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President Putin beats Mussolini in opposition persecution

Russia of the 10s is too much like fascist Italy of the 20s, says Times' columnist David Aaronovitch. According to him, regarding persecution of opponents and disregard for democratic institutions President Putin surpasses even Mussolini.

President Putin has increasingly been compared with the totalitarian leaders of the mid-20th century. Now his governing style is not even similar to Hitler, Russian President has been already compared with, but resembles the leader of the fascist Italy Mussolini, writes David Aaronovitch.

According to the expert, both Putin and Mussolini act equally against political opponents – they destroy them, denying prosecution, and then intimidate others.

So, after the murder of Boris Nemtsov a few meters away from the Kremlin, the government media immediately began to put forward some conspiratorial versions of the reasons and motives for the murder, but not a word was said about the possible involvement of President Putin in the crime.

David Aaronovitch writes that all this resembles Mussolini, who before the usurpation of power in 1922 tried to preserve the appearance of democracy, as it is now being done in Russia, but gradually began to intimidate opponents, dominating the press and the people and talking about the national power.

The elections in 1924 were conducted with massive violations and fraud. As a result, Mussolini won by a considerable margin. And the unwillingness to recognize these results cost the Italian opposition leader and socialist Giacomo Matteotti his life. A group of criminals led by Mussolini's comrade Amerigo Damini, kidnapped, killed, and buried Matteotti outside of Rome.

Back then, the press began to spread ridiculous version that Matteotti fled abroad, but society did not believe it. Then Mussolini took the case under his special control, and Damini was caught. But it was found that "he acted alone," and he was released in 2 years. And in Italy has come an atmosphere of fear.

Modern Russia is going the same way, the expert believes.