Ukraine: against the 'Nazi' calumny —again

In Episode 174 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg deconstructs the toxic meme that once again recycles the Nazi calumny against Ukraine—this time zeroing in on a trident insignia worn by President Volodymyr Zelensky. While the Ukrainian trident has deep roots in the country's history, the meme alleges that the version worn by Zelensky is that used by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), of World War II-era right-wing militant Stepan Bandera—whose role as a Nazi collaborator is in any case dramatically overstated in Kremlin propaganda. Zelensky lost family members to the Nazis (as he reminded the Russian people in his final appeal for peace in February 2022) and is something of a dissident from the personality cult around Bandera. So is he likely to be wearing an OUN symbol?

In fact, the emblem seen on Zelensky in the meme is not precisely that designed by Ukrainian artist Robert Lisovsky in the 1930s and used by the OUN, but a simpler version which is available on Amazon. In both, the middle prong of the trident is rendered as a sword, but the OUN version is more stylized. Yet such Ukrainian sartorial indiscretions get mainstream media play and are jumped on by those who turn a blind eye to use of fascist regalia by Russia's mercenary formations such as the Wagner Group and the Donbass separatists. It is also perverse to focus on mere symbols as Kyiv is once again under bombardment, and Russia continues to commit war crimes. This propaganda technique constitutes the weaponization of history and fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Production by Chris Rywalt

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