to the historian, this has turned into a genocide factory involving so many Russians that it is now difficult for anyone to claim they are not involved. Therefore, it is essential to repeat that genocide is the responsibility of every individual.

He is confident that the time for Russians to be held accountable for all the crimes they have committed will only come when the Russian nation loses and acknowledges it.

Read the full interview "Putin, like Stalin, Makes Genocide by Defining Who Gets Food and Who Doesn’t."An Interview with Timothy Snyder

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