Interview of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the film “Nazism under investigation” (Moscow, 26 November 2022)

Read the interview in full:

Question: Today we are told (primarily Ukrainians) that the Russians “made everything up”, there are no Nazis in Ukraine and never have been. But we remember history. We see that during the years of their independence they fed a huge number of organizations of the Nazi regiment, supported at the state level. The same “Azov”, which was sponsored by the oligarchs, developed under the protectorate of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Why was this possible in a country called European? How did this happen? Is it influenced by external forces?

S.W. Lavrov (#Лавров): Absolutely. Without the influence of outside forces, nothing would have happened. Neither the glorification of the Nazis, nor the transformation of Nazism into the theory and practice of the current Ukrainian government. “The case” stretches from the creation of the Soviet Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly talked about how Ukraine was formed within the borders in which it was at the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Then one of the ideologists of the American approach to international affairs and the dominance of the United States Z. Brzezinski said that Russia with Ukraine is a superpower, and without Ukraine it is a regional player. This was Washington’s line. In many ways, this position did not allow our approach to prevail after December 1991, which consisted in the fact that “life so ordered”. We wanted to see Ukraine as a good neighbor and a reliable friend. “Family ties” were close, so many fates were intertwined. It was all our sincere desire. I say this confidently, because already at that time I was dealing with issues that arose in the post-Soviet space.

American line was aimed exactly at achieving the opposite result so that Ukraine becomes «anti-Russia». Ukrainian leaders of that time succumbed to appropriate actions and enveloping US approaches. President Leonid Kuchma, when no one could imagine that Ukraine would turn into an “anti-Russia”, wrote the book “Ukraine is not Russia”. Probably, everyone is striving for some kind of romantic goal, to join some culture, but even then the subtext of this “vine” was that there is Europe, and there is Russia.

All the talks held at the OSCE in the late 1990s about the need to build a common economic and humanitarian space, as well as a security space throughout the Eurasian continent (from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean) turned out to be idle talk.

Behind the screen of these beautiful words, the West promoted the concept: either with us or with Russia.

Back in 2003, when the next presidential election campaign began in Ukraine, EU officials, officials, including Belgian Foreign Minister Michel, publicly stated that the Ukrainian people should decide with whom they want to be: with Europe or Russia.

Here is “or – or”, “who is not with us, that Moskal” – a philosophy deeply rooted in European and Western minds, which in many ways, if not decisively, played a role in what we have today. There, neo-Nazi ideology is being implemented in every way.

You mentioned volunteer and nationalist battalions, regiments such as Azov. When the coup took place in 2014, Azov was already known as an extremist organization. In 2015, the House of Representatives of the US Congress, deciding on the allocation of assistance to Ukraine, including military, with a special reservation, excluded this formation from the list of recipients.

Azov was included in the list of terrorist organizations in a number of European countries, as well as in Japan.

Now the Japanese have outdone everyone. After the start of a special military operation, they officially apologized to the «Azov» for being included in the terrorist lists and assured that «this will not happen again.»

With what slogans did the putschists come in February 2014? The first requirement was to deprive the Russian language of the regional status, which was provided for by Ukrainian legislation. The hastily assembled Verkhovna Rada then did not make a decision on the abolition of this law, but the instincts of those who seized power by illegal means immediately became clear. D.A. Yarosh, one of the leaders of the coup, the head of the Right Sector (which we have banned, as well as the Azov regiment) said that the Russian will never think like Ukrainians, will not speak the Ukrainian language and will not honor Ukrainian heroes, so the Russians should be expelled from the Crimea. It was this extremist who was one of the initiators of sending “friendship trains” full of young men with weapons to the peninsula, including Right Sector and other radicals. This is an illustrative example of the philosophy and ideology with which the people who made the coup came to power. The West “swallowed” it all.

“Maidan” is not completely “boiled” and not “break through”. The Security Service of Ukraine, the police did not use weapons there, and the NATO members, through their then-Secretary General of the bloc, A. Fogh Rasmussen, repeatedly urged President V.F. Yanukovych not to use force against the protesters. When the coup was carried out, the Maidan authorities declared a “campaign” on the Crimea, called the residents of eastern Ukraine, who did not accept the neo-Nazi putsch, terrorists and sent the armed forces and those nationalist battalions there. Then the same A. Fogh Rasmussen said that the alliance calls on the new authorities in Kiev to “use force” proportionally. Feel the difference. This bias has not been masked by anyone. Demanding from the Russians to get out of the Crimea D.A. Yarosh — in fact, the «spiritual father» of V.A. Zelensky, who said exactly the same thing, but only in relation to the whole of Ukraine. In September 2021, long before the current events, the Ukrainian President in an interview, answering a question about his attitude to people living in the east of the country, said that there are people, and there are “specials” (a characteristic Nazi reservation), and that if you live in Ukraine and feel Russian, then for the sake of the fate of your children and grandchildren you should go to Russia. This is exactly what D.A. Yarosh suggested.

Neo-Nazi essence of the Kiev regime was immediately obvious and has not changed.

Question: All this philosophy, which they have been imbued with in recent years, has led to the fact that the second president of Ukraine is already at war with us. Only the first said that he is waging a hybrid war with the Russian Federation, in which he heroically wins. The current one says that it is already winning the war. What unites them is that they both insisted that we do not and cannot have a common future, and both did everything to erase the common past. What are the consequences of working to destroy the common past and common history?

S.W. Lavrov (#Лавров): First, Poroshenko, realizing that the blitzkrieg with the forceful suppression of Donbass failed, went to the signing of the Minsk agreements and showed, as it seemed to us then, the ability to negotiate. In fact, it was only her appearance.

In July of this year, the former President of Ukraine in an interview with Radio Liberty admitted that he had signed the agreements, but did not intend to implement them. He said he needed time to get more weapons from the West.

This is blatant cynicism.

Western colleagues for many years after the signing of the Minsk agreements ignored the sabotage of these documents by Poroshenko and his regime, calling in the format of slogans to implement them, since the agreements, they say, there was no alternative.

We made specific proposals to the Germans, the French, as participants in the Normandy format, to the Americans as the main patron and ruler of the Kiev authorities, urging them to put pressure on Kiev to fulfill purely substantive requirements: the special status of Donbass, not even the entire region, and certain areas of the DPR and LPR, was spelled out from “A to Z”. The corresponding document was ready for adoption, but Poroshenko did everything to delay this process in every possible way, and the West indulged him in this. At the final stage of the sabotage of the Minsk agreements, the Germans and the French began to argue that Russia should fulfill them. When President Vladimir Putin asked what we should do, there was no answer.

Echoing the line that was held then “hybridly”, and now – on the battlefield, V.A.Zelensky declares that they “will win this war and take all their lands”, including Crimea. It forgets the history of the peninsula. Maybe he did not know her at all when he was “working” in the “Club of the Funny and Resourceful”. I have no doubt that such a line will fail.

We will not tolerate neo-Nazism on the territory of Ukraine. We are fighting neo-Nazis, not Ukrainians, against whom we have nothing against. This is a people close and dear to us, with whom we are intertwined at the level of human destinies, millions of families with a huge number of connections, spiritual and cultural and other ties.

I am convinced that the Kiev neo-Nazi authorities will not be able to undermine this genetic code, but we ourselves must do a lot. It is necessary to offer concrete ideas on how to “raise” civil society, to ensure contacts between people in Ukraine and Russia. Some time ago, there was the Russia-Ukraine-Belarus format, within which public organizations and experts met (including in Minsk). For obvious reasons, this is not happening now, but you need to think ahead.

Ukrainian people will be liberated from neo-Nazi rulers. He deserves to live in good neighbourliness, friendship and prosperity alongside his Slavic brothers. <…>

Question: We live in an interesting era where the media is a dangerous weapon. In your opinion, what is the role of the media and mass media in the processes of revival, rise and flourishing of Nazism in modern Ukraine?

S.W. Lavrov (#Лавров): The role of the media is constantly growing, including traditional and electronic media, as well as social networks, but they do not “make the weather”, but politicians. In recent years, we have already seen that in the West, especially in the United States, Germany, France and other European countries, they are well able to “build” journalists, the media and ensure the loyalty of the line that this or that government wants to pursue.

This is especially noticeable in the example of the Biden Administration, in which almost the entire line of electronic media, television, and print media is aimed at mobilizing public opinion in support of what the United States is doing in Ukraine. However, this does not always work. Now the indifference with which the Administration reacted to the natural disaster in Florida against the backdrop of tens of billions of US dollars allocated to Ukraine is openly criticized on the pages of newspapers. This shows that the authorities cannot always control the media and public opinion. In Germany, there is little dissent in the media. All mass media are “mobilized” to justify what the Germans are doing in Ukraine. In France, a similar situation.

Europe through various international structures, primarily created under the European Union, is not the first year (it began eight years ago) applies explicit censorship, preventing the penetration of alternative points of view into the public consciousness on the continent. A “good” example: when RT and Sputnik opened offices in Paris and tried to get accreditation at the Elysee Palace, they were denied. French President Emmanuel Macron himself, when asked by journalists, replied that “this is not the media, but an instrument of Moscow’s propaganda.” In addition, various platforms, associations for the protection of freedom in cyberspace, media independence were established in the West, within which alternative sources of information were strangled under beautiful slogans.

During the events leading up to the disappearance of the Soviet Union, we were so complacent on all international platforms that it seemed that there was an eternal general prosperity.

In 1990, at the initiative of France and other Western states, the OSCE adopted a document obliging all members of the Organization to ensure full access for their citizens to any sources of information, both domestically and abroad.

Therefore, the refusal of RT and Sputnik to be accredited to the Elysee Palace is a gross violation of the commitments made 30 years ago on the initiative of the same France.

Official source

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