The authoritarian landscape

Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine calls me to (1) gain a basic understanding of Ukraine’s history and its current geopolitical context; (2) affirm solidarity with all victims of authoritarian rule as part of the fullness of loving relationships; and (3) engage in meaningful conversation about authoritarianism.

The words communist, fascist and nazi are weaponized by political leaders. Putin calls his action in Ukraine “denazification.” The word authoritarian can help us see beyond old labels. Authoritarianism is a growing global reality and this movement is making strong inroads in the United States.

The indiscriminate use of the word communist is confusing and destructive. Even worse is praise for Putin by Donald Trump and others, which is being broadcast in Russia. It must be confusing and disheartening for brave Russians who are protesting Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.

Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder, Heather Cox Richardson and Michael McFaul clarify the landscape.

From “McFaul: Attacks on Kyiv may be ‘turning point’ for Putin’s plan to rebuild Russian empire,” a 3-minute Lawrence O’Donnell interview with Michael McFaul on MSNBC, February 23, 2022 (linked above)

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