estonia 2
Though much of Tallinn resembles a medieval city, the capital of Estonia has undergone rapid modernization to become the small Baltic state’s rendition of Silicon Valley. Source: Microsoft

At the outset of World War II, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin approved the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the famous non-aggression pact that divided Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The treaty was predicated on the assumption that the two great powers would achieve preeminence on the European continent, and following the war, the Soviet Union retained control over several states that it had been formally awarded by the pact.

It’s easy to see why Russia’s ultranationalist youth groups have earned comparisons to the Hitler Youth. Masterminded in 2005 by Kremlin ideologist and later Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, Nashi (“Ours” in English) soon became the largest among the pro-Putin youth groups. In its heyday, it was some 100,000 members strong. Nashi members attended patriotic summer “training camps,” led massive, mob-like pro-Putin rallies with violent chants and drumming, accused foreign ambassadors of subversive activities, and even “set up an installation that featured the decapitated heads of certain Russian opposition leaders and Western politicians…wearing caps with Nazi symbols.”