Our starting place is accepting Russia declared war on the West and that Trump was one of the weapons that the Russians successfully delivered to our home soil. See Snyder’s web series episode 1: Russia defeats America
Timothy Snyder’s book The Road To Unfreedom was the key to my being able to make sense of things. His book is both sweeping in its scope as it discusses political and philosophical trends in Russia, Europe, and America and brings it all together by explaining how Russia took the lead in developing and weaponizing Rove’s dream of being history's actors.
With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy seemed final. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. This faith was misplaced. Authoritarianism returned to Russia, as Putin found fascist ideas that could be used to justify rule by the wealthy. In the 2010s, it has spread from east to west, aided by Russian warfare in Ukraine and cyberwar in Europe and the United States. — From Publishers Synopses of The Road To Unfreedom.
See this video, Timothy Snyder: Trump Fills Public's Fear With Fiction By Attacking Truth | The 11th Hour | MSNBC, below:
From what I have learned from Snyder is Russia was doing it while Rove was dreaming about doing it. Because of Russia’s history of totalitarian governments it was much easier for Putin and his backers to accomplish creating this new reality that Snyder calls “The Politics of Eternity.” This brings us to Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin. In his writings are the origins of many of the ideas that Putin is so effectively using.
The one good in the universe, Ilyin maintained, had been God’s totality before creation. When God created the world, he shattered the single and total Truth that was himself. Ilyin divided the world into the “categorical,” the lost realm of that single perfect concept; and the “historical,” human life with its facts and passions.
From Timothy Snyder’s book: The Road To Unfreedom
It was Ilyin’s inspired revelations recorded in his extensive writings that envisioned the transformation of Russian politics from doing to being. thus embracing eternity. For Ilyin good only existed before God created the universe. And when God created the universe that good was split apart and lost. Christian original sin was creation itself.
The The New York Review of Books has an excellent detailed review of Ilyin’s life in Timothy Snyder’s essay: Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism. Below I will share three paragraphs from the essay:
In the early 2000s, Putin maintained that Russia could become some kind of rule-of-law state. Instead, he succeeded in bringing economic crime within the Russian state, transforming general corruption into official kleptocracy. Once the state became the center of crime, the rule of law became incoherent, inequality entrenched, and reform unthinkable. Another political story was needed. Because Putin’s victory over Russia’s oligarchs also meant control over their television stations, new media instruments were at hand. The Western trend towards infotainment was brought to its logical conclusion in Russia, generating an alternative reality meant to generate faith in Russian virtue but cynicism about facts. — Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism
This transformation was engineered by Vladislav Surkov, the genius of Russian propaganda. He oversaw a striking move toward the world as Ilyin imagined it, a dark and confusing realm given shape only by Russian innocence. With the financial and media resources under control, Putin needed only, in the nice Russian term, to add the “spiritual resource.” And so, beginning in 2005, Putin began to rehabilitate Ilyin as a Kremlin court philosopher. — Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism
“Freedom for Russia,” as Ilyin understood it (in a text selectively quoted by Putin in 2014), would not mean freedom for Russians as individuals, but rather freedom for Russians to understand themselves as parts of a whole. The political system must generate, as Ilyin clarified, “the organic-spiritual unity of the government with the people, and the people with the government.” The first step back toward the Word would be “the metaphysical identity of all people of the same nation.” The “the evil nature of the ‘sensual’” could be banished, and “the empirical variety of human beings” itself could be overcome. — Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism
Below is a short video of Timothy Snyder talking about Ivan Ilyin: The fascist philosopher behind Vladimir Putin’s information warfare
In brief, Ilyin’s theoretical works argued that “the world was corrupt; it needed redemption from a nation capable of total politics; that nation was unsoiled Russia.” Ilyin’s, and Putin’s, Russian nationalism has had a paradoxically global appeal among a wide swath of far right political parties and movements across the West, as Snyder writes in his latest book The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. “What these ways of thinking have in common,” write The Economist in their review of Snyder's book, “is a quasi-mystical belief in the destiny of nations and rulers, which sets aside the need to observe laws or procedures, or grapple with physical realities.” — An Introduction to Ivan Ilyin, the Philosopher Behind the Authoritarianism of Putin’s Russia & Western Far Right Movements