Russian legislators seek to ban Soviet-Nazi comparisons, Stalin criticism

Canan Kevser
10 May 2021, 15:19
Canan Kevser
10 May 2021, 15:19

Russian lawmakers have proposed a bill banning comparisons between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The bill submitted in the lower-house State Duma follows President Vladimir Putin’s orders earlier this year to legally prohibit publicly equating the two former powers’ roles in the war.

The proposed bill would also ban denying the Soviet people's “decisive role” in the defeat of Nazi Germany as well as “the humanitarian mission of the U.S.S.R. in the liberation of European countries.”

“Our principled position is to put a legislative barrier to the explicit insults against our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, disgusting speculations about our Victory and allowing political capital to be earned for speaking ill of our ancestors,” its authors wrote.

Freedom of expression

Co-author Yelena Yampolskaya said on Facebook that the legal ban does not "infringe on freedom of speech" but maintains to "instil decency."

Claiming that the Soviet army is the "liberator" and therefore the "benefactor" of Europe, she said discussions should be made without forgetting that the "Russian people" were fighting the "main battle" against the universal evil of Nazism.

In fact, during World War 2, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) lost around 27 million people of more than 15 ethnic nationalities - including Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Georgians and more.

Secret agreement between Hitler and Stalin

According to the journalist Halya Coynash from Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the bill has every chance of passing into law by the 82nd anniversary of the secret agreement between Hitler and Stalin that resulted in the invasion and carving up between Germany and the USSR of what was then Poland. The Soviet Union’s active collaboration with Nazi Germany only ended when the latter invaded.

In a detailed explanatory on the issue, the human rights activist emphasises that the law will intimidate anybody planning to research or write about the military blunders and bloody crimes committed by Stalin and the deportation of entire ethnic groups. She addresses that while Crimea remains under Russian occupation, the law will make it even harder to publicly speak or write about Stalin’s act of genocide in deporting the entire Crimean Tatar people.

Putin's influence on the bill

The proposed amendments follow Putin’s criticism toward the European Parliament’s 2019 condemnation of a Soviet-Nazi non-aggression treaty and a year of mutual recriminations with Poland over which country was responsible for the war’s outbreak.

Russia disagrees with its former satellite states over the role that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin played in World War II for signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany. 

The lawmakers’ proposal also comes days before Russia marks 76 years since the Soviet victory in World War II with a massive military parade on Red Square.

To become law, the amendments need three votes of approval in the State Duma and one in the upper-house Federation Council before it can receive Putin’s signature.