In his recent speech announcing the annexation of four Ukrainian republics, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again returned to rightwing themes that also dominate the so-called “culture wars” in the US. According to one US media report:
October 1. 2022 Putin in his long and rambling speech at the ceremony, held on the massive stage in Moscow’s Red Square opposite the Kremlin’s walls, took aim at the West with particular emphasis on Western values and culture(s). “Western countries have been repeating for centuries that they bring freedom and democracy to other peoples. Everything is exactly the opposite: instead of democracy – suppression and exploitation; instead of freedom – enslavement and violence.,” Putin said. Later during the speech Putin decried the LGBTQ+ community and Western nations that allow equity and equality/human rights: “In fact, they spit on the natural right of billions of people, most of humanity, to freedom and justice, to determine their own future on their own. Now they have completely moved to a radical denial of moral norms, religion, and family. Let’s answer some very simple questions for ourselves. I now want to return to what I said, I want to address all the citizens of the country – not only to those colleagues who are in the hall – to all the citizens of Russia: do we want to have, here, in our country, in Russia, parent number one, number two, number three instead of mom and dad – have they gone made out there? Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools from the primary grades? To be drummed into them that there are various supposed genders besides women and men, and to be offered a sex change operation? Do we want all this for our country and our children? For us, all this is unacceptable, we have a different future, our own future?” The Russian President then implied directly that the U. S. and its NATO allies assisting Ukraine were trying to erase Russian culture …
The notion that gender ideology is being imposed on US schoolchildren is also a rightwing “hot button” issue of late.
In January 2022, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a somewhat overlooked speech by Vladimir Putin last October, described by a Russian academic as the “first major and strong call for reinventing Russian ideology for Russia and the world.” An Israeli NGO concluded that the speech could be viewed as an ideological manifesto that tried to put Russia back in the center of the world’s political map. We noted at the time that Putin was closely mirroring rightwing themes common among the US rightwing such as the idea that “social progress” advocates are adopting Marxist ideas in their fight against racial discrimination. Other Russian influence operations covered by the GIOR that echo Putin’s assertions include:
- A report from November 2020 on a Russian-backed media OpEd claiming that Democratic “Elites” are equally culpable as Trump in disseminating conspiracy theories because “these elites have themselves been peddling equally irrational views about catastrophic climate change, critical race theory, and identity politics”
- A report from July last year that actors linked to Russian disinformation operations were targeting American far-right audiences on alternative online platforms employing some of these same themes
- A report from July last year on Russian-backed media alleging that US families were seeking to immigrate to Russia to escape the US school curriculum