Article by: Paul A. Goble
Many commentators in Moscow and the West see parallels between Vladimir Putin’s regime and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi one – its authoritarianism, its attacks on minorities and its pursuit of Lebensraum for “the Russian world.” But Igor Eidman takes the next step and draws specific parallels between Nazi figures and Russian ones.
By doing so, the Moscow commentator shows both the numerous ways in which the leaders of Putin’s “Reich” resemble those of Hitler’s and also the equally numerous ways in which the current regime is only a pale reflection of the one defeated in 1945 and tried at Nuremberg.
But perhaps the most important conclusions his article suggests are two that he does not draw. On the one hand, his listing shows just how large a number of senior officials are involved in the policies of the Putin regime. And on the other, it indicates that the departure of Putin from office would hardly be enough to prevent a recurrence.
Instead, what would be needed is another update from the past: the de-Putinization of Russia lest the next tier of leaders lead to its metastasis under one of them.
Among the Russian equivalents to Nazi figures Eidman suggests are: Kabayeva as “our ‘Eva Braun,’” Surkov as Goebbels, Shoygu as Keitel, Bastrykin as Himmler, Sechin as Bormann, Medvedev as Goering, Lavrov as Ribbentrop, the FSB as the Gestapo, and the Russian Defense Ministry as the German Wehrmacht.
But besides these parallels, there are some very important differences, Eidman writes. The FSB-Gestapo “in general seeks not enemies of the Reich but rather is a racket” which is seeking to pocket as much in corrupt cash as it can. And the Defense Ministry-Wehrmacht is prepared to sell off military equipment and cash in as well.
Moreover, he continues, “Every one of our ‘Reich ministers’ or SS Gruppenfuehrers-FSB officers has a house in London or a villa in Cannes. And the ‘Gauleiters’ (governors) in general have ceased thinking about the interests of the Reich.”
“And where is ‘the Fuhrer’s concern about Germans’ (that is, Russians)? Where are the new autobahns, ‘strength through joy,’ inexpensive housing and cruises for workers?” None of that is present because “all our successes are in the sphere of propaganda” rather than reality. In that, Putin’s Russia has left Goebbels’ Germany in the dust.
But underneath those differences there are fundamental commonalities, Eidman says. “The main thing is this: Our Reich also wants to take revenge for defeat in war, in this case in the Cold War.” It too wants “Lebensraum” and is “successfully” pursuing that idea via the Russian world idea.
The Putin regime has united “’our ‘Austria’ (Crimea),” it has dismembered our ‘Czechoslovakia (Ukraine),” and like the regime of which it is a dim mirror, its leaders may ultimately stand in judgment before the world via “our” very own Nuremberg trial.