This article exposes the political underpinnings of the term “genocide of the Soviet people,” introduced and actively promoted in Russia since 2019. By reclassifying mass crimes committed by the Nazis and their accomplices against the civilian population—specifically Slavic—as genocide, Russian courts effectively engage in adjudication of the history of the Second World War. In the process, genocide trials, ongoing in twenty-five Russian provinces and five occupied Ukrainian territories, present no new evidence or issue new indictments, thus fulfilling none of the objectives of a standard criminal investigation. The wording of the verdicts, and a comprehensive political project put in place to promote it, suggests three main objectives behind the novel genocide of the Soviet people trope, absolving the Soviet Union of responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War, counterbalancing the efforts of the Ukrainian government to seek international recognition of Holodomor as an act of genocide, and drawing a parallel between Nazi crimes and those ascribed to “Ukrainian neo-Nazis.” Russian genocide trials are a crass example of sham justice and a manifestation of lawfare.

First Page


Last Page




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License