According to Rainer Goldt, Professor of Slavic Studies in Mainz, the worldview of Russian President Vladimir Putin has become more and more radical in recent years.

The connection between democracy and the decline of a state, perceived after the collapse of the Soviet Union, “entered into a devastating connection with classic Russian imperial thinking,” he said in an interview with the Evangelisches Pressedienst (epd).

Putin’s admiration for the Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954), whom the president often quotes, is particularly frightening. “Ivan Ilyin was probably the most radical mastermind of Russian neo-imperialism in the 20th century,” said Goldt. For example, his essay after Hitler came to power, in which he praised the German people for having legitimately freed themselves from the shackles of democracy, was rightly notorious.

Ilyin’s statements about Ukraine are steeped in “deep chauvinism”. This does not bode well for the further course of the war in Ukraine, explained the scientist, who researches Russian literary and intellectual history at the University of Mainz.

Putin has repeatedly repeated Ilyin’s thoughts in public appearances and in articles that Ukraine’s desire for independence is only being abused by hostile powers in order to harm Russia. According to this belief, any kind of independence for Ukraine is aimed directly at Russia.

Goldt said he didn’t think the characterization of Ilyin’s ideas as “Christian fascism” was wrong. The character of Russia as a multi-ethnic nation does not stand in the way of this: “In Europe we are used to combining fascism with the idea of ​​an ethnically homogeneous state. Even Ilyin, as a decidedly orthodox thinker, wrote that everyone should pray in their own way.” Putin also always emphasizes that, for him, Islam is an integral part of Russia.

The anti-democratic ideology advocated by Putin does not allow any optimistic forecasts for Russia’s near future: “It will take a long time to decontaminate the political discourse again.” However, he has great hopes for the Russian youth, said the scientist. She is free from the experiences of the 1990s and associates a new departure with democracy.