Russia announces first International Anti-Fascist Congress
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced plans to host the first International Anti-Fascist Congress.
Shoigu told reporters about the new event on Tuesday, saying it would be held in August, in conjunction with the “Army-22” international military technology forum near Moscow. The initiative is meant to “unite the efforts of the international community in the fight against the ideology of Nazism, neo-Nazism in any form of its manifestation in the modern world,” he said.
Russia is calling attention to its anti-fascism agenda at a time when it’s attacking Ukraine, which it claims is partly down to a desire to “denazify” the former Soviet republic.
“Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine,” President Vladimir Putin said last week, announcing the military operation against Kiev.
While the US and other NATO members have accused Russia of citing false pretexts to justify an “unnecessary war” in Ukraine, Moscow has argued that Western leaders are supporting neo-Nazis in the country. An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens were killed during World War II, primarily by Nazi Germany. Modern-day Ukraine has embraced a number of WWII Nazi collaborators – including Stepan Bandera – as national heroes.
Delegations from 129 countries have reportedly been invited to attend the military forum. It’s not clear how much international participation the Anti-Fascist Congress will attract, at a time when the US and its allies are calling on countries around the world to punish and isolate Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.