I am not the first to point out that Putin and Hitler have an eerie similarity. The more I see and read on this, the more I am convinced the two are two peas from the same pod. I came across a research paper published in 2012 by F.William Radiff, Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Canadian Air Force, entitled Will Putin Become Russia’s Hitler? This mirrors and reinforces my thinking. Both grew out of devastating losses to their respective countries and yearned for a return of the past. The end of the cold war did not have nearly the consequences of the Versailles Treaty after World War I that reduced Austria and Germany to trivial nations that had no say. Nevertheless, Russia lost in stature, in power, and in land. Germany lost 27,000 square miles, and Austria lost 230,000 square miles. That is approximately the size of Ukraine. Additionally, they were forced to accept all the responsibility for the war and pay reparations. This is despite the fact that Woodrow Wilson promised they would “be lenient” on the losers of the war. There was not one representative of Austria or Germany at Versailles for the discussions. The peace terms were anything but lenient. Woodrow Wilson got the Nobel Prize for his being the architect of peace. The Weimar Republic that ensued was a broken nation from the start, beleaguered by unemployment, terrible inflation, crime, and a worldwide plague. A loaf of bread cost 200,000,000 marks by 1923. Germans and Austrians felt betrayed. Then came the depression. A man came along who promised bread and jobs. Who in their right mind would not follow such a savior. Woodrow Wilson, instead of the Nobel Prize, should have gotten one of the golden raspberry awards for giving the world the most vicious dictator, Adolf Hitler, and destroying a country that acted much like the EU does now, only more efficiently.           

After Yeltsin “westernized” Russia, introducing robber baron Capitalism that raped the public, and made a few super-wealthy people, the Oligarchs. By the time Gorbachev came along with his Perestroika, it was all said and done. Russia was a former shadow of itself in terms of loss of land but also of resources. The economy was in shambles and unemployment was raging, and Russia was behind in everything. The common man in Russia also felt betrayed. In 1998 Russia defaulted on its debts.   Putin, like Hitler, fixed the economy. He won two elections but was prevented from taking a third term because he could only serve two terms constitutionally, but he had himself appointed prime minister. From that position, he changed the Constitution as to how long a President could serve. He now is the sole authoritarian power of the Russian government. The Duma, Russia’s legislative branch, has slowly been disempowered by Putin, and he is now surrounded by sycophantic “yes men.”         

Will the real Nazi please stand up! Nazi is an abbreviation of National Socialism. It requires nationalist and authoritarian elements. Anti-Semitism was indeed part of the Hitlerian Nazi movement. It is, however, not necessarily part of Fascism. Mussolini, for example, was not Anti-Semitic but quite definitely a Fascist. The word, Fascist, is derived from the Latin for a bundle of sticks. A single stick is weak and easily broken, but when held together in a bundle, it is unbreakable. Defining Fascism is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Every Fascistic group has its own definition and elements. They all have totalitarianism, societal regimentation, the superiority of a nation, or a race, leadership by one leader (Führer). Whether we call Putin a Fascist or not, he does what Fascists do. He even talks like one. Just like Hitler, who justified his invasion of Chechoslovakia in 1938 to save Germans (Sudetendeutsch) who he claimed were being mistreated. This included Czech, Silesian, Polish, Moravian, and Slovakian people. Putin is saving Russians from genocide by Ukrainians, sound familiar? One authoritarian leader who has all the power without checks and balances, and has a need to save his people from slaughter is very similar to what Hitler said. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and has feathers, I can be reasonably certain that it too is a duck. Besides, if Putin is a Nazi or a Communist ex-KGB agent, it does not really matter. They both do the same thing, kill innocent people, including women and children, use weapons that indiscriminately wipe out all of life, and have no conscience. Putin is a war criminal and needs to be treated like one. The only reason the world is not swooping in and squashing him is the elephant in the room, nuclear bombs. I am reasonably convinced that if Putin believes he is at risk of losing, he will use them. He would rather be dead than not be Vladimir Putin, and he does not care who goes to hell with him. Insanity works like that.