The Kremlin has been trying to speculate on the West’s guilt over the Second World War. At the same time, it applies Hitler’s methods of war in 2022. We have identified eight parallels between Nazi Germany and modern Russia.
It is not difficult to draw these parallels, as the Kremlin is almost a complete reflection of the past enemy, winning over which has become a source of inexhaustible pride. The first and most obvious parallel is the cult of the leader
The cult of the leader
Generally, almost all dictatorships are alike, but still the topic of the leader cannot be omitted. Putin has actually ruled Russia since 2000, including as the prime minister from 2008 to 2012. There are songs about Putin in Russia. Putin is depicted on murals, streets are named after him, and even monuments to him are erected. Almost every speech by politicians contains words of gratitude or support for Putin.
Putin’s speech in March 2022 at the Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow) was his apotheosis. It reminded a triumph of the Roman emperor: People were given bread and spectacles in honor of the victory. Russia was hoping to soon take control of Kyiv at that time.
In the same speech, Putin declared a war on the national traitors and announced that the Russians would cleanse themselves of them, as these people mentally do not live in Russia. It is noteworthy that the Russian leader used this very term, a “national traitor.”
Such a term has never been used even in the USSR, because both the USSR and the modern Russian Federation consist of many nationalities living on their territories. The term “enemy of the people” was used in the Leninist-Stalinist period. The term “anti-Soviet” was used instead after WW2.
However, the term “national traitor” (Nationalverrater, Volksverrater, Landesverrater) was actively used by Hitler, including in his 1925 book, “Mein Kampf.”
The whole cult of war that now unites the Russians has a sacred symbol – the letter Z, actually semi-swastika. The Russians draw this symbol of the invasion on their tanks, buildings, clothing, billboards, and line themselves in the Z form for a picture.
Note that this is not the official emblem of the Russian Federation, but a symbol of invasion under which Ukrainian cities are bombed and massacre of civilians in the occupied territories is carried out. That is, Z symbolizes support for the war of aggression, not love for the country.
In 2016, the children’s and youth movement “Yunarmy” (YoungArmy) was established in Russia under the Ministry of Defense. Currently, the movement includes 230,000 children aged 8 to 18. Officially, the movement can be joined only by a volunteer, but unofficially all students are enrolled there.
“Yunarmy” not only teaches handling weapons and tactics, but involves kids in the protection of law and order and even in the parades of the Russian army. They have their own uniform and their own reward system.
And of course, during the training, the participants of the movement study history and culture of their native land, being subjected to ideological brainwashing.
During the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry ordered to prepare a report on the possibility of involving 17-18-year-old soldiers of the Army in the war. Similarly, Hitler Youth oldest kids fought in the Nazi German army since 1943.
The exceptionalism of the Russian nation
Russia is actively promoting the concept of the “Russian World” as opposed to “Western values.” According to the propaganda, the “Russian world” is based on a special spirituality, while the West is a fallen society plight by moral decay.
These theses are also promoted by Putin, who has repeatedly pointed out the advantages of the “Russian man.” In particular, in 2018, the President of the Russian Federation noted that “Russia’s enemies will die, and we (the Russians) will go to heaven.” The same thesis is repeated by Russian TV when it threatens a nuclear explosion.
Already after the invasion of 2022, Putin doubted the generally accepted official history of Russia, which recounts that the first statesmen in Russia, the Rurik dynasty, were Normans. According to Putin, Rurik had Russian roots. Interesting, the name Rurik (recorded as Hrørikʀ, an early version of Rodrigo) has never been in use in Russia.
Russian propaganda is also trying to equate the term “Russian” with the term “Slavic”, which is intended to give Moscow the right to exclusive dominance in the Slavic world and to justify the war of aggression.
In 1936, the Nazis held the Olympics in Berlin to prove the superiority of their “Aryan race” over the rest of the world. The Führer himself did not support the idea initially because he was not a fan of sports, but later realized the benefits of this event.
The Kremlin did grasp the idea of the benefits of sports and won the bid for hosting the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. It was purely propagandistic, with the goal to consolidate the notion of the superiority of Russians in the world. Fake it till you make it can be a Russian propagandist’s slogan: The use of doping mandated by sports officials took an unprecedented scale.
As in Germany in 1936, so in Russia in 2014, the hosts won the medal count. However, in the Russian case, it later turned out that Russian athletes were doping, and in order to deceive the Olympic Committee, the FSB helped to falsify the analysis.
Starting the war
Although World War II officially began in 1939, Hitler’s aggression actually took place earlier, when the Nazis occupied Austria and Sudetenland that is now in Czechia. At the same time, Hitler did not recognize the independence of Austria, and formally justified the Anschluss referendum that was held under the barrel of a gun. Nazi Germany justified the annexation of Sudetenland by defending the rights of Germans who lived there.
Next, Hitler used a fabricated incident in Gliwice to attack Poland directly. Where the Poles allegedly attacked Germany. Putin’s Russia did just the same, justifying its aggression against Ukraine. It started with the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of Donbass to protect the Russians. It organized areferendum subsequently. Later it started to claim that Ukraine shelled the border. And now it’s the full-scale invasion.
But the main thing is that in both cases, both the Germans and the Russians held a massive imperial grudge to the world because of an unjust collapse of the empires. In Germany, it is a loss in the First World War. For Russia, it is the collapse of the USSR. It was around this that Hitler united the nation when he created a collective external and internal enemy. Putin is now playing out this scenario, accusing the West of Russia’s problems and those who do not support the Kremlin’s actions in the West.
After the start of the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russians organized filtration camps for those trying to leave the war zone, including civilians in the besieged Mariupol.
Before the evacuation, people are driven to a camp to check whether the person is related to the Ukrainian army or the Ukrainian authorities. It’s not just about the place of work, but also phone contacts, photos and even a tattoo check for Ukrainian symbols. How long the inspection lasts depends only on the Russians, according to the witnesses.
Russians sent those who had not passed the test to regular concentration camps, where they were tortured or killed. The most famous Russian concentration camp is called “Isolation”, established in 2014 in the occupied Donetsk. However, the Russians are already creating new ones, in particular in Vovchansk in the Kharkiv Region.
In addition to concentration camps, Russians are forcing the deportation of people from the occupied territories. In fact, the Russian Federation is blocking green corridors for people to enter the unoccupied territories of Ukraine, and is forcibly taking people to Russia. Most of those people are not resettled in border areas but taken to remote regions.
This way, Russia solves its demographic problems with the help of Ukrainians and finds cheap labor. This is exactly the practice used by the Germans during World War II.
Another crime that the Russians copied from the Nazis is forced blood donation. State Duma deputy Serhiy Leonov proposed to forcibly take blood from Ukrainian POWs, which is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention. The same practice of blood drawing was used by the Germans in Buchenwald for Wehrmacht soldiers.
Despite popular belief, history is not a science of dates and biographies. History is a science of causation. The current war in Europe is the largest since World War II and has virtually the same reasons as the 1939-1945 war. However, the worst thing is that not only the reasons for the war are similar, but also are the methods of its conduct by the aggressor.