Thursday, February 18, 2021

Russian Elites’ Admiration for Fascist Leaders Reflects a Common Contempt for Democracy, Makarkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 17 – Moscow TV host Vladimir Solovyev’s positive assessment of Hitler this past week just like commentator Andranik Migranyan’s praise several years ago of the supposedly “good” Nazi leader before his aggression in 1939 turned him into a “bad” one have sparked anger among many people of good will in Russia and around the world.

            But Moscow analyst Aleksey Makarkin says that these and other positive remarks about fascist leaders in the past by members of the Putin elite reflect their “contempt for contemporary democracy” and readiness to undermine it to maximize their own wealth and power (

            “Leaders capable for extraordinary decisions according to Karl Schmidt look for part of the Russian elites and sub-elites closer and more understandable than routine democratic politicians, the majority of whom follow public opinion and act according to the logic of ‘from election to election,” Makarkin continues.

            From such attitudes, he says, springs “interest in ‘strong personalities,’ ready to destroy democratic models in the name of their own understanding of national interests.” Moreover, with such an attitude, “national catastrophes that these leaders produce can be explained not as systematic shortcomings of these regime but specific errors,” something easier to explain away.

            “Such an historical approach also allows for the explanation and current cooperation on an anti-American basis [of Russia] with the extreme right in Europe, including Alternative for Germany,” Makarkin says. But praise for fascist leaders has an even broader agenda, involving justification of Stalin.

            “If Hitler was not an absolute evil before September 1, 1939 (and up to even June 22, 1941),” the analyst continues, “then it is possible to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the ensuring partition of Poland.” The pact thus becomes “not an anomaly but the same defense of geopolitical interests as the Yalta conference.”

            Some can be counted on to excuse Vladimir Putin for these attitudes despite his having created an atmosphere in which it is flourishing, and they will point to the fact that yesterday, the Duma passed another law prohibiting any commemoration of Nazi criminals, although that action did not address remarks like those of Solovyev and Migranyan (

            And that fact suggests that commentator Igor Eidman is in the right when he argues that it would follow from their logic that a statue of Hitler rather than Dzerzhinsky or Ivan III should be put up in front of FSB headquarters on the Lubyanka (

            Given such expressions of approval and admiration for fascist leaders, Eidman continues, putting up a statue of Hitler would bring the square and the building located onto it “into not only complete architectural but political and moral-ethical harmony,” albeit one that no one in good conscience should want to see.

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