Progressives and Putin: Kindred Political Actors?

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Progressives and Putin: Kindred Political Actors?

by Simon Maass

Earlier this year, retired Navy captain Stu Cvrk argued that “The US Democratic Party Imitates the CCP in several areas.” What about the resemblance between the radical (not the moderate) American Left and the Russian government? There are more of them than one might think.

American progressives love censorship when it comes to content that they can label “offensive” or “hateful.” This approach to the suppression of speech is strikingly similar to the one adopted by the Kremlin. According to a law passed and signed by Putin in 2019, the Russian government can deny access to websites considered to contain “factually inaccurate” statements (which may remind one of the times Facebook flagged an economist’s post for defining the term “recession”). More to the point, the legislation allows the state to jail individuals “who show ‘blatant disrespect’ online.” The comparison with the way leftists regard being “offensive” on the Internet as a cardinal sin practically makes itself. The two facts reflect a similar collectivist ethos, wherein certain generally accepted sensibilities are sacred, and questioning them is unacceptable. A similar strategy, where the superficially virtuous end of deterring “offensiveness” is invoked to justify crushing dissent.

And what of the idea of “hateful” speech? This April in Moscow, police arrested prominent Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza. The man was charged, writes Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute, “publicly spreading admittedly false information about the utilization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.” Specifically, the accusation stated that his action had been “[m]otivated by political hatred.” The text of the corresponding legal article reveals the significance of this detail. The spreading of “knowingly false information” is punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years. In contrast, the same infraction can entail up to five years behind bars if it is motivated by “political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity or [committed] out of hatred or enmity towards any social group.” This language contains a typical trick progressives like to use: the mentions of “racial, national [and] religious hatred” evoke sympathy because who likes bigotry? Then it turns out that “hate speech” includes legitimate disagreement – about the nature of gender in the United States and the Russian military’s actions abroad in Russia.

Putin and the American left have also employed similar tactics in other cases. For instance, both have used TikTok influencers as vehicles for their propaganda, underscoring their shared reliance on mindless bromides and disdain for serious discussion. Both have also sought to instrumentalize the public education system to promote political preferences.

Over at UnHerd, Aris Roussinos has described the deep theoretical similarities between the Kremlin’s imperialist ideology and the Western cultural left’s view of nationhood.

Small wonder, in light of the above, that many on the extreme left are worried about the possibility of the Putin regime’s collapse.

There may be a bright side to this similarity. Trapped in their masturbatory echo chambers, bullies like the American progs and the thugs who run Russia are likely to miscalculate and doom themselves through their own hubris. The tide in Ukraine seems to have turned against the invaders, and apparently in more areas than initially suggested by the counter-offensive near Kherson.

Likewise, the Democratic Party, having bitten off more than it could chew in its untrammeled radicalism, looks headed for disaster in this November’s midterm elections. This is no reason to grow complacent, of course. Still, hope for poetic justice appears.

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Simon Maass is an International Relations student at the University of St Andrews. His work has appeared in your own Independent Sentinel, Intellectual ConservativeRedaction Report, and Cultural Revue.


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The Prisoner
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The Prisoner
1 year ago

I do not understand the intention of this article, it has several basic flaws.

First, freedom of speech does not exist in nearly all nations. Canada, Britain and others do not have that in their laws. Western nations are arresting people for postings, such as protesting covid policies.

Second, there are many huge things not in common between Russia and the left. Russia supports its own nation, it opposes gender abuse and other leftist atrocities. It supports the proper use of resources to maintain the quality of our lives. It does not want to starve or freeze its people.

Third, Russia is a foe of the corrupt NWO, the progressives are the tool of the NWO. I do not know of a bigger conflict in political beliefs. Russia has nearly zero debt, the USA debt is well over our GDP.

Why doesn’t an international relations student write about the numerous violations of neutrality agreements by the Ukraine against Russia? Isn’t that relevant? In our USA, even the “conservatives” will not cover that, not only the leftist democrats.

If progressives and Russia (not Putin, he is just one person used for demonization) have so much in common, which they certainly do not, is this article supposed to tell us that the RINOs are our heroes?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  The Prisoner

Hello, this is the author. True, feeedom of speech has not always been perfectly maintained in every Western country, but there are differences of degree between that and what goes on in Russia. As for “supporting its own nation,” I touch on that in the article. I think you’d find the esaay at UnHerd helpful in illustrating how the Russian government’s ideology is more imperialist than truly nationalist. In this vein, the government certainly does a lot to maintain a Russian empire, but not very much to ensure the prosperity and dignity of the Russian people. It has sold off control over Russian natural resources to China on a massive scale and transferred astronomic sums in financial assistance to Islamists in Chechnya. While Russia may not encourage gender reassignment surgeries, it does have plenty of other social ills, including the world’s highest divorce rate. And people have actually frozen to death in Russia, due in part to economic mismanagement.

To what “neutrality agreements” are you referring? You’ll have to provide some specifics. In any case, I doubt they outweigh the Russian commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty under the Budapest Memorandum.

And where do RINOs enter the discussion? Seems like you just brought them up out of nowhere.

GuvGeek
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GuvGeek
1 year ago
Reply to  Anonymous

What people seem to not understand about Putin is that he WAS something of an Idealistic Communist in his youth. He truly believed in “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. Unfortunately, he found out this was bull shit and he realized that this was why the USSR failed. Today, Putin is a Rabid Capitalist who believes that if you don’t (or can’t) work you starve in the eyes of the State. Those who don’t produce must rely on the kindness of others, not the State. Putin (and Xi Jinping) has come to realize that Private Ownership is the magic formula to productivity. Putin is also beginning to understand that The State has to protect the masses from the exploits of the Emerging Oligarchs, many of whom who found safe haven in Ukraine.
Putin is not a “nice” guy, but he understands why the USSR failed and is trying to find a Government that can protect both the Powerful and the Producers because that the key to maintaining a stable society long term. His Government a “Sovereign Democracy”. It is clear that he has no regard for the powerless who don’t support the State and in that regard is something of anti-Socialist. His focused is on financial stability as that tends to keep people happy. He understands the concept of, “It’s the Economy Stupid.” This is evident because Russia has little debt and is financially as solid as a rock. Financial Stability allows Russia to do what it thinks is good for Russia without having to ask permission. This really scares the World Economic Forum Cult.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  GuvGeek

Russia’s economy is not “as solid as a rock”.
https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/07/putins-nightmare-has-arrived-sanctions-creating-economic-oblivion-for-russia/
The high levels of economic unfreedom and bureucracy in Russia also belie the idea that Putin is some firebrand of free-market capitalism. And the country is still in significant measure run by oligarchs – though the government HAS gotten rid of those oligarchs who opposed it.

GuvGeek
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GuvGeek
1 year ago

There is one thing I admire about Putin, he is Russia First! He is not going to play along with the World Economic Forum Cult.

The Prisoner
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The Prisoner
1 year ago
Reply to  GuvGeek

You have pointed out a gargantuan difference, a dominant difference, between Russia and the leftists, that the author has ignored.

Peter B. Prange
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Peter B. Prange
1 year ago

Interesting! Not surprising! How many warnings are enough for the American voter before it is too late? If not acted on soon, there maybe no one left to give the warnings.