Why the Fascists Won't Take Over the Kremlin (for Now): A Comparison of Democracy’s Breakdown and Fascism’s Rise in Weimar Germany and Post-Soviet Russia
[Please, note that the below PDF is a Working Paper still under revision. We shall be grateful for comments, critique, corrections, and additions. Should they result in substantive improvement of the paper, we will happily acknowledge any such advice.]
Steffen Kailitz, Andreas Umland
Why the Fascists Won't Take Over the Kremlin (for Now): A Comparison of Democracy’s Breakdown and Fascism’s Rise in Weimar Germany and Post-Soviet Russia. Working paper WP14/2010/02.
Moscow: Publishing House of the State University – Higher School of Economics, 2010. – 44 pp. – 150 copies.
First, we demonstrate that structural explanations based on socio-economic factors are insufficient to account for authoritarian regression in two of collapsology’s “crucial cases” – inter-war Germany and post-communist Russia. Instead, (a) a dearth of pro-democratic actors on the elite, intermediary as well as population levels, and (b) a misconstrued form of government allowing the head of state to rule without parliament in combination with the election of a restorationist president, are identified as a configuration constituting a sufficient cause for a country to experience authoritarian regression. Second, we speculate about when an electoral autocracy gets in danger to transform into a fascist ideocracy. Like in Weimar Germany, we can find in today’s Russia fascist actors and widespread nationalism among the population. In current Russia, in distinction to inter-war Germany, however, the party system is manipulated and the Third Sector
underdeveloped. The continuing political presence of a strongly authoritarian, yet non-fascist “national leader” Vladimir Putin creates hindrances for the country to become a liberal democracy, but makes it also improbable that the Russian regime will transgress into fascism.
Dr Steffen Kailitz (email@example.com) is Research Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism (HAIT) at the Dresden University of Technology, Saxony.
Dr Andreas Umland (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Research Fellow at the Institute for Central and East European Studies (ZIMOS) at the Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Bavaria.
Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2009 MPSA Convention (Chicago), 2009 IPSA Congress (Santiago de Chile), 2009 ECPR Congress (Potsdam), 2009 AAASS Convention (Boston) and 2010 ICCEES Congress (Stockholm). We have greatly benefited from the numerous helpful comments received at these occasions. We would especially like to thank Carolina Vendil Palin (Stockholm), Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom (Vancouver) and Leonid Luks (Eichstätt) for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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