On 20 August 2022, in Patriot Park, Kubinka, near Moscow, the inaugural gathering of the International Anti-Fascist Congress (IAFC) was opened. Organised by the Russian ministry of defence (MoD), the congress had the stated aim of uniting “the efforts of the international community to combat the ideology of nazism in all its manifestations”.
Business began with a plenary session addressed by the Russian minister of defence, General Sergei Shoigu, who asked the participants from many nations to participate in discussing the causes of neo-nazism in the modern world and ways of countering it.
In his opening address, General Shoigu listed some of the examples and proofs of fascism to be found in today’s world, stating: “Today we are witnessing another vivid manifestation of the Nazi policy, when the Russophobic idea of banning all Russian citizens from entering the European Union is being actively promoted from high tribunes in Europe.”
Shoigu noted that the fundamental principles of the world order and the legal and political evaluations of the Nuremberg Tribunal are increasingly being ignored and revised by individual countries. He made particular reference to the Baltic states, pointing out to those assembled that “SS legionnaires’ marches have become traditional in Estonia and Latvia, with monuments and obelisks erected to war criminals. Nazi slogans and appeals are openly heard in the streets of Lithuanian cities.”
The general pointed to what should be commonly accepted historical fact, saying: “In the 1930s, fascist dictatorial regimes were established in Spain, Portugal, Romania, Croatia and several other states. The most radical and aggressive form was German Nazism.”
In charting the rise to power of the ‘National Socialists’, Shoigu stressed their funding by international capital, correctly pointing out: “It is clear that the financial and economic cooperation between Anglo-American and Nazi business circles was a major factor leading to the second world war, which cost humanity unprecedented human lives.”
The highest price in human life to defeat German fascism was paid by the Soviet Union, which suffered “twenty-seven million dead. No other nation in the world paid such a price. Of the total number of victims, nearly fourteen million were civilians. This is a direct consequence of the Nazi policy pursued by the invaders.”
General Shoigu stressed that “the lessons of history are poorly learned by those who, relying on their own power, perpetrate violence”. To underline this, he pointed to “the bombing of Yugoslavia, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the nurturing of terrorist structures in Syria. These and similar crimes always have specific instigators and perpetrators. Responsibility for such actions and their consequences lies squarely with the leadership of the United States and Nato.”
Focusing on neo-nazism in Ukraine, General Shoigu told the hushed assembly that “Official Kiev has openly declared itself heir and successor to the cause of the bloody Ukrainian nationalists. The Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] has proclaimed fighters of Ukrainian Insurgent Army [Bandera’s fascist militia] as fighters for national independence.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, everything was done in Washington to turn Ukraine into the antipode of Russia. The promotion of legislation banning the Russian language, Russian media, Russian culture – everything related to our country – was encouraged.”
It has to be said that many in Ukraine did not accept such a policy, including residents of the eastern Donbass region, who would not indulge the ruling regime in its nazi aspirations. A brutal punitive operation was then launched against them.
For eight years, the Kiev regime has committed egregious crimes against citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics who fought the imposition of the USA’s fascistic coup government. Thousands of innocent people died, including children.
At the same time, the military development of Ukrainian territory by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was begun. Ukraine is also on course to join Nato said General Shoigu, and: “All this has created unacceptable threats to Russia’s security.”
It was against this backdrop, said the general, that the supreme commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin, took the only correct decision, which was to launch the special military operation (SMO) in February. The main purpose of the SMO was to protect the inhabitants of Donbass from genocide by the Kiev regime. General Shoigu revealed that during the first days of the SMO, the Russian armed forces “encountered inhuman tactics of the Ukrainian formations”.
The “soldiers of AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] and the nationalist battalions are hiding in city blocks, using civilians as human shields, using both residential buildings and social and energy infrastructure as strongholds and firing points. Having been defeated on the ground and retreating, they deliberately destroy everything around them so that nothing is left for civilians. The same tactics were used by the German Nazis during the Great Patriotic War.”
Shoigu brought the attention of those assembled to the composition of the present Ukrainian army, saying: “After the anti-constitutional coup [in 2014], new power structures emerged in the country – the so-called ‘national battalions’, which profess the idea of neo-nazism and racial intolerance towards everyone who they consider not Ukrainian.”
The Azov battalion are easily the most recognised of the nationalist (neo-nazi) battalions, but they are not alone in their bloodlust and sickening methods of torture and killing. However, important as they are to Kiev and Nato, when they surrendered at Mariupol and started confessing their crimes to their captors, “The Ukrainian authorities sentenced those Azov prisoners who surrendered to death,” said General Shoigu.
The detention centre in Elenovka, where they were being held by Russian forces, was attacked in the night using American missiles. “The cynical, barbaric massacre of those prisoners was motivated by the Ukrainian leadership’s fear of the Azov fighters’ testimony.” The prisoners were exposing Azov’s “crimes against civilians committed with Kiev’s approval” to their Russian captors.
The general continued: “Today, Russian servicemen find large amounts of extremist literature at abandoned AFU positions. Congress participants will be able to see samples at a thematic exhibition of weapons, military equipment and supplies used by Ukrainian nationalists.”
General Shoigu noted that back in early August the Russian supreme court satisfied a lawsuit filed by the prosecutor-general’s office to declare the Ukrainian Azov regiment (battalion) a terrorist organisation and ban its activities in Russia. Yet today in Ukraine, Nato’s puppet president Volodymyr Zelensky has pictures of these same nazi soldiers decked in SS regalia on his social media accounts, where he describes them as heroes.
Defence minister Shoigu revealed that Russian legislation to counter the falsification of history is being improved. “We consider it timely,” he said, “to adopt a federal law providing for administrative liability for publicly identifying the role of the USSR and Nazi Germany in World War Two.”
He also informed the meeting that the Russian MoD is carrying out multifaceted work to combat the falsification of historical facts, stating: “We pay great attention to the military-patriotic education of young people. We strive to instil in the younger generation respect for the history of the native country, its multinational culture and traditions, strengthening the unity of the army and the people.”
Sergei Shoigu went on to say that attempts to rehabilitate and propagate nazism and to glorify nazi criminals and their collaborators are inherently illegitimate and immoral; that they are sacrilegious to the memory of those who liberated the world from this obvious evil. The fight against any manifestation of nazism must therefore be uncompromising and comprehensive.
Russia is no longer the USSR, but its people and government remember and acknowledge the great debt that all Russians, and other peoples around the world, owe to the Soviet Union for the tenacity of its victorious struggle against fascism.
General Shoigu expressed confidence that the congress would be an important step towards uniting the efforts of different countries in eliminating this vile ideology, noting that the forum had brought together politicians, state and public figures, experts, historians, political scientists, representatives of culture and media – all those who cherish the past and are actively trying to build a great future for their countries.