Shouldn’t you be brought up short if you find yourself agreeing with Putin?


Putin is the new poster child for toxic masculinity. Tell me if this sounds familiar.

Russian President Vladimir Putin again attacked Western liberalism in a fiery address on Thursday, blasting so-called cancel culture and advances in gay and transgender rights.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin stressed that his country should adhere to its own “spiritual values and historical traditions,” while steering clear of “sociocultural disturbances” in the West.

Some Westerners believe “the aggressive deletion of whole pages of their own history, reverse discrimination against the majority in the interests of minorities … constitute movement toward public renewal,” Putin said. “It’s their right, but we are asking them to steer clear of our home. We have a different viewpoint.”

Putin, who told the Financial Times of London newspaper in 2019 that liberalism had become “obsolete,” has loudly advocated for what he considers to be traditional family values. In his Thursday remarks, he said the notion that children are “taught that a boy can become a girl and vice versa” is monstrous and “on the verge of a crime against humanity.”

He also suggested that transgender rights supporters were demanding an end to “basic things such as mother, father, family or gender differences.”

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, it was engrained into us that the left were the commies, which was an evil ideology, obviously, and only bad guys would favor the Russians (the hippies were more anarchist than communist, though), while the righteous right-wing was populated with American patriots. Now it’s clear that the conservatives were moving towards totalitarianism, while at the same time the Russian leadership was converging on the same, leaving communism to become synonymous with the criminal right. I can’t see much difference between Russian Putin and American John Bircher anymore.

Comments

  1. says

    I saw a cartoon the other day about a time traveler who traveled back in time and asked who the President of Russia is. Putin. Punchline: That doesn’t help.

  2. Susan Montgomery says

    An essential element of Mussolini and Hitler’s success was breaking down the existing order. Destroy what was and give the alienated multitudes a new certainty to hold on too.

    Yeah, fascists wallow in the past, but the past they wallow in is a simplified and conveniently distorted fiction.

  3. cartomancer says

    The thing is, if you were to ask actual communists, even as far back as 1917, a goodly number of them would have expressed serious concerns about the Soviet Union. People like Anton Panacuk and Rosa Luxembourg were pointing out that Lenin’s Bolshevism was a worryingly authoritarian offshoot of 19th Century European Marxism, and in fact he was much less committed to the basics of worker ownership and egalitarianism than he appeared in 1917 at the height of his rise to power. Stalin, of course, was even worse. A sizeable chunk of the international left has been decrying the excesses of Soviet (and Chinese) communism from the beginning.

    The fascist, neoliberal right, on the other hand, appears to have had no such internal dialogue.

  4. says

    Someone should point out to Putin that those topless shots he’s done probably appeal to some gay men, albeit gay men with very poor taste.

  5. lpetrich says

    This makes me think of what some of Pres. Putin’s advisers might be thinking.

    For a long time, we tried to curry favor with the left wing of Western society. We got a lot of support from it a century ago, but it dwindled and dwindled because of dislike of our methods. Many left-wingers seem like they get all broken up about how horrible it is to break eggs when making an omelet.

    But with the Western right wing, we have gotten much more success than we ever dreamed of. We remember how Western right-wingers considered us an evil empire and a menace to civilization. We expected that to continue because we expected them to line up behind their nations in great-power rivalries. So it was very surprising that the US Republican Party stopped considering us a great villain. A very pleasant surprise, but still a surprise.

    What might make them so gullible? We don’t know, but we got a hint when we checked some some of the self-styled news services that supported Trump in 2016. They were run by some young men in North Macedonia who wanted to make a little money, and one thing sticks out about them. They discovered that the US left is too skeptical, that Bernie Sanders followers wanted evidence for the claims in their news stories. So they had much more success in making money off of the US right.

  6. numerobis says

    leaving communism to become synonymous with the criminal right

    In the first half of the sentence you’re clearly aware that Russia booted out the communists in the 90s and became right-wing authoritarian. Which kind of harms the logic of this sentence.

  7. stroppy says

    lpetrich @5

    “Many left-wingers seem like they get all broken up about how horrible it is to break eggs when making an omelet.”

    You’re excusing Stalin?

    “But with the Western right wing, we have gotten much more success than we ever dreamed of. We remember how Western right-wingers considered us an evil empire and a menace to civilization. We expected that to continue because we expected them to line up behind their nations in great-power rivalries. So it was very surprising that the US Republican Party stopped considering us a great villain. A very pleasant surprise, but still a surprise.”

    No. When the wall fell, the right wing saw the end of communism as beginning of a free market opportunity, a business bonanza, because Yea! communism is a big fat failure and we win! Bring on the oligarchs!

    No surprise at all.

    Then Putin’s inner KGB and nostalgia for Russian empire began to fester, and Trump kissed his ass because mobbed up corrupt minds think alike. It’s that simple.

  8. houseplant says

    You can call Putin and his party many things but he is not a communist. The communists are one of the largest opposition parties now in Russia. In his speech he said

    The preparedness of the so called social progress believe that the bringing a new conscience, a new consciousness to humanity, something that is more correct,” Putin said. “But there is one thing I would like to say: The recipes they come up with are nothing new. Paradoxical as it may seem, but this is something we saw in Russia. It happened in our country before after the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks followed the dogmas of Marx and Engels. And they also declared that they would go into change the traditional lifestyle, the political, the economic lifestyle, as well as the very notion of morality, the basic principles for a healthy society. They were trying to destroy age and century long values, revisiting the relationship between the people, they were encouraging informing on one’s own beloved, and families. It was hailed as the march of progress. And it was very popular across the world and it was supported by many, as we see, it is happening right now.”

    I don’t think that it helps by classifying all dictators as facists or communists. Putin is more like an old school nationalist.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    The first years after communism fell, Clinton and the other western leaders pushed Russia into privatizing the economy quickly, without bothering to build institutions against corruption, robber barons and other evils of capitalism that the US society had been fighting since the days of Teddy Roosevelt.
    The undoing of Russian democracy was that western leaders had opted for neoliberalism as per Reagan and Thatcher, regarding any restrictions with contempt. Thus Russia was pushed into a new gangster system, replacing the old gangster system.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    BTW today is the 79th anniversary of the beginning of the second battle of El Alamein. Also, of US forces facing Japanese attacks at Guadalcanal, and Germans coming within 1000 yards of Volga.

  11. stroppy says

    Free market fundamentalism. The buzz phrase at the time was that free markets would magically bring democracy.

    IOW: Institutions? Institutions? We don’t need no stinking institutions! We’re libertarians! (i.e., social Darwinists)

    From Reagan to the end of G.W.Bush, it was one big expanding bubble of irrational exuberance, collapsing in to what we have now, wingnuts oozing dark pus over everything they touch.

    Sorry, if this is over the top. I’m having a bad hair day.

  12. ajbjasus says

    So has anybody got a coherent plan, or do we jus make ourselves feel better by slagging everyone off?

    David c1 is fine as he can just bang on about how much he ldislikes living in the uk

  13. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    The only difference between Putin and the average John Bircher is that we know he isn’t sincere. Because we know he was willing to goosestep to a violently opposing ideology when it suited his interest.

  14. stroppy says

    ajbjasus @11

    Well, I’ve still got some rant in me, but I’ll listen to your plan.

    Personally I think the whole frustrating situation is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, and stuffed edgewise into a pickle.

  15. unclefrogy says

    @11
    that sounds good about right to me. we are living in interesting times that is no lie.
    Putin fancies himself some kind of new czar if you ask me.
    russia has only had a few moments of something resembling a democracy as far back as you care to look. It has ever been “gangsters” and peasants in the minds of the ruling class. the only thing that has ever changed is the membership of the ruling class
    The problem with that kind of thinking is it is not thinking at all. It is living in some fanciful image of the past. The modern world as it is now requires a large proportion of the population to be educated and prosperous to keep the “free market” functioning. Ignorant poor peasants can not run the systems needed to keep the money coming nor can they purchase much of anything as well.. They also have the added disadvantage of having nothing to lose while the ruling class has everything to lose. So they need people to be educated to some degree and to be prosperous but that is not compatible with the totalitarian control needed for the vision they have for themselves. Of all the things that could be in the world they are the least needed.

  16. lpetrich says

    stroppy @7 I was presenting what some of Vladimir Putin’s friends and advisers might have been thinking. Was I unclear in indicating that this was what they might think and not what I think?

    My motivation for that part was the excuses that some people make for odious things. Someone who considers the Soviet Union the Good Old Days may be willing to defend its less savory activities, making defenses like dismissing its critics as lacking realism.

  17. KG says

    Now it’s clear that the conservatives were moving towards totalitarianism, while at the same time the Russian leadership was converging on the same, leaving communism to become synonymous with the criminal right. I can’t see much difference between Russian Putin and American John Bircher anymore.

    As others have pointed out, Putin’s dictatorship has (almost) nothing to do with communism – the almost is added because of its use of nostalgia for the Stalin era (which of course few of the nostalgics can remember, Stalin having died in 1953). Back in the late 1980s, I read The Russian Challenge and the Year 2000 by Alexander Yanov – written in 1987. The topic was the danger of a far-right regime coming to power in Russia; the widely revered, anti-democratic and poisonously antisemitic Alexandr Solzhenitsyn was one of Yanov’s main targets. That far-right regime has come to pass – whether you call it fascist or not is in my view of little consequence – and gained far more, and far more influential “useful idiots” in the rich world than Soviet communism ever did, because it is far more able to appeal both to popular bigotry and to the self-interest of sections of the capitalist elite.

  18. KG says

    lpetrich@17,
    No, you were not unclear at all – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be misunderstood!

  19. wzrd1 says

    Honestly, he’s somewhat responded to some of my barbs.
    His hypersonic tsunami nuke threat being a cobalt-60 device.
    I replied, all of ours would be similarly doped.
    He’s oddly refrained from, “As long as one man and one woman survives…”, which is a bit of a win.

    Now, given his new first strike weapon, I’d counter with creating 50k warheads, since 1.5k wasn’t enough during parity.
    I guess going back to MAD is a grand new idea.

  20. davidc1 says

    @12 Oi mush ,why bring me into it ?
    Ok here is my plan ,tax the rich .
    I think our friend Putin has his heart set on bringing the Czar back ,with him being Vlad 1 .

  21. lumipuna says

    I think our friend Putin has his heart set on bringing the Czar back, with him being Vlad 1

    The formal title hardly matters to him, and some of the historical Russian rulers were already named Vladimir. The first and most famous was prince Vladimir the Great (988-1015), a very important figure in Russian nationalist mythos. Putin has been often jokingly (and not so jokingly) compared to him.

  22. davidc1 says

    @23″ The formal title hardly matters to him”.
    Nah ,he want’s to be the first of the Putin dynasty ,Czar Vlad the first .

  23. ajbjasus says

    @22

    Fair enough, but I suspect we need a more all encompassing plan than that. It’ll take a lot of like minded people working with the same levels of intensity that we have used to address building atomic bombs, developing moonshots etc.

    By the way, it’s word, comma, space.

    Only trying to be helpful.

  24. davidc1 says

    @25 Thanks, any chance of a little sketch showing where my unique use of the English language is letting me down .
    Not really difficult ,everything will follow from taxing the rich .
    There will be money for schools ,hospitals ,roads ,new housing ,research into how
    we get ourselves of of the mess we are in .There will be money flowing in and out of people’s pockets ,into other peoples pockets ,instead of being stashed in places like the Cayman Islands .

  25. KG says

    davidc1@26,
    It makes your comments less easy to read and, speaking for myself, less likely to be taken seriously when that is your intent, because it seems like a silly affectation.

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