American Racists Look for Allies in Russia
American Racists Look for Allies in Russia
Pro-Trump hate groups are praising Russia and its âmachoâ leader after the presidentâs summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
While President Donald Trump pals around with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S.âs racist right is making open overtures to Russian white supremacists.
One day after Trumpâs disastrous summit with Putin last week, the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group, announced that it would laun ch a Russian-language site. The southern secessionist groupâs crush on Russia is the latest appeal by U.S. white supremacists to Russia and Putinâ"an alliance that has strengthened during the Trump presidency.
âRussia is our friend,â a group of torch-waving racists chanted during an October rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. âThe South will rise again.â
The event was headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who has been stumping for Russia before Trump took office. Spencer, who advocates for âpeaceful ethnic cleansing,â has promoted Russia as the kind of ethnostate he wants to create, calling it âthe sole white power in the worldâ in 2016. Until October 2016, Spencer was married to Nina Kouprianova, a Putin apologist who translates the writings of Russian fascist Alexander Dugin.
The white supremacistsâ chant of âRussia is our friend. The South will rise again,â summarized several years of neo-Confederate flirtation with Russia. Despit e groups like League of the South decrying âglobalism,â the movementâs leaders have long looked to Russia as an ideological ally.
"I have more in common with Vladimir Putin than I do with Barack Obama," League of the South President Michael Hill wrote in 2014. "One defends a nationâ"the Rus; the other lords over an anti-White multicultural empire. One upholds an ancient Christian tradition; the other deplores the Christian faith. One acts like a man; the other like a preening capon."
Hill waxed poetic on Putinâs âmachonessâ: âSure, Putin puts on a lot of this stuff, takes his shirt off, rides a horse,â he said, according to Gawker, âbut at the same time, you know, you can juxtapose it with Obama sittin' on a stupid-looking bicycle with a goofy-looking bike helmet on his head. And it doesn't look good for Obama. Putin looks like a man, you know.â
But the the far-rightâs favorite âmachoâ policies donât end wi th Putin taking off his shirt: the Russian president has also championed an illiberal, anti-gay agenda that resonates with American far-right conservatives. Putin has his own support from ultra-nationalist Russian gangs, the most notorious of which are the Night Wolves, a motorcycle club also known as âPutinâs Angelsâ for their close ties with the Kremlin. The violently anti-gay group has acted as unofficial muscle for the Kremlin in Ukraine, and have reportedly received handouts from the Putin administration.
In the run-up to Trumpâs election, other white nationalists took the Putin praise to Russia. White nationalist writer Jared Taylor and former Ku Klux Klan lawyer Sam Dickson attended the white nationalist International Russian Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg in March 2015. Speaking alongside members of Greek neo-Nazi parties and French extremists, Dickson hailed Putin as having â[done] a lotâ for Americans, as opposed to Obama whose âpolicies are direc ted against whites and Christians.â Dickson ended his speech on a broken Russian salute of âGod save the Tsar!â
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and former leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party Matthew Heimbach have also promoted Putin, with Heimbach telling Business Insider in 2016 that "I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now.â
And as Trump sides increasingly with Putin over his own intelligence agencies, the racist right has begun openly advertising for Russian allies.
During a joint press conference with Putin last week, Trump refused to denounce Russiaâs interference in the 2016 election, contradicting U.S. intelligence agencies to claim Russia had not been behind a hack on the Democratic National Committee. The following day, Hill, the League of the South president who praised Putin in 2014, published the groupâs outreach âto our Russian friendsâ.Thank You!You are now subscrib ed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.
The message, which promised a Russian offshoot of the groupâs website, called for âa firm and resolute understanding and commitment to cooperation between the Russian people and the people of the South,â based on what Hill described as their âsame general gene poolâ (to say nothing of both regionsâ diverse populations).
Two days later, the founder of the ultranationalist Russia Insider gave an interview to âFash the Nation,â an alt-right podcast, in which the host praised the Trump-Putin summit as the beginning of a âfriendship with the other largest white country on the planet.â
And last month, far-right YouTubers Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern traveled to Russia to interview Dugin, the Russian fascist writer, on âMillennialâs [sic] & the Future of Conservatism.â The interview was rife with softball questions, which presented Dugin in a moderate light without veering into his more genocidal views, ThinkProgress reported.
Southern, who claims not to be on the alt-right, said sheâd spoken to translators of Duginâs work. Duginâs best-known English translator is Nina Kouprianova, Richard Spencerâs ex-wife.
- Kelly Weill
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