Sunday, August 11, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Three Disturbing ‘Signs’ of Fascism in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 11 – Moscow’s law against homosexual propaganda has led ever more people in Russia and the West to talk about the increasing threat of national socialism and fascism in that country. Three “signs” reported this past week underscore just how dangerous the situation in that country is becoming.

            First, on Friday, posters appeared in St.Petersburg featuring a picture of Heinrich Himmler, one of Hitler’s closest associates, and the Nazi’s words that “seven to eight percent of the men in Germany are homosexuals. If that continues, our nation is at risk of self-destruction. Those who practice homosexuality deprive Germany of children which they should supply it” (

            Under the Nazi leader’s statement, the producers of these posters ask rhetorically whether that observation reminds those reading it of the situation in Russia now.

            According to the Russian news agency, it is not yet clear who is behind these posters, those who oppose the Russian law against “homosexual propaganda” and who wish to draw a parallel between Russia today and Hitler’s Reich or those who support a campaign against Russia’s embattled LGBT community.
            Second, yesterday, the portal reported that the Algoritm publishing house has issued in Russian translation “the first and only novel” of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. That book, entitled “Michael” and published in 1929, takes the form of a diary of a disgruntled German veteran of World War I (

According to the Russian publisher, which is releasing the Nazi novel in its “Prose of the Great” series, the novel shows “the influence of Goether, Nietsche, Dostoyevsky and the Gospels. Certain disputed moments in the novel today are undoubtedly anachronistic but one should remember that in the era when the novel was created, it had not a marginal but a broad distribution in all strata of society …we thus do not have the right to condemn the author for this or that views.” notes that the novel was published in English in New York in 1987, but the portal says nothing about the potentially dangerous impact of such a work in Russia now or about the studied neutrality of the Russian publisher of the Nazi propaganda minister’s fictionalized justification for the rise of national socialism in Weimar Germany.

                And third, also last week, the site calls attention to the fact that despite the Soviet band on any use of any fascist symbols, today, the Russian examining magistrate system now features on its seal the “fasci” or bound sticks that became the source of the name of Mussolini’s fascists (

            The appearance of the fasci on the Russian magistrate seal is certainly less disturbing than the other two items. On the one hand, the seal was adopted not this year but in 2004. And on the other, many countries use this Roman symbol in a variety of ways without any reference to the fact that Mussolini did as well.

            But like the other two developments reported above, this one too shows how sensitive and divisive anything related to national socialism have become in Russia, a development that reflects the eagerness of some in Moscow to exploit such ethnically explosive and morally repugnant ideas and the unwillingness of others to condemn such things in a systematic way.

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