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September 13, 2022

This story about the nationalist right in Russia makes grim reading, on two grounds. First, it provides yet another example of how easily people gravitate to certain political tropes: hating foreign enemies, wanting leaders who draw a strong notion of victory, blaming those who don’t get behind such a program for their weakness or disloyalty or appeasement. Second, it is all too believable that Russia’s leadership in the not too distant future could derive from this movement.

I hope that Putin’s successors arrive soon, and are more liberal than he is. If so, they will become the targets of the nationalist right, and will have to fight it politically. What would they offer? More civil liberty? Rapprochment with liberal democracies? Weak tea, compared to making Russia great again.

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