So the Russian Regime are expressing outrage and indignation at British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s agreement with the suggestion that President Vladimir Putin could use the World Cup in the same way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics.
In terms of diplomacy the comparison was clumsy given the level of struggle between the Soviets and the Nazis during World War Two and the horrendous loss of life suffered by Russians both military and civilian.
That said, in terms of historical perspective is there anything to differentiate between the two regimes and their respective records on the run up to the war and it duration.
I would argue not and it is time that the world and not least Russia recognised that morally and existentially Soviet Russia was every bit as bad as the Germans under the Nazis, in terms of cruelty and destructiveness.
Indeed The Russians under the Soviet system conducted their murderous repression on subject nations including Germany, well after the the Nazis had been defeated in May 1945.
Furthermore the murderous activity of the Soviet Russians has to be recognised in the run up to WW2 and not be excused in the context of a reactive and revengeful fight back, following the attack on them by Nazi Germany in 1941.
The Soviet record of atrocities started before the Nazis were even formed in 1920 and had already sent millions to their deaths by the time Hitler came to power in 1933.
The number of killings that took place both within the old Soviet Russian Empire against dissenting ethnic Russians and non Russian minorities alike throughout the 1920s and 1930s, outstripped the even the Nazi’s total.
Yet we are seldom reminded of this during during the narrative of the Russian experience during World War Two.
Soviet Russia attacked and repressed Ukrainians, Finns and Balts unilaterally, before in tandem with Nazi Germany set about the brutal and murderous dismemberment of Poland in 1939, courtesy of the Non Agression pact.
The rabid Russian bear was only re-invented as a cuddly ally in 1941 by the Western Allies as a desperately needed fellow traveller in the struggle against Nazi Germany.
Subsequently Russia, both Soviet and post Soviet regimes have used the Nazi attack on Russia in 1941 to re-invent itself from an aggressor nation to that of a victim of the Nazis.
What tosh! they were up until 1941 co-conspirators in the carve up of Eastern Europe and the Baltics, consolidating that policy during he post victory period.
Their behaviour in the conduct of the war was just as merciless as the Nazis, the civilians caught between the two forces were victims of both parties.
The Russians in their victory were responsible for the rape of at least one million German women.
The subjugation of nations within the Soviet sphere in Eastern Europe continued up until 1990, where Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Ukrainians and Crimean Tartars continued to suffer from murder, repression, prolonged captivity and mass deportations.
The population within the borders of the Soviet Union itself continued to suffer, with the overall repression being relaxed to a normative state only in the run up to the collapse of the Soviet system, with the advent of Perestroika in the late eighties.
The chaos that followed for a brief period of what might pass for freedom, under what might be viewed as a liberal democratic system, has gradually been replaced by KGB/FSB controlled regime returning the country to rule by Deep State.
This Deep State entity as the natural successor of Deryzhinsky, Stalin, Molotov and Breznev has no moral authority to defend Russia’s past conduct from anybody, even when compared to a regime as vicious and loathsome as the Nazis.
Historians and commentators especially Russian, should own up to the extent of Russian involvement in their crimes of genocide and repression throughout the Twentieth Century.
Only when the Russian nation accepts culpability and confronts it’s crimes will it be able to reset to a normative position in governance, society and international relations.
If Russia continues to dissemble and deny her past and is allowed to do so unchecked by the rest of the world, then we cannot expect her to change her behaviour.