Denazify signals anti-Semitism

Jason Stanley, Yale philosophy professor, author of How Propaganda Works and How Fascism Works, unpacks “deNazification”.

JS interviewed by Brooke Gladstone in the final segment of an On the Media podcast – excerpt of transcript below.      4 March 2022

Brooke G  37:29
This is on the media. I’m Brooke Gladstone. When Putin declared war on Ukraine in a televised speech last week. He said that with this occupation, Russia will, “seek to demilitarize and deNazify Ukraine.” But the Nazis Putin warned of aren’t the usual suspects of Neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. Figures like David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who’s anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including the one that claims the Jews orchestrated the 911 attacks didn’t come up. Nor did he mean someone like Aleksandr Dugin, the Russian Ultra nationalist political thinker, who writes in his book, Conservative Revolution, that, “The world of Judaica is a world hostile to us. To understand does not mean to forgive, but to vanquish.” Where much of the world sees anti-Semitism, Putin sees allies. He claims the real Nazis are members of the Ukrainian government like the freely elected and Jewish President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but according to Yale philosophy Professor Jason Stanley, that very absurdity ties into
one of the main anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
      prevalent in Eastern Europe
today, inspired by the likes of Duke and Dugin,                         that Jews were behind the Holocaust and
                use the Nazis to persecute white Christian Russians,
                       as Putin says is happening now.

Stanley says this mockery of the Holocaust is a dog whistle to
            drum up support for war among those who share
                        Putin’s vision for a fascist, Christian ethno state.

Jason Stanley  39:13
To understand Putin’s intentions, what we have to begin with is
            what [WWII historical] deNazification was:
                  Invading Germany, capturing the Nazi leaders, executing some, imprisoning others, and then replacing Nazi ideology systematically in schools and institutions with liberal democratic ideology.
So what does Putin mean by denazification?
            He’s going to invade Ukraine, put on show trials versus the trials of Nurnberg where he tries the leaders of Ukraine, execute some, imprison others, and then replace liberal democratic ideology with Christian nationalist fascist ideology.

Brooke G  39:58
DeNazification means to get the Nazis out. I mean, does he identify a different group, perhaps far right Christian nationalists as the true victims of the Nazis?

Jason Stanley  40:12
He needs to gather popular support and
            anti-Semitism is a popular base in Eastern Europe.
            This is not visible as much to those of us in the West.

Stanley also related these themes in a Guardian op ed:

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