Home Tom H. Hastings: TrumPutin horror show

Tom H. Hastings: TrumPutin horror show

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“You will not replace us!”–tiki torch MAGA marchers in Charlottesville, Aug. 11, 2017

The psychological phenomenon known as projection is nowhere as glaring as with white nationalists, most of whom are direct descendants of people who invaded and occupied someone else’s land, replacing the original people. Projecting onto refugees the idea that they would do what white nationalists have already done is a sad but predictable social psychological condition.

The “replacement” affinity between autocrat Vladimir Putin and wannabe dictator Trump is fascinating, in a horror movie sort of way.

Where Trump followers bellow about their Great Replacement conspiracy, Putin makes a habit out of doing just that to places he is trying to add back to his Russian empire. He is following the normal Russian empire pattern. Replace the original culture with Russian language, culture, and “history.”

It was how it worked during the Czarist era and then the Soviet era. The Bolsheviks overthrew the czar but instead of ending empire, they radically expanded it by creating Soviet socialist republics and then, true to Russian imperial form, began to russify them.

The Russians in control of the Soviet empire sent Russian settlers into Ukraine, the Baltic states, and into pretty much all central Asian and Baltic Soviet republics. That is why there are so many Russian speakers in Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, etc. They were settlers dispatched to russify, to turn erstwhile sovereign nations into a part of Russia, obliterating as much of the original identities as possible.

Of course this preceded Putin, and even preceded the Soviet Union. During and after the Russian empire (1721-1917) all manner of imperial shenanigans created the russification template. When, for example, Finland was subsumed into the Russian empire the goal was to erase the Finnish language, and replace it with Russian, intensifying that in 1900-1902.

Instead, even before Gandhi began his nonviolent campaigns, Finns resisted russification with nonviolence, including a general strike, and succeeded. From Britannica: “Thus, from having one of Europe’s most unrepresentative political systems, Finland had, at one stroke, acquired the most modern.”

This has also been the story, of course, in Ukraine all along.

This is also as old as imperialism, colonialism, and it is against the law.

So the irony of Trump’s fawning support of dictator Putin, coupled with the fright demonstrated by Trump’s MAGAts when they clamor to shut down all immigration by people of color, is stark. Even if the white ancestors of MAGAts arrived in the US long after the tribes were all pushed onto reservations the long attempts at “Americanizing” tribal people continued.

Losing the land is just one step in the sequence of the notorious assimilation of indigenous peoples in the US–“Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”–Captain Richard Henry Pratt, 1892, on “Indian education.”

How ironic that Putin is overseeing the kidnapping of Ukrainian children in order to russify them–kill the Ukrainian in these children and save them as Russians– and he is clearly imposing his will on Trump and those who follow Trump. While any peace person would oppose military aid to Ukraine, the far right members of Congress–MAGAts every one–do not oppose violence or military might at all, but they are helping Putin by opposing US aid to Ukraine.

Putin is stealing Ukrainian children to russify them and the “Freedom Caucus” supports him. Isn’t that something? There is an arrest warrant on Putin–an extraordinary measure–for his arrest by Interpol expressly for snatching Ukrainian children, and yet Jim Jordan and his ilk support Putin by denying aid to Ukraine.

Let’s at least see these people for who they are, enemies of freedom, attackers of democracy, friends to dictators. From Trump all the way down to Boebert and Greene, these are enemies of freedom.

Dr. Tom H. HastingsPeaceVoice Senior Editor, is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University.



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