In a must-read piece at The New Republic, Timothy Snyder points out a similarity between the Putin regime and the Stalin regime at the time of the Nazi-Soviet pact:
The embrace of anti-fascism as a rhetorical strategy is quite different from opposing actual fascists.
Putin now presents himself as the leader of the far right in Europe, and the leaders of Europe’s right-wing parties pledge their allegiance. There is an obvious contradiction here: Russian propaganda insists to Westerners that the problem with Ukraine is that its government is too far to the right, even as Russia builds a coalition with the European far right. Extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce as a model for Europe. As Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the European far right, has pointed out, the leader of the Bulgarian extreme right launched his party’s campaign for the European parliament in Moscow. The Italian Fronte Nazionale praises Putin for his “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.” The neo-Nazis of the Greek Golden Dawn see Russia as Ukraine’s defender against “the ravens of international usury.” Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian FPÖ chimes in, surreally, that Putin is a “pure democrat.” Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, recently shared Putin’s propaganda on Ukraine with millions of British viewers in a televised debate, claiming absurdly that the European Union has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine.
Presidential elections in Ukraine are to be held on May 25, which by no coincidence is also the last day of elections to the European parliament. A vote for Strache in Austria or Le Pen in France or even Farage in Britain is now a vote for Putin, and a defeat for Europe is a victory for Eurasia. This is the simple objective reality: A united Europe can and most likely will respond adequately to an aggressive Russian petro-state with a common energy policy, whereas a collection of quarrelling nation-states will not. Of course, the return to the nation-state is a populist fantasy, so integration will continue in one form or another; all that can be decided is the form. Politicians and intellectuals used to say that there was no alternative to the European project, but now there is—Eurasia.