[Marxism] Fwd: How Trump and Putin are similar and different, according to Masha Gessen—and what it means for Americans.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 28 05:53:08 MST 2017

Q: Trump is doing things like getting up and angrily tweeting about CNN 
at three in the morning, and the way he ran his campaign, at times it 
didn’t even seem like he really wanted to win. It’s hard for me to see 
him as that similar to Putin in some fundamental way.

Gessen: I think there are huge differences between them, in terms of 
personality and in terms of the historical context. I can’t 
underestimate them, and I think that looking at what’s happened to 
Russia as a sort of blueprint for what happens in the States would be 
silly. What I do think is useful, though, is to look at their shared 
qualities, which I think also for the most part happen to be shared 
qualities among many autocrats, not just Putin and Trump. I just happen 
to know Putin much better than any other autocrat. … It sort of has 
trained my imagination.

What I think is helpful is that there were things that I never could 
have imagined would happen in Russia. Both in the long term but also in 
the sort of, this can’t possibly happen tomorrow. “I know he said he’s 
going to arrest people, but how could that possibly happen. They’re not 
going to do it”—and then they go ahead and do it, because they said they 
were going to do it. Because they passed a law that said they were going 
to and that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

You know, so here Trump was talking about deporting people on the 
campaign trail. It was very clear that the way he was talking, it was 
going to affect not just a large number of immigrants who don’t 
necessarily have permanent status but also green card holders and 
potential citizens, from the way he was talking. It’s impossible to 
imagine, right, but it was very clear that that’s where he was headed. 
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.


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