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German EU official uses racist rhetoric claiming Russians don’t value life

A German EU official claimed Russians don’t value human life and thus aren’t Europeans. The ex NATO researcher was echoing a centuries-old colonialist trope used to justify genocide of Indigenous peoples, US war on Vietnam, and Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Florence Gaub EU German Russians dont value life

(Se puede leer este artículo en español aquí.)


A European Union official has used racist rhetoric to dehumanize Russians, claiming they don’t value human life, and are therefore not Europeans.

The fact that the EU official is German is also eyebrow-raising, considering the country’s fascist history and genocidal attacks on Russians.

Florence Gaub is deputy director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), which describes itself as “the Union’s agency dealing with the analysis of foreign, security and defence policy issues.”

Gaub has also served as a researcher at the NATO Defense College, and has taught at numerous prestigious European universities. She currently works with the World Economic Forum (WEF), a corporate-backed neoliberal lobby group.

On April 12, Gaub was invited on to Germany’s state media outlet ZDF, to discuss the Ukraine war on its top news program Heute, hosted by prominent journalist Markus Lanz.

She used this large platform to launch a racist rant essentially claiming that the Russian people are uncivilized non-Europeans who don’t care about human life.

“We should not forget, even if Russians look European, they are not European, in a cultural sense,” Gaub declared in the German-language interview.

“They [Russians] think differently about violence or death,” the EU official continued. “They have no concept of a liberal, post-modern life, a concept of life that each individual can choose. Instead, life simply can end early with death.”

To try to justify her bigoted views, Gaub said that “Russian life expectancy is quite low, as you know. It is 70 for men.”

She failed to explain that Russians had a healthy life expectancy under socialism in the Soviet Union, but after the United States and Western Europe overthrew the USSR from 1989 to 1991, they imposed brutal capitalist “shock therapy” on Russia that caused life expectancy to fall precipitously.

A 2001 UNICEF report found that the grueling capitalist reforms forced on Russia in the 1990s caused 3.2 million excess deaths, leading life expectancy for men to drop by six years.

In this period of Western-imposed mass privatizations and free market fundamentalism, 18 million Russian children were pushed into poverty. Over one-third of the population lived in poverty, with mass unemployment. There were high levels of child malnutrition, and a steep increase in HIV and tuberculosis cases.

The Russian Federation was not able to get back to the level of life expectancy it had had under socialism in the Soviet Union in 1989 until 22 years later, in 2011.

In other words, it took Russia two decades to recover from the devastating economic attack waged on it by the Western powers.

Russian male life expectancy graph Soviet Union

A graph of Russian male life expectancy shows it precipitously fell after the overthrow of the Soviet Union

In her racist rant, Florence Gaub, the German European Union official, conveniently failed to mention that life expectancy is even lower today in Ukraine than it is in Russia.

Ukraine’s post-Soviet regime also suffered from the capitalist shock therapy imposed on it in the 1990s, although not quite as badly as Russia. Despite this, Russia’s life expectancy surpassed that of Ukraine in 2015.

(For context, Cuba has a higher life expectancy than the United States, despite the fact that Cuba is a relatively poor, formerly colonized country that has been under an illegal US economic blockade for more than 60 years.)

life expectancy Russia Ukraine

Despite these disparities, Gaub claims Russia is the country that does not value human life, not Ukraine.

Many Western government officials likewise insist that Ukraine is a model of “democracy,” despite the fact that the authoritarian regime in Kiev banned communist parties and left-wing symbols, arrested elected opposition lawmakers, and shut down critical media outlets long before Russia invaded in February 2022, and have since prohibited another dozen opposition parties.

Western colonialists’ long history of claiming their victims don’t value human life

Instead of addressing any of this historical context, the EU’s Florence Gaub chose to use racist rhetoric and claim that the political conflict in Ukraine is a product of Russian culture, that Russians simply don’t value life.

“That is why they treat death differently, people simply die,” she claimed.

The notion that a population targeted by Western imperialist powers supposedly doesn’t care about human life is a centuries-old colonial trope.

‘They don’t value life’: How the US empire dehumanizes its victims, from Indigenous genocide to Vietnam to Palestine

European settlers claimed Native Americans did not value human life to try to justify their genocidal colonization of the Americas.

The US Declaration of Independence itself echoes this racist rhetoric about “the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

To justify Washington’s decades-long war on Vietnam, which led up to to 3.8 million deaths, top US General William Westmoreland similarly claimed, “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner… Life is plentiful; life is cheap in the Orient. The philosophy of the Orient expresses that life is not important.”

Today, officials from the Israeli apartheid regime frequently dehumanize indigenous Palestinians by claiming they don’t value life.

US politicians make the same racist comments about the Chinese, to justify Washington’s new cold war on Beijing.

Now German militarists are rehashing this racist rhetoric to accelerate the new cold war on Russia.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Sally J Akers

    2022-04-20 at 17:01

    I am shocked and appalled by the level of racism germand still exhibit today. They learned nothing from WW2

  2. Severi Jokinen

    2022-04-22 at 12:34

    Obviously these people would say the same about Europeans who lived in the Medieval and Classical Ages, right? Dying at a young age was much more common back then, so people thought less of it. That’s also why people were more interested in the afterlife…

    What am I talking about? Western chauvinists would consider medieval peasants deplorable and dumb, because they have no sense of the impact of material reality.

  3. Wes Tiller

    2022-04-22 at 15:57

    Keep exposing dumb NATO broads/frauds like this one Ben!

  4. James Simpson

    2022-04-23 at 02:38

    Whilst certainly it is true that this German official is reflecting common imperialist attitudes towards the people they rule, the life expectancy of the USSR was no good example. From the graph provided, it was around 61.5 years in 1980. The last time it was at that point in the UK was 1935 and it currently stands at about 81 years from birth. For Russians, it is around 72 years.

    • Marcus

      2022-06-01 at 15:32

      Life expectancy has to be calculated as an aggregate number that defines the average expectrncy of each generation from birth to death .In 1940-45 27 million Russian men women and children were annihilated in a war of aggresion started by Germany, with support from France Britain and the US.in 1980 it was precisely that generation affecting life expectancy statistic the most..Your assumptions about the Soviet Union are probably all as wrong as this one

  5. Ales

    2022-04-23 at 04:31

    I live in Germany for almost 40 years now, but I don’t remember such a level of rassism and mindless bigotry being exposed on television. I feel a bit sorry for Markus Lanz, who is usually not horrible and probably had quite a “OMG” moment there. But maybe he should stop inviting crazy people. She has a reputation and quite “war fetish” that always looked out of place in Germany.

  6. JonnyJames

    2022-04-24 at 14:16

    Historical irony is here by the truckload.

    Sorry to be insensitive and sarcastic, but it seems appropriate here: perhaps Frau Gaub would like to see the Russian people eliminated in the new “drang nach Osten” to create some “Lebensraum” for the “racially superior” EU Germanic types?

    She and her colleagues want to Expand the NATO Reich in order to save “Western Civilisation” (whatever that means).

    The Russian “uentermenschen” do not value life like we in “the West” do. Has anybody over at the EU ever cracked open a history book?

    • Marcus

      2022-06-01 at 15:37

      A history book ?Have you read any of the “history written in the west in the last 30 years ? They may as well be marvel comic books

  7. Serge

    2022-04-26 at 16:16

    As a Russian, I was literally shocked by this arrogant and ignorant rhetoric. I am glad to see that intelligent people here also find this message disturbing.

  8. Marcus

    2022-06-01 at 15:35

    Another NATO-nazi ..Its looking like Russia will probably have to demilitarize and de-nazify Germany again

  9. Vasilik

    2022-11-18 at 20:58

    When it comes to violence and death Russians have really a total different attitude from Germans. It weren’t they who waged two bloody world wars in which millions died, nor did they call for the annhilation of the subhuman Slavs like her nazi ancestors did to the population of the Soviet Union, nor has Russia invented mass murder in industrial scale in gas chambers. Definitely Russians are other sort of people. They saved Europe from people with her same racist and hateful mindset and Europe has never forgiven the milions of brave soldiers of the Red Army for having defeated nazism which they are now enthusiastically supporting in fascist Ukraine.

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