It was supposed to be an anti-Nazi law

One of the Russian participants at the “anti-fascist” forum in St. Petersburg – allegedly, the commander of a pro-Russian volunteer unit in Donbass – is reported to have publicly displayed Nazi symbols and to have been sanctioned for cruelty to animals.

The Russian word used by the reporters is zhivoderstvo, which has a broader meaning than knackery, referring to the brutal killing of non-wild animals for practical gain, such as stray dogs for soap, and figuratively to inhumane cruelty. I imagine you have to do something unequivocally disgusting even by Russian standards to be fined for mistreating animals.

I’m particularly interested in the black rectangle on the inside of the commander’s wrist in the second photo – clearly there was something there that got censored. Someone has suggested it’s a swastika. I agree it’s the most likely hypothesis, but why did, in a piece seeking to expose the fakery of the “anti-fascist” event, censor a visual hint that would only strengthen its case?

Because of a recent Russian law, presumably aimed at WWII revisionism, that prohibits the public display of Nazi symbols. Or, rather, because of the creative way the law has been applied: people have been targeted for merely uploading authentic WWII photos. The St. Pete outlet, critical of the Party Line, could not risk prosecution over a swastika on some thuggo’s wrist. Had it been a pro-Ukrainian militant, that would have been an entirely different matter, and federal TV channels would be showing that hypothetical swastika from every possible angle and at every possible zoom level.

Yes, it could be some other Nazi or offensive symbol; it could be a dirty word or an obscene graphic, which would have had to be censored. From the guy’s apparent taste in body art though, I’d bet on something Ahnenerbe-ish if it must be different from a mere swastika. has run a comprehensive, darkly entertaining review of the freak show on the Neva. It’s in Russian but Paul Goble has written about the event in English in The Interpreter.

One comment

  1. Once again, I’m staring wide-eyed in amazement at the type of people Russia is elevating to leadership positions. Even the headcases who led the factions in the Balkan wars had more class than this.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading