Natsional-predateli or die Nationalverräter

Hearing Putin mention “national-traitors”, natsional-predateli, in his Crimea acceptance speech, I thought the word was a calque from some German term. Nationalverräter perhaps?

I’ve checked with the text and translation at and, not surprisingly, Hitler uses Nationalverräter in Mein Kampf:

But only a neo-bourgeois patriot is able to count on gratitude from murderous pyromaniacs [I would say “arsonists”], exploiters [“plunderers of the people”] and traitors of the nation [“national traitors”].

Aber gar auf Dankbarkeit revolutionärer Mordbrenner, Volksausplünderer und Nationalverräter zu rechnen, bringt nur ein neubürgerlicher Patriot fertig.

He also uses “traitors of the people” (Volksverräter) and “traitors of the country (Landesverräter).


  1. Putin is capable of reading Hitler in the original German, isn’t he? Maybe “Mein Kampf” has been on his bedside table recently and he’s picked up a few political tips.

    I still think he’s closer to Mussolini than Hitler.

    Small mercies: Putin’s Euro-buddy Berlusconi is currently hors de combat.

    • I don’t think Putin writes his own speeches, he most probably has speachwriters like most politicians. But yea, according to the later russian policies, it’s quite obvious that he has read Hitler’s book quite minutely.

      • I believe he has speechwriters. However I don’t think they can dare to use such words or to express their own point of view. Their task is likely to refine his drafts and work with the overall style of the speech.

      • I don’t recall him openly threatening to crush dissent. It must have been the first time. Perhaps I’m reading to much into his speech. I’d like to be wrong on this.

        • I wouldn’t push the Mussolini analogy too far and I’m not entirely serious about it. It’s more of a tactic to deflate Putin’s ego. Saying he is like Hitler might be flattering in a warped sort of way, but no one likes being compared to Mussoloni, who now has a buffoonish reputation (though he was a dangerous buffoon whose actions left tens of thousands dead in Africa and the Balkans). It’s also to do with the West perhaps exaggerating Russian potential in the way it did with Fascist Italy in the 1930s. Britain and France should have stood up to Mussolini more over Ethiopia, for instance. Today’s Russia wants to be a superpower even though its economy is only slightly bigger than Italy’s, so Putin’s ability to fulfill his Hitlerian ambitions is necessarily limited. Which isn’t to say he can’t do a great deal of harm, both inside and outside Russia.

          Putin has also compared himself to Mussolini, maybe inadvertently. There are obvious parallels between Putin’s propaganda and Il Duce’s (shirtless photos, posing with tigers or lions). Again, given the extensive use Putin makes of “anti-fascist” rhetoric against Ukraine, it’s worth pointing out such examples of Putin taking hints from fascism and Nazism, as you have done by showing the plagiarism from “Mein Kampf”.

          • “but no one likes being compared to Mussoloni, who now has a buffoonish reputation”

            … but was once admired and imitated. Among other imitators, Russian immigrants in Harbin set up a “Russian fascist party” (complete with a “Union of young Russian fascists”, a “Russian women’s fascist movement” and a “Union of fascist children”) in the 1920s.

    • I need to read up on Mussolini – I still don’t feel I have a grip on the man. But neither Mussolini nor Hitler had had anything like Putin’s KGB experience before seizing power. It must have shaped his worldview, his way of dealing with people, his networking – look at his inner circle.

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