As you know, Avigdor, we discussed the fact that many world leaders would be staying away from this very historic event, so Israel, I believe, will be represented now, on the 9th of May, by the Minister of Energy and Regional Development, Silvan Shalom, and we have to point out to our listeners that you were very much behind the campaign to ensure that Israel would be represented by some government officials and not just by the ambassador. Now, I suppose many people will be asking you now: are you satisfied? Is this a good conclusion that Silvan Shalom will be representing Israel on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war?
Avigdor Eskin: Since the very beginning, the issue was the terrible red tape in Israel. The Middle Eastern Bureaucracy sometimes can drive you crazy and can drive normal people crazy. So there were some special permits which they had to issue to the President to participate in an event on Saturday without violating Saturday [Shabbat], I mean, is it’s of course a little bit of a headache for the head of the Israeli state but however this was the only reason the whole issue came out, and now after all the talks, they decided to send a very senior minister who most of the time I remember him was Vice Prime Minister, which is a very high ranking for an official, and this way Israel shows that there will be high ranking representation of the Israeli government and we are happy with that. We just strongly believe, again, that we can argue with Russia, we can question many steps of Russia in the Middle East, we can question both actions and motives, but not on May 9th. That day we all have to be together to say again and again thank you for the Red Army, for the Russian people, and also for those people like Churchill and the other allies with us in this battle. I think we just have to go together one day. It won’t harm us at all.
May I ask you, Avigdor, maybe you saw the poll which was conducted for Sputnik by ICM where people were asked who actually was responsible for winning the war. And many people turned to the United States in response. And not to the Soviet Union.
Avigdor Eskin: The people in the United States believe that the world is limited by the United States. And some people who live in Iowa now believe that Iowa is the only place on earth that can possibly do this. But when people start developing, reading history, start traveling, they find out that the world is more beautiful and much bigger than just the State of Iowa, although the state of Iowa is a gorgeous place to live, with a very developed agriculture! Unfortunately this trend of forgetting the real role of Russia in the Second World War was a part of the mood imposed by the Cold War. But guys, hello! We are not in the times of the Cold War anymore. And it would be natural to go back to these [Reset] tactics of President Obama himself when he promised that there will be some [Reset in relations] but this [reset] unfortunately brought us not over some reminisce remnants of the Cold War but back to the Cold War. And this is what is so unfortunate now.
Avigdor, once again, I would like to point out, and I’m sure all of a lot of our listeners are brought to tears hearing this from me, that we can learn so much from history, yet so many people out there are trying to rewrite history at the moment. You surely agree.
Avigdor Eskin: Absolutely. When we are talking about, by the way, Holocaust revisionism is the whole trend on of rewriting history. And when people try to present the worst Nazi criminals, such as Bandera and Shukhevych, as pussy cats of the Second World War with some slight nationalist inclinations. It’s terrible, it’s a disaster. We are talking about the people with blood of hundreds and thousands and millions in their hands. And we should never forgive and never forget. If we forget it, then we give some legitimacy to this. We can find out ourselves again living with the same people. This is the problem, the moment you tolerate it you become surrounded by it. It’s a very dangerous disease, because Nazism gives a certain psychological and almost philosophical approval to the worse worst of what can possibly be found in human beings. I'm talking about sadism, about cruelty, talking about enjoying somebody’s bloodshed…And this is where we have to be very careful that we are not too tolerant towards this.
And who do you think is responsible now for encouraging those young people out there to believe that Nazism is an incredible thing? Because is it’s not only happening in Ukraine, is happening in other places of the world as well.
Avigdor Eskin: Number one is of course the government of Ukraine which gives full legitimacy to it, and even glorifies this. But we have to be honest: the United States government kept a blind eye on this for a long period and they are taking advantage of certain anti-Russian sentiments existing among different European, Eastern European, especially nationalists. And this blind eye is a threat to whole mankind future. You cannot ignore this type of Neo-Nazi trend.
Avigdor, this victory day celebration is it’s a big one, because is the 70th anniversary. And of course, there are going to be far fewer people as we pointed out last week on that special podium on Red Square. Many people will not be attending. What is your reaction to that? What has been the reaction from people in Israel? Because have we’ve got some pretty big names with are not going to be there.
Avigdor Eskin: We can only feel very much hurt by it, because this these people will not celebrate the Victory, not in Moscow, not in London and not in Washington I’m afraid. And this is something when people starts start rewriting history and forgetting the history. Israel has a long memory. This is what it is about. We have a long memory, our whole existence is based in old-time history and we repeated over and over again whether it’s an exit from Egypt, whether it’s destruction of our temple. But our existence is tied up with history and this is what our future is about. And this is how are present presence is assured. Now, the same thing to the rest of the people. You need to have a certain memory and something has to be sacred for you. This victory was a sacred victory: why give it up? It’s something which I wonder and has no answer.
So, let us now look at the general relations between certain countries and Russia at the moment. The media does seem to be certainly making a meal out of the fact that Russia is the bad guy.
Avigdor Eskin: This is the feeling, but the more time passes in Ukraine, the less bitter feelings towards Russia will be discovered, remember my word. Today the people in the West start realizing that the overall situation in Ukraine is a disaster, is corruption, is a glorification of Nazism. Glorification of violence, of the lost human instincts. People in Europe start seen seeing it, realizing it. Well, they didn’t listen to us so much a year ago maybe but today they are much more careful listening to us, they also listen to our problem. They feel that they comprehend and understand that we are doing everything to deliver the truth, not to restrict anything important from public knowledge. And this is the value of our show. We can talk about any issue. And the people of Europe are free people. They have healthy instincts of freedom and dignity. Ukraine is not an example of what they want. Is It’s not how they want to see Europe now!
And let us now see the future of relations between Israel and Russia. For instance, after Victory day now, when Israel will be sending Silvan Shalom. Will this improve the relations?
Avigdor Eskin: I hope so. I hope that there will be other necessary steps taken. We need to talk to Russians about many hot issues in the Middle East. You know, today things change too much. Look how Iran behaves towards the United States. It looks like Iran has no fear of Washington anymore. The way that they operate in Yemen is especially important for us to analyze. They are still very careful with Saudis or some other Arab countries, but Iranians behave very nastily towards United States. This is something I’ve heard of, and they feel that the whole region more or less belongs to them. So in Iranian behavior is very important, the opinion of the Saudis and also Middle East that is a place where there are wars going on. Let us not make any mistakes about it. There is a war in Syria, there is a war in Yemen, there are some places like Iraq where there is a small war, there a places like Iran where people start feeling that they should try to come for the whole region, so is very dangerous.