Zhartun considers each of the 14 characteristics Eco identified as part of a fascist state and explored the ways in which Russia corresponds to them. In all but one, the congruence of Russian realities now and Eco’s signs of fascism is either complete or well on the way to becoming so:
14. New Speak. Fascism destroys language in order to destroy thought, presenting the world in black and white terms with no opportunity for nuance or discussion. And it abuses the language in another way: it refuses at least under current conditions to label itself fascist while denouncing everyone it doesn’t like as fascist. That is very much part of the reality of Putin’s Russia, Zhartun says.
Given the close correspondence between Eco’s 14 points and Russian realities, the St. Petersburg analyst says it might seem entirely reasonable to predict that Russia will move toward being a full-blown fascist state. But the lack of an overarching idea and problems with the elite who have so many of their assets abroad make that less likely than some might think.
Instead, there are likely to be in the Russia of the future pale imitations of the fascist states of the 1930s, with small steps taking the place of larger ones, thus “instead of concentration camps, overly full cells” in detention facilities. Any efforts to go further will simply collapse of their own weight.
And consequently, Zhartun concludes, “it is possible that a certain moment everything will simply end as ended sometime ago the great, powerful, and indivisible Soviet Union.”