History Doesn’t Repeat Itself In This Case, as Zelenskyy Is Not Hitler
It is not the first time to see narratives on social networks about Ukraine being fascist and Nazi country, that Nazism (Neo-Nazism) is being glorified there and that Zelenskyy himself is a Nazi. All this is done to justify the Russian aggression on a sovereign country going on for more than a year
We are fact-checking a post on Facebook (screenshot here) comparing the Nazi leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and emphasizing that “history repeats itself”.
The post is sharing two photographs. One dates back to 1933, showing Adolf Hitler greeting Alberto Vassallo di Torregrossa, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bavaria on the occasion of the Day of German Art in Munich.
The second photograph is of the recent meeting between Zelenskyy and Pope Francis.
Claiming that history repeats itself and drawing a parallel between Zelenskyy and Hitler is a classical spin in Russian propaganda’s spirit.
Conspiracy theorists and Russian propagandists are constantly trying to portray the Ukrainian President as a Neo Nazi and Nazi supporter, although Zelenskyy is a Jew and three his grandfather’s brothers were killed in the Holocaust.
On one occasion, commenting on these accusations, Zelenskyy stated that Moscow ”following the same concept of Goebbels and they are using the same methodology” in an attempt to justify the war against Ukraine.
It is not the first time to see narratives on social networks about Ukraine being а fascist and Nazi country, that Nazism (Neo-Nazism) is being glorified there and that Zelenskyy himself is a Nazi. All this is done to justify the Russian aggression on a sovereign country going on for more than a year.
Truthmeter covered this topic when Zelenskyy – manipulatively and without any ground – was compared with Hitler. Also, a photograph was being shared, in which, allegedly, he is holding a football shirt with a swastika. AFP fact-checkers proved that the photograph shared was digitally altered and that the image of Zelenskyy was an edited photo.
A photograph that looked as if taken at a wedding with the newlyweds simulating a Nazi salute, with the Ukrainian flag in the background, was also shared. But the fact-check of the photograph has shown that the photograph with wedding guests simulating a Nazi salute was not taken in Ukraine, but in Russia.
The “Neo-Nazi” narrative was initiated at the end of February 2022 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said that the Ukrainian leadership consists of Neo-Nazis. Starting his “special operation” in Ukraine, Putin, inter alia, found justification in the act of “denazification” of this country.
Using the term “denazification” in connection with Ukraine is completely wrong, deems the political scientist Andreas Umland from the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS). He stresses the fact that the current Ukrainian President is a Jew who won against a non-Jew candidate on the last elections.
Umland reminds that extreme right-wing forces are present in Ukraine, but they are weak compared to those in other European countries.
On the last elections, the extreme right wing United Front won only 2,15 percent of the votes, Umland points out.
A military unit with an extreme right-wing background, active in the beginning of the conflict in Donbas, was also criticized. That group, however – according to Umland – was integrated within the current units of the National Guard. Experts conclude that the extreme right-wing groups in Ukraine are of minor significance.
As a reminder, Ukraine banned the promotion of Nazism back in 2015.
Hence, the conclusion is that there is no connection between Zelenskyy and Hitler and under no circumstances can he be compared with the German Nazi leader. Such comparisons are part of the Russian propaganda imposed by the leadership of Russia to justify the military aggression against Ukraine. Therefore, we assess the post fact-checked as a manipulation that abuses the context in which the shared photographs were taken, for the purpose of sending out a wrong and false message.