Saturday, December 23, 2023

West’s Reluctance to Acknowledge Putin’s Fascism Result of How Kremlin Leader Came To It and What Many in West Hope for in the Future, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 19 – Western analysts and governments have been slow to recognize Putin’s fascism not only because his approach to rule emerged over time and as the result of evolution rather than from the outset and because of a program he had declared even before coming to power, Vladislav Inozemtsev says.

            But perhaps even more than that, the Russian economist and commentator suggests, they are reluctant to do so because as a result of Putin’s past evolution, they mistakenly continue to hope that he will evolve again and become something other than the fascist dictator he now is (

            The West’s understanding of the Putin regime was made more difficult by his initial willingness to cooperate with the West and his “’liberal’ maneuver of 2008-2011” when he allowed Dmitry Medvedev to serve in his stead, qualities of his rule that have led many in Western countries to talk about “the ‘hybrid’ character of his system.”

            As a result, Inozemtsev continues, many in the West continue to view Putin as “the legitimate ruler of Russia,” something unlikely to change even after his upcoming “re-election” and to believe that they will be able to reach agreements with some new “good Putin” as they did before he went off the track in Ukraine.

            These notions, the commentator says, “do not seem to be the result of their authors’ stubborn unwillingness to accept existing realities  but rather from the internal dynamism and variability of the Putin system over the past quarter of a century,” with those factors concealing for such people Putin’s “inevitable drift towards fascism.”

            Unlike other fascist leaders, Putin did not have to “fight with elements of civilized society” but only after he came to power, slowing down his introduction of fascist ideas and “complicating the understanding of the nature of his regime,” according to the Russian commentator.

            But in many other respects, including propaganda, attitudes toward sexual minorities, and hatred toward enemies, “the fascist societies of the past and those of the present turn out to be surprisingly similar” upon closer examination. Moreover, with each new steps that Putin takes, the differences become less significant and the similarities more.

            “One of these deserves special mention,” Inozemtsev says. Such regimes can develop and remain in place for quite a long time; but – and this is critically important – “they do not have the opportunity to turn back” from their “madness.” They can only be destroyed as those in the past were and those present will be.

            Consequently, “no matter how ornate the path of our extraordinary fascism, its end will be as inglorious as that of its other versions … and if many have been mistaken in calling the Russian regime ‘hybrid authoritarianism,’ there is no reason to remain self-deceived and it is time to admit that we have not seen all the evil that Putin is likely to show the world.”

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