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Putin: The Great White Hope

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JC Scull taught international business relations and strategies at universities in Panama and China.

putin-the-great-white-hope

If you know the story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American boxer to become heavy weight champion of the world in 1908, then you probably also know about James Jeffries who was dubbed the “Great White Hope” by the white fight promoters who matched him up against Johnson.

Johnson, AKA the Galveston Giant, defeated Jeffries on July 4th, 1910 by TKO on the 15th round of the fight, putting an end to the wishes of the Jim Crow era white establishment of having a Caucasian man reign as boxing king again.

Today, in the eyes of neo-Nazis, White supremacists and White racists, Vladimir Putin represents that Great White Hope. They see him as the leader who can take the white power movement all throughout Europe and the USA.

Is Putin the Icon of the White-Supremacist Movement?

As Hillary Clinton correctly stated during a lecture at Trinity College Dublin, in June of 2018, “Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as the leader of an authoritarian, white-supremacist and xenophobic movement that wants to break up the EU, weaken America’s traditional alliances and undermine democracy,” She further said: “We can see this authoritarian movement rippling out from the Kremlin, reaching across Europe and beyond. It’s emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists and even neo-Nazis. “

Most experts agree that while many world leaders are playing checkers, Vladimir Putin is playing three-dimensional chess. He has been brilliant in using all available government assets and dark money as well as eliciting the help of willing Russian oligarchs to undermine democracy and destabilize governments throughout the world.

Josh Rudolph a Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy says that Putin has spent a decade destroying Russia’s nascent rule of law and democracy. He claims that “the Kremlin and its proxies now undermine democracies everywhere by enriching elites, bankrolling illiberal populists, building energy dependence, funding networks of friendly non-governmental organizations and media outlets, and empowering fringe elements like paramilitaries,”

Putin’s Rebranding

It is ironic that during the time of Nazi Germany, Russia’s Communist leaders drew a distinction between their form of Socialism and Fascism. These same Communist leaders tried to portray their system as one that would protect minorities and provide them with equality. In fact, during the cold war, Russia tried to exploit the issue of the racial oppression suffered by Black and indigenous people all throughout the world and specially in Latin America, as a way to show Communism’s approach to racial equality.

They often did this by financing insurgencies, that while cloaked under the mantra of liberating oppressed people, their true intent was to destabilize and overthrow governments in the fulfillment of their wishes to advance their ideology. It is obvious that the Kremlin’s call to arms along with any other non-kinetic efforts, such as Psyops, intelligence operations, cyber and economic warfare have always been aimed at expanding Russian influence and eventual take-over.

But the realities have always been that Putin and the Kremlin have never cared much one way or the other what happens to non-White populations. They only view race as a means to sow division and discord throughout the world, but especially within the Western world’s areas of influence.

As E.J. Dionne, a Washington Post reporter recently put it: “Putin is, first and foremost, an opportunist, so he is also happy to lend support to forces on the left when doing so advances his purposes in specific circumstances.”

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Non-White Populations Are Pawns to Russia

Conditions have changed in the world stage, and now Russia sees non-White populations as pawns of a different nature. While previously it had positioned itself as the savior of minorities, today it is at the forefront of White power and reactionary conservative values.

In fact Putin’s re-branding of Russia has paid off. While in the past, neo-Nazis, White supremacist and skinhead groups in America as well as the rest of the world, looked towards Germany as the country they most wanted to emulate, that distinction has now switched to Russia. As Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank, says, “Russia is the sole white power in the world.” He is not the only White supremacist to express these feelings.

David Duke former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, considers Russia as holding the “key to white survival.” Matthew Heimbach, head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, has called Putin the “leader of the free world” and the person who has helped Russia become the “axis for nationalists.”

Alarmingly, as White supremacist ideals expand throughout the Republican Party, millions of conservatives view Putin and Russia as soul mates who share many of the values they see as paramount in the USA. Issues like extreme gun rights, religious revivalism, anti-LBGT rights, a view of a decadent West and a disdain for the European Union.

This trend of ideological alignment with Russia by the Republican Party was first reported in 2014 by a Gallup poll that said that 22% of Republicans considered Russia an ally. Today that number has risen to 40%. This number includes 11% of Republicans who feel that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was actually a good thing.

Further proof of the alignment between religious and far-right groups going back to 2013, was a newsletter from the Christian right group called World Congress of Families, out of Rockford, Illinois. It listed the “10 best trends” in the world of that year, with the first one proclaiming that “Russia Emerges as Profamily Leader.” For those who are not aware of WCF, it is an organization created by an American far-right evangelical group and two sociology professors in Russia. In 2014 it was designated an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Trump and Putin Are Bosom Buddies

Of equally alarming nature, is Donald Trump’s overtly obsequious and servile attitude toward Putin. It seems obvious that he has forfeited his position as leader of the free world to a despotic kleptocrat bent on undermining the rule of law and Western liberal institutions.

From the moment Donald Trump stepped into the campaign trail, it became obvious he was bent on fulfilling Putin’s wishes of undermining NATO and breaking up the European Union. In fact all throughout his presidency, Trump has been parroting Vladimir Putin’s talking points as well as advancing his agenda.

This tendency of kowtowing to Putin’s has caused a great deal of consternation within members of his own administration, resulting in actions by some of them to block his efforts as a way to protect American interests.

Theories as to why Trump is amazingly deferential to Putin, abound. They range from the notion that Putin has something on him, to large amount of monies being owed by Trump to Russian oligarchs, to just genuflecting to someone he considers a superior. Whatever the reason, his actions are not only embarrassing to the United States, but also concerning considering that Putin is a known and avowed enemy of this country.

Russia Has Tried to Stoke U.S. Racial Tensions Before Elections

As per a report by Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman of the New York Times dated March 2020, Russian intelligence services have been trying to incite violence by white supremacist groups to sow chaos in the United States prior to the November elections. In 2016, Russia's largest intelligence agency, the S.V.R. stoked racial tension by creating fake Black Lives Matter groups and disseminated disinformation in the hopes of depressing black voter turnout.

Their strategy in 2020 has been geared toward influencing White supremacists groups to take aggressive actions. This includes prodding White nationalists to spread hate messages and amplify insults toward minorities and especially Blacks. These same Russian intelligence agencies are attempting to push black extremist groups toward violence.

Other Russian influence operations using state-backed news organizations have pushed divisive racial narratives which emphasize allegations of police abuse in the U.S. and racism within the military. In order to avoid scrutiny by social media companies, Russia has adjusted its methods by using private Facebook groups, posts, the online message board 4chan and closed chat rooms.

Russia’s primary goal is to foster a sense of chaos in the United States, which unfortunately President Trump seems to be more than willing to promote.

Additional Resources

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

JC Scull (author) from Gainesville, Florida on October 05, 2020:

Thank you Lorna. We are living in uncertain times. They say the darkest hours are just before dawn. Hopefully this is true. To those who live in the USA, please vote.

Lorna Lamon on October 05, 2020:

I'm inclined to agree with Hilary Clinton and view Putin as a very dangerous man. I don't believe that Government management is efficient in Russia, however, Putin appears to be fully in control over the elite, which is to his benefit.

However, against a background of Covid-19, and Putin's aggressive foreign policy, which raises the degree of conflict with the West; perhaps the Russian people are more afraid of Putin's present reality than the unknown future, and this could be his downfall. Another thought provoking article JC.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on October 04, 2020:

Great article, my compliments.

You may be right that Putin is the icon for white supremacists in the West. I can follow you on this.

However i think it is only a projection from the Western countries and their respective nationalist movements. IMHO Putin established his strongman conture to resurrect Russia from the shambles of the Yelzin years after the collapse of the Soviet Union - and not to brand white supremacy.

Russia of today is almost the same multinational assembly that the Soviet Union was 30 years ago. But Russia of today is no more dominated by the Putin´s Leningrad clan alone. In recent years the old "Yelzin" clan struggled back to power with Moscow mayor Sobyanin in the lead.

Much of action is coming from the Sobyanin party against gays, homosexuals, in general groups that oppose supremacy theories.

So - Putin may be identified as a lighthouse by white supremacists, though most of the light is not coming from that direction.

It is another story about how much more strategically Putin is thinking than most western leaders, especially the one in the WH. A deep comprehension of Nash´s theories would probably help ...