Budraitskis: The “fascistization” of Russia

5 11 2022

Writing in the Marxist journal Spectre, Moscow-based historian, political theorist, and cultural activist Ilya Budraitskis considers whether and how the term “fascism” is an appropriate descriptor for Putinist Russia. His article “Putinism: A New Form of Fascism?” draws on Karl Polanyi, Hannah Arendt, and other leftist thinkers to argue that Putinism is not an aberration, but is an outgrowth of the market rationality and “social atomization” of neoliberal capitalism in its “late” crisis phase.

In attempting to impose order on a crisis-ridden world, he argues, Putinism is a form — the clearest and most intensified to date — of a new “fascism from above.” Where in the first decade of this century, Putin’s “neoliberal authoritarianism” relied on technocratic management and “mass depoliticization, associated with increased consumption, enjoyment of ‘stability,’ and a focus on private life,” from 2011 it “began the process of ‘fascistization,'” by which the leader transformed himself into the defender of the “traditional family,” the “silent conservative majority,” and the “besieged fortress” of Christian Russia. Finally, with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the regime took “only weeks to establish a new political order,” which it did “with the utmost ferocity” and brutality.

Budraitskis concludes:

This is the “normality” and familiarity of Putin’s regime: it oversees the passivity and atomization of society, the reactionary anti-universalism of its rhetoric, multiplied by the utmost cynical rationality of its elites. And it is worth explicitly calling it fascist, not only because it fits that definition, but also so that the emancipatory movements of the present can understand the scale of the global threat to our common future.

The entire article can be read here.



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