Hitler & Putin Mashup Of 'Putler' Becomes Ominous Social Media Moniker
While today's emphasis on all-things-celebrity seems at times all-consuming, the mashups of certain couples' names have entered our lexicon, dating all the way back to the ill-fated relationship of "Bennifer" [Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez]. Others like "Brangelina" [Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie] have stood the test of time, while the dubbing of the would-be coupling of "Kimye" [Kim Kardashian & Kanye West] portends a short-lived hook-up. On a much, more somber note, combining the names of Hitler and Putin - to 'Putler' - is an ominous pairing that twists this fad from one that was funny and playful to one that's fearful and foreboding.
Of recent date, social media circles, the "Putler" hashtags and memes have surfaced to draw marked similarities between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's vile dictator of the last century. The growing fear that emanates from such comparisons stirs up that dreaded reminder of history repeating itself.
Adolf Hitler [1889-1945] ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945, transitioning that country into a despotic war machine that provoked World War II in 1939. It was at that time in an effort to discredit Poland as an aggressor, Hitler turned to propaganda and misinformation alleging persecution of Germans in eastern Poland by the Pole. On August 31, Nazi S.S. troops wearing Polish uniforms staged a 'phony' invasion of Germany, damaging several minor installations on the German side of the border.
In this wake, they left behind a number of dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the supposed Polish invasion, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of aggression.
Putin Rips the Page
As if Mein Kampf was an update to the Sun Tzu's Art of War, Putin ripped the page right out of Hitler's playbook this past week, when his alleged armed guard seized control over Crimean government buildings, wearing military uniforms without insignias. Putin denies culpability insisting (like Hitler) this militia was not made up of Russians troops, even while the observations of numerous journalists said otherwise.
Instead, Putin asserted that these men wearing unmarked uniforms in Crimea were a "local" self-defense group — even though military experts have said they were too well-trained to be anything but an elite combat force.
“Look at former Soviet republics,” he said. “You can go to a store and buy a uniform. Were these Russian soldiers? No, they’re very well-trained self-defense forces.”
Whether Putin is covering his tracks, or lying outright is something to be unveiled in the coming weeks. But what he set in motion on the Internet was an onslaught of tweets like this one from @onelpeleg.
And as a variation on a them, "Adolf Putin" also started trending as a result when tweets like this hit our Twitter streams.
Olympic Games Followed by real-life War Games
Like Hitler’s 1936 Summer Olympic games in Berlin commencing prior to WWII, many feel Putin’s desire to hold the Winter Olympics in Sochi was primarily all about adding to his personal glory as a dominant superpower. Similar to the historic antecedent of hubris played out by Hitler, Putin commands the same type of spotlight. The Olympics Games followed by a push for war put both leaders squarely in the center of a dire geopolitical maneuver capable of unhinging world peace. Coincidence or strategy?
Hitler was Twitter-lessWhile the parallels between Putin and Hitler are evident, there is a marked difference from 1939 to 2014 between the two dictatorships. While Putin would like nothing better than to clamp down on all media outlets, he cannot quash social media and its far-reaching tentacles cyberventilating the globe.
Since 2007, the number of Russian Internet users have more than doubled while Facebook and Twitter combined now represent world-wide usage at almost 2 billion. While Hitler's bullying tactics could conform the news to his demands during his day, Putin cannot escape today's court of public opinion with its real-time coverage. Tweets, status updates, smartphone jpegs and YouTube videos may yet be his undoing, as it has done previously with the recent Middle East revolutions.
The "Urkanian Spring" is just starting and if "recent" history also has a chance to repeat itself, perhaps Mr. Putin's name will be added to all the other despots who have been deposed by social media. And how do I know this is a possibility? Let's just say, a little bird told me!