The Extreme Nationalist Threat in Russia: The Growing Influence of Western Rightist Ideas

The Extreme Nationalist Threat in Russia: The Growing Influence of Western Rightist Ideas

The Extreme Nationalist Threat in Russia: The Growing Influence of Western Rightist Ideas

The Extreme Nationalist Threat in Russia: The Growing Influence of Western Rightist Ideas

Synopsis

This work examines the nature of the extreme right in contemporary Russia, arguing that, alongside a continuing tradition which emphasizes Russia's orthodox and traditional past, an increasingly important intellectual current is drawing on Western European neo-fascist ideas and adapting them to the Russian situation.

Excerpt

The 'third way' worldview in the Westernisation of Russia

As has been noted before, the conservative alternative to both Marxism and liberalism is often called the 'Third Way', in particular in Russia. Yet, it should by no means be confused with 'Blairism' in the West as the latter represents an amalgam of social democratic and liberal ideas. the Western equivalent of Russian 'Third Way' thinking is profoundly conservative. Its proponents have always rejected universal Enlightenment theories of development and instead proclaimed adherence to national traditions. Originally, the 'Third Way' Weltanschauung was born as a set of traditionalist ideas justifying l'Ancien Régime, i.e. the monarchy in France before 1789.

Later on, with the ongoing secularisation of power and public life, the Christian world outlook of a growing number of conservative-minded people was gradually replaced by other more secular conceptions, including pseudo-scientific theories. As is well known, this evolution culminated in fascism and national socialism in Europe. in contemporary Russia, a similar process has been taking place. the conservative national patriotic current of thought, generally referred to as the so-called 'Russian idea', has appeared in both traditional and 'modern' versions. the former dominated in the late 1980s, but was gradually overshadowed by the latter in the 1990s.

When examining the 'Third Way' concept, we find it appropriate to focus mainly on the 'modern' tendency as it is a product of post-Soviet reality. in the 1990s, all of the main conservative movements of the 1990s-Barkashov's rne, Zhirinovsky's ldpr, Zyuganov's cprf and Lebed's party RNRP-appear to represent modern nationalism, whether extremist or moderate. in real life both strains of rightism, at least in Russia, coexist and influence each other. in the case of the four aforementioned movements, they declare their adherence to Orthodoxy, whether sincere or simulated. This testifies to a certain influence of traditionalism. Russian National Unity (RNE) proclaiming Orthodox national socialism is a case in point. At the same time, however, rne is a typical anti-intellectual movement of action that eulogises war and heroism. the predominant chsaracter of its activities-military training, patrolling streets and

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