Staunton, December 5, 2015 In response to Vladimir Putin’s address and the arrest of Karelian regionalist writer Vadim Shtepa, Karelian head Aleksandr Khudilaynen says that the West is seeking to use Islamic fundamentalism against Russia just as it tried to use Nazism against the Soviet Union in the 1930s.
Khudilaynen said that it was “not accidental” that Putin noted that “the unwillingness to join forces in a timely fashion for the struggle with Nazism was paid for by tens of millions of lives of the most bloody world war.”
“How is Islamist fundamentalism different from Nazism? In no way, and the position of a number of countries which are pushing the terrorists to the borders of Russia exactly corresponds with the actions of the leaders of these countries in the 1930s,” according to the Karelian head.
“Western countries welcomed the disintegration of the Soviet Union, justified and supported terrorists in the North Caucasus, and as before are spending enormous sums for worsening the situation in our country.” That pattern, he says, leads one to recall what Stalin said and why it is relevant to today.
In his address to the citizens of the Soviet Union at the end of the war, Stalin said “three years ago, Hitler declared publicly that among his tasks was the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the splitting off from it of the Caucasus, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, and other regions. [The Nazi leader] directly said: we will destroy Russia so that it can never rise again.”
“But no one has ever been able to defeat Russia,” Khudilaynen says.
This provides the context, the Karelian head says to judge “the actions of the Russian and Karelian fifth column which protest against the unification of Crimea with Russia…Is this not aid to terrorists who on Ukrainian territory blow up electric power lines and turn of the lights in Crimean villages?”
“We know,” Khudilaynen continues, “who is Petrozavodsk ignored the mass march in honor of the awarding of the capital of Karelia of the honor title of city of military glory. What is this: ordinary stupidity or a conscious position of denying the Russian president’s assessment of the great services of Petrozavodsk” and supporting instead “political bandits” and “foreign puppet masters.”
Khudilaynen notes that a Petrozavodsk court on Friday had arrested “one of the activists of the pseudo-liberal opposition for disseminating extremist symbols. And this happened in Karelia, in Petrozavodsk, in a city of military glory.” Such people will not be allowed to continue to act freely in Karelia.
“The unity of our people over the course of centuries is built on love and justice,” the republic head says. “Neither the right nor the left not liberals nor radicals will be able to split our country however much they want to and however much support they get form foreign special services and terrorist groups.”
“Today, a challenge is being thrown before all present-day civilization,” he continues, and “therefore the president of Russia is absolutely right when he calls on all countries to form a united front to oppose terrorism.” To that end, Russia will mobilize against and hold responsible those who are on the other side.
Putin’s address has already been analyzed extensively, but Shtepa and the case the authorities in Karelia have brought against him almost certainly will be less familiar to many. (See here, here, and here for more information).
Shtepa who has gained international attention for his writings on regionalism and federalism was arrested yesterday and sentenced to be held for 24 hours for posting on his webpage a picture of a 19th century table cloth from Vologda containing a swastika. When he posted it, Shtepa observed that he would likely be punished for that.
And that is exactly what happened. He was arrested in the morning and requested that he be fined so that he could make a scheduled trip, but the court refused and imposed the one-day sentence of detention for “public demonstration of Nazi symbols,” even though the swastika involved appeared at least a half a century before Hitler came to power.
Shtepa who has now served his sentence says that “the Karelian department for struggle with extremism has constantly monitored his articles on regionalism,” but it hasn’t been able to find any evidence that it could use against him. Consequently, it has started looking at his posts on social networks.
“I consider,” he says, “that this court date is not the last [he] will face,” adding that “in Russia there does not remain any space for free journalism. Everything is prohibited. How one can work in such circumstances is not clear.” Shtepa indicated that he “does not exclude” the possibility that he will emigrate.