Significance of Russia’s “All Lives Matter” Campaign Bombing Kyiv Holocaust Memorials

The BBC offers sharp insight into why Russia is firing missiles at memorials to victims of Nazism, killing civilians.

Babyn Yar is now a place of quiet contemplation, where thousands of people travel to every year to remember those who died. That it could be damaged or destroyed by an aggressive military attack goes against everything it stands for. But the significance of an attack so close to Babyn Yar goes deeper. “It is symbolic that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] starts attacking Kyiv by bombing the site of the Babyn Yar, the biggest Nazi massacre,” said the chair of Babyn Yar’s advisory board, Natan Sharansky.

A pattern of Russian ignorance and cover-ups is also laid bare in the article.

A few years after the Nazis attempted to cover their own tracks, the Soviets tried to flood the ravine with mud. Then in the 1960s, there was anger at plans to build a sports stadium there. Mr Sharansky said the construction of the TV tower directly adjacent to the memorial in the 1970s was another attempt to “destroy the memory of the Holocaust”. “There were so many attempts to erase Babyn Yar and change its nature, finally we turned it into a big memorial, and that is once again overshadowed by Russian aggression,” he said. For decades under Soviet rule, there was little to mark the massacre site, except a simple obelisk that referred to “Soviet” victims, without mentioning the Jews, who were the main victims. Finally, in the 1990s, a large Menorah monument was erected, when independent Ukraine decided to commemorate the Jewish victims. And last year a synagogue was opened.

Reads to me like the Russian mindset was to downplay systemic racism and obscure history by erecting an “all lives matter” obelisk on the spot where Nazis massacred Jews.

#RussianLivesMatter has been used to undermine the American fight against systemic racism by downplaying the impact of racism against African Americans, by suggesting police killings of Black Americans were deserved, and by framing empathy towards victims of police violence in Russia as a zero-sum game.

The Nazis killed nearly 34,000 Jews in two days in the Babyn Yar ravine, Kyiv as part of a sustained plan of genocide. Historians estimate two million were shot dead across occupied Europe.

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