Jason Stanley and Eliyahu Stern wrote an interesting article in Tablet Magazine. They pointed out that “The admiration of religious traditionalism and hatred of cosmopolitan liberalism is part of the Kremlin’s fascist ideology.”
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, Vladimir Putin claimed it was necessary for Russia to “denazify” Ukraine and end the genocide of Russians who lived in Ukraine. It would have been difficult to come up with a more absurd claim, but that’s what he said. He did that to elicit memories of Russia’s memorable and heroic defeat of Nazi Germany in what the Russians called “The Great Patriotic War,” and we in the west call the World War II. Stanley and Stern point out that Putin’s claims are “a diversion from his own fascism,” and ““an expression of antisemitism.” I agree with them.
Stanley and Stern say this about fascism:
“Fascism embraces a mythic past, where the nation, once great, has experienced humiliation and loss of land, the result of weakness and decadence brought on by liberal democracy. To make up for these losses, real and supposed, fascist leaders encourage violent reassertion of previous greatness, as well as the destruction of liberal democracy in favor of a one-party state or, more typically, a single autocratic ruler who is synonymous with the nation.”
This strikes home for many recent fascist movements, including, even the near fascist movement led by Donald Trump. As Stanley and Stern said,
“In the Russian nationalist version of the mythic past, Ukraine is central. According to this mythology, there are no Ukrainians—just lost Russians living, whether they know it or not, in the heart of historic Russia. Under Putin, Russia has been harshly sexist and homophobic, familiar manifestations of fascist ideology. But Russia’s violent imperial war against a neighboring cosmopolitan democracy that it seeks to absorb is the clearest manifestation yet that its animating ideology is something akin to classical fascism.”
Alexander Dugin was the intellectual leader of Russian fascism. He and Putin both deny being racists or Nazis but frankly that is what they are. I think the evidence is overwhelming. They claim the real enemy of their movement are not any racial group but rather “what they refer to as confused cosmopolitans, liberals, and secularists. The same enemy found by many fascists, including Donald Trump and a host of American conservatives. Those American conservatives say their enemies are the “elite-racist ultra-liberal that seeks to annihilate American values.” These “liberals” stand for minority rights and and the replacement of political leaders by democratic means. A substantial number of Americans would agree with these “classical fascists.” To me that is a scary thought.
According to Stanley and Stern, the clear enemy of modern fascism then is liberalisms which it sees, rightly in my view, as “cosmopolitan liberal democracy.” That has been demonstrated by both Putin and Trump.