75% of Russian identity is victory over Nazis. Without that, they’re a very diverse collection of nationalities, cultures and religions forced to live under the same kleptocracy.
So they look for Nazis everywhere and when they can’t find them, they create them.
I’ve now had three separate friends receive phone calls from relatives in Russia asking whether it was true that people are beaten in the streets of Lviv for speaking Russian. There was also an internet report of Russians believing that the Russian language was outlawed in Kyiv.
They very effective convince the local populace that they’re surrounded by enemies. Then they take up the task of *creating* enemies.
My friend Dr. Maltsev once told me there was an expression in the Soviet Union that if you beat a Pole long enough, he becomes a Russian.
I think that’s how many Russians regard all their neighbors — people waiting to be beaten into their true identity.