This comes four years after the author predicted that President Trump would turn the US into an autocracy. Masha Gessen is a Russian-American autho
This comes four years after the author predicted that President Trump would turn the US into an autocracy. Masha Gessen is a Russian-American author and columnist for the New Yorker magazine and has been writing about the Russian President Vladimir Putin for two decades.
In 2016, after Donald Trump was elected president in the US, Gessen argued in an essay that the US President should not be regarded as a regular politician.
They also predicted Mr Trump would attempt to transform the US into a Putin-style autocracy.
In Gessen’s new book, Surviving Autocracy, they argue the US President is coming close to achieving autocratic rule.
Speaking to the Guardian, Gessen said: “If you look at the essay, I think it holds up awfully well, unfortunately.
“There’s nothing in it that I would walk back.
“At the same time, a lot of the things that have happened in the past three years have shocked me.”
Gessen described how Mr Trump’s decision to walk to St John’s church to take a photograph holding a bible was something that stunned them.
They said: “The iconography of that, including the clearing of the square with tear gas, the Black Hawk helicopters – it was chilling.”
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“They share a lot of characteristics although they are temperamentally extremely different men.
“They both have this contempt for excellence, they both have a hatred of government, and they both have this way of campaigning against government as such, even as presidents of their respective countries.”
Gessen explained that President Putin is less cynical because he has an idea that Russia would fall apart if he stepped away.
They added: “Trump doesn’t even have that delusion.
“It’s all power and money in their purest form.
“And you could dig as deep as you want, you would never find a shred of responsibility.”
Gessen went on to talk about how the police throughout America have “brutally targeted” the media during the Black Lives Matter protests.
They argued this has been caused by Mr Trump’s continuous vilification of the press over the past four years.
They said: “That’s something that I saw as a foreign correspondent in war zones where there was really no sense of any kind of rules or laws.
“This happened because for the past four years Trump has been vilifying the media, portraying the media as the enemy of the people, as part of the problem, as part of the great conspiracy to unseat him. And that’s very terrifying.”