Recent media reports said that there was increasing evidence that Russian President Putin had not only been planning a military invasion of Ukraine for months or even years, but had also been putting the logistics and infrastructure in place to steal grain supplies and starve the Ukrainian population.
This information only reinforced the thesis held by many that his form of Ruscism was merely communism in different clothing. It is no coincidence, therefore, that an exhibition prepared by the State Sectoral Archive of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory was entitled “Communism = Ruscism”. This traveling exhibition of eight stands has already been visited in more than 20 Ukrainian cities, including 15 regional centers, and also in EU countries.
“Ruscism emerged from communism. The methods of Russians have remained unchanged for 100 years: the genocide that Ukraine experienced in the twentieth century — these methods, unfortunately, are becoming relevant in the twenty-first century," said Ihor Kulyk, director of the archive, at the opening of the exhibition in Lutsk in August.
The humanitarian law and human rights monitoring organization Global Rights Compliance (GRC) in its Nov 21 report “The Weaponization of Food in Ukraine” has incontrovertible evidence that Russia's military attack on Feb. 24, 2022 targeted grain-rich areas and food production infrastructure. GRC also found that as early as December 2021, a Russian defense contractor had begun purchasing trucks to transport grain, as well as three new 170-metre dry cargo ships. This, according to GRC, indicated a plan to steal Ukrainian food “on an unprecedented scale”.
In the summer of 2022, news feeds were flooded with evidence that hundreds of trucks were transporting grain from the occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions via Chongar and Perekop, before crossing the Kerch Bridge into Russia.
Subsequently, evidence emerged that many of the vehicles being used for that purpose as well as agricultural machinery (such as expensive harvesters) had been stolen from their Ukrainian owners. This, along with the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in June this year, which put the North Crimean Canal irrigation system to rest, showed that Putin's regime had no intention of using Ukrainian land for growing agricultural products; instead, it was determined to turn it into a desert.
The BBC’s 2022 documentary film "Mariupol. The People's Story", told how, in a little under three months, residents of what was once a thriving Ukrainian city saw the deaths of men, women and children - their bodies left abandoned on the streets. Filmed and told by many of the citizens of Mariupol, this powerful documentary records the deaths of thousands and daring escapes by survivors. It’s a story of their loss, bravery, and determination. The images it shows are reminiscent of the similar sights that photographs of Ukrainian cities overrun by the Holodomor famine in 1932-1933.
Ukraine’s century-long struggle for independence has confirmed that if evil goes unpunished, it will reemerge. Stalin, as one of the winners of World War II, was “forgiven” by the West for the Holodomor, the Gulags, the use of punishment battalions, the wartime field military commissariats, and the post-war deportations and repressions.
The horrors inflicted in the name of Communism were not condemned as Nazism was during the Nuremberg trials, and now we are experiencing its reincarnation in the form of Ruscism, which has turned out to be a strange combination of Chekist practices, autocratic imperial designs, Kadyrov's Islamic fundamentalism and “cerebral orthodoxy.”
When Putin receives another arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for organizing the genocide of Ukrainians, our task will also be to prove the responsibility of the Russian Federation, which has proclaimed itself the successor to the USSR, for the crime of the Holodomor.
If Putin dies tomorrow, Russia will be ruled by a “collective Putin” and will carry on with its ideas of ruscism. If and when Putin dies, we will still have to condemn the crimes of ruscism and link it to the crimes of communism. We need this not only to drive the last nail in the coffin of the empire, but also for ourselves. Since not only were the pro-communist Ukrainians Mykola Shchors, Yuriy Kotsiubynsky, or even Nestor Makhno “infected” with socialism and Bolshevism, but until recently we had Ukrainian fellow travelers in the presidential palace and the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.
The crime of famine, the crime of genocide, must not go unpunished by its organizers. As much as we must bear witness for the memory of our ancestors who were killed by Stalin's Holodomor, we need to stand witness to Putin's own attempts at genocide.
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