Ukraine Portrayed as Naziland on Russian Television (Updated)
If you’re looking for journalism in the mainstream Russian media’s coverage of Ukraine, you’re wasting your time. The glacier of the post-Yeltsin/
post-Putin era has confined balanced reporting to a handful of media outlets and a fledgling blogosphere.
Monitoring reports about Ukraine, whether originating on Russian television or in the Kremlin, can be compared to time travel. Welcome to the lost world of Pravda, Izvestia, and programma Vremya.
To the extent that the Western media often cite Russian sources as an authority on Ukraine, they also partake in this smorgasbord of Soviet-style propaganda.
As a result, the public, both in Russia and the West, often consumes a widely circulated mix of silly misconceptions and sinister misrepresentations:
- small-size, such as Russian media reports of CIA prisons on Ukrainian territory;
- medium-size, such as Putin's claim that Ukraine is a non-state populated by 17 million Russians [compare with 2001 Census data];
- super-size, such as this one:
Narrator: Gift-wrapped in black is the hit of spring sales in Ukraine, the Hitler toy. Not a very large toy, about 40 cm in size, but with a wardrobe that even Barbie would envy. The uniform comes in everyday and parade versions, complete with a dark-green leather coat, plus a replacement head made of porcelain, with a good-natured face and a peaked cap with fascist eagles, two Iron Crosses, and, of course, a swastika. It’s everywhere. The manufacturers — the marking says China — obviously did a sophisticated job developing the concept. They captured Hitler in detail, down to his jackboots. The heels are lined with square nails, like those used in the German military footwear of the 1930s. The only mismatch is the eyeglasses: For some reason, they resemble those of John Lennon, imparting humanity to the premier Nazi in the world.
“Buy today. Tomorrow can be too late.” Despite the not-so-childish price of about $250, in Kyiv there’s a whole line of people eager to buy the toy.
Store manager: The toy’s made of plastic. No, it has moving arms and legs. I’m a having a boy…a male customer at the moment.
Narrator: In stores, they tell and show, with pleasure, what the Hitler toy can do.
Store manager: Here come the decorations, orders, a tie, a cane, this thing I don’t know how to call, and gloves. Yes, you can undress him; his clothes are equipped with snap fasteners.
Narrator: This can be a table souvenir but one can also use the Hitler toy to play soldiers. There are no age specifications. The gift is suitable both for children and adults, store managers say.
[Embattled Ukrainophobe] Oles Buzyna: The very policy of the Ukrainian government leads to the resurgence of neo-Nazism in Ukraine. When an officer of the German army, Hitler’s army, gets the “hero of Ukraine” honorary title from Yushchenko, I believe that, naturally, every kid should have a Hitler toy. What else can you play with according to Yushchenko’s rules?
While the Hitler toy hasn’t yet become the dream of Ukrainian boys and girls, as Barbie did in the US, those who remember the deeds of the toy’s prototype are sounding the alarm. But the State Commission on Ethics and Morals maintains peace of mind.
Heorhiy Buiko, chairman of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Ukraine: It’s immoral, immoral from the vantage point of assessing history and the results of the Great Patriotic War for our people, and World War II for the international community.
Narrator: In Ukraine, many still recall the fascism popularization scandal. Last year, in one of the most prestigious private Kyiv schools (even Yushchenko’s kids study there) a foreign teacher offered students to discover positive moments in the actions of Hitlerites. A special commission has been conducting a probe for half a year, but no results have been available so far. In the center of the Ukrainian capital, not far from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, it was only in the runup to Victory Day celebrations that Mein Kampf, Hitler’s book, was taken off newsstands. After all, on May 9 those who defeated fascism will definitely march here.
Vitaliy Kadchenko, Yevgeniy Krivonosov, Elizaveta Tatarinova, Aleksandr Sokhnevich, Channel One, Kiev [Kyiv].
As a Kyivite, I’ve read reports of Mein Kampf being peddled in downtown Kyiv. This ugly phenomenon, while not unique to Ukraine, must not be tolerated.
But the $250 Hitler toy, “the hit of spring sales,” and the "whole line of people" eager to buy it have totally escaped my attention. Where are they?
Well, it appears that the BBC has already picked up the Russian side of the story, albeit with some discrepancies.
UNIAN has done the same, quoting The Earth Times, which in turn traces the story to "Zerkalo Tizhden" yet provides no links.
My trilingual "Hitler toy" queries at Dzrekalo Tyzhnya, branded as Zerkalo Nedeli in Russian and, sometimes, as Mirror Weekly in English, have generated 0 results.
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