Staunton, April 9 – In 2014, the Kremlin distributed three recommended books to Putin’s supporters. At the top of this list was one by Russian fascist Ivan Ilin whose ideas even then appeared to inform Vladimir Putin’s thinking about Russia and the Russian empire (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/01/window-on-eurasia-kremlins-disturbing.html).
The parallels between Ilin’s ideas and Putin’s statements were so great that some suggested the Russian fascist was the source of much of Putin’s approach. Now, eight years later, on the occasion of the Russian thinker’s 139th birthday, Veronika Krasheninnikova says that today Ilin is even more significant (regnum.ru/news/innovatio/3560055.html).
“With the start of the special military operation in Ukraine,” the Russian historian who serves as an advisor to the ruling United Russia Party says, “Ivan Ilin has acquired still more importance” given that “de-communization for him was the focus of his entire life after he emigrated.”
As far as Ukrainian statehood was concerned, Ilin was as dismissive as anyone, Krasheninnikov continues. He wrote in the book Putin distributed in 2014 that there was no more difference between Russians and Ukrainians than between residents of Ryazan and residents of Yaroslavl.
And she points out that the future of Ukraine was the issue with which Ilin disagreed most passionately with the Nazis, people with whom he otherwise was largely in agreement at least until the Holocaust was exposed. Berlin wanted to split of Ukraine from Russia, but Illin was unalterably opposed.
“From the 1920s to the end of his life, Ivan Ilin was a consistent propagandist of the ideology of clerical fascism and even World War II did not teach him anything with the exception of the need to hide the terms he used.” As such, Krasheninnikov says, Ilin’s ideas about decommunization may be useful.
But “today, regarding the de-Nazification of Ukraine and the construction of a future Russia,” the historian says, “Ivan Ilin is not part of the solution but part of the problem,” an intriguing remark which suggests that ideological battles about such things are in fact taking place within the Kremlin elite.