Russia should not allow a resurgence of the ideology that led to WWII, the former president has said
Defeating neo-fascism once and for all should be Russia’s “main goal” in the coming year, former President Dmitry Medvedev said in his New Year’s address on Sunday. The Russian people have already demonstrated unparalleled “strength of mind, will to victory and selflessness” in the outgoing year, he added.
The nation’s “hearts and minds” go out to the soldiers on the front lines, Medvedev said, expressing his sincere gratitude to “everyone who defends our great motherland.” This year required “particular resilience and cohesion, determination and power,” as well as “true patriotism” from the Russian people, he added.
The coming year should witness the “ultimate defeat” of neo-fascism, an ideology “Russia’s enemies are trying to rekindle” decades after it was dealt a powerful blow during World War II, the former president said.
Russia is now locked in a protracted conflict with Ukraine, which it accuses of promoting ultranationalist ideology and persecuting its Russian-speaking minority. This year saw Russian forces thwart Kiev’s major counteroffensive. The six-month-long operation launched in early June ended in failure with heavy losses on the Ukrainian side.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also hailed the feats of Russian soldiers in his New Year’s address and called them “heroes.” The president also said the country had been “steadfast in defending our national interests, our freedom and security, [and] our values that have always been and remain our unshakeable pillar.”
Medvedev, who now serves as the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council and the Military-Industrial Committee, has repeatedly condemned what he called open glorification of Nazism in Ukraine and particularly pointed to an initiative calling for the establishment of the Stepan Bandera Order, which would supposedly be awarded to Ukrainian servicemen. Bandera was a notorious leader of Ukrainian nationalists during World War II whose organization was responsible for mass killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine.
The former Russian president has also sharply criticized Kiev’s Western backers, calling them a “pro-Nazi coalition” in September. He also insisted Moscow should take a tougher approach to Kiev. On Thursday, he stated that the removal of the Western-backed government of President Vladimir Zelensky is an undeclared but a “most important and inevitable goal” of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Moscow’s goals also include “the disarmament of Ukrainian troops and the rejection of the ideology of neo-Nazism by the current Ukrainian state,” he added at that time.
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