In Switzerland compared Putin to Mussolini

Journalists of the Swiss newspaper Der Bund and Tages-Anzeiger compared the photos of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Mussolini (with a naked torso, skiers, and so on) and came to the conclusion on their internal similarities.

The article was published last Friday, it was the photos in the genre of “comparative biographies”, which was popular in ancient literature. Putin and Mussolini bare-chested, Heli skiing, floating the river, going in for sports, firing personal weapons, riding on motorcycles, sitting behind the controls of an airplane, playing with animals, playing musical instruments, visiting the field and getting acquainted with the work of farmers.

Photos attached material editor-in-chief of the international Department of the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger Capodici Vincenzo (Vincenzo Capodici), which talks about the traditions of self-presentation of the great leaders, kings and emperors from Charlemagne and Mussolini to Mao TSE Tung. By the way, the journalist admits that “for a 65-year-old Russian President is in fine form.” Then it is concluded that this kind of style of self-presentation of leaders to “perfection brought the national socialists in Germany and fascists in Italy with the aim to influence the masses.”

We asked in this regard a few questions of the Swiss historian, Slavist and literary scholar, a specialist on Russia and post-Soviet space from the University of St. Gallen Ulrich Smidovnik link.

Swissinfo: Mr Schmid, Der Bund newspaper compared Putin to Mussolini. What would You say about it as a historian?

Ulrich Schmid (Ulrich Schmid): I believe that the concept of “fascism” should not be used as an analytical category for the analysis of actual phenomena.

Yeah, but we are talking about a purely external phenomenon. Visual similarity here is really awesome, isn’t it?

— This is true. On this basis, it is still impossible without more detailed further analysis to conclude that some other similarities.

— Nevertheless, this collection of photos says something about how the exercise of power in Russia, especially when compared to what style present themselves in the media, for example, members of the Federal Cabinet of Switzerland?

— Yes, I think that the publication of such pictures is already a form of exercise of power. And I, in fact, to some extent, surprised by the fact that the demonstration of a shirtless President again appeared in the political strategists of the Kremlin. Starting in 2014, largely dominated by the image of a serious statesman and political leader.