During the Euromaidan protests, Russian propaganda held that Neo-Nazis were behind much of the unrest. They weren’t. The protests were broadly supported, and included students, workers, priests and other people from across the board in Ukraine. But the Russians aren’t giving up that useful talking point.
Sergei Zheleznyak, vice chair of the Russian parliament’s lower house, appeared on a teleconference Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine. He used the G-word, saying that Ukraine is now descending into “Gestapo times.”
He added: “The entire country is populated by armed militants in balaclavas. Their names are unknown … they’re outlaws and they don’t comply with the laws.”
And then he piled more on top of that, saying “A majority of Ukrainians today are hostages of that situation because they are afraid of those bandits who are next to their doors,” adding that “any diplomatic procedure is not possible when only one person is having his word and convictions and on the other hand, the other guy has an assault rifle.”
Zheleznyak has pulled a classic switcheroo. Russia has an estimated 80-100,000 troops massed on the border with Ukraine, after it swooped into Crimea and took it away from Ukraine. Ukraine’s hollowed-out military poses little threat should Russia invade. So it’s Putin who has the assault rifle, while Ukrainians have the conviction that they land they live on is theirs.
Update: Russia just hiked the price of gas it sells to Ukraine.