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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.

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    There are many different definitions of fascism. You will probably get more helpful answers if you specify which one you are using, for the purposes of this question. Furthermore, "far right" and "fascist" are not synonyms. Which are you asking about? Jul 9, 2022 at 15:18
  • I know that he is called a fascist on account of how terrible his actions are. I want to know if it is also a politically-correct term of what he is, or if it is just an insult. Jul 9, 2022 at 15:41
  • @NikolaiFrolov My point was that the definitions and interpretations of fascism are so many and varied that, unless you specify which one you are using, your question is almost meaningless. Precision in questions like yours can save a lot of semantic wrangling in the answers and comments. Jul 9, 2022 at 20:12
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    Does this answer your question? What specific political traits classify a political leader as a fascist? It's worth noting that despite the more generic title, that Q is also somewhat focused on Putin. Jul 9, 2022 at 23:50
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    Is "fascist" synonymous with "far right"? I was under the impression they were related, but distinct categories. Jul 10, 2022 at 15:29

5 Answers 5

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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.

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    I'd also note that in colloquial terms, "fascist" is basically a disparaging insult against the country/politician, not an attempt to draw an accurate historical parallel. Same with "nazi". Jul 10, 2022 at 1:59
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    @JonathanReez You mean there aren't any real Nazis existing currently in the sense of an accurate historical parallel? Jul 10, 2022 at 9:25
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    @Trilarion, in a very narrow sense a Nazi is a member of the NSDAP. This institution was dissolved at the end of WWII and there is no legal successor organization. So one can find former Nazis, unrepentant ex-Nazis, and so on. In a broader sense a nazi is a supporter of the ideology of the NSDAP or one of their unofficial successor organizations. Plenty of those around. In an even broader sense, it is a supporter of an ideology similar to that of the NSDAP. Even more of those. But when you wrote "accurate historical parallel," does that include the belief in the superiority of an "Aryan" race?
    – o.m.
    Jul 10, 2022 at 9:46
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    @o.m. Such people are more usually called "neo-Nazis."
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 10, 2022 at 12:11
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    @csstudent1418, I disagree with that. The difference in opinion between the executive, legislative, and judiciary violates one of they key characteristics of fascism.
    – o.m.
    Jul 10, 2022 at 14:49
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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.

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  • This is the argument used by "lumpists", who use a simple def of fascism such as that quoted. OTOH, others argue that there's more to fascism than that. If one easily glosses over race in that def, it's basically defining any nationalist-autocratic regime, even something like an authoritarian monarchy or the states of the Soviet bloc. Jul 11, 2022 at 4:08
  • "severe economic and social regimentation," Yet Russia has quite a bit of individual financial freedoms compared to known fascist governments. Including property rights as well as very low taxation. Lower than even the US... Communism does not equal fascism. Authoritarian does not equal fascism. Nobody considers Singapore a fascist government. Yet they are one of the most authoritarian governments in the world.
    – DataMinion
    Jul 12, 2022 at 12:11
  • @DataMinion, without disputing the core of the argument, it's a common misconception that taxation is low in Russia. The income tax is low (but almost flat, which means low-paid workers are taxed more than in most countries), but there is a much higher (about 2.5x) set of taxes paid by the employer (pension, social security, medical, etc.) Plus a high VAT of 20%.
    – Zeus
    Oct 24, 2023 at 0:37
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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.

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No, Putin isn't Far Right.

Coz,

  1. religious minorities in Russia enjoy widespread freedom
  2. Putil has taken some measures to eradicate Neo-Nazis inside Russia
  3. Putin has a tolerant policy toward migrant workers
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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Philipp
    Jul 10, 2022 at 20:11
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    Eh, he dissolved the RNE in 2000. Ages ago. Back then he even wanted to join NATO and what not. I mean this answer has somewhat valid points but not exactly well supported. As I recall, Mussolini was also a bonafide socialist in his youth, before started to emphasize nationalism more and more. Jul 11, 2022 at 3:47
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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.

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    @Trilarion, Putin, thus Russia, is no further right than Ukraine is. This based on the proper use of left and right (fiscal). I pretty much answered that in the reply. And was the question whether or not he is far right, or a facist? Because they are not synonymous (for the reasons stated).As others touched on it, there are several definitions of facist. I used one of them. The one found in dictionaries.
    – DataMinion
    Jul 10, 2022 at 9:31
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    "Left and right should only be used to describe economic policies, not social policies." - says who? That seems like a very non-standard assumption to me?
    – Eike P.
    Jul 10, 2022 at 12:52
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    One can be authoritarian, totalitarian and repressive while being on the left, but fascist? Left-wing extremism is absolutely as awful and totalitarian as right-wing extremism, but I would argue only the right-wing ones can be referred to as fascist (although I personally avoid using the term at all for anything but the Fascist parties of circa WWII since the term has almost lost its meaning in modern use).
    – terdon
    Jul 10, 2022 at 13:39
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    On the contrary, the primary distinction between left and right is emphasis on equality vs emphasis on hierarchy, a primarily social distinction which only approximately aligns with economics. Fascism is an ideology based around hierarchy. Maybe you can imagine a "left fascism" but this answer doesn't really explain how such a thing could exist. Jul 10, 2022 at 15:33
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    @BrandonStivers Googling 'Political Compass is wrong' brings up a variety of answers which I won't repeat here. Jul 11, 2022 at 9:05

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