Funeral for a victim of the Russian-terrorist Grad strike on January 24, 2015
The killing of 30 innocent civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has sparked outrage around the world, and many people who have not thought a lot about who is responsible for the outrages in Ukraine are finally focusing on the responsibility that Vladimir Putin bears for such crimes.
But if Putin must be blamed for what has happened there and elsewhere, he is far from the only one who should be, because tragically many others bear direct or indirect responsibility for what has happened, and it is vitally important that they be identified as such, according to Moscow commentator Igor Eidman.
The reason for that is two-fold. On the one hand, it is too simple to think that Putin alone is guilty of what is happening and that were he not in the Kremlin, everything would be fine. Too many people are complicit. And on the other, those others need to know that they like officials in Nazi Germany who claimed that they were “only following orders” will ultimately discover that that is no defense.
Putin does bear primary responsibility as the author of these crimes and these deaths, Eidman says. But following him are the people in the Russian force structures “who are fulfilling criminal orders which violate the elementary laws of war. Like terrorists, secretly and concealing their citizenship, they are going on the territory of a neighboring state not at war with Russia in order to kill people.”
Then there is blood on the hands of the Russian bureaucracy as a whole, he continues, a group which “in exchange for the right to steal gives their loyalty to their ‘master’ and helps him hold on to power and carry out the war.”
Russian big business, “the so-called oligarchs including the former Yeltsin ‘family,’” also bears responsibility for Mariupol and the other places of crimes committed by Putin in Ukraine. That is because they want to preserve the system under which they profited and are now giving the Kremlin leader “the financial resources for carrying out Putin’s aggressive policy which is suicidal for Russia.”
“The world swallowed the seizure of Crimea and it got the war in the Donbas. If now, in connection with the new attack on Ukraine are not taken extraordinary international measures then a still larger and more bloody war will begin.” The victims of that war “will remain on the conscience of the conformist Western elite.”
There is also blood on the hands of “Russia’s corrupt political class which has discredited in Russia the idea of democracy and thus has opened the way for the coming of a semi-fascist dictatorship. So too there is blood on the hands of the Russian intelligentsia, some of whose members have created “the ideological base for the justification of war” and the promotion of chauvinism.
And ordinary Russians must bear responsibility for these crimes as well. “They are prepared to believe anything broadcast on television if it corresponds to their nationalistic and xenophobic complexes” and to sing praises to Putin, boosting his rating and thus providing him with the kind of support he needs for “the continuation of the war.”
But responsibility for Mariupol does not end at the borders of the Russian Federation, Eidman argues. Former Ukrainian President Yanukovych and his entourage have blood on their hands because they helped Putin unleash a war in the Donbas, a war many of them continue to help promote from their hideouts in Russia or in the war zone itself.
And the blood of the Mariupol victims also on the hands of Putin’s “friends” and “’peacemakers’” in the West because they, sometimes “for selfish reasons and sometimes out of stupidity are helping Putin to avoid punishment for his aggression. By blocking pressure on his regime, they are extending the war.”
“The world swallowed the seizure of Crimea and it got the war in the Donbas,” Eidman points out, and “if now, in connection with the new attack on Ukraine are not taken extraordinary international measures then a still larger and more bloody war will begin.” The victims of that war “will remain on the conscience of the conformist Western elite.”