Putin himself has not said anything that would place him among fascists. He’s a pragmatic authoritarian. More than that, his past as a secret police officer has taught him virtues of anonymity, ideological flexibility and never revealing to anyone his true objectives.
But Russia as a society, on the whole, has seen a considerable drift toward fascism under Putin. Consider this:
- Tradition (Church, family, the past military glory) is hailed as the uttermost national value. Future is full of dangers. Progress is good as long as it brings better weapon or more goods we can sell foreigners but otherwise it’s subject to manipulation by Russia’s enemies.
- Blood-and-soil thinking. Every inch of land where Russian blood is spilled is either indisputably Russian or could be it at some later time. Every inch of Russian soil is worth to die for.
- Eclecticism and syncretism. Csars, Stalin and Putin are the Trinity saints of Holy Russia, no contradiction even considered.
- Glorification of military might and coercion as a political tool. “Russia has only two true friends: its army and navy”.
- Corporatism and Statism as a strategy for governance. Anything that happens must be authorized by the State. Anything State allows must happen within organizations approved by state.
- Russia as a besieged city on the hill. Sadistic Teutons, mercantile Jews and envious Anglo-Saxons scheming against magnificent, good-natured, magnanimous Russia through millennium.
- Dissent is treason. Many people believe that the little there is of opposition in Russia exist because the CIA, State Department and the Soros Foundation are propping up some unprincipled, venal, immoral people, many of them Jews.
- Fuhrer is our Savior. “End to Putin is the end of Russia” (quoting Putin’s top adviser). Criticism of Putin is banned on TV, radio and in the public debate. You still may indulge in some Putin-bashing in the farthest nooks and corners of the Internet (but “we know where you live and where you kid goes to school”).
- Omnipresence of the police state. Most of top positions in the state are held by people from (or with connections to) the secrete police or military intelligence. The FSB is de-facto the mightiest business network in Russia. Using windfalls from the oil bonanza, Putin restored the secret service to its former Soviet glory. Number of officers involved in spying, surveillance and containment of political opposition has possibly surpassed the Soviet level, measured as per capita.