What's Next, Nazi-Style Book Burning? West's 'Cancel Russia' Effort is Morally Insane, Scholars Say
20:22 GMT 04.03.2022 (Updated: 10:47 GMT 05.03.2022)
Sanctions against Russia over the Kremlin’s special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine are reportedly now accompanied by Russophobic hysteria, with children bullied, churches vandalized, sportsmen ostracized, and high-profile musicians sacked in developed Western states because they are ‘Russian.’ Can a "cancel Russia" effort succeed?
"'Canceling' any country and its people, let alone one the size of Russia, is a ridiculous proposition, at least in our modern era," says Joe Quinn, an author and political analyst. "Such attempts, which come primarily from the governments of the US and Europe, are merely evidence of the feelings of impotence and anger that the leaders of those countries feel in the face of Russia standing up for its security and that of its people, and the West's inability to do anything about it."
Reports of inflammatory rhetoric and anti-Russian actions have kept coming over this week. Norway's Anti-Racist Centre said it had received reports of abuse of Russian children in Norway, while a Russian Orthodox Church was vandalised in Calgary, Canada. Famous Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was forced to resign from the Munich Philharmonic orchestra after he refused to publicly condemn Russia over the Kremlin’s special military operation in Ukraine.
© WANG ZHAOA paralympic athlete crosses the finish line during a training session for the men's downhill sitting event at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games on March 3, 2022.
A paralympic athlete crosses the finish line during a training session for the men's downhill sitting event at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre in Yanqing ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games on March 3, 2022.
© WANG ZHAO
Earlier this week, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from its Games, citing the threat of a boycott from other countries. CCM Hockey, the iconic Canadian ice hockey equipment brand, stopped using Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and other Russian NHL players in its global marketing initiatives.
The so-called ‘cancel Russia’ effort took a surreal turn on Thursday, when cats born on Russian soil were barred from international competitions by the International Feline Federation (FIFe). In a similar vein, the Turgenev Oak, planted according to a legend by famous Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, was banned from the "European Tree of the Year – 2022" competition over the Russian special operation.
The University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, went further by making an attempt to remove the iconic Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky from its syllabus, but backpedaled on its decision following a storm of criticism in Italian social media.
"Banning Russia from international sporting and cultural events and gatherings is a childish and pointless response to Russian actions in Ukraine," states Quinn. "It is also clear evidence of Western populations' profound ignorance about global geopolitics and their absolutely misguided faith in Western media and government messaging."
"Ignorant people, weaponised by governments against the people of other nations, can be very dangerous," Quinn added, suggesting that the "lessons of Nazi Germany are more salient now than ever before."
© AP Photo / Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service / In this Thursday, May 5, 2016 photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, right, leads a performance by the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra from St. Petersburg, during the concert at the UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra, the central city of Homs, Syria
In this Thursday, May 5, 2016 photo provided by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, right, leads a performance by the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra from St. Petersburg, during the concert at the UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra, the central city of Homs, Syria
© AP Photo / Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service /
"I was terrified when I discovered the first expressions of anti-Russian hysteria in the Western countries and in my own country, Switzerland. But not really surprised," says Guy Mettan, a Swiss politician and journalist, and a former executive director of the Geneva Press Club. "For a dozen years, I have seen the growing vilification of Russia among the Western media, academics, NGOs and officials. For many years, everything done, or supposedly done, by Russia and the Russian people has been systematically presented as an expression of evil. All the demands or concerns expressed by Russia, even the most legitimate, have been distorted or turned down with disdain."
According to Mettan, it's normal that people in the West have different opinions or express opposition to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. "That’s freedom of thought," he notes.
"Irrational hatred" for Russian culture, Russian artists and musicians, Russian disabled persons, Russian cats, Russian professional colleagues and partners, however, "is morally and humanly insane," according to the Swiss politician.
"What are the next steps?" Mettan asks. "The auto-da-fés of the books of Pushkin and Dostoevsky? The banning of Tchaikovsky and Swan Lake? The burning of Russian shops and churches? For me, such behaviors are the negation of all the so-called 'Western values' that the West pretends to defend."
What is presently happening in the West indicates the collapse of the concepts of "open society' and "inclusiveness," according to the politician.
The present situation again shows that concepts of open society and inclusiveness have been turned into "psychological tools of ideological subversion, most frequently used abroad by the US and allies to undermine populations and governments of countries that do not accept the concept of American and Western exceptionalism," asserts Quinn.
Time will tell how the ongoing hysteria will pan out, according to observers. However, it has shown that much remains to be done to create a world in which security, prosperity, rights and dignity in every nation will be safeguarded on a more equitable base from attack, Mettan concludes.