The ‘third front in the Ukraine war’: Report from Germany

Developments of concern related to U.S./NATO war hysteria

The NATO boycott campaign against athletes, artists and media from Russia is followed in Germany by the first attacks on Russians, Russian books, publishers, science and Russian institutions. Given the precedent of Nazi Germany, this is truly dangerous.

BERLIN/MOSCOW (german-foreign-policy.com, March 7) – After the comprehensive exclusion of Russian athletes, artists and media from the western and sometimes global public, a wave of physical anti-Russian violence is threatening in the Federal Republic. According to a report, the police are already recording property damage to Russian shops, hostility from Russian-speaking people and threatening letters on social networks. The interior ministries of various federal states expected further violence. Previously, a boycott campaign had swelled against Russian participation in international sporting events and advocated banning Russian films from film festivals and Russian artists from concerts; An appeal from the Ukraine stated that no more books by Russian authors or Russian publishers should be sold anywhere in the world, as they had “infected” readers with “Russian propaganda”. Berlin is also involved in enforcing the sports boycott. The British culture minister Nadine Dorries speaks openly of a “third front in the Ukraine war” – in addition to arms deliveries and economic sanctions.

The power of sport

Last week, the British culture minister, Nadine Dorries, described the measures to exclude Russian athletes, artists and writers from the public as completely as possible as the “third front in the Ukraine war”, which Western countries are currently trying to enforce worldwide.[1] The reason for this was Dorries’ efforts to get as many sports federations and organizations as possible to discriminate against Russian athletes solely on the basis of their nationality and not to let them participate in sporting events, including the Paralympics, without individual justification.

To this end, the minister met with her colleagues responsible for sport from Germany, Poland, the USA and Australia for an online conference last week. “I continue to pressure organizations to ban Putin’s Russia from their ranks,” Dorries said. It’s about using “the power of sport” to “isolate Putin at home and abroad.” Western powers have now managed to push through numerous high-profile bans not only on athletes and teams competing under the Russian flag, but also on individuals accused merely of being Russian.

Exclusions

In addition to the Paralympics, the football associations IFA and UEFA as well as the International Tennis Federation have decided to exclude them. In the cultural field, for example, the European Film Academy has announced that Russian films will not be admitted to this year’s European Film Awards. Russian Film Days were canceled in several German cities (Düsseldorf, Münster). The companies Disney and Warner are boycotting Russian cinemas. Prominent Russian artists such as the conductor Valeri Gergiyev or the singer Anna Netrebko have lost commissions or even their jobs because – true or not – they are accused of not distancing themselves from the Russian government. In one case, an operetta by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich has already been completely removed from the repertoire: it is playing in the Russian capital. In the meantime, the demonstrative exclusion of Russian goods from supermarkets has also been added.

Not allowed

Russian books were also excluded from the next Frankfurt Book Fair last week. The book fair announced that, at least this year, it would not allow the Russian national stand – unlike the national stands of all other countries. The organizers gave the reason for their ban that in Russia “the remaining remnants of a liberal public … were coming under massive pressure”; it is therefore appropriate to take repressive action in Germany as well.[2] The organizers also claim that the measure is “not directed against Russian authors and the accessibility of their book production”; “Individual stands from Russian publishers” will “continue to be allowed”. However, this is probably only “a theoretical possibility” because “in view of the sanctions imposed” – “restricted payment transactions, restrictions on air traffic etc.” – private Russian publishers have no chance of traveling to Germany in practice. According to an appeal by a total of four Ukrainian literary organizations, including PEN Ukraine, the book fair followed with the ban on a Lithuanian initiative.

Books as weapons

In the appeal, which was distributed last week by the German book trade newspaper, the Ukrainian signatories call for a global boycott of all Russian books and publishers.[3] Specifically, no more books by Russian authors or Russian publishers are to be sold, neither offline nor online; moreover, no more rights are to be acquired from Russian publishers. Grants for translations of Russian works into other languages ​​should be stopped immediately.

The justification for the “total boycott” of Russian books is said to be that “Russian propaganda” is woven into them, making them “weapons and pretexts for war”: “Infected by Russian propaganda in the field of literature and publishing. Authors, literary agents, publishers and distributors from all over the world are spreading the infection among more and more readers in their countries”. Therefore, it is now important to “isolate Russia completely and prevent it from further expansion with the means of cultural instruments” in the literary field as well. In Germany, the call was still perceived as going too far and was criticized. It bears the slogan “Glory to Ukraine!”, now widely used in the West as well. This is the first half of the salute used by Ukrainian fascists during World War II.[4]

Media ban

In addition to the far-reaching exclusion of everything Russian from sports and culture, there is also a ban on Russian media and massive restrictions on scientific cooperation. The EU last week banned the distribution of all content from Russian state broadcasters RT and Sputnik; the ban is worded so far-reaching that, according to experts, internet providers should in principle set up network blocks.[5] This is the first time that Brussels has resorted to open censorship.

Science has long been affected by exclusion measures. Most recently, after the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Max Planck Society (MPG) and other scientific organizations, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has put all German-Russian cooperation projects on hold.[6] Numerous universities have also joined the official boycott of Russia on their own initiative. However, it is emphasized that they do not want to exmatriculate students from Russia.

“Russian pack”

The interior ministries of several federal states and some police authorities are now reporting an increase in physical anti-Russian violence. For example, Russian shops were vandalized and damaged. A threatening letter was spread on social networks saying: “Russian pack, finally get out of here from Germany”.[7] According to a report by Report Mainz, various interior ministries are assuming a further increase in violence. For example, an assessment from Baden-Württemberg is quoted that “the police have already taken into account further cases of property damage, vandalism, verbal provocation and physical altercations”.

[1] Culture is third front in Ukraine war, says Nadine Dorries. bbc.co.uk 04.03.2022.

[2] Frankfurter Buchmesse: “Einzelstände russischer Verlage werden zugelassen”. boersenblatt.net 03.03.2022.

[3] Totalboykott russischer Bücher gefordert. boersenblatt.de 02.03.2022.

[4] S. dazu Salonfähige Parolen.

[5] Anna Biselli: EU verbietet Verbreitung von RT und Sputnik. netzpolitik.org 02.03.2022.

[6] Zusammenarbeit ausgesetzt. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05.03.2022.

[7] Erste Anfeindungen gegen russischsprachige Menschen in Deutschland. swr.de 03.03.2022.

For your information

Nazi Book Burning 1933

The Nazi book burnings were an official campaign conducted to ceremonially burn books in Nazi Germany and Austria in the 1930s. The books targeted for burning were those viewed as being subversive or as representing ideologies opposed to Nazism and associated with an “un-German spirit.” These included books written by Jewish, communist, socialist, liberal, pacifist authors among others. The initial books burned were those of Karl Marx and Karl Kautsky, but came to include many authors, including  Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and effectively any book that was not ardent in its support of Nazism. In a campaign of cultural genocide, books were also burned by the Nazis en masse in occupied territories. Such barbarity was just the beginning, however. One can see in retrospect how the book burnings and other steps foreshadowed much more catastrophic Nazi plans. Among the books consigned to the flames in 1933 were the works of the nineteenth century Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who in 1822 penned the prophetic words, “Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too.” (Wikipedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

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