Putinism

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Putinism (Russian: путинизм, pronounced Putinizm) is a authoritarian and nationalist ideology revolving around Vladimir Putin and his political tactics and rhetoric and his governing style. In the age of Putin, it is considered a form of Ruscism (Russian fascism), though both ideologies have essentially blended together since the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and it remains to be seen what happens with Ruscism after Putin. Their development echoes and builds upon some key patterns of Stalinism,[1] and Putinism additionally entails a personality cult much like Stalinism did. Putin himself has even praised Stalin as a model for his ideal style of leadership.[2]

Because Putin has banned almost every opposition group (with the exception of Third Positionist parties with Nazis and tankies), Putinism is the dominant ideology and force within Russia and Russian politics.[3] Threats to Putin's reign mainly come from other Ruscist camps, as in the Wagner Group's rebellion in June 2023, its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin bringing about an armed march on Moscow until a "deal" was made. Pro-democracy activists and protestors have also been a significant threat to Putin’s rule and a concern to the Russian oligarchs who want their power over the country.

The Putinist regime has enlisted the Russian Orthodox Church as a branch of its propaganda and intelligence machinery. Russia also tries to eliminate competition to said church in Ukraine, chiefly the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is opposed to the invaders. The regime also has propaganda news outlets loyal to them, propaganda working only on the most gullible and uninformed citizens, and people outside of Russia supporting and defending Russia’s and Putin’s actions.[4]

History[edit]

Putinism had its early conception during the Chechen war, when Putin started the war and (who was the newly elected president at the time) used vague elements of Russian nationalist propaganda to appeal to Russian citizens and claim that the war was just and necessary as a defense from Islamists and stabilizing Russian territory.[5] The ideology gained steam and grew considerably large during a time of economic hardship for Russia, after the fall of the USSR neoliberal "shock therapy"Wikipedia essentially dismantled all social infrastructure in place, and this enabled wealth-hoarding oligarchs to come to power, at the expense of the citizenry.[6][note 1] Privatization brought about by shock therapy has been linked to rising mortality rates in the former USSR,[7] as well as a decreased life expectancy.[8]:63-64

Part of the key appeal of Putinism is that Putin claimed to lessen the economic woes of the nation and restored Russia to a modicum of prosperity. In reality, however, Putin's economic policies were closer to neoliberalism. He eliminated progressive taxation, placing the brunt of the tax burden on the poor instead of the rich, and cut the power of the labor unions. Putin abolished the 8-hour working day and sought to lessen restrictions on child labor.[9]

During the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the follow-up full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Putinism spread even further from propaganda outlets worshiping Putin, such as from Vladimir Solovyev and Sergey Lavrov. These outlets often spread dangerous and insane propaganda that could be easily debunked. However, as all opposition was practically nonexistent at this point, lies from these “news and media” outlets passed through to the Russian people.[10]

General ideology[edit]

Despite being somewhat pan-Slavic in nature as Putin sees other Slavic groups as being part of Russian history, Putinism mostly relates to Russian nationalism as it sees Russian culture and identity as the dominant and superior group. Irredentism is also part of the ideology, since Putin believes that a pan-Slavic Russia would be a unified utopia for what he sees as a united national Russia, starting first with Eastern Europe.[11]

Putinism also heavily draws on nostalgia from the Soviet Union and the Russian empire, which has led Putin being compared to previous Russian dictators such as Stalin and Nicholas II (despite these two dictators being completely different in their ideologies), and in addition to Putin lionizing both Stalin and Ilyin (a communist and a fascist, two diametrically opposed ideologues).[12][13] However, this makes Putinism a unique ideology as it is a fascist ideology with nostalgia for an authoritarian leftist dictatorship (making these two ideologies at odds). This shows that Putinism is more so built on Russian nationalism and imperialist nostalgia rather than logical and principled ideological beliefs.[14]

As Putinism is related to and relies heavily on nostalgia for the Soviet Union, its relation to the past empire is straightforward in some aspects. Putin himself was a KGB agent in the days of the Soviet Union, has referred to the breakup of the Soviet Union as “the greatest political disaster of the 20th century” and views previous leaders such as Stalin as great Russian/Soviet patriots. Because of his reverence for Stalin, Putin and Putinists have referred to Stalin to appeal to actual communists and red fascists to strengthen their alliance.[15]

Anti-Ukrainian sentiment is a major hallmark of the ideology, inherited from historical bigotry and fighting between Russia and Ukraine ever since the Kievan Rus (which was arguably the beginning of Ukraine) gave rise to Russia in the 800s AD. Anti-Ukrainian bigotry in Putinism seems to be borrowed specifically from the Tsarist and Soviet eras, when Ukraine was a victim of Russian imperialism from both empires respectively at the time.[16]

Putinism also inherited the Russian supremacist tendency of putting ethnic Russians (who practice Orthodox Christianity) above other groups (Ukrainians, Mongols, Kazakhs, Chechens, etc). Despite this, Russia has actually seen a decrease in hate crimes and has a fairy liberal immigration policy. It’s likely the major reason minorities are enlisted as cannon fodder for war is that they live in poorer conditions with no access to information from the outside world and are less likely to rebel against the government.[17]

Dominance and prominence[edit]

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on the orders of Putin, Putinism has grown significantly and substantially in large numbers. Most of this is due to misinformation, propaganda, and lack of real news outlets to report the ongoing situation in Ukraine.[18]

Putinism has also spread beyond Russia to the rest of the world, such as in the United States and Europe, where far-right groups promote pro-Putin sentiments and ideologies.[19] Among these groups are Christian fundamentalists and Christian nationalists, white nationalists and white supremacists, paleoconservatives, neo-nazis, tankies, and men’s rights activists.[20]

Several examples of prominent pundits from these groups who support Putin are Andrew Tate,[21] Alex Jones,[22] Tucker Carlson,[23] and Donald Trump.[24] These individuals have promoted and praised Putin’s strongman status and his brand of Christian nationalism against whatever they see as “degenerate” and whoever they want to scapegoat (the LGBT community, immigrants, liberals, leftists, etc). Trump has repeatedly defended Putin's invasion and has even gone so far to call the invasion "genius".[25] Tucker has also heavily defended Putin several times, and hosted a completely boring and lackluster interview with him in February 2024, which Putin himself criticized for being boring and lackluster.[26]

Current situation[edit]

Putinism has somewhat of a stronghold and a stranglehold on Russian politics, but unlike in previous authoritarian and fascist regimes, the overwhelming majority are not supportive of Putin and his actions. Many protesters were present marching against Putin’s imperialist actions, leading to mass arrests because of the Putin regimes’ fear of democracy weakening their grip on power from their unpopularity. The invasion of Ukraine didn’t help matters, only validating Putin’s decline in mental stability and his further solidifying his status as a dictator.[27] Because of Putin’s declining popularity and status as a fascist dictator, it is no longer impossible to see him losing power before his death.[28]

There is some debate amongst scholars of considering Putinism as fascism or a different ideology. Historians Roger Griffin and Stanley G. Payne argue that Putinism is not truly fascism as it lacks the revolutionary aspect that Nazism and Italian Fascism had, and instead is more similar to and is based on Stalinism and Tsarism. In addition, they point out that the movements of Hitler and Mussolini relied on the masses engaging with their movements to spread their power, whereas Putin actively opposes any reforms and prevents society from participating in political activity, thus allowing him to stay in power. The fact of the matter is the debate of the true ideological layout of Putin and his movement and party (United Russia) is from the result of Putinism being an incoherent ideology with no true beliefs other than a hold on power.[29]

Another debate on Putin’s views is his attitude towards communism. In one speech referencing Ukraine taking down statues of Lenin, he stated “they don’t want communism? Fine. Who does?”. But in another speech about Ukraine, he stated “ This is what they call de-communization. Do you want de-communization? We are ready to show you what genuine de-communization means for Ukraine.”[30] Putin's strong admiration for Stalin seems especially baffling when you realize that Stalin enacted an anti-religious campaign targeting groups such as christians, jews, and muslims during the early days of the Soviet Union, because Putin himself is a Christian.[31]

See also[edit]

  • Putin — the central figurehead of the ideology.
  • Stalinism - the communist ideology that is the functional ancestor of Putinism.
  • Ruscism — another form of modern Russian fascism.
  • Trumpism — the functional American equivalent.

Notes[edit]

  1. Of course this was strongly pushed for by the IMF][6] Go figure.

References[edit]

  1. Under Putin, a militarized new Russia rises to challenge U.S. and the West by Robyn Dixon (May 6, 2024 at 6:35 a.m.) The Washington Post.
  2. An Anatomy of Ruscism Tyzhden Larisa Yakubova April 6 2022
  3. Scientific Putinism: Shaping Official Ideology in Russia Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Andrei Kolesnikov, November 21 2022
  4. Russia’s Propaganda Is More Persuasive Than We Think Ilan I. Berman, January 5 2023
  5. In Chechnya, Russia Is Also Fighting a Propaganda War 'The Washington Post January 24 2000
  6. 6.0 6.1 How 'shock therapy' created Russian oligarchs and paved the path for Putin
  7. Privatisation 'raised death rate' in the USSR[a w]BBC
  8. Ghodsee, Kristen (2017). Red Hangover: Legacies of Twentieth-Century Communism. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0822369493
  9. Underdog Napoleon III
  10. Russia: State repression stifles political opposition DW News Jennifer Pahlke, 04/23/2023
  11. Russian-ness, pan-Slavism. Michel Eltchaninoff explains Vladimir Putin’s policies Lampoon Magazine Eleonora Rajneri Karageorgevitch
  12. Last tsar leads Stalin in poll on greatest Russian Reuters July 18, 2008, Chris Baldwin
  13. A tsar is born The Economist Oct 26th 2017
  14. Nostalgia, Nationalism and the New Russia Tribune Mag 09.05.2022
  15. Putin’s Russia summons Stalin from the grave as a wartime ally Politico MARCH 6, 2023 7:44 PM CET BY EVA HARTOG
  16. Putinism against Ukraine: From Identification to Genocide Centre for Democratic Integrity Alexander Etkind
  17. Russia targets ethnics minorities, protestors for forced conscription. Jerusalem Post.
  18. What the Disaster in Ukraine Has Done to the Kremlin—and to Russia Foreign Affairs By Michael Kimmage and Maria Lipman, January 13, 2023
  19. Why some EU countries in the east are still pro-Russia Al Jazeera Soňa Muzikárová 6 Jan 2023
  20. ‘Key to white survival’: how Putin has morphed into a far-right savior The Guardian Sergio Olmos Sat 5 Mar 2022 02.00 EST
  21. ‘He’s Not Some Mad Man. He’s A Very Logical Actor’ - Andrew Tate On Putin Valuetainment YouTube
  22. Alex Jones Compares U.S. to 9/11 Hijackers on Russian TV Newsweek Sept 08, 2023
  23. These Are the American Right-Wingers Covering for Putin as Russia Invades Ukraine Rolling Stone Tim Dickinson, FEBRUARY 24, 2022
  24. Trump calls Putin ‘genius’ and ‘savvy’ for Ukraine invasion Politico Joseph Gedeon, 02/23/2022
  25. Trump praises ‘genius’ Putin for moving troops to eastern Ukraine Oliver Milman 23 Feb 2022
  26. Putin complains about lack of piercing questions from Tucker Carlson Reuters February 14 2024
  27. In Russia, more Kremlin critics are being imprisoned as intolerance of dissent grows Associated Press November 16 2023
  28. Could Putin Lose Power? Thew New Yorker July 1, 2023
  29. Two Parties in One: Questions on the Ideology of United Russia Taylor & Francis Boris Gryzlov, 08 Dec 2014
  30. Russia ready to show what true de-communization means for Ukraine - Putin Tass News Agency
  31. The Dangerous God: Christianity and the Soviet Experiment JSTOR DOMINIC ERDOZAIN