Putin left red-faced over embarrassing Japan joke
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In his sick comments, Russian television presenter Vladimir Soloviev spun a line which conforms with Moscow’s claim its war in Ukraine is being waged against Nazism. Mr Soloviev said: “In Soviet Labour camps, they knew your name and under which law you were imprisoned. You were an individual. In German concentration camps, you had no individuality.”
He added: “The goal of the Soviet camps was to re-educate. Whatever you want to make of it. A German concentration camp, a European concentration camp, had the goal of destroying you as a person and then to break you down into parts.”
The remarks made by the anchor of TV show Evening with Vladimir Solovyov are all the more bizarre for appearing to downplay the mass murder of six million Jews and millions of others during the Holocaust.
Mr Soloviev said: “Now, the descendants of the Nazi idea in Europe talk about us as orcs. Speak of us as citizens of Russia all of whom should be held responsible. They’re walking down the same path.
“They don’t see us as individuals. They don’t see us as people. Dehumanisation. Denial of our right to be ourselves. That is the main difference between us and them.
“Ukraine, diseased with Nazism, does not see us as people. For them we are orcs, Rashists, but nonetheless we still pity them.
“We still consider them ours but lost, with their heads not screwed on properly. We hate the sin but not the sinner. That is why we will win. Because we see the people, we are fighting for their souls.”
About 1.6 million people died in Stalin’s labour camps, according to research carried out by author Steven Barnes.
Eighteen million people passed through the camps, which are collectively known as the Gulag.
A leading Russian propagandist, Mr Soloviev is on the EU’s sanctions list.
In the first weeks of the war, he used his platform to rage against the seizure of two villas he owned in Italy.
Italian police said they seized the properties after Mr Soloviev and other oligarchs were placed on the sanctions list.
In April, the wall of one villa was daubed with spray-paint while red paint was also poured into the water of its swimming pool.
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Graffiti on a wall outside the entrance to one villa reportedly read “Killer” and “No war”.
According to the Daily Beast, Mr Soloviev griped on his TV show when the sanctions were imposed: “All of a sudden, now they say: Are you Russian? Then we will close your bank account if it’s in Europe. And if it’s in England, you’re allowed to keep no more than a certain amount there. Why? Because you’re Russian.”
US Sate Department sanctions coordinator James O’Brien said last week Russia is trying but failing to by-pass Western sanctions on high-tech equipment needed for military equipment.
The UK, European Union, United States, Canada and Japan and have imposed a slew of sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine, blocking Russia’s access to its own foreign exchange reserves, to financial markets and cutting edge, western technology.
Mr O’Brien told reporters during a visit to Brussels for talks with European Union officials: “We see sanctions as working.
“We know Russia is trying to obtain equipment and finance. We don’t think it’s doing well.”
“We see a lot of substitution of lower-quality items: consumer-grade electronics for military-grade targeting and communications equipment,” he said. “If they want to try to use it for a purpose it’s not intended for, that’s great do-it-yourself, but not a way to run a modern armed conflict or an economy.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the West’s economic “blitzkrieg” has failed, although he has admitted damage has been done to the country’s £1.5trillion economy.
He said the West would seek to pile more pressure on Moscow in the coming months by closing off potential loopholes in the sanctions regime with a particular focus on “choke points” in the Russian economy.
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