Rinat Akhmetov, a powerful oligarch who had been wavering in the conflict between the Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian rebels, declared on May 19, 2014, that he was backing the government in Kiev. As he did so, he accused his political opponents of the ultimate crime—“genocide.”

Akhmetov released a video message in which he fiercely attacked pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s southeastern provinces of Donbas. “What have they done for our region?” he asked. “[Is theirs] a struggle for the happiness of our region? No! . . . It’s a struggle against Donbas! It’s the genocide of Donbas!”1

To call the actions committed by the rebels in eastern Ukraine “genocide” looks like a wild overstatement in the context of the United Nations’ definition of this deadliest of crimes. Yet Akhmetov was far from the first person in the Ukraine crisis to hurl the term at his ideological opponents. He was unusual only insofar as the word has been much more commonly used by the pro-Russian side in the conflict.

Indeed, accusations of genocide have become one of the hallmarks of this conflict. On the surface, the use of this term may merely seem to be a symptom of strong emotions in eastern Ukraine. But in the former Soviet Union, more than in any other part of the world, the word genocide has been used as a weapon of political rhetoric for more than sixty years. Since its coinage in the 1940s, in popular political vocabulary—if not in international legal circles—the term genocide has been used as a signifier for “ultimate evil.”

In the current crisis, the use of this language casts the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as a replay of the ideological divide of the Second World War, with Russia and Ukraine branded as “antifascist” and “profascist” respectively. These labels are weapons in a rhetorical conflict that fuels the fighting on the ground between combatants who otherwise, in background and culture, have much more that brings them together than divides them. And these terms are the result of a nearly seventy-year process that has turned a legal concept describing a crime against humanity into a politicized accusation with a general application.

Genocide and the Soviet Union

The (mis)use of the word genocide in the Soviet Union and its successor states has its origins in the beginnings of the Cold War. In 1946, as the world confronted the repercussions of the Nazis’ mass killing of Europe’s Jews in what came to be known as the Holocaust, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring genocide a crime under international law. By giving a word to what had been called a “crime without a name,” the accord sought to deter future acts of mass killing of that scale.

The Soviet Union supported the resolution, but problems arose when the UN attempted to craft a legal definition of the term. Moscow objected to a reference in the declaration that allegedly misidentified the “object of genocide” by including political groups alongside national, ethnic, racial, and religious ones. Evidently, Stalin feared that the inclusion of this criterion could lay his government open to prosecution for genocide for destroying his own enemies.

Additionally, the tribunal proposed for hearing cases of genocide was formulated as a supranational organ, foreseeing that in the future a citizen of one country might be charged with genocide in another. The Soviet Union feared that its adversaries could potentially use this as a political weapon.

In 1948, the UN adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, codifying the new crime. The convention, which entered into force in January 1951, legally defined genocide as an act intent on destroying, in whole or in part, a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

Unfortunately, however, an idea that was initially adopted as a noble cause by the victorious Allies over Nazism was tarnished as those same Allies began to fight the Cold War with one another. Soviet jurist and academic Aron Traynin declared in his 1956 book Defense of Peace and the Struggle Against Crimes Against Humanity, “two opposing camps formed: the USSR and the countries of peoples’ democracy, fighting for the adoption of the Convention . . . and the imperialist countries, striving to limit and pare down the Convention in any way possible.”2

After much debate, the Soviet Union signed the UN convention on December 16, 1949. In the opinion of Traynin, the text adopted, though imperfect, was “a certain step forward in the struggle against genocide.” The Soviet delegation succeeded in removing the reference to political groups from the convention, but other ideas it had proposed also failed to make the cut—most significantly, the idea that genocide was inherently connected to fascism and racist theories.

Whatever the legal nuances of the new term, the Soviet Union immediately appropriated it for its own political goals in the Cold War. Writing in 1956, Traynin accused the United States of carrying out genocide against African Americans with its Jim Crow laws. These racial segregation policies, he argued, intentionally reduced the lives of African Americans to “a torturous existence of a people doomed to lawlessness and discrimination.” Traynin had similar condemnations of apartheid in South Africa, the treatment of Indian highlanders in Bolivia, and other forms of oppression carried out by “imperialist” powers. Condemning these abhorrent practices, Traynin’s rhetoric went over the top. These policies were genocidal, he said, or “a slow motion lynching.”

In the 1961 book Genocide: The Gravest Crime Against Humanity, another Soviet scholar, Mikhail Andryukhin, argued that, in America, racist theories formed the basis for the “bloody brutalities of imperialism, the most severe form of which is genocide.”3 Most of the atrocities and racist policies Andryukhin described were real, but his framing of them was ideologically biased. To Andryukhin, genocide was not just a crime committed by Western “imperialist” powers, but one backed by conscious ideology and carried out with relish and glee. In his words, the “ruthless extermination of millions of Indians, amounting to the deplorable glory of the American colonizers, was inalterably carried out under the flag of warlike racism.”

As important as Traynin’s and Andryukhin’s examples of genocide are the ones they never, or seldom, cite. In Traynin’s discussion of the Nazis’ death camps, Jews are mentioned only in passing as one of the main groups killed. Any mention of the Armenian Genocide is conspicuously absent from both texts.

Soviet propagandists were not the only ones politicizing genocide. The United States did the same, albeit on a smaller scale. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the word genocide in 1944 after immigrating to the United States, frequently used anticommunism to argue that the U.S. government should ratify the UN genocide convention. When official Washington was unreceptive to his ideas, Lemkin fell back on the support of anticommunist Eastern European immigrant communities that were more than eager to use the new term. Soon, “an innocent idea to pull political strings to make an important international treaty work ended with blatant accusations of the Soviet Union of committing genocide on a global scale.”4

In a public speech in 1955, Senator Herbert Lehman urged the U.S. Senate to ratify the genocide convention, which had been “gathering dust in a pigeon-hole of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” According to Lehman, “genocide, developed to a science by Nazi Germany, has been practiced on an even vaster scale by Soviet Russia. Although history is not without its long instances of genocide, never has the commission of this crime taken place on such a prodigious scale.”5

Thus, within a decade of being coined and codified by the United Nations, the word genocide had already degenerated into a term of political abuse, especially in the Soviet Union. That trend continued in the second half of the twentieth century and became even more marked after the fall of Communism.

Genocide After the Soviet Collapse

In post-Soviet political discourse, the word genocide became even further unmoored from its original legal formulation than the already-loose meaning it had acquired during the 1950s and 1960s. For the first time, post-Soviet peoples began to explicitly label themselves, rather than others, as victims of genocide. It is in the context of this semantic shift that the term has been employed so broadly in the current Ukraine crisis.

As they constructed fifteen new nation-states out of the wreckage of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, post-Soviet peoples and governments rediscovered and reinvented national histories, cultures, and languages. In the process, the new nations frequently described their past sufferings as “genocide,” with barely any reference to the international legal understanding of the term. Scholar Evgeny Finkel labeled this phenomenon the “search of lost genocides.”6

Finkel noted that new states, often with little or no history of independence, used the idea of genocide to bolster their national legitimacy. The leaders of such states have used the status of “genocide victim” as a “very efficient mechanism to brush aside demands to confront injustices and crimes committed by members of the ‘suffering nation.’”

As the historian Tzvetan Todorov has noted, no one wants to be a victim, but many want to have been victims. The status conferred by past victimhood gives justification to complaints and demands that might otherwise seem unreasonable. If a group can prove that it has been the victim of injustice, it “obtains a bottomless line of moral credit. The greater the crime in the past, the more compelling the rights in the present—which are gained merely through membership in the wronged group.”7

Many post-Soviet nations have made allegations of genocide. In the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh, Armenians termed the 1988 pogroms by Azerbaijanis against Armenians in the town of Sumgait genocide. Azerbaijanis did the same with reference to the killing by Armenians of Azerbaijani civilians outside the town of Khojali in 1992.

Abkhaz and Ossetians have accused the Georgian state of genocide against them, while Georgia has accused the Abkhaz of committing genocide against ethnic Georgians. Circassians have called on the world to recognize the mass deportation of their ancestors from the Russian Empire in the 1860s as genocide—and won recognition of the term from the Georgian parliament in 2011. In the Baltic states, many term the period of Soviet rule a genocide.

There is an unfortunate element of “genocide competition” in many of these campaigns: if my neighbor calls attention to his genocide, I must present evidence of my own suffering.

In contemporary Russia, the “G-word” has entered the mainstream vocabulary as a description of many kinds of abuse or victimization. For example, Russia’s opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper titled a 2009 article about a Saint Petersburg law that would cut the number of public green areas in the city “Green Genocide.” After a plan to cut down 130 trees in Stavropol was blocked in court, the website of the local state television channel proclaimed, “Green Genocide in Stavropol Declared Illegal.”

During a December 2013 press conference, economist Mikhail Delyagin characterized the Russian government’s tax and financial policies of the past year as a “genocide of small and medium business.” If continued, Delyagin warned, those policies would lead to “financial repressions” analogous to the most intense period of Stalin’s Great Purge. Afterward, in an interview with the Forum.msk website, Delyagin stretched the metaphor to absurdity, suggesting that policymakers “began the year with a genocide of business and they’re going to finish it with preparations for a new round of business genocide.”

More seriously, Sergei Glazyev, an economist, Russia nationalist, and one of the chief ideologists of “Eurasianism,” which is now a dominant ideology in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, has argued that ethnic Russians are at risk of genocide both from Russia’s neighbors and from foreign powers. In his 1998 book Genocide, Glazyev alleges that the radical economic reforms carried out in Russia from 1991 until 1998 destroyed the Russian state’s economic system and led to its “colonization in the interests of international capital.”8 After then president Boris Yeltsin dissolved Russia’s opposition-dominated parliament in 1993, the reforms “went beyond legality and took on the character of an economic genocide of wide swaths of the population.”

Unlike many around him who have cried genocide, Glazyev does specifically refer to the UN genocide convention. He emphasizes that the commission of genocide need not require physical violence, merely the creation of conditions that make it impossible for a people to survive. Yet his version of Russian politics in the 1990s reads like an opposition conspiracy theory, with ordinary Russians perpetually cast in the role of victims. After the shelling of the Russian parliament in 1993, the “victorious revolutionaries” had total impunity and carried out reforms for the sake of personal enrichment, Glazyev writes. Although the reformers may have used terms like democracy, human rights, and freedom, their real motivation was “hatred for Russia and Russian culture, a desire to smash our civilization.”

As an economist and academic, Glazyevbacks up his partisan claims with statistics about the sharp decline in the living standards, health, fertility, and education levels of the Russian population during the 1990s. His work also touches on moral issues, perhaps foreshadowing his role today as an adviser to the increasingly socially conservative Putin. Glazyev blames Russia’s falling birthrate not only on the country’s economic collapse but also on “propaganda of debauchery,” the destruction of the family by the media, and “dubious methods of sexual education” developed outside the country and then implanted in Russia.

To Glazyev, all threats come from abroad. This “genocide” may be happening in Russia, but it traces its origins back to the West. However, Glazyev does not glorify the Soviet Union. He places Russia’s “economic genocide” in the context of several historical genocides, including the Soviet elimination of so-called class enemies.

Genocide and Ukraine

In one country in the post-Soviet space—Ukraine—the genocide label has proved especially divisive. There, the question of genocide has been a serious and polarizing issue for much of the country’s history since independence.

Ukraine’s genocide narrative can be traced back to 1933, when a horrific man-made famine caused by Stalin’s grain requisition policies in the southwestern Soviet Union took more than 2 million lives in Ukraine. Not all the victims were ethnic Ukrainians, nor was the famine limited to Ukraine, but two facts are clear: ethnic Ukrainians were hardest hit; and the famine was, to a significant degree, the result of an intentional plan by Stalin to break the back of Ukrainian and other peasants’ resistance to Soviet collectivization.9

The famine remained unrecognized throughout the Soviet period. Only with glasnost and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union were Ukrainian historians finally able to freely study what came to be called Holodomor, or “extermination by hunger.” The new debate over one of the grisliest chapters of Ukrainian history raised the question of whether the Holodomor was genocide. Many Ukrainian nationalists answered “yes,” and this led to more questions. As political scientist Alexander Motyl asked in 1993:

Who is to be held accountable? The all-too-easy answer is: the Soviet system or Stalinism. But who in particular? Some point a finger at “the Russians,” but Ukrainians also took part. A more reasonable reply might be: the secret police and its party henchmen. Many, clearly, must still be alive. Should old wounds therefore be opened in the quest for justice?10

The Holodomor debate exacerbated serious fractures with Russia and within Ukraine itself. The suffering became one of the ideas underpinning the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power as a result of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004. While previous presidents had commemorated the Holodomor and sought to incorporate it into the Ukrainian national identity, Yushchenko actively promoted the idea of the famine as genocide.

In 2006, the Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution that referred to the Holodomor as an “act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.” Although a legislative success for Yushchenko, the bill was not universally supported: the then prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and over 200 parliamentarians, mostly from the Russian-speaking southeast, abstained from or otherwise did not take part in the voting.11 The following year, Yushchenko promoted a tougher law that would criminalize Holodomor and Holocaust denial, although the parliament never voted on the bill.

When he succeeded Yushchenko as president in 2010, Yanukovych took a different position on the Holodomor. Shortly after coming to power, he told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that the Holodomor was not genocide. “Recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide, we think, will be incorrect, unjust,” Yanukovych said. “It was a tragedy, a common tragedy of the states that made up the united Soviet Union.”12 These remarks were highly controversial in Ukraine. Political opponents even tried to take Yanukovych to court for denying that the Holodomor was a genocide.13 After that, Yanukovych kept a lower profile on the issue. Each November, he gave a formal address commemorating the victims of the famine, referring to it as a “tragedy” or an “Armageddon,” but never a genocide.14

In Russia, the description of the Holodomor as a genocide was largely rejected both by politicians and by historians, some of whom accused Ukrainians of anti-Russian bias. However, Ukrainian cultural scholar Mykola Riabchuk argues that anti-Russian interpretations of the Holodomor were neither the official view nor prevalent in society.

“Anti-imperial? Yes. Anti-Kremlin? Yes. Anti-Stalin? Yes. But if you take a look at all the speeches and publications by Yushchenko . . . he was very careful not to blame Russia,” Riabchuk said. “Maybe some very marginal forces tried, but it was never mainstream discourse to blame Russians for the genocide.”15

The Holodomor debate inevitably caused divisions between the country’s west and its more Russified east. Some Ukrainian scholars partly explain the different identity of the southeastern provinces—notably the two regions of Donetsk and Luhansk—by the fact that their peasant population was wiped out in the 1933 famine and replaced by a more Russified Soviet worker population. “Destruction of peasantry was equal to the destruction of Ukrainians as a nation because it was a 90 percent peasant nation. So this is part of the explanation why we have the current troubles, why Donbas is so rebellious, disloyal,” Riabchuk said.16

In Russian discourse, the idea of a “genocide” perpetrated by Ukrainians against ethnic Russians proliferated in opposition to the 2004 Orange Revolution. In that year, a Russian language website published an article entitled “The First Signs of the Russian Ethnocide,” referring to a draft law that would have required all civil servants to use the Ukrainian language. The bill in question was rejected in the Ukrainian parliament, but the author believed it could still be passed in the future. If that happened, she predicted, Russian speakers would be excluded from the government, have their media eliminated, be unable to defend themselves in court, and even face assault and murder.17

In 2005, the site published a similarly hyperbolic article, “The Orange Genocide of the Russian Nation Has Started.” Using terms eerily prescient of Ukraine’s 2014 clashes, the publication accused the “Orange junta” of denying the “native Russian land, heroic Crimea” its language. The event that provoked the article—the required translation of the Crimean Autonomous Region’s official website and press service into Ukrainian—spilled no blood, yet to the author it was the bellwether of genocide.18

It is no surprise, then, that the word is again being invoked in the current conflict in Ukraine. The Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin referred to clashes in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when over 40 people lost their lives during a fire, as the “genocide in Odessa.”19 On May 13, another rebel leader, Miroslav Rudenko, said the separatists would like a “civilized divorce” with Ukraine, but that the “efforts of the junta” were complicating the process. “Now there are occupation forces on the territory of the republic that carry out terrorist acts and genocide against the civilian population,” he explained.20 In Russia, Sergei Naryshkin, the speaker of the country’s parliament, called the actions of the Kiev government a “real genocide of both the Russian and Ukrainian nations.”21

A New War of Words in Ukraine

The word genocide has emerged as a leitmotif in the current Russian-Ukrainian crisis for a number of reasons. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists know that they are challenging the status quo and the international order, which places them at a disadvantage. By framing their struggle as one against a regime attempting to commit genocide, they present their actions not as a first choice but as the last resort of a people trying to protect its fundamental human rights. Meanwhile, in Russia, the most persistent exponent of the idea of a genocide against Russians, Sergei Glazyev, has framed events in eastern Ukraine as part of his broader narrative of widespread persecution of ethnic Russians in other post-Soviet states.

Overall ideology in the Kremlin has changed in recent times. Antifascism has increasingly become a central idea in Putin’s Russia, reinforcing a growing tendency to identify the modern country with the Soviet Union. The Red Army’s victory over Nazism is increasingly reframed as a victory of the Russian nation rather than of the multiethnic Soviet people. The enhanced prominence given to Victory Day on May 9 and debates about giving the city of Volgograd its old name of Stalingrad are further reflections of this reimagining of history. Accusations that the new Ukrainian government is fascist—Glazyev even told a BBC interviewer that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is a Nazi—fit into this narrative.22

On the Ukrainian side, it is notable that the Holodomor is a less politicized issue now than it was during the Yushchenko presidency. In his inauguration speech, Poroshenko struck a more conciliatory tone, declaring “our state’s aspiration for peace and unity dominates in all regions of Ukraine.”23

In fact, the vast majority of recent genocide accusations came from pro-Russian individuals in eastern Ukraine. Even Rinat Akhmetov, who now supports the government in Kiev, is a Russian speaker who emerged from the eastern, Russia-oriented cultural and political narrative and who previously had strong ties to Yanukovych. Are genocide accusations retribution for Ukrainians’ (supposed) implication of Russians in the Holodomor?Perhaps for some, but for the majority of participants in this ideological battle, the Holodomor remains in the background. If anything, it probably explains why the pro-Kiev side did not make genocide accusations: Ukraine already has a national genocide, and making more accusations would only serve to delegitimize the Holodomor.

The current Ukrainian leadership has instead used a different kind of inflammatory language, accusing the rebels of Donetsk and Luhansk of being “terrorists” who undermine Ukraine’s state order. This language, perhaps deliberately, recalls the Russian government’s chosen terminology in two wars in Chechnya, in 1994–1996 and 1999–2009, which were presented to the Russian public as the “restoration of constitutional order” (by Yeltsin) and an “antiterrorist operation” (by Putin). However, in the wake of the tragic downing on July 17, 2014, of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, presumably by a separatist-fired surface-to-air missile, the terrorist label has understandably gained greater traction in the international community.

Nonetheless, such rhetoric makes the task of reconciliation much more difficult and reduces the space for a political compromise in eastern Ukraine. People of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic identities can live and have lived together in Ukraine in peace. But the invocation of genocide, a word that signifies “ultimate evil,” incites the belief that Russians and Ukrainians are incompatible and closes down opportunities for dialogue and cooperation. In a crisis where words matter, the implacable rhetorical war in Ukraine helps fuel an increasingly dangerous conflict.

Matthew Kupfer is a junior fellow in the Carnegie Russia and Eurasia Program. Follow him on Twitter: @Matthew_Kupfer.


1 “V svyazi s situatsiyei na Donbasse Rinat Akhmetov sdelal ekstrennoye zayavlenie” [In connection with the situation in Donbas Rinat Akhmetov made ​​an emergency declaration] (video), Segodnya.ua, May 19, 2014, www.segodnya.ua/regions/donetsk/v-svyazi-s-situaciey-na-donbasse-rinat-ahmetov-sdelal-ekstrennoe-zayavlenie-521628.html.

2 Aron Naumovich Traynin, Zashchita mira i borba c prestupleniyami protiv chelovechestva [Defense of Peace and the Struggle Against Crimes Against Humanity] (Moscow: USSR Academy of Sciences, 1956), 226–39.

3 Mikhail Nikolaevich Andryukhin, Genotsid—tyagchaishee prestuplenie protiv chelovechestva [Genocide: The gravest crime against humanity] (Moscow: Gosyurizdat, 1961), 17–19.

4 Anton Weiss-Wendt, “Hostage of Politics: Raphael Lemkin on ‘Soviet Genocide,’” Journal of Genocide Research 7, no. 4 (December 2005): 555–57.

5 Herbert H. Lehman, “Senator Lehman Calls for Liberation Program in New York Address,” Hairenik Weekly xxii, no. 16, June 2, 1955.

6 Evgeny Finkel, “In Search of Lost Genocide: Historical Policy and International Politics in Post-1989 Eastern Europe,” Global Society 24, no. 1 (January 2010): 51–66.

7 Tzvetan Todorov, “The Lunchbox and the Bomb,” Project Syndicate, August 2, 2003, www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-lunchbox-and-the-bomb.

8 Sergei Glazyev, “Chast 1. Genotsid (oktyabr’ 1993 g. – avgust 1998 g.)” [Part 1: Genocide (October 1993—August 1998] in Genotsid [Genocide] (Moscow: Terra, 1998), available online at http://rus-sky.com/history/library/glazyev, 1–12.

9 Anatol Lieven, Ukraine & Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1999), 36.

10 Alexander J. Motyl, Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine After Totalitarianism (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1993), 14.

11 Jennifer Boryk, “Memory Politics: The Use of the Holodomor as a Political and Nationalistic Tool in Ukraine,” MA thesis, Central European University, 2011, 52–53.

12 “Yanukovich: Golodomor nel’zya priznavat’ genotsidom ukraintsev” [Yanukovych: The Holodomor cannot be recognized as a genocide of Ukrainians], Korrespondent.net, April 27, 2010, http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/politics/1071204-yanukovich-golodomor-nelzya-priznavat-genocidom-ukraincev.

13 “Yanukovich budut sudit’ za otritsanie Golodomora?” [Yanukovych will be judged on the denial of the Holodomor], Ukrainskaya Pravda, June 14, 2010, www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2010/06/14/5137127.

14 Alexander J. Motyl, “Yanukovych and Stalin’s Genocide,” Ukraine’s Orange Blues blog, World Affairs Journal, November 29, 2012, www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alexander-j-motyl/yanukovych-and-stalin%E2%80%99s-genocide.

15 Interview with Mykola Riabchuk, May 26, 2014.

16 Interview with Mykola Riabchuk, May 26, 2014.

17 Olga Kievskaya, “Perviye lastochki russkogo etnotsida” [First signs of the Russian ethnocide], Anti-oranzh, December 18, 2004, http://anti-orange.com.ua/article/president/60/1169.

18 Olga Kievskaya, “Oranzheviy genotsid russkogo naroda startoval” [The Orange genocide of the Russian nation has started], Anti-oranzh, May 24, 2005, www.anti-orange-ua.com.ru/content/view/810/46.

19 “Donetskii activist: yavka na referendum v Donbasse mozhet prevysit’ 60%” [Donetsk activist: turnout at the referendum in the Donbas may exceed 60%], RIA Novosti, May 8, 2014, http://ria.ru/world/20140508/1007051511.html.

20 “Sopredsedatel’ pravitel’stva DNP: rano obsuzhdat’ prisoedinenie k RF” [Co-Chair of the DNP Government: Too early to discuss accession to the Russian Federation], RIA Novosti, May 13, 2014, http://ria.ru/world/20140513/1007544264.html.

21 “Naryshkin: sobytiya na Ukraine – genotsid russkogo i ukrainskogo narodov” [Naryshkin: developments in Ukraine—the genocide of Russian and Ukrainian peoples], RIA Novosti, May 6, 2014, http://ria.ru/politics/20140506/1006700879.html.

22 For an excellent analysis of this theme, see Timothy Snyder, “The Battle in Ukraine Means Everything,” New Republic, May 11, 2014, www.newrepublic.com/article/117692/fascism-returns-ukraine.

23 “Inauguratsionnaya rech’ prezidenta Poroshenko; polniy tekst” [Inaugural speech of President Poroshenko; full text], Informatsionnoye Agentstvo 112.ua, June 7, 2014, http://112.ua/glavnye-novosti/inauguracionnaya-rech-prezidenta-poroshenko-polnyy-tekst-72737.html.