Russia urges U.S., Ukraine to support its anti-Nazism efforts

According to the ambassador, Russia submits a UN draft resolution against the glorification of Nazism every year, but it keeps getting rejected by the US and Ukraine.

July 10, 2019 14:20
Russia urges U.S., Ukraine to support its anti-Nazism efforts

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 19, 2017. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The United States should support efforts by Russia to combat the glorification of Nazism, including a draft UN resolution submitted by Russia against the glorification of Nazism, said its ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, according to the Russian Tass News Agency.

According to the ambassador, Russia submits a UN draft resolution against the glorification of Nazism every year, but it keeps getting rejected by the US and Ukraine.
"Every year Russia submits a United Nations resolution on the fight against the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to the escalation of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," said Antonov, Tass reported. "In the entire international community there are only two countries that still vote against it: the United States and Ukraine. Canada found strength to reconsider its position; now it is Washington’s turn."

The draft resolution submitted by Russia to the UN General Assembly in November 2017 expressed "deep concern about the glorification, in any form, of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials and holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism," according to the 2017 copy available in the UN's Digital Library.

The resolution also called "for the universal ratification and effective implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination," which entered into force in January 1969.

The resolution also called on state parties who had not yet done so to implement article 14 of the convention, allowing a UN committee to address complaints from individuals or groups within member states concerning violations of the convention.

Russia's draft resolution also encouraged member states to "adopt the legislation necessary to combat racism, while ensuring that the definition of racial discrimination set out therein" complies with the convention's definition. 

Member states were also encouraged to withdraw any reservations about Article 4 of the draft resolution, which called on member states to "condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form – and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of such discrimination."

The convention also requested that member states declare "all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities" to be offenses punishable by law.

Member states were also requested in article 4 to "declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination."

"It is deeply disappointing that neo-Nazi organizations 'hiding' behind the First Amendment in the United States freely operate and erect monuments to 'heroes' of ethnic cleansing, [and] Nazi collaborators involved in the Holocaust," added the ambassador, according to Tass.

The US usually rejects the resolution because the language of the draft could be interpreted to limit free speech and assembly, according to VOA news. In 2014, the US also expressed alarm over Russia's "recent efforts to vilify others by loosely using terms such as 'Nazi' or 'fascist.'"

Ukraine's UN representative said in 2014 that his government is "against this cynical attempt of the Russian Federation to present itself as a champion of combating Nazism and neo-Nazism while repeating those same crimes against my nation," VOA news reported.

"Until and unless the notions of Stalinism and neo-Stalinism are equally condemned along with Nazism and neo-Nazism and other forms of intolerance, Ukraine will not be able to support the draft presented by Russia," stated the Ukrainian delegation in 2014.

By seeking to “limit freedom of expression, assembly and opinion,” a representative of the Canadian delegation told The Jerusalem Post in 2014, Russia has taken steps that are “counterproductive” to the goal of eradicating Nazism.

In 2017, the resolution was accepted by the General Assembly, with Ukraine and the United States voting against the resolution and 125 countries supporting it, while 51 countries abstained from the vote. European Union member states, Australia, Georgia and Turkey were among those who abstained, according to the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN).

Immediately before the vote, the US representative proposed 20 amendments to the draft resolution, which the Russian delegation labeled "provocative" and aiming to radically change the essence of the initiative, according to UNIAN. The proposed amendments were rejected, with only Israel and Ukraine supporting the proposal. 

Ukraine's representative Ihor Yeremenko said that Russia itself resorts to acts similar to radicalism, neo-Nazism and xenophobia by continuing to occupy Ukrainian territory.

In December, the resolution was passed by the General Assembly, according to Tass.

The Russian draft UN resolution also expressed "deep concern" about the "increased frequency of attempts and activities intended to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons."

Grigory Lukyantsev, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights, stressed that the draft resolution "is not about the tales of the past, but about modern and very dangerous manifestations of racism, which need to be countered both at the national and international levels."

All attempts to deny the Holocaust were condemned "without reservation" in the draft resolution, as well as all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence on the basis of ethnic origin or religious belief.

"The human rights and democratic challenges posed by extremist political parties, movements and groups are universal and no country is immune to them," stressed the resolution.

Antonov added that "shared history should play a unifying role. We should never forget what our peoples fought together for during World War II. The memory of the victims of Nazism should forever stay in the hearts and minds of future generations."

"Russia has always reacted strongly to attempts to rewrite history and glorify Nazism, and will continue to do so," continued Antonov, according to Tass. "In the 21st century, such a shameful phenomenon, such as marches of Nazis and their collaborators on the streets of European cities, cannot be allowed to exist. It is important to stop the demolition of monuments dedicated to anti-fascist warriors in Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland."

"The policy of tolerance towards neo-Nazis is unacceptable," added the ambassador.

Sam Sokol contributed to this report.

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