During the last years, sections of the Russian elite have adopted a paranoid vision of the outside, above all Western, world which, in the 1990s, had been a minority view held by the extreme right and paleocommunists. In spite of relative political stabilization and impressive economic growth during the last years, ultra-nationalism, rabid anti-Americanism and a Russian equivalent of the Dolchstosslegende (legend of a stab in the back) have become major intellectual and political trends in the Russian Federation, and are reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. Like many German politicians, academics and literati after World War I, numerous Russian leaders, publicists and journalists today think that their country's loss of territories, reduced role in international affairs, and, in general, miserable state of affairs in the 1990s was the product of a Western-inspired conspiracy in which a few "democratic" traitors became an American "fifth column," sold out national in-terests, and led the country to the abyss of a loss of native culture, traditions and identity through total Westernization.
Like in today Russia, a majority of inter-war German elites thought that their motherland is not a part of the West, does not need West-ern democracy, and should, instead, follow a civilizational Sonderweg (special path). In the end, the most consistent and popular proponent of this idea proved to be Adolf Hitler. Oddly, it was the ultra-patriot, anti-liberal and pseudo-democrat Hitler, and not the German Westernizers who left to the Germans, apart from a destroyed and divided country, a pro-foundly shattered sense of national identity. Following not only Nazi ideology, but also the opinion of many, if not most German political, intellectual and social leaders of the Weimar Republic, the Bonn Republic's subjugation under the West as a result of World War II should have led to a loss of German national distinctiveness. What came about in 1945 should have been much worse than what was happening to German ethnic identity in the 1920s: The country's independent development was not only limited as had been the case after World War I; it was altogether terminated after Germany's capitulation on 8th May 1945. This - if one believed the rhetoric of most German politicians, professors and writers of the Weimar Republic - should have been the end of the Germans as a distinct nation.
Pro-German Russians should acknowledge that a principal reason why Germany is today so attractive for them is that the Bonn Republic had, among other determinants, the fortune of being provided for decades with a US umbrella. It is not Germany's full integration into NATO or its close friendship with America, but its anti-Western heritage that is causing the, for many Russians incomprehensible, hesitancy of many Germans to express unqualified pride in their national history.
(The full English version of this article was published by "Russia Profile," in 2007, and "American Chronicle," in 2008. It can be found in the attached document below.)