Russian soldiers have wished Hitler a happy birthday and described him as a “comrade and a friend”.
Two Russian soldiers posed for a picture in front of a military van emblazoned with the letter “Z”, a symbol used for the war in Ukraine. The windscreen of the truck also bore the number 88, a white supremacist numerical code for “Heil Hitler”.
In a post yesterday on Govorit TopaZ, a pro-Kremlin Telegram channel with almost 70,000 subscribers, the soldiers talked about how they had been inspired by Nazi ethno-nationalist ideology.
Without directly naming Hitler, the two men, carrying assault rifles and wearing military fatigues, made clear who it was they were talking about.
“Today is the birthday of our comrade and friend, who has become an example to many of us, despite his old age,” they wrote. “He taught us to love our motherland and never to fear the enemy, no matter how strong he may be. He taught us to fight for our native lands, which have belonged to our people throughout history.
“Even though he has not been with us for a long time, his work and his words live on in our hearts and inspire us to kill Ukro-Bolshevik dirt and magnify the glory of great Russia.”
Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.
President Putin has demanded the “denazification” of Ukraine and has equated the Russian invasion with the Soviet Union’s war against Nazi Germany, known as the Great Patriotic War. Russian state TV has emphasised the links between the Azov Battalion, an infantry regiment based in Mariupol, and the Ukrainian far-right.
Just a few days before the Russian soldiers wished Hitler a happy birthday, a post on the same Telegram channel described Ukrainian soldiers as “Nazi beasts”.