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For a New Russia : Opportunistic Fascism (Putinism Part II)

We saw in Part I how we can define fascism and how Putin designed his power from the year 2000 to 2016. We will now study his policies from 2016 until today and the result of his 20 years in power.

Putinism (2016-2022)

Putin's return to the presidency in 2012 was sensational. Having eliminated the political risk posed by the events of 2011 (protests in Balotnoya Square, etc.), Putin immediately employed an incredible turn of the screw to strengthen his regime. From his point of view, Medvedev (President from 2008 to 2012) had been too liberal and was on the way to considerably weakening the regime that Putin had built. This is also why Putin had returned to power and why he had forced Medvedev's hand to intervene in Georgia in 2008.

But one thing had changed greatly since the decade 2000-2010. Putin's first presidency was carried by strong economic winds. Russia had benefited from the stabilization of the economy after the 1990s and an economic boom after the increase in the price of energy. But since 2008, the world has entered a period of deep economic crisis and the prices of energy had fallen. Russia was entering a recession which had the effect of changing the nature of the regime.

Putin therefore decided to turn his focus on foreign policy. In 2014, as the Ukrainian Revolution (also known as Euromaidan) raged, Putin took the opportunity to realize an old Russian national dream : the return of Crimea to Russia. His popularity then exploded and reached heights never before seen. Putin was then conceived of as the man who restored Russia to its lost greatness. And there appeared a trend: now the stability of the regime no longer came from the opportunist discourse discussed in Part I, but from the illusion of the return of the Glory of Russia and the geopolitical genius of Putin. But something else also appeared: economic sanctions. While the world was recovering from the 2008 crisis, Russia was not finding a path to recovery, the economy was deteriorating. Unable to have recourse to a solid economy, Putin decided to strengthen the Dictatorship.

This process was long and almost invisible. This is also how one succeeds best in this tactic, sudden changes can be destabilizing, but when the process is extended over time, it is more likely to pass.

This is how since 2016, the discourse of opening towards the West and the world was changed towards a discourse focused on traditional values, on an alternative model to a decadent and on the verge of collapse West, on the Greatness of the Russian Nation and especially on the fact that Russia is (supposedly) a besieged fortress. In fact, everything is done to strengthen the Putin regime while blaming the problems not on the regime's inept policy or on corruption but on foreigners or even homosexuals. The regime therefore became fascist.

Putin opted for a fascist form not because he is convinced, but because it is the best way for him to stay in power and keep stealing. We have therefore entered the last phase of its political opportunism: opportunist fascism.

Opportunist fascism

The genius of the maneuver employed by Putin since 2016 is that it is rooted in Russian history. Indeed, Putin will invoke History and twist the facts so that everything seems coherent to ordinary Russians. For example, Russians who grew up in the Soviet Union grew up knowing that the West was desperate to destroy the Soviet Union. This is a fact. But this is a fact of the Cold War. And besides, the United States sought as much to destroy the Soviet Union as the Soviet Union sought to destroy the United States. This was an ideological War and its own survival depended directly on the failure of the opposing ideology. But today Russia has no ideology but the same sauce comes out: the United States wants the end of Great Russia. And Putin makes an extraordinary effort to reinforce this impression by adding the past to it. Thus the Nazi invasion of 1941 is also seen as an attempt by the West to invade Russia (regardless of the fact that the West was an enemy of Hitler's fascism…). Putin also invokes the Napoleonic or even Polish invasions of the early 17th century.

Everything seems correct. Indeed, Russia has known practically all its wars and invasions as threats coming from the WestBut that is a geographical fact, not a historical one! Indeed, more than 80% of the population of Russia is in the West of the Country, and the most difficult borders to defend for Russia are in the West. To say that there is a conspiracy against Russia that has existed for millennia is like saying that France is the victim of a thousand-year-old conspiracy against her by the Germans! In the History of Mankind, the most wars have taken place between neighbors, and Russia's neighbors are in the West! Moreover, Putin forgets that Russia has also invaded its own neighbors (hence the rather proven certainty that Russia is a danger for the countries of Eastern Europe). Putin knowingly forgets that Russia invaded Poland and dismembered it several times, that the USSR invaded Finland or even that Russia attacked Japan in 1905. But since Russian children have grown up knowing that the West is the enemy, it's not hard to believe that the danger is real, is it?

All propaganda is rooted in a small part of reality but also in a large part of popular beliefs. There lies the genius of the Putinian propagandists. They repeat what Russians have been used to hear for generations, while appealing to their fantasies and desires and justifying everything with a few facts here and there. Yet as you examine each piece of the propaganda, one is struck by how much lies and profound contradictions there actually are.

And so we come to forget that Russia today is a country in deep crisis. Russia is a major energy power, yet many of its territories are not connected to the national energy grid. Russia has a talented and well-educated population, yet Russia does not produce any high-tech products in demand on the world market. Russia would have been able to become a hub of the world economy by its privileged position, and yet today it is an economy in free fall and isolated from international trade. Is it the result of a foreign conspiracy or the failure of national policies?

The truth is there.

To hide his failures, Putin seeks to blame an alleged foreign conspiracy, while wanting to link his legitimacy to his geopolitical genius. And now he fails miserably in Ukraine. So what is this Russia he built?

Russia today

Within 20 years, with an adequate policy, Russia could have become one of the Great Powers of the modern world. If it had followed the example of Deng Xiaoping's China, it would now have the means to achieve its ambitions. Deng said in the 1980s that China needed economic growth and international calm (even if it meant being forgotten). This is not for me to say that the Chinese are right because Xi Jinping abandoned Deng's policy, but the fact is that Russia should have chosen this path.

By becoming a dynamic and developed economy (not dependent on the export of energy) Russia would have been essential for its neighbors. Through wisely thought-out regional integration, it would have become the key player between Europe and China. Thus it would have been economically and internationally independent more than it is today. With its incredible economic resources it could have seen its standards of living increase, the birth rate explode, its scientific progress guaranteed.

But instead, we lost 20 years. 20 years of theft, murder and lies. Drenched in imperialist dreams, we let our guard down and let the wolves take over the chicken coop. We have nothing left. As an American expert said, “Russia today is a gas station with nuclear missiles”. In space we are nothing. On new technologies we are nothing. On finance we are nothing.

So many deaths. So many wasted dreams. So much potential, destroyed. And all this so that an elite of oligarchs can fancy themselves as a new nobility and build palaces. Afraid of losing their power, they opted for a fascist model, fueled by the resentment of the Russian people and the need to explain the country's difficulties on something other than the corruption of the elites. And that's not all.

Try to imagine how much we have lost. And add to it all that we are going to lose now. Because our future has just been destroyed too. Not content with stealing our past and present, Putin is stealing our future. Because after all these events, we will have to settle its liabilities. Repairs, selling at a loss and economic reconstruction will be the order of the day for the next decade. The 2020s were the last chance for Russia to take advantage of its energy resources to finance its economy. It is now over. Our resources will have to be sold at bargain prices just to pay for what has just been destroyed by the War in Ukraine (and not only the physical and moral damage, but also our reputation and our place in the world!). Putin will have cost us 30 years, and therefore for many people, their working life.

Now we also have to take stock of our history. Imagine all the suffering we have already experienced. 300 years of Romanov rule, which prevented us from advancing and becoming as developed as Europe (or even more because our potential is unparalleled). The 1917 Revolution, which became inevitable and cost us just as much. Then the Civil War of 1918-1922. This was followed by the famine of 1924, then that of 1929-1933. Then came the Stalinist repressions added to the Great Patriotic War, then follows the famine of 1947. After that we survived through Chernobyl, the fall of the USSR, the crime and disorder of the 1990s, then the Chechen Wars … For 400 years now Russia has been the undisputed victim of its own political power. Corruption and authoritarianism are not Russia's virtues, they are its curse. The same things produce the same effects. So we have to suffer again. Suffer to pay our debts of the past and pay our debts of the present by paying with our future!

By believing the illusions that Putin has given us during his last 6 years, we have betrayed the memory of our ancestors who suffered so much for us. They hoped that at least we wouldn't make the same mistakes and that we would live better. We have betrayed our children, who will now be forced to live in the same shame and misery as we do in our time. The cycle begins again.

In physics, when an object returns to its starting point, it is called a “Revolution”. Here we are. So we're going to start over from the beginning. We must therefore start from a good base so as not to make the same mistakes. Our goal is not only to end Putin's reign, to win back our honor and to rebuild our economy. Our goal is to break the curse of the Russian people that has been bequeathed to us generation after generation.

If we succeed, Russia can finally become Great and Glorious! If we make the right decisions, in just a few decades Russia will be new and prosperous. If we don't do this, Russia will disappear, having been nothing but a huge wound and wasted potential in its history. The future is in our hands and it is our duty as patriots, children and parents to accomplish this Revolution. Freeing Russia from Putinism is only the first step.

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