The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly met on November 16 this year and adopted the resolution on combating glorification of Nazim, racial discrimination and xenophobia, as introduced by Russia, with the support of 125 states. The importance of this international paper has only increased recently. In it, the war on ‘fighting’ with monuments to honour the fighters against Nazism is contemptable, as declared in separate European countries, which in several states for the past year acquired the nature of a national policy, as well as annual marches to honour the Nazi and their collaborationists. It is noteworthy that only the USA and the Ukraine voted against this international resolution, having demonstrated by this their true attitude to the problem of glorification of Nazism.
In the said resolution, the question is not only about the tales of the past, but about the alarming rise of various extremist groups, resorting to acts of violence against people of a different race, of different religions, immigrants and national minorities, about the modern and very dangerous manifestations of racism, which should be opposed both at the national and international level.
Unfortunately, during recent years in Europe, where the ‘fascist plague’ was most prolific, attempts and actions became frequent aimed at vandalising and destroying the monuments erected to those who were fighting against the Nazism during World War II, as well as unlawful exhumation and transfer of the remains of such people. The spread of racist and extremist ideas is more and more often justified by the reasons of freedom of expression, which contradicts the responsibilities of the states regarding the main international agreements on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Glorification of the Nazi movement and the former members of SS organisations cannot be acceptable, including the Waffen-SS declared as criminal by the Nuremberg trials.
In August in Estonia, as the website BaltNews.ee. informs us, with the assistance of the Estonian authorities, the so-called ‘Erna Raid’ was held for the eighteenth time already, aimed to commemorate the actions of the Nazi long-range reconnaissance group ‘Erna’ formed by the military intelligence of the Nazi Germany — the Abwehr and acting on the territory of Estonia in August 1941, responsible for the death of thousands of fighters against fascism. We should remind that glorification of ex-soldiers of Adolf Hitler is not uncommon for Estonia. In late July, for example, in Sinimäed, not far from Narva, the elderly citizens, who were fighting in the ranks of the German army during World War II, were once again honoured. In Sinimäed, there are monuments to the 20thWaffen Grenadier Division of the SS, as well as to the Waffen-SS foreign volunteers from the Netherlands and Belgium, to whose memorials the wreaths of gratitude are regularly held. Therefore, it is not surprising that several Estonian mass media outlets, in particular the magazine Kultuur ja Elu, are writing in the very dark notes about those who were fighting against Hitler.
The Nazi marches and rallies of the Waffen-SS Legionnaires, with the flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the Ukraine, do not surprise anyone anymore.
Not so long ago, in Latvia, and in other parts of the EU, another Nazi scandal broke: in the NATO account on Twitter, an eight-minute documentary video appeared under the title ‘The Forest Brothers. Fight for the Baltics’, where the ‘heroes’ of this short film are presented as the fighters with the ‘Soviet occupants’. We should remember that ‘The Forest Brotherhood’ was the name of an illegal armed group on the territory of Baltic, consisting of collaborationists included in the structures of occupational administration created by the Third Reich (similar to Ukrainian Banderists, UPA, OUN) and trying to restore the Nazi regime. Recently the Lithuanian Seym announced 2018 the year of ‘Forest Brother’, demonstratively emphasizing their true attitude to the problem of neo-Nazism with the silent consent of the EU.
The position of the EU is hardly surprising, if the Latvian sculptor Kristas Gulbis, as the website Skaties.lv informs us, acquired the official rights to install the monument to commemorate the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS in the Belgian municipality of Zedelgem.
Considering the recent noticeable spread of the Nazism ideas and xenophobia in several European states, the group of deputies in the European Parliament (ЕP) recently created a special format of a working group to discuss the problems of spreading the neo-Nazism sentiments, especially in the Ukraine. With the initiative to arrange permanent discussions regarding the growth of radical sentiments in the Ukraine, the representatives of the fraction ‘European United Left-Nordic Green Left’ and ‘Greens-European Free Alliance’, having announced that their main goal is to frankly discuss the problem of the actual encouragement of the Ukrainian radicals on part of the Kiev authorities and absence of a univocal negative assessment of this phenomenon by the European society. In particular, a special group of the EP is intending to consider separately the ‘glorification of the personality of Stepan Bandera, as well as the tragedy in Odessa’, which happened in May 2014.
However, because of the intention of certain politicians ‘not to notice’ the manifestations of Nazism and xenophobia in the events happening now, аnd sometimes the intention to use these manifestations in their political ambitions, Nazism and xenophobia have already started to acquire the nature of an epidemy spreading not only in Europe. Thus, it has spread to the United States, where in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, the White Nationalists, separatists, neo-Nazi, members of Ku Klux Klan and other similar groups held on August 12 a meeting under swastika banners and a torch-light procession in the Nazi style. And by the end of the following day major violence erupted, whereby one of the white racists went so far that he used his car to mow down the crowd of the protesters against racism, having killed one person and leaving 19 injured.
This fact alone, as well as the refusal of the USA to vote for the resolution on combating glorification of Nazism, racial discrimination and xenophobia adopted by the General Assembly on November 16 does not cause much surprise. As the publication at Slate.fr shows, the recently published book by James Whitman, who is the Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School, called ‘Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law’ tells of the influence of the USA specifically, on the adopted anti-Jew laws in 1935 in Nuremberg. These are another confirmation of ambiguity with the ‘national character’ of America against the background of atrocities in Charlottesville. In 1924 in Hitler’s autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’ (‘My Struggle’), he was praising the Americans, calling America the “one state” making progress toward the creation of the kind of order he wanted for Germany. “The American Union categorically refuses immigration of unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races, (…).” The Nazi approved not only the American racial laws, but also the precedent laws being behind them.
One would like to believe that the international community, with the adoption by the UN General Assembly on November 16 of the resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, will treat more attentively the manifestations of fascism in various countries and retort more sharply at these.
Valery Kulikov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.