Russia’s horrific war in Ukraine has sharply revived debate over charges of Russia’s fascist behavior. The most vocal voices in this debate are Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who has proclaimed that “Putin’s regime … is the world center of fascism,” and authored an op-ed in The New York Times entitled “We Should Say It: Russia Is Fascist.” Similar arguments are advanced by Rutgers political scientist Alexander Motyl, who asserted in a recent piece that Russia fits the textbook definition of fascism. State leaders currently fighting against Russia share that view: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has labelled Russia’s actions as fascist and drawn parallels between Putin’s Russia and Nazi Germany. Polish President Andrzej Duda followed suit, stating that “today Russian leaders are behaving in exactly the same way, like Hitler, like the German SS, like the German pilots of the fascist army during World War II.” Among Russian social scientists abroad as well as those courageously resisting at home, the debate about Russia’s “fascism” has also become central in discussing post-February 24 transformations, most of them concluding that Russia does not (yet?) fit the typology.
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