On this edition of Parallax Views, George Washington University’s Dr. Marelene Laurelle, author of Is Russia Fascist?: Unraveling Propaganda East and West, joins us to discuss the recent attack that happened in the Bryansk region of Russia on March 2nd, 2023. Vladimir Putin blamed the attack on Ukraine, however a far-right neo-Nazi group known as the Russian Volunteer Corps., composed of anti-Putin right-wing Russian nationalists that have sided with Ukraine, has since taken credit for the incident. Some have speculated that the attack was a Russian false flag. Other argue that is indicative of domestic strife brewing internally within Russia. What is the truth of the matters? And why would a far-right groups be against Putin, who himself is understood as a right-wing authoritarian figure?
Dr. Laurelle will answer these questions as well helping us to better understand the nature of the far-right in Russia. In addition to the Bryansk attack, Dr. Laurelle and I will discuss the relationship between the Russian far-right and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) subcultures, Russian ethno-nationalism vs. Russian imperialism, the philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, the Wagner Group and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin’s rhetoric around and motivations for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian official state vs. what Dr. Laurelle calls the Russian parallel state, how messaging of Russian state media outlets differs depending on whether the audience is domestic or non-domestic, how the Putin regime manages the different faction of the Russian elite and plays them against each other, Putin’s obsession with Ukraine and his rhetoric around De-Nazification, Putin’s use of both Soviet nostalgia and Czarist nostalgia in his speeches (and his negative remarks about Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin), the Levada Center poll indicating that there is high support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and contextualizing the poll), the evolution of Putin’s thought and his obsession with Ukraine, Russia and “The Great Patriotic War” rhetoric around WWII, Russia and the Baltic States, whether or not Russian elites believe their own rhetoric about de-Nazifying Ukraine, Russia and the Global South, Russia and the Muslim world, academic debate around the definition of fascism, civilizational war rhetoric in the U.S./the West and Russia, and much, much more.