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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: May 12, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Teenage Girl under Criminal Investigation for Pro-Nazi Comment on Social Media
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The Investigative Committee announced a case today of a criminal investigation into a teenager's pro-Nazi comment on social media (translation by The Interpreter):

A criminal case has been opened in Astrakhan Region regarding a juvenile local resident who posted commentary on a social network which allegedly approved the invasion by German forces of the territory of Poland on September 1, 1939, which became the start of World War II.

The name of the 16-year-old minor is not given under Russian law. The notice says the suspect is a girl who used her personal computer at home to place a picture of German soldiers during WWII on her personal page and appeared to place positive commentary under the picture despite the fact that "the invasion of German forces on the territory of Poland is recognized by the International War Tribunal [Nuremberg] as a crime."

The case is being investigated under a Russian anti-Nazi law, Art. 354-1, part 1 of the Criminal Code, "approval of crimes established by the sentence of the International War Tribunal for the trial and publishment of main war criminals of the European countries of the Axis, committed publicly."

The case is interesting because it acknowledges the Western view of the start of World War II as the invasion of Poland. Traditionally, the Soviet government and now Russian government have officially acknowledge the start of the war in June 1941 with the Nazi invasion of Russia.

It also indicatives the efforts of Russian officials to make an object lesson about what is and isn't to be condemned about the war, and to discourage neo-Nazism among youth even as adults in the Kremlin make common cause with Europe's far-right.

In August 1939, the Soviet Union concluded the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, named for the Soviet and German foreign ministers of that era, which enabled both the Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland and later the Baltic occupations and the division of Eastern Europe. Putin recently expressed support for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which has always been condemned in the West, with the claim that it was the only option for the Soviets at the time. This is a disturbing justification, as Paul Goble points out today in a post about a call by a Russian commentator for "preventive occupation" of the Baltic states.

As the blogger Andrei Malgin quipped about the case:

Why isn't a criminal case opened against Putin who recently approved the parallel invasion of Poland by Soviet forces, which also started World War II?

Obviously that won't happen, and in part it's because there was never an analogue to the Nuremberg Tribunal to try the Soviet Union's mass crimes against humanity under communism.

 -- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick