Russian state TV erupts over historian's accusation Kremlin is 'fascist' — and claims the real fascist is Trump
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin (AFP)

Russia has sought from the outset to claim that their invasion of Ukraine is about "denazifying" the nation — purging Ukraine of far-right militias that pose an alleged threat to the so-called "independent republics" declared in the east of the country by rebel forces backed by the Kremlin. But international experts have largely rejected that notion, saying that it is Vladimir Putin's Russia that is acting as a fascist state.

Anchors on Russian state-run TV are enraged at this accusation — and according to The Daily Beast, one had an odd response: to claim the real fascist, all along, was former President Donald Trump.

"A New York Times essay by Yale University professor and historian Timothy Snyder entitled “We Should Say It. Russia Is Fascist,” has spread through Russian state media like wildfire, producing a bombastic firestorm of outraged reactions from the Kremlin’s most prominent mouthpieces," reported Julia Davis. "In a broadcast of state TV show The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov on Friday, the host of the program and its panel of pundits were breathing fire over the essay. Solovyov was so desperate to refute the article, in fact, that he resorted to lambasting one of the few Americans beloved by Russian state television: former U.S. President Donald Trump."

"'Listen, you bastards,' Solovyov fumed in a direct address to Americans. 'Let me tell you a secret: first of all, your signs are idiotic in their nature. Secondly, looking at your listed indications, how are they any different from the election campaign of Donald Trump? Down to his slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,’'" said the report. "Solovyov went on to list various signs of Trump’s 'fascism,' without any mention of how those descriptions also applied to Putin. 'Strong leader, with large crowds coming out in his support... Discussions of former greatness. Donald Trump promised to make America great again,' he said. Referring to visual symbols as a sign of belonging, Solovyov pointed out 'Donald Trump’s red hats.' To emphasize his point about 'mass events to support the leader,' the host asked: 'Would you like me to put on a video of the dancing Trump?'"

Scholars have intensely debated whether Trump's ideology is a kind of proto-fascism; some believe it is, others do not. But the ultimate irony is that for years, Russian state TV has played up Trump as a hero and friend to the regime — even aside from the overwhelming body of evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election on his behalf.

On some broadcasts, Russian anchors have called for "regime change" in the U.S. to "help our partner Trump." Russian propagandists are also enamored with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, and often broadcast his anti-Ukraine musings.