Russia proposes German companies should advertise Nazi past

A proposed bill has been tabled in Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, to force German and Italian companies which profited during the Nazi and fascist regimes, to mark their products in order to inform Russian customers of their brand's history.

Nazi symbolism is illegal in Russia and those who display Nazi symbols are liable to be fined.

As relations between Moscow and the West have deteriorated over the Ukraine crisis, Russia has been quick to remind Europe of its history, including discussing demanding €4 trillion in Second World War reparations from Germany.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has previously equated pro-Kiev fighters in Ukraine to neo-Nazis and warned that he believes there's been surge in neo-Nazism across Europe in the last year.

This latest bill to be proposed in parliament could see brands such as Lufthansa, Siemens and BMW being forced to put disclaimers on their radio, TV and print ads, denoting that they had once "cooperated" with the Nazi regime.

The MP who tabled the motion, Alexey Zhuravlev from the nationalist Rodina party, listed several companies which would be affected by the proposed law, such as Metro Cash & Carry and Coca-Cola, while speaking to Russian radio station Govorit Moskva.

"Corporations which made their capital on the blood of our fellow countrymen, in other words, whoever cooperated with fascists regimes should at least inform our consumers about it. They should mark their products," he told the station.

The document itself, which Russian national daily Izvestia claims to have seen in full, offers specific regulations on when and how these disclaimers are to be made.

In the case of radio advertisements, manufacturers which had "commercial links" with the Third Reich are obliged to mention that information in a message that lasts at least three seconds. In televised ads the principle is the same, however the disclaimer should be five seconds long and a corresponding visual marking should take no less than 7% of the TV screen.

In advertisements circulated in print or online, a disclaimer box is to be issued, taking up no less than 10% of the entire ad space.

"In order for our history to not be forgotten it is necessary that the young generation remembers and knows what happened in the 20th century and that there are these firms in Russia today which in their day worked actively with the Third Reich, producing poisonous products which harmed our people, they built weapons and planes," Zhuravlev told Izvestia.

Govorit Moskva later reported that according to Zhuravlev's last declaration of property in 2014 he himself drove a German-made Mercedes Benz ML 63, while his wife drove a BMW X3.

A spokesman for Zhuravlev told the station that the MP had since "given up the Mercedes" and now drives a Skoda, however she did not comment on whether Ms Zhuravleva still had the BMW.

Besides debating whether or not to request reparations from Germany for Second World War damages, the state Duma also debated a bill to formally recognize the reunification of East and West Berlin in 1989 as an annexation.