In April 2014, the Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed LPR and DPR, which declared independence after the coup d’etat in Ukraine in February of the same year. According to the latest UN data, about 13 thousand people became victims of the conflict. Kyiv has repeatedly accused the Russian Federation of intervening in the conflict in the region. Russia denies these charges. Moscow has stated more than once that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict and is interested in seeing Kyiv overcome the political and economic crisis.
Another reason for the growth of neo-Nazi sentiments is a kind of politics of “historical memory” in the young states of Europe that originated from the USSR. The ruling elites of these countries are building their own version of national history – the opposite to the one introduced into public consciousness during the Soviet period. As a result, often along with the restoration of historical justice, either open accomplices of Hitler’s National Socialism or radical nationalists not directly connected with the Nazi regime in Germany, become national heroes.
Besides objective reasons, subjective reasons also contribute to the growth of neo-Nazi and nationalist sentiments in Europe and America. For the collective West, Russia is an enemy that must be surrounded on all sides with military bases and must be imposed with sanctions. For this, even the falsification of history is enough.
The Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism accuses the West and particular EU members such as the Baltic states and Poland of the “falsification and re-writing” of WWII history. European states are continuously accused of their support for the Nazi or Fascist ideology. Any disagreement with the Kremlin's official view on the history of WWII is automatically labelled by Russia as support for “Nazism” or “falsification of history”.
While aware of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns, the West is trying to keep open channels of communications and cooperation with Russia. For instance, NATO as the Western organisation created cooperation bodies – the Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Russia Council – to embody its relationship with Russia. It also invited Russia to cooperate on missile defence. The Warsaw Summit Communique 2016 describes NATO's official policy towards Russia: "The Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. But we cannot, and will not, compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest." No other country outside the alliance has such a privileged relationship with NATO. NATO is not encircling Russia. Russia's land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, less than one-sixteenth (1,215 kilometres), is shared with NATO members. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members.
Also, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security, one that Russia has also subscribed to and should respect. NATO enlargement has brought more stability and prosperity to Europe, including Russia.
The EU and its member states have maintained a clear policy of reaching out to Russian society and youth, mainly through the Erasmus+ student exchange programme and other people to people contacts, in line with five guiding principles of relations with Russia.
For background, see EUvsDisinfo analysis "The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings" here.