A gang rape in Ukraine

12 April, 20:58

Source: Facts & Arts

by Alexander J. Motyl

I don’t even know the little girl’s name.

All I do know is what a friend of a friend wrote on Viber: that her relative, a senior nurse in one of Kyiv’s hospitals, “saw in the morgue a child with 20 varieties of sperm on her small body.”

Since this information was conveyed in a private conversation, there is no reason to doubt its veracity. Besides, it is fully consistent with the growing number of reliable reports of Russian atrocities. According to the Office of the General Procurator of Ukraine, 177 children have died in the war and 336 have been wounded. Ukrainian authorities have also begun investigating rapes by Russian soldiers of “women and girls” in Donetsk, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson provinces.

Frankly, I can’t wrap my head around this particular act of savagery.

What kind of persons gang rape a child? How could 20 Russian soldiers be so utterly bereft of any sense of morality as to violate, over and over and over again, a defenseless little girl?

There’s nothing spontaneous about such brutality. It was enacted consciously, with full awareness of who the victim was and who the perpetrators were. The perpetrators may have been drunk, but they could not all have been equally drunk. Some surely were in possession of their wits and purposefully decided to join in the “fun.”

And no doubt about it: the gang rape was certainly perceived as fun by the Russians. A nice way to while away the time, to let off some steam.

Of course, the gang rape was more than that. I would bet that the Russians viewed the child as representing Ukraine, the “Nazi” state they had come to rape and failed. Why not then rape a “Nazi” child—over and over and over again?

I would also bet that some of the rapists believed they were acting with the blessing of Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill. Putin has cultivated a hyper-masculine macho image since coming into office over two decades ago. If the president of Russia can show off his phallic dominance by wielding long guns while posing bare-chested, why can’t a simple Russian soldier do the same with a little girl? And if gorgeous Russian women can sing “I want a man just like Putin,” then the soldiers might have concluded that all women must want to be dominated by men with rifles. And that little girl probably wants a man just like Putin, too….

Kirill, meanwhile, heads a church that openly endorses violence against Ukrainians. One eparchy even printed holy cards that enjoined Russian soldiers to “wipe the Ukrainian nation from the face of the earth.” Those 20 Russians could easily have concluded that they had the church’s go-ahead. Gang rape isn’t exactly the same as wiping all Ukrainians from the face of the earth, but it is a good start, isn’t it? Surely, both Putin and Kirill would approve, wouldn’t they?

Clearly, something is very, very wrong with the “Russian soul.” It was supposed to be mystical, philosophical, self-reflective. Instead, it’s become barbaric, violent, and destructive. The Russian soul needs some serious surgery. Or the trauma of a lost war.

The parallel with the German Geist is all too obvious. The nation of “poets and thinkers” became the nation of “judges and hangmen” in the same way that the nation of Turgenev and Tolstoy has become the nation of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Putin.

Quite appropriately, Putin paid his last respects to the dead Zhirinovsky, a maniacal man with an exterminationist program that made Hitler’s seem moderate by comparison. Putin even crossed himself and bowed before walking away from the coffin—a fitting gesture for a fascist dictator who has formed a satanical alliance with a soulless church and a twisted Russian soul.

Alexander John Motyl is an American historian, political scientist, poet, writer, translator and artist-painter. He is professor of political science at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.