Watch This: Shocking Russian national broadcast invokes Nazism, terrorism, and the restoration of the Soviet Union

Today in Russia something scary happened. On live television, broadcast nationally, shot in occupied Crimea in the city of Sevastopol, a musical Olympic-esque ceremony and rock concert was performed at a motorcycle expo attempting to depict Ukraine and its revolution in ways only worst described by Russian state propaganda to date. Last year’s show depicted a lavished reenactment of the battle of Stalingrad, but this year was all about the battle for Ukraine. The performance, broadcast on the Rossiya-2 network, was the most egregious example to date of Russia’s attempts to instill fear in the population, glorify terrorists operating in the east, and ring in a new era of Soviet restoration. Russian media described it as “patriotic,” but many should recognize this as classic agitprop – agitation propaganda.

What exactly happened and is this an exaggeration? Let’s take a look.

(The full video can be seen here)

The piece begins with a number of masked drummers marching in torch wielding performers dressed in black. The drummers, who stand beside an ominous US dollar symbol, have various bloody special effects; what the performers do is much more shocking. As they begin to goose-step in formation, they jointly form a human swastika as if putting on a production of Springtime for Hitler from the musical The Producers. This is meant to represent Ukrainians in general and more specifically Right Sector, a far-right political party which garnered less than 1% of the national vote in the previous presidential elections and played a minor but visible role in the Euromaidan revolution. In Russia, Right Sector is regularly portrayed as an enormous menace that brought European “fascism” to Ukraine; this portrayal, of course, is entirely fictional.

Masked drummers play beside US dollar sign
Masked drummers play beside US dollar sign
Performers dressed in black form a human swastika
Performers dressed in black form a human swastika
Performers dressed in black form a human swastika
Performers dressed in black form a human swastika

As the thunder of the music dies down, the ‘Nazis’ form a rigid line in salute of a now risen banner bearing the Right Sector emblem, beneath a pyramid emblazoned with the US dollar mark ($) and what can presumably be the Eye of Providence, seen on the US one-dollar bill and Great Seal.

"Nazis" stand in salute of the Right Sector banner and US dollar
“Nazis” stand in salute of the Right Sector banner and US dollar

Giant, skeletal, mechanized hands then descend center stage as the ‘marionettes’ beneath begin to fight amongst themselves. The hands have a ring bearing a striped eagle surrounded by stars, meant obviously to represent the United States’ engineering of the revolution. A globe featuring a map of Ukraine is defaced with explosions and blood as it lifts to the sky.

Ring on hands bearing a US eagle
Ring on hands bearing a US eagle
"Ukraine"
“Ukraine”

As they fight, shield carrying riot police wearing blue-camouflage, meant to represent the notorious ‘Berkut‘ special forces, former president Yanukovych’s personal stormtroopers, are rushed in who are promptly attacked on sight. In Kyiv, the Berkut made headlines for mercilessly attacking innocent civilians and journalists with impunity, and later for firing on unarmed crowds, killing protesters – in Russia, they are often heroized as martyrs.

A frightened child looks on
A frightened child looks on

The Berkut troops are then set on fire and a rock band beings to play as lynchings begin to happen.

Burning Berkut troops
Burning Berkut troops
A lynching
A lynching
Band playing the song "Maidan"
Band playing the song “Maidan”

Following the musical number, the sound of bomb dropping fills the air as Armored Personnel Carriers with red-and-black flags are rolled in.

Military vehicles bearing the black and red flag of the WW2 Ukrainian Insurgent Army
Military vehicles bearing the black and red flag of the WW2 Ukrainian Insurgent Army

But fear not, as AK-47 wielding terrorists (“freedom fighters”?) storm in to the sound of a triumphant musical score as they plant flags of the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics in victory. These scenes here are eerily similar to Russian fantasy novels which have been released recently depicting the Russian destruction of Ukraine.

Terrorist firing a Kalashnikov
Terrorist firing a Kalashnikov
Terrorists flying "Donetsk Republic" terrorist group flag
Soldier flying “Donetsk Republic” terrorist group flag
Soldier flying "Lugansk Republic" terrorist group flag
Soldier flying “Lugansk Republic” terrorist group flag

 

[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]Long live the creation of the will of the people, the united, mighty Soviet Union![/quote]

This, magnificently, culminates with an orchestral and glorifying rendition of the Soviet national anthem. Many may confuse it for that of the Russian Federation, which uses an identical musical score, but the lyrics are the Soviet rendition: “Long live the creation of the will of the people, the united, mighty Soviet Union!” The camera then pans to a slightly altered Soviet coat of arms as a salvo of fireworks explode overhead – however –  gone are the iconic hammer and sickle of the Communist regime, and in its place is the imperial eagle of the Russian Empire (now used by Russia). This iconic fusing of the USSR and modern Russian Federation only lead credence to the longstanding belief that that Russian president Vladimir Putin is intent on rewinding the clock and restoring the Soviet Union.

The new coat of arms of Russia?
The new coat of arms of Russia?
Fireworks compliment the Soviet anthem
Fireworks compliment the Soviet anthem
A triumphant finale
A triumphant finale

Imagine if a mass performance in Germany performed the national anthem of the Third Reich. Imagine if this took place in any other country depicting another like this. Period. Scary, isn’t it?

Of course, following this display of Cirque du Jingoism, President Putin’s name was announced to thunderous applause by Alexander “the Surgeon” Zaldostanov, leader of Russia’s equivalent of the Hell’s Angels – a passing of the torch both fitting and bizarre. 

What do you think of this performance? Leave a comment below.

Ukrainian Hostages Beaten, Tortured in Crimea

As the Ukrainian presidential website reported Thursday evening, Ukrainian Navy commander Serhiy Haiduk along with several hostages was released from detention by Russian forces in Kherson region. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the regional authorities to free the detained hostages and allow them safe passage out of the region. The hostages were revealed to be AutoMaidan activists, and 2 are currently hospitalized.

Hostages were kept in the basement of the Republic military office in Simferopol since March 9th; the same which was seized by 100 Russian troops the day prior. According to UNIAN, the hostages said they were not fed for four days, and that the first day was especially trying as they were not allowed to drink, or the use of lavatory, and were also beaten constantly. They could not see their abusers faces as their heads were covered with bags and taped. One activist, who was placed in solitary confinement, said that there was no place to sit down, and because the room was so damp, he attempted to sleep standing up. The lone exception of the group, 64-year old Anatoly Kovalsky, said that while he was not physically beaten, he was abused mentally. In his case, he alleged that his captors constantly humiliated him and interrogators were regularly rotated every 10 minutes. According to Kovalsky, the interrogators wanted to know why the activists were in Crimea, their source of funding, if they were attempting to disrupt the referendum, and whether they had connections to Crimean Tatars or the Right Sector organization.

The two who were hospitalized, Andriy Shevchenko and Yuri Schekun, were treated for bullet wounds from a traumatic gun. Reports claim they were shot in the hands, fingers, and feet. The Center for Investigative Journalism identified the captors as members of Aksyonov’s guard.

Cinematographers from Babylon’13 remain missing since March 16th.

AutoMaidan activists have in particular come under persecution from authorities over past months, with leader Dmytro Bulatov making international headlines after he was kidnapped, tortured, mutilated and crucified by who he described as Russians.

Originally reported on UkrainianPolicy