Plus ca change

Isaiah Berlin, in his book Russian Thinkers (1978), writes about the mid-to-late-19th century  – the period following the failed revolutions of 1848 – when liberals in the West grew very nervous about Russia:

Russia was to the democrats of this period very much what the fascist powers were in our own time: the arch-enemy of freedom and enlightenment, the reservoir of darkness, cruelty and oppression, the land most frequently, most violently denounced by its own exiled sons, the sinister power, served by innumerable spies and informers, whose hidden hand was discovered in every political development unfavorable to the growth of national or individual liberty in Europe.

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