Putin’s puppets who speak of genocide calmly and coolly

Pavel Gubarev, center, surrounded by pro-Russian fighters, speaks before taking the oath of allegiance to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, in Lenin Square in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on June 21, 2014. [AP | Evgeniy Maloletka]

It’s easy to forget thatVladimir Putin isn’t the only genocidaire in Russia. Although the recently deceased Vladimir Zhirinovsky made a career of expressing outrageously candid remarks about dropping nuclear weapons on Russia’s neighbors and the West, there are, alas, many more bloodthirsty madmen in Putin’s crumbling realm.

One of the most distinguished members of this club is Pavel Gubarev, a leading pro-Russia separatist in the Donbas. In a recent video statementabout Russia’s plans for Ukrainians, he intoned: “They are Russian people who are possessed by the devil. We aren’t coming to kill them, but we want to convince them. But if you don’t want to be convinced by us, then we’ll kill you. We’ll kill as many as is necessary: 1 million, 5 million, or exterminate all of you. Until you understand that you are possessed and need to be cured.”

Like Putin, Gubarev directs most of his venom at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “And the person who is most possessed is that Zelensky. He is the devil’s spawn. He is Hitler 2.0 with his rabid nationalism and his rabid Russophobia… .”

Strong stuff, this — and crazy, too. Gubarev really uses the Russian words for kill (ubit’) and exterminate (istrebit’). He’s not speaking metaphorically. He’s evidently dead serious that Ukrainians must be physically destroyed. And he believes that Zelensky, like Adolf Hitler, must be wiped off the face of the earth. No matter that Zelensky is Jewish, that his family survived the Holocaust, and that his policies are both liberal and democratic.

But liberalism apparently is what rubs Gubarev the wrong way. As he goes on to state, Ukrainians are “Satanists,” as well as “anti-systemic liberal consumers” and “stupid people who can’t figure out what’s going on.”

If you think none of this makes any sense, you’re not alone. But Gubarev’s unhinged ravings are all the scarier because they typify the historical, political and cultural nonsense that passes for Russian official discourse in the age of Putin. Former Russian president and prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, also talks as if logic and veracity had no place in human speech. And Putin’s propagandists —