Staunton, Jan. 21 – Winston Churchill’s words that “fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists” are likely apocryphal; but as Vladimir Putin is demonstrating, the British leader’s words are nonetheless profoundly true, Vadim Shtepa says, with those who attack others for their supposed fascism being its most active promoters.
The editor of the Tallinn-based Region.Expert portal follows in a long tradition of Russian commentary (svoboda.org/a/umryomte-zh-pod-moskvoy-vadim-shtepa-ob-inversii-fashizma/31712744.html; cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/08/by-umberto-ecos-standards-putins-russia.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/07/putinist-fascism-not-ideology-but.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/12/putinism-is-21st-century-fascism-with.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/06/putinism-displays-all-14.html).
“Fascism is a totalitarian and aggressive system based on an imperial ideology,” the Russian regionalist says. “Some will say that calling Russia today ‘totalitarian’ is an exaggeration.” But sentencing a Russian to five years in prison for a post should lead them to revise that view. And as for aggression, Putin’s invasion of Georgia and now for the second time Ukraine conforms to what fascism is.
Shtepa bases his analysis on the argument of Umberto Eco and notes that as the Italian writer has said, “one of the foundations of fascism is ‘the cult of tradition,’” precisely what Putin is promoting in contrast to Soviet leaders who had talked about the future rather than concentrating on the defense of “’traditional values.’”
Soviet leaders condemned the West for being “insufficiently progressive,” but now Putin’s regime denounces them for forgetting their traditions or even openly undermining them, classic fascist arguments. But perhaps the most important consequence of this focus on continuity rather than progress lies elsewhere, Shtepa says.
This cult of tradition entails the notion that the current leader must remain in power forever regardless of what he does or what the people want.