Kremlin propagandist equalizes the European Union and Hitler’s Nazis
Serbian portals Informer and Espreso fully transmit the text of “Russian World” Fund Director Vyacheslav Nikonov, in which he expresses a revisionist view of the international and European history during World War II.
These two tabloids use sensationalist headlines to impose Nikonov’s problematic and inaccurate interpretations on their readers. The headline in Informer, for example, reads: “SERBIA, think! There is no country in the EU that did not belong to or was subjected to, Hitler’s coalition! The brutal truth that they WISH TO HIDE NO MATTER THE COST! (SRBIJIO, PRST NA ČELO! U EU NEMA NI JEDNE ZEMLJE KOJA NIJE PRIPADALA HITLEROVOJ KOALICIJI, ili joj bila potčinjena! Brutalna istina koju PO SVAKU CENU ŽELE SAKRITI!)
BREXIT АS AN OCCASION FOR PROPAGANDA
What is particularly important to note is the fact that in order to spread such theses that attack the whole of the EU and its members, the UK’s exit from the Union is used, and the aim is, of course, to score points for the purposes of the propaganda war waged by the current Kremlin government against the West.
Nikonov’s central theses and arguments in expanding his revisionist views are included in this excerpt:
After Great Britain left the EU, there is no longer a country in the Union that did not belong to the Nazi axis, a country which was not an ally of fascist Germany or which the Germans did not occupy.
Even France was defeated. And its factories worked for Germany.
And now, those countries that were together with Hitler attacking us, tell us when it was necessary to free Auschwitz. They speak about equal responsibility…
Nikonov, 75 years after the end of World War II, sees Europe through such a historic dioptre – counting which states were part of the Nazi axis or occupied by the Germans. And it puts them in the same basket, though it is not clear what is his point today, in 2020.
OCCUPIED COUNTRIES WERE HITLER’S ALLIES?
First, it is said that with the UK’s exit from the EU, there would no longer be “a country in the Union that did not belong to the Nazi axis, a county which was not an ally of fascist Germany or which the Germans did not occupy.” Why is this highlighted now? Is it just highlighted as a historical curiosity? The answer is quite simple – Britain’s exit from the EU gives the Kremlin propagandists the opportunity to spread propaganda, which has nothing to do with current political momentum in Europe, but they are turning the clock of history back for propaganda reasons.
Nikonov goes so far as to accuse the countries occupied by Hitler of collaborating with their occupiers who “attacked” Russia. This is nonsense. A country under occupation cannot be called an “ally” of the occupier or “belonging to the axis”, that is, to the military alliance/coalition to which its occupier belongs. And that is exactly what is being highlighted when he says that “France was defeated” and adds that “its factories worked for Germany.” Then he goes even further and says that “those countries” (the occupied), “were together with Hitler and (…) attacking us.” Such an argument, to put it mildly, is a blunt simplification to a degree of a lie.
Although it is true that there were quisling governments in the occupied countries that were allies of Germany, and that some of those countries had military formations fighting for Germany, but on the other hand, in many of the occupied countries there was armed resistance, and many citizens of the occupied countries fought the Nazis at battlefields outside their own countries. For example, the Free French Forces, led by General Charles de Gaulle, fought against the Axis forces throughout the war, and from 7,000 soldiers in 1940, reached as many as 400,000 by mid-1944. In addition, France, Poland, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, as well as a number of other European countries did not welcome the occupying Axis forces with flags in their countries but resisted using weapons before being overrun by the German armies and their allies. It is frivolous to attack only EU member states in this way when it is well known that there were also collaborative and pro-Nazi governments in the Nazi-occupied non-EU countries. One of those countries is Serbia, the country of Informer and Espreso web sites. Serbia also had a pro-Nazi government during World War II (headed by Milan Nedič), as well as military formations that fought on the side of the Nazis (Chetniks, for example). But Nikonov does not mention this. The fact that the Nazis created illegitimate governments in the occupied countries in order to ease their rule and create the illusion among the locals that power is in their hands does not mean that the entire countries were Hitler’s collaborators. Especially as those quisling governments began to crumble like houses of cards long before the end of the war.
WERE THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES IN RUSSIA HITLER’S ALLIES AS WELL?
There is another fact showing how wrong Nikonov’s thesis is. As is well known, almost all of the European territory of Russia was occupied by Germany for an average of 2 years – some parts for shorter period of itme, some longer. More than 40 percent of the Soviet Union’s population lived on the German-occupied territory. Did these Russians, residents of the USSR, also attack their own state? Were those people and those occupied Russian territories Hitler’s allies? This shows how Nikonov’s perspective is twisted and shallow, but also without any logical and historical backing.
Such attitudes, unfortunately, found fertile ground in these two Serbian tabloids with anti-European provenance, and by reporting this they performed their task – earning a few political points for the Kremlin authorities and their propaganda in Balkan region.