NATO Summit Revives Cold War Discourse in Russia

Russians react to the NATO summit decision to fortify the eastern European borders with anger and Cold War terminology

Estonian soldiers take part in a military parade — AFP/Getty Images
Jul 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM ET

Russians toed the government line over the weekend as they took to social media to bash the political leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and accuse them of deliberately demonizing Russia as a global threat.

NATO leaders on Friday at the annual summit in Warsaw agreed to bolster their military presence in the Baltic states and eastern Poland by deploying up to 4,000 troops in the region to respond to aggression from Russia and to curb its power after it seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Maria Zakharova on Sunday blasted NATO for the decision saying “The attempts to demonize Russia in order to justify the undertaken steps in the sphere of military construction, pulling attention from the destructive role of the alliance and its certain allies in provoking crises and supporting tension centers in various parts of the world have been gaining much hypertrophied forms.”

Russian citizens used social media to echo these same sentiments about this year’s summit, which was billed by some as the most important meeting since the Cold War, since it largely solidified a plan on how to respond to Russia. It was the largest NATO summit meeting in history, with 28 delegations from European Union countries and 26 from other nations, according to the New York Times.

Many of the angry Russian users accused NATO and its leaders of overlooking “real threats” to focus on the “non-existing Russian threat.” Some of the memes circulating online nods to Cold War rhetoric.

“NATO decided on DRANG NACH OSTEN-2 | The NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016: another step towards a major war,”  Daniel from Abakan posted on his Vkontakte account, Russia’s largest social network. Drang each Osten is a term that describes policy directed at colonizing Slavic land east of Germany.

“Striking imbalance in enforcement of the NATO flanks on the background of unprecedented scales of the terrorist threat coming from the southern direction proves the growing evident gap between the alliance’s polices and the current demand in protecting and securing people in the NATO member-countries,” the spokeswoman Zakharova said.

Translation: “NATO annual summit.”

Translation: “The essence of the recent NATO summit – Hitler: the intervention of Germany and European countries in the USSR in 1941 prevented bloodbath in the country.”