A Moscow official has dismissed Ukraine’s right to exist in what has been described as the latest piece of “overtly genocidal rhetoric” from a Russian politician.
Andrey Medvedev, deputy speaker of the Moscow city parliament and journalist, told his 150,000 Telegram subscribers that in Ukraine “Russophobia has been elevated to national politics” and that Kyiv “will never stop in his desire to kill us”.
He wrote, “The Ukrainian nation does not exist, it is a political orientation,” as he questioned the notion of Ukrainian identity. His tongue, he added, “was still forming.”
His rant centered on the idea that Kyiv was the persecutor of the conflict. Medvedev took aim at what he called Kyiv’s “cult of specialness” and “racial purity”, which he said had developed since the fall of the Soviet Union.
He also wrote about “the death cult that arose in Ukraine”, saying it was rooted in “pagan cults” in which “the killing of an enemy…is part of the cult of Ukraine”.
He added: “The Ukrainian army is firing on the peaceful towns of Donbass, because ideologically they perceive the inhabitants of these towns as some kind of cockroaches,” he said. “All this can only be stopped by the liquidation of the Ukrainian state in its present form.”
Medvedev is not a national politician, but his post is fueling anti-Ukrainian messaging that has grown in Russia, according to the Washington-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Similar comments were made on Russian state television.
Andrey Medvedev is not related to Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and current deputy head of its security council, but the latter expressed similar sentiments on his own Telegram channel. In June, Dmitry Medvedev wrote: “Who said that after two years Ukraine would even exist on the world map?
The ISW said on Wednesday, “Prominent Russian politicians continue to openly promote genocidal rhetoric against Ukraine.” He called the comments “blatantly exterminating and dehumanizing and [calling] for waging a genocidal war against the Ukrainian state and its people.”
This has “infused discourse at the highest levels of Russian politics”, the think tank added, and matches language used by President Vladimir Putin which is “fundamentally incompatible with calls for negotiations”.
Seven months before his invasion, Putin laid out the historical basis for his claims against Ukraine in an essay questioning the legitimacy of its borders.
During a speech on October 27, Putin returned to these points, saying that the “only real guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty” can only be Russia, which “created” Ukraine. The Russian president also said it was a “historic fact” that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”.
Newsweek contacted the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministries for comments.