Thursday, April 24, 2014


Commentary

The New Fascism

According to the prosecutor at a recent trial, fascists are voluntary associations of citizens trying to bring order to the country, while those who disagree with them are committing a crime.
According to the prosecutor at a recent trial, fascists are voluntary associations of citizens trying to bring order to the country, while those who disagree with them are committing a crime.
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By Yulia Latynina
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree titled "On the Presidential Commission against Efforts to Falsify History to Harm Russian Interests." Assigned to counteract the above-mentioned efforts are agencies that are professionally involved in the study of history, including the presidential administration, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

In February, after Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested making it a crime to deny Russia's victory in World War II, I wrote that the economic crisis would bring us to the point where the favorite themes of our patriots would be those that kept up the necessary climate of hatred within Russia but wouldn't provoke reactions from foreign diplomats. That is, threats to place missiles in Kaliningrad would be replaced by PR campaigns promoting Russians who did anything heroic against foreigners. And by calls to strike -- and strike hard -- against those who would deny the Mongol Yoke.

But, to be honest, I thought these calls would come from those spontaneous, semi-fascist organizations in defense of morality and purity that have lately been voluntarily taking on the role of beat cop and terrorizing any business using an "incorrect" or "unpatriotic" advertisement. It would have been hard for me to imagine that this initiative would gather such steam that our Great Liberal Hope, Mr. Medvedev, would sign a paper setting up a Ministry of Truth.
A new form of fascism has appeared in the world..., and it has been adopted by dictatorial regimes whose leaders do not want their countries to open up to the world or who are afraid their countries might develop independent businesses and a middle class and escape from their control.


Recently, Russia became the second country in the world (after fascist Germany) to imprison someone for fighting against fascism: I am referring to the one-year sentence handed down to Aleksei Olesinov for "hooliganism" in a case that is widely believed to have been motivated by Olesinov's antifascist activism (his lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was shot to death in the center of Moscow in January).

In his summation at the trial, the prosecutor said the fascists are voluntary associations of citizens trying to bring order to the country, while those who disagree with them are committing a crime. Strictly speaking, the prosecutor revised the Nuremberg trials, falsified history, and so on.

Nonetheless, it is hard to imagination that President Medvedev's commission will take up the case of this prosecutor. You can tell in advance that the distinguished historians of the presidential administration and the FSB are not going to take up the nearly daily acts of terrorism being committed in Russian cities by fascists (it is hard to describe the ethnically motivated killings of Tajiks or Azeris as anything other than terrorism).

They will not take up the matter of the books being published that propagandize the ideas of Adolf Hitler. And why should they, since these same agencies have issued a semiofficial recommendation that their employees study textbooks where the history of Russia is portrayed as one long struggle against a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy?

But the late writer Viktor Astafyev, who fought through the war and wrote that Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov was "the poacher of the Russian people" and that he and Stalin "immolated the Russian people and Russia on the pyres of war" and who called the Red Army "the most talentless army in the history of humanity," would undoubtedly have earned the attention of the Medvedev commission, if he were still alive.

Antifascist Fascists


In my view, a new form of fascism has appeared in the world. It is a completely international ideology, just like fundamentalist Islam or communism, and it has been adopted by dictatorial regimes whose leaders do not want their countries to open up to the world or who are afraid their countries might develop independent businesses and a middle class and escape from their control.

Take, for example, Hamas. Members of Hamas don't call themselves fascists. On the contrary, Hamas and its allies have urged a United Nations conference to label Israel fascist and to call their struggle antifascist. They tell Western intellectuals they are fighting for freedom and aren't afraid to tell CNN's cameras that their understanding of freedom means the destruction of Israel and all the Jews living in their homeland.

Or take South Ossetia. The regime there also calls its struggle "antifascist" and explains that its wise President Eduard Kokoity is defending his people against destruction by Georgian fascists. Of course, there are more Ossetians in Tbilisi than in all of South Ossetia, and it isn't quite clear why the fascist Mikheil Saakashvili isn't destroying Ossetians who are currently living under his complete control on Georgian territory, but is only threatening those who are being saved by the wise leader Kokoity.

The "antifascism" of our leaders is similar to that of Hamas. Of course, there are no fascists in our Kremlin. There are no fascists gathering each summer at the Nashi youth camp at Lake Seliger. On the contrary, we, Russia, are conducting an antifascist campaign against the Fourth Reich, the United States. Against the corrupt West, which is dreaming of revising the results of World War II, of destroying and trampling down our Russian nation.

Of course, if you look closely at the much-hated West, it turns out that Sergei Brin, who emigrated to the United States, became a billionaire there by co-founding Google. And Aleksandr Rybak, who left Belarus for Norway, has become the darling of his adopted land. And you see that our passionate defenders against the foreign enemies are buying up mansions in London from our British enemies who blame us for the death of former FSB Colonel Aleksandr Litvinenko. And they are registering their companies in the malicious Switzerland, which refused to freeze the bank accounts of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Fascism is the exclusive propaganda weapon of nations that want to remove other nations from the Earth. And how they label those other nations -- "Jews," "Untermensch," or "fascists" -- is just a matter of convenience. But the ideology our authorities are leading us toward -- the ideology of hatred against open society, the ideology of struggling against "internal enemies," the ideology of struggling against "those who would rewrite history" -- (all of which so perfectly described by George Orwell in "1984") is becoming more and more frightening.

Yulia Latynina is a columnist for "Novaya gazeta" and a host on "Ekho Moskvy." The views expressed in this commentary, which originally appeared on the website "Yezhednevny zhurnal," are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL
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by: Petya from: Moscow
May 20, 2009 20:56
Jewish-Masonic conspiracy, huh. The Ministry of Truth will confirm that. It is also a capitalist attack on Russian interests. All the West is trying to destroy Russia and steal its resources. The decadent Westerners might be financially wealthy, but lack one thing - ideology. Your belief in capital is going to destroy you. Peace.

by: Walter from: Porland
May 20, 2009 21:55
I am not quite sure what Petya is saying, or if her/she is even serious. Europe has invested heavily in Russia's oil, gas, automotive, and other industries in order to destroy Russia? That makes sense if you smoke enough cannibis I guess. Western Europe wishes to encircle and conquer Russia, and is taking active steps towards this goal. Well, European defense expenditures as a percentage of their economies are the lowest they have ever been since World War II. The United States is presently bogged down in two military theaters that have stretched its manpower to the breaking point, but somehow has the ability and will to subjugate Russia? Well, I guess if you get believe that St. Cyril is still alive and among us such a concern would appear to be valid. These manias would be amusing if they were not such a destructive distraction from valid concerns about the spread of Islamist radicalism and Chinese intentions.

by: Asehpe from: Netherlands
May 21, 2009 08:10
Petya isn't really saying anything, he's just ranting against the West. Nothing in the West is good, everything is Russia is good; that's basically the translation of his/her letter. Wishful thinking, and a good example of the effect of propaganda on simple minds: yet another person convinced that the West "hates Russia". What a pity, for Russia, that such people should think they're "defending" her. They may eventually bring up catastrophes that they themselves can't fathom.

by: Ken F from: USA
May 21, 2009 12:43
I have been visiting Russia on multiple occasions for the last 15 years. Only in the past few has my Russian language become good enough to have conversations with the "man on the street". I have many Russian friends and enjoy the visits but I am constantly disturbed by people like Petya. That line of thought isn't a rarity at all. I also wonder how many people think like this but don't express it out of politeness. These people need to educate themselves and travel a little more. The idea that the West is trying to conquer them is absurd.

by: David from: London
May 21, 2009 17:49
No-one in their right mind denies the heroic struggle the Russian people went through to rid the world of the Nazis. The Russian blood split between Moscow and Berlin cannot and must not be forgotten. But, it is no disrespect to the dead to say that the world is faced with new problems. On of those problems is the fact that we are faced with many countries which can be called "fascist" because the governments cannot cope with any form of criticism. These countries include Burma, Belarus, Russia, North Korea and China. Some internal dissent is sometimes permitted to a greater or lesser extent, but ultimately anyone in these countries who annoys the state ends up missing, in prison or in a grave.
Finally, if russia is so wonderful, why aren't its consulates overrun by potential immigrants, wanting to make their fortune in this marvellous country?
Answers please on the back of a postage stamp.

does and all the west wants to do is grt its hands on its assets, why all the he amount

by: Olena from: NYC
May 22, 2009 00:59
I want to thank Yulia Latynina for being the voice of an almost extinct part of russian society who did not give up the ideas of freedom and still questions their corrupt government. And in Russia it takes real courage to do this.

by: George from: Tbilisi
May 23, 2009 15:31
For me, who has a Russian grandmother and attended a Russian school (though here, in Tbilisi) it's really saddening to watch how Russia degenerates into a neo-fascist state! And the minds of so many people - and, most imporantly, not necessarily of those simpletons like Petya - resemble more and more "Augean stables". It seems Russia's awakening will occur only after its own "Nuremberg"...

by: David from: U.S.A.
May 24, 2009 08:20
I like history.
In fact I would like to learn about president Obama's history but his lawyers won't let anyone see it.
George Orwell once said "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future"
I think our last election proved that.

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
May 24, 2009 09:28
I agree with Ken that education and travel (people to people contacts) could help destroying these negative believes of young Russians.

That is why we need not to isolate Russia but keep the dialogue. The EU should expand its student exchange program, offer much more scholarships.
If we would like to see Russia more open and more democratic than we need to "invest" in it not only complaining.

People like Petya can be misguided about the West because they have never been to any western country. They know nothing about a real democracy. People with first hand impressions about the West are much harder to be misguided. Traveling is the best tool against intolerance and racism.

Therefore we need to make people to people contacts easier - like lifting visa restrictions againts Russia - not building new "iron curtains".

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