On May 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with Tsargrad TV, a Russian channel known for spreading far-right disinformation.
Lavrov was asked about French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment that Russia has "entered a form of subservience with regards to China” due to its invasion of Ukraine.
In response, Lavrov falsely accused Kyiv of trying to “destroy everything Russian” and blamed the West for a diplomatic breakdown that led Russia to invade Ukraine.
He then said:
“You have mentioned President of France Emmanuel Macron, who said that Russia was becoming a vassal of China. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock say proudly that Ukraine is fighting and shedding its blood for European values. By saying this, they have made a connection between themselves and the neo-Nazi regime [in Ukraine].
“[W]hen we look at the actions of the current German leaders, who are the children of WWII German officers and members of the SS, we have to say, even though we reaffirm the principle that children are not accountable for the deeds of their parents and grandparents, that many people in the current German administration have inherited Nazi genes. It is a fact.”
Lavrov’s highly incendiary claim that German leaders inherited “Nazi genes” is false as a matter of science and fails to accurately explain Germany’s Ukraine policy.
Before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s recent visit to Germany, Berlin announced a $3 billion military aid package to Ukraine, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems, armored personnel carriers and combat vehicles.
Germany’s aid to Ukraine is intended to help the country defend itself against Russian aggression.
On May 14, Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people were awarded the 2023 International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen “for their fight to defend democracy against an unprovoked and unjustified war started by Russia.”
The prize is awarded annually by the German city of Aachen for work done in the service of European unification.
This year, the conferrer of the award said that the Ukrainian people and their government “support and defend European values.”
Those values have nothing to do with “Nazism.”
Lavrov’s accusations about Nazism mirrors those of other top Russian propagandists, who have used Germany’s dark historical experience with Nazi ideology to smear modern-day Germany.
Likewise, Russian President Vladimir Putin has falsely attempted to portray his invasion of Ukraine as an extension of World War II.
Zelenskyy, born to a Russian-speaking Jewish family, is not a Nazi. His great-grandfather and three great-uncles were killed in the Nazi Holocaust during WWII.
For a brief window after Zelenskyy’s election, Ukraine was the only country outside of Israel to have a president and prime minister (Volodymyr Groysman) who were Jewish.
Nazi Germany, by contrast, engaged in the systematic extermination of the Jewish people.
Although the far right poses a threat in Ukraine (as it does in Russia and elsewhere in the world), there is no “Nazi” regime in Ukraine.
All of Ukraine’s far-right political organizations united for the 2019 parliamentary elections, but won only 2.15% of the vote – not enough to gain a single seat.
Ukraine’s ruling Servant of the People party, founded by Zelenskyy, is centrist, liberal and pro-European.
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party approved the Servant of the People as a member of the pan-European party.
While Moscow claims to be protecting ethnic Russians, it is Russia that regularly engages in eliminationist rhetoric against Ukrainians.
Pundits on Russian state TV regularly call for the eradication of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state.
Pundits on Russian state media have also appeared to promote genocide, denying Ukraine’s right to exist and comparing Ukrainians to “worms” that need to be removed.
Anton Krasovsky, the broadcasting director for Russian state broadcaster RT’s Russian-language service, advocated drowning and burning alive Ukrainian children on his program.
One Russian lawmaker even spoke of the need to systematically murder two million Ukrainians as part of “denazification.”
As Polygraph.info previously reported, Russia’s eliminationist rhetoric against Ukraine goes back more than a decade.
It is not just talk. Since invading Ukraine, Russia has completely destroyed at least nine large and small cities in Ukraine, killing or injuring tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens.
Russia has been accused of crimes against humanity, with evidence of massacres and mass graves emerging in territory occupied by Russian forces.
Russia has also been implicated in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, which the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and others say, “matches with the international definition of genocide.”
Openly neo-Nazi Russian paramilitary groups allegedly operating on behalf of the Kremlin are taking part in the “denazification” of Ukraine and have been accused of torture and other grave human rights abuses.
That, Germany analysts told Der Spiegel, has rendered Moscow’s alleged “denazification” war aim absurd.
Lavrov’s claim that German leaders “inherited Nazi genes” that are influencing their actions mirrors actual Nazi thought on how race/and or ethnicity determine “abstract human qualities” like behavior. Known as eugenics, this ideology was used in Nazi Germany to justify the mass killing of selected peoples and legitimize racism.
Scientists have widely discredited such beliefs.