Russian incitement to genocide

The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, and former President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, has been using his Twitter account to call for the genocide of Ukraine.

The tweet also seeks continues the Holocaust distortion previously seen from Russia by calling the Ukrainian government a “Nazi regime” and later “thievish Nazi clowns”. Our friends at the Never Again Association in Poland have noted the use of the word “Unterukraine” in the message and explain that this “is a clear reference to the Nazi term ‘untermensch’ meaning ‘subhuman’ to denote victims of the Holocaust”.

There is an additional element of antisemitism with the reference to “nouveau-Ukrainian blood-sucking parasites”. Let’s break this down as you have need to already understand the Russian disinformation to follow this dog whistle. Putin incorrectly claimed that Ukrainians and Russians are historically one people (see this fact check for analysis on this). The term “nouveau-Ukrainian” means “new Ukrainians” and is seeking to draw a distinction between those people (as defined by Putin) and other people in Ukraine who are not part of this. In particular Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is Jewish. This is further emphasised by the reference to “blood sucking”. The antisemitic imagery of Jews as vampires can be seen in Hitler’s writings:

“For hours the black-haired Jew boy, diabolic joy in his face, waits in ambush for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood and thus robs her from her people …

The end is not only the end of the freedom of the peoples oppressed by the Jew, but also the end of this parasite upon the nations. After the death of his victim, the vampire sooner or later dies too.”

– Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

It isn’t something Hitler created from scratch. Instead it is drawing on the long history of blood libels and antisemitism in the Church which goes back to the Middle Ages. This is a form of disinformation which continues to circulate, not just in Medvedev’s tweet. Our CEO presented on this topic for the IEEE Computer Society’s Tech Forum on Digital Platforms and Societal Harms in September. It is one of the oldest forms of disinformation and still it persists!

Medvedev’s tweet also promote a range of narratives seeking to divide people and undermine support for the defence of Ukraine, e.g. by suggesting Africa and Latin America should oppose the existence of Ukraine as if it vanished the US funds going to counter Russian aggression would instead become aid money for them. At the same time it tries to undermine US support by saying the foreign aid would be better spent at home in the US.

The content is from an account recognised by Twitter as belonging to a government official. In Poland and Germany the Tweet is no longer visible as it violates national hate speech laws.

Take action!

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Russian genocide promotion

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