There is a broad consensus among students of contemporary Russia that the political system constructed by Vladimir Putin is authoritarian and that he plays a dominant role in it. By building and expanding on these two features and by engaging in a deconstruction and reconstruction of the concept of fascism, this article suggests that the Putin system may plausibly be termed fascist. Not being a type of group, disposition, politics, or ideology, fascism may be salvaged from the conceptual confusion that surrounds it by being conceived of as a type of authoritarian political system. Fascism may be defined as a popular fully authoritarian political system with a personalistic dictator and a cult of the leader—a definition that makes sense conceptually as well as empirically, with respect to Putin’s Russia and related fascist systems.

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