Kelly Weill, excerpts:
“Russia is our friend,” a group of torch-waving racists chanted during an October rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “The South will rise again.”
The event was headed by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who has been stumping for Russia before Trump took office. Spencer, who advocates for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” has promoted Russia as the kind of ethnostate he wants to create, calling it “the sole white power in the world” 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 supremacists’ chant of “Russia is our friend. The South will rise again,” summarized several years of neo-Confederate flirtation with Russia. Despite groups like League of the South decrying “globalism,” the movement’s 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 nation—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.”
But the the far-right’s favorite “macho” policies don’t end with 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 “Putin’s Angels” 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 Trump’s 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 “[done] a lot” for Americans, as opposed to Obama whose “policies are directed against whites and Christians.” Dickson ended his speech on a broken Russian salute of “God save the Tsar!”
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.”
And as Trump sides increasingly with Putin over his own intelligence agencies, the racist right has begun openly advertising for Russian allies.
And last month, far-right YouTubers Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern traveled to Russia to interview Dugin, the Russian fascist writer, on “Millennial’s [sic] & the Future of Conservatism.” The interview was rife with softball questions, which presented Dugin in a moderate light without veering into his more genocidal views, ThinkProgress reported.
Pro-Trump hate groups are praising Russia and its ‘macho’ leader after the president’s summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Source: American Racists Look for Allies in Russia