Putin's regime is authoritarian and unfair, in my humble opinion. But he is being called a fascist, and of course, he can be as evil as anyone and not be fascist. But is his regime far right? In other words, is he deserving of the term fascist? Of course, he can be as evil as they come, and be far left for example. All I'm asking is if fascist is a politically and scientifically correct term of what Putin's regime is.
In politics, labels like this change over time and from place to place. That can lead to misunderstandings.
- Fascism is often associated with authoritarian rule, but it is not the only authoritarian model, so that is not very helpful.
- Fascism is often associated with strong state intervention in the economy, often at the expense of workers but also at the expense of capitalists/investors, who are not allowed to seek profits where they see fit. The relationship between Russian oligarchs, industries, and the government is complex, but there are probably elements of fascist practice.
- Fascism is often associated with Irredentism, and Russia shows clear signs of that. But again, not only fascism is associated with Irredentism.
- Fascism is often associated with Imperialism, and Russia shows clear signs of that. But again, not only fascism is associated with Imperialism.
So I find the label Fascist possibly correct, considering how many characteristics match. But not helpful for analysis or policy debate. It might be helpful for propaganda.
Is Putin Fascist? Yes.
Let's take a quick look at the definition of fascism. Below is an example, others have very similar definitions of fascism.
The definition according to Merriam-Webster: A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Putin complies with all criteria.
Depends on the definition of fascism used.
These days, a narrow definition is used in Russia:
Fascist = someone the Russian government doesn't like.
Obviously, the head of the state doesn't qualify.
On the other hand, when we go to the origins of the word (the dominant political ideology in Italy in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s) we can find a great deal of similarities to modern Russia.
There are differences as well. E.g.
- there is no repression against a particular ethnic or religious group in Russia (as of now, as far as I know). Jews are safe, at least as much as everyone else in Russia. There are some ethnic and religious tensions in Russia, but the state doesn't take side in them.
- religious leaders are in somewhat distanced, but warm relationships with the government.
On the third hand, once something like fascism is established in a country, the concepts of the political left and right become meaningless.
There is no political debate in Russia, so there is no established spectrum of political views.
Compared to European or American political spectra, the dominant Russian state ideology and policy can be viewed as either far left or far right, depending on what part is considered important.
No, Putin isn't Far Right.
- religious minorities in Russia enjoy widespread freedom
- Putil has taken some measures to eradicate Neo-Nazis inside Russia
- Putin has a tolerant policy toward migrant workers
What if I told you N. Korea is way more left than Singapore? Left and right should only be used to describe economic policies, not social policies. There is left, right, authoritarian and libertarian at each quadrant extreme. Using only left and right, N. Korea would be, as The Political Compass points out, a "shining model of human rights and social freedoms." Authoritarian does not equal right. Libertarian does not equal left.
Asking if someone is left or right and then asking if someone's facist or not is contradictory. One can be a facist and left and one can be facist and right. Of course, people on the left in the US won't like hearing that. But fact is, whether fiscally conservative or fiscally liberal, one can not tolerate opposing viewpoints and want a strong central government, thus making them a facist.
Is Singapore facist? Well, they are one of the most authoritarian countries in the world. The country is also highly fiscally conservative. Opposit of them in fiscal matters is N. Korea. But N. Korea is [slightly] more authoritarian.
If defining facism as economic freedom (or the lack therof), Ukraine is on par with Russia according to the Index of Economic Freedom. Is Ukraine fascist? Far right?
I guess the answer depends on where you define center and how you define freedom and whether or not you like the answer you came up with. Which means, labels such as this will always be subjective and defined by popular opinion.
It's kind of like "which sports team is the best." Well, that depends on what metrics one uses to calculate their power rankings. If they even use a scoring system.