Kaczyński, a strong, decisive man, skillfully managed the emotions, fears and hopes of the people. He promoted an attractive vision of the ‘common man’ who will be noticed, appreciated, and financially rewarded at last. As a ‘true Pole’, he or she will be the source and ‘engine’ of a national rebirth of Poland, which has always found itself on the receiving end of policies imposed by foreign powers and by the treacherous, liberal, cosmopolitan elites that care little about others.
There you go.
- He promoted an attractive vision of the ‘common man’ who will be noticed, appreciated, and financially rewarded at last.
That’s fascism. Putinism is nothing like this at all.
- As a ‘true Pole’, he or she will be the source and ‘engine’ of a national rebirth of Poland, which has always found itself on the receiving end of policies imposed by foreign powers and by the treacherous, liberal, cosmopolitan elites that care little about others.
That’s classic fascism. Putinism is nothing like that at all. There are no “true Russians” – Russia is made up of 80 ethnicities. Russia does not have a history of being dominated by foreign powers. It’s true that the liberal cosmopolitan elites of Russia have allied themselves with the West, but this is only a small group of people, no more than 5%, and they are widely hated. They’re never been able to impose their will on the people. Anyway, many of these liberals are now anti-West!
Kaczyński’s PiS embraced a radical Polish brand of conservative nationalism with a strong Catholic foundation. During electoral campaigns, the party has presented itself not only as the country’s true defender against the supposed threat of Muslim refugees who are viewed as ‘terrorists’ who spread “parasites and diseases”.
Classic fascism. Russia is not anti-Islam. Chechnya’s leader is fanatically pro-Putin and pro-Russia. Russian feelings towards Chechnya have warmed recently. Chechen, Russian, and Novorussian forces got on very well together in the war. They all play music and dance together and Chechens dance to Cossack music. In fact, Chechen dancing looks a lot like Cossack dancing. Kadyrov’s Islam allows music and dancing and indeed in the Sufi tradition of Chechnya, these have always been a part of Chechen Islam.
The other Muslim regions around Dagestan now have friendly relations with Russia, as do Tatars, Baskhkirs, and some others. 18% of Russians are Muslims. The official Muslim church is very close to Putin and the Russian government and works closely with the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia is not anti-refugee or anti-immigrant. The USSR left a long tradition of internationalism. Russia does not promote the notion that Muslims are disease-ridden terrorists.
Indeed, the party also believes that it is protecting Poland from a decadent Europe that will perform ‘social engineering’ and force gay marriage and adoption upon the population. Of course, hostile foreign powers remain a concern for the party as well. Following the formation of the government, PiS embarked on a culture war against many of the supposed threats to ‘traditional Polish values’. These ‘threats’ include multiculturalism, women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and liberalism in general.
It is true that we see some similarities here with Putin’s Russia. However, Russia is a multicultural country and has been since the days of the Russian Empire. If there is anything that defines Russia more than anything else, it may be multiculturalism. The USSR was a leader in equal rights for women and Russia’s abortion laws are among the most liberal on Earth. Women make up close to half of positions in much of Russian society. There is little to no job discrimination against women in Russia. It is true that Russia is not crazy about LGBT rights, but most Russians don’t care all that much.
It’s more that they want an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude towards it. The arts have long been full of homosexuals, and Russians are used to this. In fact there is an old Russian joke:
Man goes to the doctor.
“Doctor, I think I’m a homosexual!”
“Well, are you an artist?”
“Are you a singer?”
“Are you an actor?”
“Well then you can’t possibly be a homosexual! You’re obviously a faggot!”
The idea is that it was more or less acceptable or at least tolerated with a “what are you going to do?” shrug of the shoulders for many in the arts to be gay, but on the other hand, it was not tolerated outside of the arts so much.
Russians also dislike public display of affection, gay or straight. They very much dislike pride parades and they are often banned. In addition, there is a law against propagandizing homosexuality to minors that is widely supported. There is a sort of fear among Russians similar to among Americans 40 years ago of homosexuality being a sort of contagious illness. However, many Russians and even Russian gays say that the anti-LGBT tone of Russian society is much exaggerated. Indeed there are many gay bars in Moscow and St. Petersburg. That would not happen in an extremely homophobic society.
If liberalism means SJW culture and Globohomo, I’d say that a large section of the world is rebelling against this extreme view of social liberalism. It appears that most people are more socially conservatism than the ultra-liberalism that Globohomo seems to be arrogantly shoving down everyone’s throat. I’d say it’s a pretty extreme statement to say that every socially conservative society resisting Globohomo is fascist.
In fact, is social conservatism even fascist at all? Were not the existing Communist countries socially conservative? Were they all fascist? Are Islamic societies not all quite socially conservative in general? So are all Islamic societies fascist? This idea that social conservatism = fascism seems problematic. Wasn’t most of the world socially conservative before the 20th Century? So was most of the world fascist then?
From day one of its rule, PiS has ruled by fear and ‘permanent crisis’. The party has launched a series of attack on laws and institutions and the hitherto prevailing norms of liberal democracy. Independent media and civil society has also suffered. PiS continues to legitimize the liberal opposition and has practically eliminated its influence on the legislative process in parliament.
The party’s declared strategic objective was to remodel the state and nation by replacing an apparently entrenched and inward-looking meritocratic elite with a new and loyal group from top to bottom.
Putin has not ruled by permanent emergency rule. Everything that Putin does is in a legal framework. Permanent emergency rule, permanent crisis, etc. are hallmarks of fascism, as is voiding the rule of law in favor of extralegal means of changing the ways of governance.
The opposition gets 30% of the vote. The pro-Western opposition is hated but they only get 5% of the vote, so no one much cares about them. The opposition controls 30% of Parliament and the pro-Western opposition has 5%. Russia is still a meritocracy. Membership in Putin’s party is not necessary to advance or succeed. Putin has not gone around Russia replacing all government officials that are not members of his party.
The bullets show aspects of the Polish government followed by my comments comparing it to Russia.
- An all-out attack on the justice system by stacking the judiciary with loyalists and thus ensuring that there are no legal challenges. This and other ‘reforms’ were successfully challenged in the European Court of Justice. This issue remains a source of Poland’s serious conflict regarding the European Commission and the parliament.
Putin has not messed with the judicial system at all, and indeed, it’s not uncommon that it rules against him.
- Firing or retiring more than 60 generals and over 1000 lower-ranking officers. Many of them had combat experience through working with the American Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There has been no ideological purge of the military in Russia in favor of Putin’s party.
- Replacing many intelligence and counter-intelligence officers who had not shown enough political loyalty. PiS has used the newly-politicized special services to fight the opposition in Poland by granting them far-reaching powers regarding eavesdropping and hacking. This has allowed the government to access the
communications of all groups in society.
There has been no purge of the intelligence service in favor of Putin’s party. 30% of the population supports the opposition and most are not bothered. There is some repression against the tiny pro-Western group, but even they operate openly most of the time.
- Sacking, forcing to leave, or marginalizing hundreds of diplomats with great experience who had been in public service since 1989. Party loyalists, most often unprepared for diplomatic missions, have replaced them.
There has been no ideological sacking of the diplomatic service in favor of Putin’s party. Russia is a meritocracy.
- Rewarding coalition parties with the spoils of widespread top to bottom purges in government and local administration, the civil service and in the state-owned industries. By employing on a massive scale not just party activists but also members of their families and friends, PiS has created an extensive network of patronage which, combined with a get-rich-quick attitude, has led to many instances of blatant nepotism and corruption. These scandals have often been revealed by NGOs, TVN, and other independent media outlets. As a result, the culprits have been prosecuted when it has been found to be politically advantageous.
I’m not sure to what extent this is going on in Russia. There haven’t been any top to bottom purges of opposition people to create spaces for people in Putin’s party. Yes, there is a lot of corruption in Russia, but there are constant arrests for this crime all through the government and even military.
- Private business had been affected by the rapid pace of badly prepared legislation and the constant threat of changes in taxation, welfare, and labor laws. There have even been several instances of harassment with regards to numerous business leaders, who have consequently left Poland with their money.
This has not happened in Russia.
- Constant pressure on private businesses, with the threat of damaging tax inspections to ensure that they refrain from providing financial support to NGOs that engage in causes deemed hostile by the authorities.
I’m not aware that this is going on in Russia at all, but perhaps I am mistaken.
- The government channeling money to newly established associations that are ideologically close to the PiS government. As a result, independent NGOs have had to limit their activities to a great degree.
The government has not set up organizations that are close to Putin’s party that compete with “independent NGO’s” whatever those are. Quite a few of the NGO’s in Russia are funded by hostile entities in the West, including Western governments, and there has been an effort to shut some of these down.
- Withholding or severely limiting funding for museums, theatres, film production, cultural festivals and anything associated with artists known for their liberal, non-nationalist views. Any cultural aesthetics that do not conform to official ideas now face great pressure from the government. Cultural institutions and schools are being pressured to act as guardians of official orthodoxy and teach a single, heroic version of Polish history.
The arts crowd is close to the pro-Western opposition traitors, but people keep going to the movies, theaters, etc. anyway. Cultural festivals are run by those who favor traditional society. There has been little if any crackdown on the pro-Western arts crowd despite their treasonous views. There’s no government pressure on arts production. By the way, cracking down on the arts for being anti-nationalist is quite fascist.
Russian schools do not teach a single, heroic nationalist view of Russian history. Nor have Russian history books been rewritten and filled with nothing but lies as Polish history books have been for a long time now. Russia doesn’t have a “heroic” history. All of these are fascist concepts.
Read Dostoevsky sometime. Russian history is the opposite of heroic. Russians are cynics and often depressives.
- The government bringing schools, which were originally managed by local governments, under the direct control of the state’s regional educational inspectorates. The Ministry of Education have changed the curriculum and promoted the teaching of a single, more ‘patriotic’ version of history. There has also been an increase in the amount and role of Catholic religious education. Similar changes are also planned for universities in the name of expanding “freedom of academic debate”.
I’m not aware that the national government has gotten involved in school curriculum to promote a patriotic version of history. The patriotic version of history sounds fascist. Many speakers of regional languages can continue to get their entire K-12 education in their native language, which is pretty amazing. There are even K-12 Ukrainian language schools in Russia! There is no religious education in Russia. Yes, many are Orthodox, but up to 40% are atheist. Also there are many Muslims in Russia and Putin doesn’t want a conflict with them.
Russia is officially a secular country in line with Soviet dogma and religion is kept out of the schools and the state. The Russian military has Orthodox priests, Muslim mullahs, Buddhist priests, and Jewish rabbis to serve its soldiers. Buryat Buddhist formations have their own Buddhist priests that lead them in religious services. Muslim and Orthodox soldiers also have their own leaders that lead them in religious observation.
- Pushing for centralization and starving local governments of funding while burdening them with new, costly responsibilities in the areas of education, health care, and road building. This is especially true in places where the opposition holds power.
This doesn’t sound like Russia at all. Russia spends massively on education, health care, and road building in line with Soviet ideology. I’m not aware of areas where the pro-West opposition holds power being starved for money.
- Removing at least a thousand journalists and managers from state-owned radio and television and immediately embarking on aggressive campaigns against all who oppose PiS’s autocratic rule. This includes opposition parties, local councils, NGOs, independent media such as TVN, women’s and LGBT rights activists and the EU.
There has been no widespread purge of journalists from state media. In fact, the state media has long been a home of the pro-West opposition. Some of the pro-West media was shut down at the start of the war, but most Russians were more than happy about that. Feminist and gay rights groups are not bothered.
The propaganda campaign on state radio and television has become a constant, daily feature of public life since 2015. It has continued unabated in its aim to deepen polarization, mobilize a loyal hard-line electorate, and attack any opposition to PiS’s rule. President Andrzej Duda himself called the widely respected human rights ombudsman, Professor Adam Bodnar, “anti-Polish” for stating in an interview with AFP that Poland is heading “in the direction of an undemocratic state.”
State media does not propagandize for Putin’s party, and there have been some harsh critics of Putin on national TV lately. As I said, the opposition is 30% of the population and most are not bothered. Critics of the government may indeed be attacked, but they won’t be called “anti-Russian.” Russians don’t think in such parochial terms.
In December 2020, under the slogan of ‘re-Polonizing’ the media, PiS orchestrate the purchase of the unprofitable local newspaper chain Polska Press from its Swiss-German publisher. This purchase was made by the state-owned energy company Orlen. Polska Press controlled 20 regional newspapers, 120 weekly magazines, and some 450 online portals accessed by around 17 million politically valuable readers.
Following numerous purges, the editorial line of these publications was changed to match PiS policies. In a recent report, Reporters without Borders led a chapter devoted to Poland with the title “Re-Polonization Means Censorship”.
There is no re-Russianizing” campaign in Russia, as the population is not divided into Russians and anti-Russians. The idea of “Russianizing” anything in Russia would be abhorrent to multicultural Russians. By the way, “re-Polonizing” sounds very fascist.
This latest move was ill-prepared both with regards to the law and media. This was demonstrated by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who stated on July 8th that “Let’s imagine a situation where some medium in Poland, be it a very large website, or television, or radio, or a large newspaper, is bought by a Russian or Chinese entity, or one coming from Arab countries”.
Kaczyński himself offered an even more extravagant explanation: “There would be a great risk, connected with laundering dirty money, with some drug cartel’s media, coming into Poland”.
The Russian government is not concerned about large media enterprises in Russia being taken over by enemy powers or by drug cartels. Some anti-Russian sites are run out of the EU, including Estonia and Finland, but those are only on the Internet. A couple of pro-Western media outlets shut down at the start of the war simply moved over to the Baltics (one is run out of Latvia now) and they are as Russia-hostile as ever, so in a way, they haven’t been shut down at all. They simply closed up shop and moved to another country.
Russians can access almost all Western media. The Russians I see on Twitter read and reference all of the anti-Russian stories in the Western media all the time, so I assume they must have access to it. There is no paranoia in Russia about tiny, weak Russian media being bought out by nefarious foreign powers. This type of thinking is not necessarily fascist, but it can be.
Foreign policy has now been fully subordinated to domestic politics, with the aim of creating a protective umbrella over any radical changes in Poland.
Jarosław Kaczyński knows little about international relations and is driven by strong ideological convictions. Any proclamations about alliances or democracy simply hide the real, relentless power struggle in which Poland – always betrayed by its allies in the past – must primarily look after its own interests. Now, Kaczyński is the one who gets to define Poland’s national interests.
The politician confirmed such an approach in a 2016 interview, in which he stated that he “…would be willing to see some slowdown in economic growth if that was the price of pushing through his vision of Poland”.
As you can see, everything in Poland has been subordinated to domestic power politics, especially the politics of the PiS party. This includes foreign policy, the economy, you name it. Nothing in Russia is subordinated to Putin’s party, neither foreign policy nor economics. Both are done with a view towards the greatest good for the greatest number. Party politics have nothing to do with foreign policy or economics in Russia. This sort of “politicization of everything” is similar to the fascist project of the US Republican Party.
For example, in July PiS signed a joint declaration with some sixteen radical populist-right wing parties such as Orbán’s Fidesz, Marine le Pen’s National Unity, Salvini’s Italian League, Spain’s Vox party and the far-right and genuinely proto-fascist Brothers of Italy. The group’s aim is to build common representation in the European Parliament and increase its collective influence within the EU.
This part is odd.
- Orbán is the leader of Hungary and Fidesz is the name of his party. Many have called him fascist. He is ferociously anti-Communist and he has praised the previous fascist rulers of the country, including the pro-Nazi party during WW2. On the other hand, he is pro-Russian! So we see that some of the neo-fascist parties of Europe are pro-Russian! Go figure.
- Marine le Pen is the leader of the National Unity Party of France. They are called Far Right or even fascist, but if I were French, I might vote for them! They’re not anti-Communist. Her father, Jean-Marie, was an out and out fascist and Petainist who sympathized with the Vichy collaborationist regime in WW2 and made some rather unpleasant statements about the Holocaust. However, she has walked back most of her father’s statements and is not his ideological daughter. In fact, Le Pen is a strong ally of Israel because she is more anti-Muslim than anything else.
And recently, an Algerian Jew ran in a party similar to National Unity on a very similar platform to Le Pen. Whatever you can say about Marie Le Pen, antisemite doesn’t seem to be one of them. If anything, she’s a philo-Semite! The National Unity Party no longer seems to have any connection to the Vichy regime and if anything, they might be anti-Petainist at this point with the advent of their philo-Semitism. As with Orbán, Marine le Pen is pro-Russia! Go figure. Yet another far right pro-Russian political party that is sometimes labeled fascist.
- Salvini is the leader of the Italian rightwing party the Italian League. I know nothing whatsoever about this political party.
- The Vox Party is a far rightwing party in Spain with roots in Andalusia and the nation’s South. The seem to be more socially conservative, machista, patriarchal, and anti-feminist than anything else. They’re probably not wild about the LGBT crowd. Other than that, I know little about them and I’m not even sure if they are Francoist, though it would not be surprising.
- The Brothers of Italy is an Italian political party that is properly regarded, as the article states, as Far Right and proto-fascist. They seem to be more anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim than anything else. I’m not aware of how they stand on Russia.