Shekhovtsov: Fascism, “borderless as our lands, and red as our blood”

On the 15th of March, Moscow has witnessed – in addition to the anti-war and anti-imperialist march – a march in support of the Russian military occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The latter was organised by the Essence of Time movement founded and headed by Russian National-Bolshevik Sergey Kurginyan.

The symbolism of the whole event is best understood by noting a quote from one of the articles by Kurginyan‘s colleague and ideological ally, Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin. In his article “Fascism – borderless and red”, he wrote (the original quote in Russian can be found below):

Russian socialism should be built by new people, a new type of people, a new class. A class of heroes and revolutionaries. The remains of the party nomenclature and their ramshackle order should fall victim to the socialist revolution. The Russian national revolution. The Russians are longing for freshness, for modernity, for unfeigned romanticism, for living participation in some great cause. Everything that they are offered today is either archaic (the national patriots) or boring and cynical (the liberals).

The dance and the attack, fashion and aggression, excessiveness and discipline, will and gesture, fanaticism and irony will seethe in the national revolutionaries – young, malicious, merry, fearless, passionate and not knowing limits. They will build and destroy, rule and fulfill orders, conduct purges of the enemies of the nation and tenderly take care of Russian elderly and children. Wrathfully and merrily will they approach the citadel of the ramshackle and rotten System sic. Yes, they deeply thirst for Power. They know how to use it. They will breathe Life in society, they will shove the people into the sweet process of creating History. New people. Finally, intelligent and brave. Such as are needed. Who take the outer world as a strike (in the words of Golovin).

Immediately before his death, the French fascist writer Robert Brasillach voiced a strange prophecy: “I see how in the East, in Russia, fascism is rising – a fascism borderless and red”.

Note: Not a faded, brownish-pinkish national capitalism, but the blinding dawn of a new Russian Revolution, fascism – borderless as our lands, and red as our blood.

Anton Shekhovtsov is a European Fellow of the Radicalism and New Media Ressearch Group (University of Northampton, UK)

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Snyder: Putin’s Eurasianism

Concerning the formation of a Eurasian Union of post-Soviet states, Timothy Snyder elaborates on the ideological roots of Putin politics, and the underpinnings of the propaganda that fuels it. Often times those who oppose Russian imperialism are labelled as fascists by state media in attempts to discredit opposing views. Snyder discusses in his upcoming piece for the New York Review both the obvious irony in such criticism, as well as the foundations of what may ultimately amount to Russian fascism in open policy.

The ethnic purification of the communist legacy is precisely the logic of National Bolshevism, which is the foundational ideology of Eurasianism today. Putin himself is an admirer of the philosopher Ivan Ilin, who wanted Russia to be a nationalist dictatorship.

The Eurasian ideology draws an entirely different lesson from the twentieth century. Founded around 2001 by the Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, it proposes the realization of National Bolshevism. Rather than rejecting totalitarian ideologies, Eurasianism calls upon politicians of the twenty-first century to draw what is useful from both fascism and Stalinism. Dugin’s major work, The Foundations of Geopolitics, published in 1997, follows closely the ideas of Carl Schmitt, the leading Nazi political theorist. Eurasianism is not only the ideological source of the Eurasian Union, it is also the creed of a number of people in the Putin administration, and the moving force of a rather active far-right Russian youth movement. For years Dugin has openly supported the division and colonization of Ukraine.

The point man for Eurasian and Ukrainian policy in the Kremlin is Sergei Glazyev, an economist who like Dugin tends to combine radical nationalism with nostalgia for Bolshevism. He was a member of the Communist Party and a Communist deputy in the Russian parliament before cofounding a far-right party called Rodina, or Motherland. In 2005 some of its deputies signed a petition to the Russian prosecutor general asking that all Jewish organizations be banned from Russia. Later that year Motherland was banned from taking part in further elections after complaints that its advertisements incited racial hatred.

Why exactly do people with such views think they can call other people fascists? And why does anyone on the Western left take them seriously? One line of reasoning seems to run like this: the Russians won World War II, and therefore can be trusted to spot Nazis. Much is wrong with this. World War II on the eastern front was fought chiefly in what was then Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Belarus, not in Soviet Russia. Five percent of Russia was occupied by the Germans; all of Ukraine was occupied by the Germans. Apart from the Jews, whose suffering was by far the worst, the main victims of Nazi policies were not Russians but Ukrainians and Belarusians. There was no Russian army fighting in World War II, but rather a Soviet Red Army. Its soldiers were disproportionately Ukrainian, since it took so many losses in Ukraine and recruited from the local population. The army group that liberated Auschwitz was called the First Ukrainian Front.

Timothy Snyder is an American historian and Professor of History at Yale University.

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