Archbishop of Cyprus, Victory Day and Human Rights

Dmitry Khmelnitsky

The longer Putin’s Russia’s war against Ukraine lasts, the more terrible and inhuman its regime becomes. And the more stupid and helpless its propaganda looks. Including military propaganda.

Putin’s propagandists believe, not without reason, that the only event in Soviet history that has not caused immediate rejection in the democratic world and has not compromised present-day Russia in its eyes is the USSR’s victory in World War II. That is why May 9 celebrations are becoming more intrusive and hysterical every year — in Russia itself, and abroad. The main task of Russian diplomatic missions abroad is to involve as many people as possible in these actions, both emigrants and the local population.

It works badly. Here is a very recent example.

The Russian Center for Science and Culture in Cyprus has appealed to the head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, Archbishop George III, to support events related to the celebration of the 79th anniversary of the victory in Cyprus. There are many of them planned — from the «Victory Dictation» (a United Russia party project) to the handing over of the «Flame of Memory» by Russian activists to Cypriot and Russian veterans, to the holding of «Victory car rallies» and «Immortal Regiment» marches in many Cypriot cities, to actions called «St. George’s Ribbon» and «Pilot».

The archbishop responded with a letter that read, «We pray today for the repose of the souls of those who fell during World War II, defending universal human values and human rights.»

The phrase is frankly mocking. The Red Army can be suspected of defending human values and human rights to the same extent as the Wehrmacht. The Red Army fought only and exclusively for the dictatorial Stalinist regime and its extension to all the territories it could reach. That is, against democracy and human rights. The fact that the Soviet Union by fate was among the victors of Nazi Germany does not whitewash its nature.

A funny paradox has occurred. Putin believed that exploiting the memory of his World War II victory would legitimize his current war against Ukraine. Hence the idiotic slogans about fighting «Ukrainian Nazism».

It turned out the other way around. The blatantly criminal current war reminded us that even in World War II the role of the USSR was questionable, to put it mildly, and its goals immoral. And that it is impossible to bring them under the defense of universal human values and human rights.

Which Archbishop George III gently reminded Russian diplomats of.