Nazism and communism both murdered tens of millions of innocent people. The two ideologies are also both racist and brutally oppressive. And as far as a Ukranian court is concerned, their symbols are legally synonymous.
Communism and Nazism Are Now Legally Synonymous in Ukraine
The ruling appears to pave the way for the removal of most of the remaining communist monuments and landmarks bearing Soviet names. It also prohibits the use of Nazi and communist symbols.
Their names still haunt us. Chelmno. Belzec, Sobibor. Treblinka. Auschwitz. Dachau. Majdanek.
They stir images of the horrors of Nazi killing centers, where millions of Jews, Poles, Soviet POWs, and gypsies were systematically killed in one of the great horrors of the twentieth century.
For many of us, this imagery is associated exclusively with Hitler and his Nazi minions. Such a view does not align with the historical record, however.
Communism’s Death Toll
The Black Book of Communism, an international bestseller, reveals that the handiwork of twentieth-century communists more than matched the Nazis. In fact, a glance at the figures shows the communist death toll dwarfs the bloody work of the Nazis: In China, 65 million dead; in the Soviet Union, nearly 20 million; Vietnam, 1 million; Cambodia, 2 million. North Korea is 2 million and counting. Chalk up a few million more with Eastern Europe (1 million), Africa (1.7 million), and Afghanistan (1.5 million).
“In all, Communist regimes killed some 100 million people—roughly four times the number killed by the Nazis—making communism the most murderous ideology in human history,” Marc Thiessan wrote in the Washington Post.
The different perceptions of the horrors of Nazi Germany to horrors of twentieth-century communism have long been a source of frustration for many who see cognitive dissonance in how the hammer-and-sickle is treated compared to the Swastika.
For lawmakers in Ukraine, this cognitive dissonance was apparently more than they could bear. In 2015, legislation was passed to make Nazism and communism legally synonymous.
Last week, that law was upheld by a Ukrainian court.
“The communist regime, like the Nazi regime, inflicted irreparable damages to human rights because during its existence, it had total control over society and politically motivated persecutions and repressions, violated its international obligations, and its own constitutions and laws,” the court declared, in a ruling published on its website.
The ruling appears to pave the way for the removal of most of the remaining communist monuments and landmarks bearing Soviet names in Ukraine. It also prohibits the use of Nazi and communist symbols.
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