What do Italians think of Russia?

Unexpected salvation of honor for fascism - in Russia of all places

When it comes to fascism, the Russians think primarily of National Socialist Germany. But the real fascism is not evil at all, a few state propagandists want to make believe.

The accusation of being a fascist is one of the most serious allegations in Russia. It implies relativizing the millions of suffering and ruin that the Second World War brought upon the peoples of the Soviet Union. This is all the more true before the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. Conversely, this accusation is quickly at hand when political opponents are to be defamed. As of a “fascist junta”, for example, Russian politicians and commentators spoke about the Ukrainian government after the “Revolution of Dignity” in 2014 on the Maidan.

All the more unexpected, therefore, is a salvation of honor for fascism from journalists close to the state of all things. Vladimir Solovyov, one of the most prominent propagandists on Russian state television, recalled a review of his 2013 film "Mussolini: The Downfall" on the Telegram short message service. In it, a publicist criticized the false judgment that prevailed in Russian society about the Italian dictator. Mussolini was a brilliant person, he had shown the world a third way, which Russia is now in part taking. Solovyov's film is so important because there is a lack of understanding in Russia that Mussolini's fascism and "perverse Nazism" were completely different.

This immediately sparked a discussion in which Solovyov resisted the allegation of rehabilitating Nazism. Columnist Dmitri Petrowski went one step further on the website of the state broadcaster RT. He recalled how Stalin used "fascism" as a fighting term against the Nazis, because absolutely evil could not possibly also be "socialist". However, this serves Petrowski to put Mussolini's fascism in the best possible light. Only the fatal alliance with Hitler brought the negative sides of "Nazism" to Italy. The blogger Ilya Varlamov rightly remarked that a rehabilitation of fascism in the media critical of Putin would have led to an outcry. But Solovyov, who spends a lot of time in his house in Italy, has nothing to fear.

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