“It is the revenge of the liberal democracies. With Putin he loses the authoritarian model »- Corriere.it

from Federico Fubini

The American political scientist, professor at Stanford University: Russians do not understand and do not support the reasons for the war

F.rancis Fukuyama followed Vladimir Putin’s turning point on a particular day: the famous Stanford political scientist participates in the Budapest Forum, the event of the Political Capital Institute and of the Central European University that gathers the internal and international critics of Viktor Orbn.



Professor, Putin seems in trouble. What is at stake for Europe, if the dictator wins or loses in Ukraine?

At stake is not only the fate of Ukraine, the implications for Europe are truly great. The post decides which is the dominant form of government in the world. With Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Putin has argued for some years that liberal democracy is obsolete. He said this in 2019, explaining that liberal democracies would not be effective in making decisions and doing great things for their peoples. So a failure of the proportions of what we are witnessing completely undermines his message.

With what consequences?

Many populist leaders – Orbn, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Eric Zemmour, Vox in Spain – express admiration for Putin. Not on ideological grounds, but because he has this strongman air that makes things happen. Populist leaders in the West also aspire to a similar position: they would not want to be controlled by the media, parliaments, courts and other institutions that are the heart of liberal democracy. But if it now turns out that authoritarianism has facilitated one of the greatest failures of recent decades, then this call becomes much less powerful.

How do you assess the response of the democracies so far?

The solidarity was remarkable. Given what might have been expected before February, free world support for Ukraine has been impressive. It shows that, under pressure, democracies know how to react.

Now the Russian reservists arrive, but they seem to be devoid of conviction: Putin is the strong man of a weak system, who does not motivate or persuade his own citizens?


In my book The end of history and the last man I dedicate many pages to the weakness of strong men. We are seeing a demonstration of this. Many before February believed that Putin had an extremely strong state, because he had a huge army on paper and was spending all that money on it. But now we understand that no army is ever stronger than the people who make it up. And their weak motivation: corruption everywhere, soldiers don’t understand why they have to fight and, when they do, they don’t share. This is probably the deep reason why they are losing in Ukraine. Ukrainians, on the other hand, know exactly why they are fighting: for their families, their land, their sovereignty and their freedom. They are powerful motivations.

In China, Xi Jinping continues to impose very hard lockdowns against Covid and cannot manage the real estate crisis: problems similar to Putin’s?


Absolutely, there is a parallel between Putin and Xi. Both have made their systems not only very centralized, but also very personalistic. Xi is so closely linked to the “zero Covid” strategy that he cannot adapt it even when it is clear that it does not work. The parallel failures of Russia and China demonstrate how good it is to have liberal democracies with rules and constraints on executive power.

But even in the liberal democracies something is wrong: the populist protest now seems to be rooted.


People vote for populist politicians because they are dissatisfied. Partly because it doesn’t see economic growth and opportunity, partly because quarrels pay no attention to the lives of people who don’t like them. This is why I believe that the populist movements will continue.

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni the clear favorite in the elections. What do you think?

Clearly not a good thing. With Mario Draghi, Italy played a leading role in organizing the response to the Ukrainian crisis and in building European institutions. The arrival of a populist leader after Draghi a big setback. However, I understand that Meloni is not like Matteo Salvini. You are not anti-American, not anti-Ukraine, you do not share the terrible propensities of other European populists. It seems to me possible that you are faced with the difficulties of governing Italy and become something more like a mainstrean politician. what everyone hopes for.

For many voters, sanctions on Russia only mean high bills. How important is it for Europe to remain firm?

important. Not even America very solid in supporting Ukraine: with every vote on aid to Congress, more and more Republicans voted against. If it turns out that some countries of the alliance are parading, that doesn’t help. And if the Republicans win the mid-term elections, this trend can only accelerate.

September 21, 2022 (change September 21, 2022 | 22:21)

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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