Does Russia exercise genocide in Ukraine? The answer is yes!
Today, the question in the title no longer sounds rhetorical or seems a purely political cliché.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine are recognized as genocide by many governments. The ICC recognized Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children as genocide and issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president. These are facts. They can be treated differently and interpreted differently, but it happened. What does this mean, and why are these facts important?
Of course, the world is vast, and not all countries and the people who live in them pay attention to what is happening in Ukraine and understand it. There have probably been and are today many examples of even more brutal treatment of people and more horrific crimes in the world. But to admit a particular fact, it is not absolutely necessary that the whole world and all Earth’s population recognize its existence. Modernity’s technological breakthroughs and achievements remain nothing more than cheap toys of the mind for many. But this in no way makes them non-existent.
This “rule” fully applies to the Russian genocide of Ukrainian people. It is now and here, in Ukraine, that we see the manifestation of the phenomenon of genocide. It seems that the time is coming when people realize what Raphael Lemkin said almost eighty years ago.
We emphasize the term “phenomenon” because it is how the genocide realizes itself today.
We are aware of the large number of “objections” from professional lawyers about the very existence of the Russian genocide against Ukraine and the possibility of proving it. But let’s consider a bit different issue. We mean that now, the existence of genocide is becoming clear to a large number of people, and it is becoming clear not in the legal sense (as a legally proven fact). People increasingly realize genocide as a phenomenon, that is, as a complex entity that involves a large number of people, absorbing empirical component, emotional component, intellectual component, public resonance, and political influence. The fact that the topic of genocide does not disappear from public conscience and is constantly “recharged” testifies to the existence of this phenomenon.
And even when skeptics say that these are political speculations and unproven claims, it will indicate only this phenomenon’s unconditional existence. If the phenomenon does not exist, there is nothing to talk about.
Many KHPG employees from the first months of the war, at every turn of our human rights activities, became convinced that there were signs of genocide in Russia’s actions in Ukraine. This was the reason that even at a time when there was little direct evidence of most war crimes, our organization undertook to prepare a submission to the ICC on the genocide of Russia against Ukrainians in Mariupol.
The purpose of this article is not to prove genocide, but only to state the fact that genocide as a phenomenon has occurred. Recent events, in particular the adoption of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Resolution, in which NATO member states unanimously recognized Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide, indisputably demonstrate that it exists. This statement points to an important circumstance: genocide cannot be proved, you can only make sure of it (just as consciousness cannot be proved, you can only make sure of it).
One point is perhaps the most important implication of recognizing the phenomenon of Russian genocide against Ukraine: it will undoubtedly affect the change of legal and doctrinal approaches to this crime. The current state of the world and world communities, the methods that are used today in various confrontations and armed conflicts, and the urgent need to revise the mechanisms of world security and preservation of peace will undoubtedly lead to the revision and updating of approaches to the definition of genocide and procedures for proving it.
Russia has violated the fundamental principles of human coexistence. This is an even graver crime on her side since Russia was a very influential and authoritative country that had to meet high moral requirements. This also testifies to the unconditional existence of genocidal intent (Russia’s status allowed it to influence global world processes). Like no other, such countries do not have the right to behave in the human world in such a way. There are various subjects of the world policy. The signs of genocide in the actions of some subjects, given the circumstances of their activities, should be investigated and established in a completely different way than in relation to other subjects, even under similar circumstances.