Barchuk on the equivalence of Nazi and Soviet symbols


This is the memorial sign “Adolf Hitler Ring” opposite the entrance to the Lviv Opera House, erected by the German occupation authorities in 1942. Above the cube with Hitler’s name is a chalice for eternal fire, similar to the chalice at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, so lovingly sung by Lena Riefenstahl in the movie Olympia.

Photo: Myroslava Barchuk’s Facebook

I have a question specifically about this monument. But first a few general ones.

Is there a difference for you in the degree of criminality of the communist and Nazi regimes? Is one of them the “lesser evil”, as happened in Yalta in 1945?

If for us these regimes are the same in cannibalism and bloodshed, then the next question is.

Can we talk about a “new reading” of Nazi symbols? Or, let’s say, about returning to the old reception of runes, the ancient Roman gesture “from the heart to the sun” or the greeting “Zig Hail!”? Can they look different in a new context, when “several generations have changed”, who do not remember, were not involved, were neither executioners nor victims… No?

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And what exactly prevents us from “rereading” the Nazi legacy, “adapting its symbols to modern culture”?

What prevents us from writing on this beautiful cube with a cup some non-toxic name instead of the killer’s name? Give the cube “new meanings”? Recognize it as art, a monument of the culture of that era?

This is impossible because of a complete, unconditional understanding of Hitler’s crime. Condemnation, criminalization of Nazism as absolute evil, without any “buts”. So?

So, if the “reinterpretation” of Nazi symbols is unacceptable for us, and if we consider Nazism and communism to be equally criminal (and not only us, because the OSCE Resolution and the decision of the European Parliament on equating the crimes of communism and fascism were adopted back in 2009), then why part of our society is it possible to “reinterpret” (reread, appropriate) Soviet totalitarian symbols? Or “forgetting” about them? What is the reason?

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Where is the line of oblivion/psychological displacement of the essence of Soviet symbols acceptable for you? Are we dealing with a post-colonial syndrome?

Did “getting used to” the markers of the Soviet occupation affect national identity?

Do we need a reminder, de-Sovietization in every generation (following the example of long-term denazification) so that this forgetting does not happen?


About the author. Myroslava Barchuk, journalist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.



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