During a demonstration in front of the monument of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, VA, the American neo-Nazi Richard Spencer declared that “Russia is our friend.” The purpose of this course is to explore the unexpected confluence of the American and Russian far-right movements, among advocates for authoritarianism in both countries who have historically declared the ‘other’ superpower as an implacable enemy. How has the alt-right movement in the United States come to see the Russian Federation as a vanguard for ‘whiteness’ in Western European identity, overturning the perception of Russia as a racial Other that was prevalent among American conservatives during the Cold War? What are the possible affinities between the imperial aspirations of Putinism and the goals of American religious Reconstructionism, with its interpretation of the Confederacy as God-given? We will discuss perceptions of race, oppressive historical legacies, and homophobia in both countries, devoting particular attention to debates about the removal of monuments and the mutual respect between rightist spokespersons such as Steve Bannon in the United States and Aleksandr Dugin in Russia.
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