Putin's Russia is a Proto-Fascist State

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Putin's Russia is a Proto-Fascist State

Post by DuceMoosolini on Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:52 am

Before we begin, I'd like to make several things clear. Putin isn't Hitler, and Russia isn't Nazi Germany. What I am trying to demonstrate is the way Putin's regime resembles the early stages of a classical fascist state (Spain/Italy), especially in three essential areas: political economy, the ideological relationship between society and the state, and the state's relations with other states. Secondly, I'd like to make clear that I'm not a Democrat and that I hate, hate, hate Hillary Clinton. Thirdly, for the moment I am making no claims regarding the implications to US foreign policy. So let's get into it!

Firstly, one of the clearer definitions of fascism was given by Robert Paxton's book The Anatomy of Fascism, where he writes,
Robert Paxton wrote:Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal constraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

I could probably just finish here, because Putin's Russia clearly fulfills every part of this definition, but I won't do that. But first, here's another quip about fascism I think is appropriate, from Peter Drucker in 1939 in his book The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism:

Peter Drucker wrote:fascism is the stage reached after communism has proven an illusion.

There are many well-agreed upon signs of a fascist state, and now I will show how Russia fulfills each one.

1). Political Economy. Fascist states almost always involve state intervention in the economy, often using state-owned or state-favored firms to enforce this control indirectly. Since about 2003, Putin has begun a campaign of renationalization, placing the nation's essential resources under control of his friends and his government. One of the more significant incidents was in 2004, when oil company Yukos was broken by the government and had its assets transferred to state-run Rostneft. That also brings us to the topic of the legal entity called the "state corporation." These are publically-run industries in Russia's core interests, like oil, coal, electricity, defense, and banking. Gazprom is by far the largest, and we have already seen the company act against its own economic interests to punish Putin's enemies and add to his geopolitical capital. These state-corporations make up about two-thirds of the Russian stock market and act purely as a means of political control. Meanwhile independent trade unions and corporations have had their power all but crushed. This is a crucial aspect of fascism. The economy remains free, but the state still maintains means of control through subservient entities.

2). Political Violence. I don't think I even need to go into this one, but Putin has enormous assets under his control which he uses to maintain order. He has the Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Guard Service, and early this year unveiled a new apparatus to crack down on "terrorism," which of course means subversives and critics. Even in Chechnya, Putin's pet warlord has a private army he uses to suppress dissent. Putin, in May, signed a decree declaring the Army to be subordinate to the National Guard, essential turning the military into another domestic enforcement apparatus. Even further, the state corporations also have private armies as well. All of these enforcement mechanisms are intended to keep the population from getting uppity.

3). No Civil or Political Rights. The Human Rights Watch published their dire 2017 report regarding abuses in Russia. The report itself is better and clearer than any summary I could give.

4). Restoration of Former Greatness. In the light of recent events, it is quite obvious Putin seeks a restoration of Russian glory. He views the downfall of the USSR as a disaster and seeks to establish a sphere of influence over the former republics. His hatred of the West is rooted in the idea that America mistreated Russia in the aftermath of the Soviet downfall. Even though he does not want a return of communism, he encourages a sense of nostalgia for the greatness Russia had under the Soviets. This Russian revanchism is a major motivating factor behind Putin's aggression and authoritarianism.

5). Traditionalism and a Pure Society. By 2013, Putin had abandoned all pretense of attempting to modernize Russia. He now speaks of Russian "traditional values," and this has now become an essential factor of his regime. One motivating element is his push to associate anti-Westernism with social conservatism, which is why he repeatedly condemns the West for decadence, liberalism, and globalism. Putin has rooted Russia's national identity in ideologies permanently antithetical to the liberal West. This also extends to his alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has become another political tool for the regime and a means to permanently ensure blind faith to his cult of personality. His crackdowns against the LGBT is clearly motivated by a desire to cleanse Russian society.

6). Propaganda. The last two points are ones Democrats love to fear-monger about like there's no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they aren't true. Russia has an incredibly effective propaganda machine, and, ironically, freedom of information has only made it more so. Instead of coming from a singular source, Putin's regime now spreads misinformation from a multitude of television stations and news websites in a manner which is both more convincing and more mentally overwhelming than the old Soviets could have ever hoped for.

7). An Ideological Bastion. Despite many analysts having previously claimed so, Putin's government is not absent of an ideology. In an interesting 180-degree pivot, Russia is now the defender of conservative traditionalism, standing up not to communist totalitarianism, but Western liberalism. Unfortunately, this danger has been muddled by the Democrats, who see Putin as a convenient scapegoat for their recent losses. Nonetheless, Putin's campaign against the West is real. He has indeed been supporting anti-globalist, anti-liberal parties in Europe like Jobbik, the National Front, and Golden Dawn. While this is largely to undermine and fracture NATO and the EU, there is a palpable sense of ideological warfare going on. The American left has done enormous damage in these past months, because their stupidity and fake news is leading people to dismiss the grave threat Putin poses.

There are several saving graces however:

1). Russian proto-fascism is inorganic, and is being forced onto the people from the top downwards.
2). The Russian people generally don't support neoimperialism.
3). Putin doesn't seem to be aiming for an actual war.
4). Russia's economy is weak.
5). Even after so long under Putin, Russia is dangerously well-educated and dangerously open to outside influences.
6). Many people in Russia now know what democracy feels like. And they haven't forgotten.

Putin is not and will never be a US ally. But that doesn't mean we can't work with him in certain areas of interest, and that certainly doesn't mean we should go to war. Instead, this is simply the aftershocks from the Cold War. And we will win now in the same way we did last time: by waiting for Putin's little experiment with fascism to collapse under its own weight.
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DuceMoosolini
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Re: Putin's Russia is a Proto-Fascist State

Post by Cold War Communist on Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:55 am

Hey, DuceMoosolini, have you ever heard of the Silovik? It would be one more point in support of what you are saying, though I am a bit unsure if Putin and his allies are neo-nationalist Marxists or Fascists. After a while, the difference becomes semantics.
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