The gloating began just days after the missiles began falling on Ukraine. “Get ready for Nuremberg 2.0,” one former Russian diplomat wrote in a WhatsApp message. Vladimir Putin’s invasion to “denazify” the country has always pointed toward a purge and show trials. Now Moscow may seize on that chance.
As Russia holds hundreds of prisoners from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, its proxies in east Ukraine have floated the idea of holding a “military tribunal” inspired by Nuremberg that observers say would reflect a mass show trial meant to justify Russia’s invasion to the world.
“We are planning to organise an international tribunal on the republic’s territory,” said Denis Pushilin, the leader of a Russian-controlled territory in the Donetsk region. A model could be the Kharkiv trial of 1943, he said, when the Soviet military tried, convicted and executed three Germans and one Ukrainian by hanging. One key audience was the world press. Photos of the hangings were printed in Life magazine.