In its April issue, The Economist, Britain’s influential weekly, published an editorial titled "Why Ukraine Must Win", prefaced by Zanny Minton Beddoes, its Editor-in-Chief. The article argues that the ongoing confrontation with Russia represents a clash of civilizations and goes as far as to offer an outright justification for Nazi Germany’s actions by presenting it as a force that defended the West against the "lethal threat" coming from Russia.
Europe’s mainstream media’s attempts at rehabilitating the Third Reich are nothing new: this has been going on for years. However, a publication of such an editorial in The Economist, renowned for setting global information and narrative trends, represents a major milestone: the Rubicon has been crossed, and the green light has been given to accelerated rehabilitation of Nazi Germany. A war of civilizations waged against Russia implies that all ties with Russia will be completely severed. The country's cultural heritage must be smeared and the foe dehumanized; it means a war of extermination. And none of that cannot be possibly achievable without resorting to the use of Hitlerite tactics.
The idea of Europe standing up to a "barbaric Russia" is not entirely original. In the 20th century, this notion was given a straightforward ideological underpinning. Free Europe, or Pan-Europa, to quote Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, an Austrian philosopher and politician, has historically opposed Russia and, more specifically, its totalitarian Bolshevist variant in his time. Nazi Germany proceeded to infuse this philosophy with the idea of the "Aryan race’s supremacy over the hordes of Slavs and Asians". The defeat of Nazism forced these racist motives off the centre stage, only to be replaced again by the pan-European ideology that laid the foundation for the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, the precursor to the future European Union.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, the European Union extended its reach to its "natural pan-European" borders abutting the borders of the Russian civilization that is believed to pose a "lethal threat" to Europe, according to this philosophy. Adherents of Nazism and the Pan-Europa philosophy were thought to be each other’s archenemies. While the Pan-Europeanists denounced Nazism’s totalitarianism and racist prejudices, the acolytes of Nazism accused their opponents of spreading multiculturalism and precipitating Europe’s collapse. And yet, Nazism had not only not been wholly eradicated in Europe, but it had persisted and continued to be cultivated within a number of philosophical and political movements, including "Young Europe" (Jeune Europe), Jean Thiriart’s "The Third Way", etc.
However, the growing socio-economic crisis made it apparent that society cannot be mobilized based on precepts of multiculturalism. So a process of "whitewashing" European and German history was set into motion. A substantial number of reasonably high-quality historical writings attempted to convince the reader of the forced nature of Adolf Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. The media started to extoll the "feats of bravery" of Spain’s "Blue Division" fighting on the Eastern front. Germany released its "Generation War (Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter)" miniseries portraying the sincere, lively, and humane character of the Reich’s ordinary soldiers fighting the Russian barbarians. A famous German music group, Rammstein, released its "Deutschland" music video, bringing Germany's bloody and brutal history captured in a single video. Publications started to get released alleging that mass rapes of German women by Red Army soldiers had occurred during World War II.
Additionally, a parallel experiment was initiated to create some "Nazism sanctuaries" in the Baltic countries and Ukraine, where things banned in the rest of Europe would be permitted. These are all just individual examples but taken together. They represent a system whose output can be observed now, including consent, by the political elites and general public in Germany and Europe, to Germany’s remilitarization, austerity policy, and a new war with the barbarians from the East.
That said, it appears that the divide will run deeper and be more substantial this time than it did during World War II. Despite its Nazism, racism, and anticommunism, Europe never went as far as to reject everything Russian outright or sever all its ties with Russia before or after the war.
However, we're talking about something different, a complete breakup as a case in point. Judging by the logic and the speed of the unfolding events, it is clear that the next step would involve expelling Russia’s ambassadors. European countries are expelling Russian diplomats by the dozens. Commercial maritime shipping has been all but suspended. Rail and road freight transportation is in the process of being shut down. According to Piotr Gliński, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of culture and national heritage, "Russian culture must disappear from the public space", and "now is not the time for Russian ballet. It's not a good season for Chekhov or even Pushkin".
And Russian culture is, indeed, disappearing: conductors and opera singers are being suspended, Dostoyevsky conferences are being cancelled, artists’ paintings and folk dances are being renamed, while public catering establishments are getting new names. There is no access to an alternative view from Russia regarding the events in Ukraine. Russians are essentially being cancelled and excluded from civilized society.
On top of that, the Russians are being completely dehumanized regardless of whether they are Russian by their culture, language, or nationality. The recent tragedy in a Kyiv suburb of Bucha was used as a perfect pretext for such actions. The UK has recently allocated 10 million pounds to support foreign-based Ukrainian women's NGOs abroad who have been tasked to promulgate the theme of "rape as a weapon". This is starkly reminiscent of Hitler’s efforts to dehumanize Jews and other "inferior races" to garner ordinary Germany's support and get them prepared for waging a war of extermination against the Russians.