Thursday, May 8, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Putin’s Russia More Fascist than Ukraine, Comparison Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 8 – Fascism is one of the most negative terms in any language and it is often employed as the ultimate expression of one’s hatred or disapproval of something, but fascism has some real characteristics. Consequently, it is possible to list them and the evaluate whether this or that leader or this or that country can justifiably be labelled “fascist.”

            One blogger has identified seven such characteristics of fascism and then considered whether Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under Stalin and Brezhnev, the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin, or Ukraine share them.  The results will not be comforting to Russians: their country today has more fascist characteristics than does Ukraine (
            In his post, Oleg Leusenko lists seven characteristics of fascism: a leader cult, a one-party system, militarism, the dominance of the security services, the official promotion of anti-semitism and xenophobia, state control of the media and a state propaganda system, and aggression abroad based on territorial claims on neighboring states.

            Germany under Hitler, the USSR under Stalin and Brezhnev, and the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin manifest all these characteristics, he says. Ukraine on the other hand features none of them. And that suggests, Leusenko says, that the term “fascist” should not be applied to Ukraine but can be applied appropriately to Putin’s Russia.

            This finding is unlikely to end Russian media claims that “fascism” is on the rise in Ukraine or to lead many to describe Putin’s Russia as the fascist state it is becoming.  But it is a useful corrective to the former and a valuable means of measuring the dangerous directions Putin is taking his country.


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