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.
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