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Putin’s supporters are demanding the dissolution of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on a screen on Red Square as he addresses a rally and a concert marking the unification of four regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – in central Moscow on September 30, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

With some pro-war commentators hailing the concept of the “liquidation” of the modern state of Ukraine, prominent supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin are increasingly using “genocidal rhetoric” when discussing and denouncing Ukrainians.

Ultranationalists have emerged especially in Russia since the February 24 invasion, relentlessly pushing the Kremlin to take a hard line with Ukraine and Moscow’s military leadership after a series of retreats or defeats during the war. openly criticizing.

Prominent commentators in Russian politics, from military bloggers and journalists to politicians and officials affiliated with a nationalist faction, have repeatedly called for Russia to take a more ruthless approach to Ukraine, with some promoting the use of nuclear weapons. and others are advocating it. complete destruction.

‘Cockroaches’ and ‘Pigs’

The most followed of the pro-Kremlin blogs is that of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has over 900,000 followers on Telegram and is one of the staunchest supporters of the war and Ukraine’s most vocal and vicious critics.

The rhetoric he uses to portray Ukraine and Ukrainians has also become increasingly dehumanizing; This week He portrayed officials of the government of Kyiv as “cockroaches”. (because they wanted to retake Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014) while they used the term “grunting pigs” earlier in November.

He has denied the existence of a “mythical” Ukraine, telling his followers this week that “Kyiv is the capital of ancient Russia” and that “Kyiv is just a Russian city where people always thought and spoke Russian.” This sentiment is widely echoed by other officers and military bloggers, or “milbloggers” as they are known.

“I have repeatedly stated that the Ukrainian nation does not exist, it is a political hunch,” Andrey Medvedev, a Moscow City Duma deputy and pro-Kremlin journalist, told his 150,000 followers on Telegram on Wednesday.

“To be a ‘Ukrainian’ one does not even have to speak the Ukrainian language (which is still being formed). Ukrainians are Russians who are convinced that they are special, more European, more racially pure and more perfect Russian.” she claimed.

Medvedev said, “All this can be stopped only through the liquidation of the Ukrainian state in its present form.”

The rhetoric has intensified in the past week after a video went viral on social media Moscow says Ukrainian forces are killing Russian soldiers who may have been trying to surrender, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said Kyiv would investigate the video, but said “it is highly unlikely” that the edited snippet is what Moscow claims.

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Nonetheless, the video has sparked a storm among pro-Kremlin commentators, with Russia’s State Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin responding. his telegram channel For condemning Ukraine and repeating baseless allegations that the government of Kyiv is led by “fascists” and “Nazis”, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky himself being Jewish.

Another popular form being used by pro-war, pro-Putin bloggers is portraying Ukraine and Ukrainians as “evil” or “sadistic” or “Satanists”.

blogger Ilya Varlamov, whose Telegram channel is followed by 360,000 people, Ukrainians have been described as “devil’s grunting pigs”. (The same abusive language and terminology is often shared in the blogosphere, indicating the prevalence of anti-Ukrainian propaganda.) While another popular blogger, followed by over 500,000 people, characterized Ukraine. A Russian-backed monastery was raided this week As an example of the “evil” Ukraine’s apparent disdain for Russian culture in Kyiv.

A view of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex in the capital Kyiv,

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

‘genocidal rhetoric’

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