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Russian lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill to impose fines on anyone who equates the Soviet Union’s role in World War II with Nazi Germany — a stance they say is necessary to counter the ” calumny” of the Baltic countries.
On the third and final reading of a bill first introduced two days before Moscow invaded Ukraine, fines and jail time were attached to a 2021 law that banned language associating the actions of the USSR to the Germany of Adolf Hitler.
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The bill prohibits comments from the public sphere, the internet or the media that draw parallels between “aims, decisions and actions” of the Soviet leadership under Joseph Stalin and military actions taken under Nazi Germany .
The denial of the “decisive role” the USSR played in Hitler’s defeat is also prohibited.
The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin fought against Nazi occupation and suffered immense losses throughout World War II.
At least 12 million people were killed in Nazi concentration camps while another 30 million deaths were attributed to the war started by Hitler.
But Stalin was also remembered as a brutal dictator with no less than 40 million Soviet deaths under his rule from “unnatural causes”.
Russians could be fined up to 2,000 rubles or arrested for up to 15 days for violating the Kremlin ban. Government officials could be fined 4,000 rubles and companies could pay up to 50,000 rubles.
Fines can more than double for repeat offenders.
“In recent years, ‘experts’ from Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic countries, local ‘political scientists’ have actively slandered the history of World War II,” the Russian parliament said in a statement on Wednesday. “Now the slander is directed against our armed forces, which are fighting for the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.”
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Moscow has repeatedly tried to justify its murderous invasion of Ukraine by falsely claiming that its mission was to “denazify” Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked World War II to assault his invasion more than 40 days ago, when he announced a “special military operation” that would “protect people who for eight years now have been doing in the face of humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the kyiv regime.”
Putin’s comments referred to areas in eastern and southern Ukraine that had been illegally occupied by Russian troops since 2014.
The United States and the United Nations have categorically dismissed Putin’s claims as a falsified pretext to fulfill his desire to overthrow kyiv and establish a puppet regime that would align itself politically with Moscow.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, expressed outrage at Russian attempts to justify Putin’s invasion with allegations of Nazi activity.
Zelenskyy also said that several of his ancestors were killed by the Nazis during World War II.
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