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Russia’s Flirtation With Fascism

Western policymakers have struggled to categorize the Russian political system, often resorting to vague phrases such as “illiberal democracy” or “authoritarianism.” If anything, the Russian system should be characterized as proto-fascist – tamer than the interwar European fascist states, but featuring key elements of those regimes.

MOSCOW – Western policymakers in recent years have struggled to categorize the Russian political system, often resorting to vague phrases such as “illiberal democracy” or “authoritarianism.”

If anything, the Russian system should be characterized as proto-fascist – tamer than European fascist states during the 1920s and 1930s, but still featuring key elements of those regimes. These include the structure of Russia’s political economy; the idealization of the state as a source of moral authority; and Russia’s particular brand of international relations.

In The Anatomy of Fascism, Columbia University historian Robert O. Paxton writes that:

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