There are some worrying similarities between the development of post World War One Germany and modern Russia. this article does not want to indicate that Russia will follow in the footsteps of Nazi Germany rather it argues that the examined similarities are a fertile ground for regional and international instability.
Both countries do share a mix of specific similar historical
circumstances such as: their loss of a world power status, their lack of democratic tradition, the rise of nationalism and racism, the reluctance of other nations such as the EU and the USA to act united and decisively against repeated provocations (e.g. Appeasement in the case of Nazi Germany) and a worldwide severe economic crisis. Germany clearly proofed in the 1930’s that this specific mix of events bear a potential threat of a complete social and political radicalisation which subsequently destabilised the entire region and resulted in World War Two.
Even more worrying is the fact that the Russian leadership shows a set of characteristics similar to the characteristics of the Nazi party during the 1930’s in Germany. Both political parties and leaders used effective methods of undermining the established democratic structures that were set in place after the Cold War and the First World War. According to the Economist a third of Russians, after a year of Mr Medvedev’s presidency, feel that Mr Putin is still in charge; only 12% believe that Mr Medvedev has supreme power. Generally it is believed that Putin will return as president (for two six-year terms) when Mr Medvedev’s term expires in 2012. Putin, if not as radical, yet similar to Hitler makes use of an opportunistic aggressive foreign as well as domestic policy that does not hesitate to use force and follows two specific goals. The first goal is to retain and increase his domestic political power. The second goal is reclaim Russia righteous place in the international community and return to world power status. A good example is the ideological military parade on Red Square on 9th of May. Rather than traditionally celebrating the end of the Second World War’s, the parade was used as a propaganda symbol that stand for Russia’s readiness to engade into a new fight. Medvedev made a clear indication of this by refereeing in his 9th of May speech to Georgia saying that “among the descendants of war heroes marching in the square are those who in actual battle have demonstrated the great fighting efficiency of the modern Russian army.”
There countless other similarities between Germany in the 1930’s and Russia today such as; rewriting history books, blaming others for the domestic economic situation, using racism for political means, unofficially allowing the use of repression and violence against political opposition, etc. Obviously, compared to Putin and his party, Hitler and the Nazi Party acted, in times of a very unstable international environment, in a much bolder, more radical and extremer fashion, nevertheless, the basic motivation and approach of the political actions remain in both countries very similar and is too dangerous to be ignored by the world community in the long-term.