May 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Zelensky: Russians are using Goebbels' Nazi propaganda tactics

Photo of Volodymyr Zelensky speaking into a mic
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky takes questions at a press conference on April 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: John Moore via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Fox News on Wednesday that Russia's attempts to smear him with comparisons to Adolf Hitler are a form of propaganda modeled after Joseph Goebbels' tactics, which indoctrinated German people in antisemitic Nazi ideologies.

Why it matters: Zelensky, who is Jewish, is a regular target of Russian disinformation campaigns. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attempted to justify the comparison to Hitler on Sunday by falsely claiming that Hitler had "Jewish blood" — prompting Israel's government to publicly rebuke him.

  • The Russian government has pushed the false narrative that Ukraine is dominated by Nazis and used it to justify the unprovoked invasion.

What he's saying: "These are the showings of chauvinism and nationalism," Zelensky told Fox News' Griff Jenkins through an interpreter.

  • "They are following the same concept of the Goebbels and using the same methodology, and the reaction I think is to weaken the world to these phrases of Lavrov."
  • He reiterated the need for President Biden to visit Kyiv to witness the atrocities committed in places like Bucha and Borodyanka.
  • "I think it's very important because, you know, in our minds, in our society, the President Biden is the president of the biggest democratic civilization for Ukrainians," he said in English.
  • Zelensky also issued a condemnation to all world leaders, noting that every year on the Holocaust Remembrance Day there is talk of "never again" and yet Ukrainians continue to suffer.

The big picture: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation visited Kyiv and spoke with Zelensky last week amid growing pressure for the U.S. to send high-level officials to Ukraine's capital, after recent visits by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the prime ministers of Spain and Denmark.

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