Alexandr Dugin – Putin’s Rasputin

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Many people with whom I recently discussed the actions and behavior of Vladimir Putin, expressed bewilderment and doubt about his mental health and sanity. Does this guy still tick right? Putin’s behavior becomes more understandable if one understands what is the driving force behind it.

You may never have heard of Alexandr Dugin, but you may have heard of Grigori Rasputin.

Rasputin entered the court of Tsar Nicholas II as a miracle healer in charge of healing the Tsar’s hemophiliac son and soon gained influence over the Tsarina, a German princess, who never identified with the Russian people, and who in turn influenced her husband in ways that contributed to the demise of the Russian economy, the dissolution of its society, and the ineffectiveness of the Russian army against the Germans. Rasputin was a destructive force behind the Tsar. A “Grey Eminence”.

There is some evidence that Alexandr Dugin is a similar destructive force behind Putin. He was born on January 7, 1962 and is an ultranationalist Russian philosopher, professor, political analyst, and strategist.

In 1979, Aleksandr Dugin entered the Moscow Aviation Institute, but did not graduate. He then earned a master’s degree in philosophy and eventually two doctorates, one in sociology and one in political sciences. In 1980, Dugin joined the “Yuzhinsky” group, an avantgarde dissident group, which engaged in Satanism and other forms of occultism. He embraced Nazi-ism, which he himself attributed to his personal rebellion against his Soviet upbringing rather than to genuine sympathy for Hitler. He adopted an alter ego with the name of “Hans Siever”, in deference to Wolfram Sievers, a Nazi researcher of the paranormal.

In 1988, he joined the ultranationalist group Pamyat (Memory), which would later give rise to Russian fascism. After the demise of the Soviet Union,  he helped to write the political program for the newly reformed Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

In 1997, Dugin published “Foundations of Geopolitics” as a textbook for the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military. The general underlying doctrine of “Eurasianism” reminds of the American doctrine of “Manifest Destiny”: all of Eurasia is supposed to be under Russian rule. Eurasian hegemony is Russia’s manifest destiny. In 1997, his article, “Fascism – Borderless and Red”, proclaimed the advent of a “genuine, true, radically revolutionary and consistent, fascist fascism” in Russia. 

Dugin soon began publishing his own journal named “Elementy” (The Elements), in which he praised Jean-François Thiriart, a Franco-Belgian who was a supporter of a “Euro-Soviet empire, which would stretch from Dublin to Vladivostok and would also need to expand to the south, since it requires a port on the Indian Ocean” and who consistently glorified both Tsarist and Stalinist Russia.

Dugin disapproves of classic European liberalism with its central value of individual liberty and the West, particularly US hegemony. He asserts: “We are on the side of Stalin and the Soviet Union”. He describes himself as being a conservative:

“We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society”.

He adds:

“We want patriotic radio, TV, patriotic experts, patriotic clubs. We want the media that expresses national interests”. 

Clearly not the underlying ideas of American conservatism, which is more akin to European Liberalism.

Dugin supports Martin Heidegger‘s philosophy, notably the geo–philosophical concept of “Dasein” (Being There, Existence). Heidegger was a member of the NAZI Party from May 1, 1933 through the end of WWII and his philosophy was openly supportive of NAZI doctrine. According to Dugin, the forces of capitalist Western civilization are based on the concept of individual liberty and represent what the ancient Greeks called “hubris”. For Dugin, the West constitutes “the revolt of the Earth against Heaven”. To what he calls the West’s “atomizing” universalism, Dugin contrasts an “apophatic” (negative – as in apophatic theology) universalism, expressed in the political idea of the “empire”. Values like democracy, human rights, and individualism, Dugin considers not to be universal but uniquely Western.

Dugin has clearly and explicitly espoused fascist views, and has theorized the foundation of a “Euro-Asian empire” capable of fighting the US-led Western world. Dugin spent two years studying the geopolitical, semiotic, and esoteric theories of the controversial German scholar Herman Wirth (1885–1981), one of the founders of the German “Ahnenerbe”, an esoteric think tank in Nazi Germany between 1935 and 1945. Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer-SS, established it as an SS appendage devoted to the task of promoting the racial doctrines espoused by Adolf Hitler and his governing Nazi Party, by supporting the idea that the modern Germans descended from an ancient Aryan race seen as biologically superior to other racial groups. This resulted in Dugin’s book “Hyperborean Theory” (1993), in which he largely endorsed Wirth’s ideas as an ideological foundation for Eurasianism. Dugin co-founded the National Bolshevik Party, the Eurasian Party and the National Bolshevik Front.

Banner of the National Bolshevik Party. Note similarity to Nazi flag.
Symbol of the Eurasian Party. The arrows symbolize ‘expansion’.
Symbol of the National Bolshevik Front.

Eurasianism is a political movement that originated among the Russian émigré community in the 1920s. The movement’s central idea was that the Russian civilization does not belong in the “European” fold and that the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks was a necessary reaction to the rapid modernization of Russian society. The Eurasianists believed that the Soviet regime was capable of evolving into a new national, non-European Orthodox Christian government, shedding the initial mask of proletarian internationalism and militant atheism to which the Eurasianists were strongly opposed.

Modern Neo-Eurasianism is a Russian school of thought, which gained a following in Russia during the years leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the period afterwards. It considers Russia to be culturally closer to Asia than to Western Europe. Neo-Eurasianists take their inspiration from the Eurasianists of the 1920s, such as Prince Nikolai Trubetzkoy.  Lev Gumilev is often cited as the founder of the Neo-Eurasianist movement. Gumilev’s work is controversial for its scientific methodology but it has been a source of inspiration for neo-Eurasianist authors, of whom Aleksandr Dugin has the highest profile.

There is a dark side to Eurasianism. Dugin’s ideology is also a death cult. He believes that the Western World is materialistic and anti-spiritualistic. He believes that true bliss and love will only come after the complete destruction of the material world. His is a copycat ideology of the faith of the Cathars (the pure ones) of the 12th through 14th centuries, who believed that the material world, the body and its desires, sex and procreation were all evil and that love and happiness could only be found after death. Ergo: the sooner everyone dies, the better.

Dugin believes that everything needs to be destroyed. Emotion trumps ratio, chaos trumps logos. Dugin’s Eurasianism is a death cult. His thinking reminds me of the words of the devil in Goethe’s drama “Faust”:

Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint!
Und das mit Recht; denn alles, was entsteht,
Ist wert, daß es zugrunde geht;

I am the Spirit that always negates!
And rightly so; since all that is,
is only worth to perish;

Eurasianism sees itself in opposition to “Atlanticism”. The “Atlantic” countries are those with long ocean shores and resulting strong emphasis on ocean-crossing trade and navies, typically England and the USA. Dugin claims that the Western value system of free market economy, individual liberty, and democratic government is an instrument invented by the Atlantic elites to dominate the rest of the world. By contrast, the Eurasian empire is supposed to have a strong central government aka despotism as its core value.

We might shrug this all off as “just another nutcase”. However, we must understand that Dugin is one of Putin’s key confidants and counselors, a close friend and mentor in matters of geopolitics and strategy. It would be bad enough if he were simply a fascist philosopher of totalitarianism and imperialism. What makes him so dangerous is that he has the ear and the mind of a powerful unscrupulous potentate with imperial aspirations.

Once you understand that Putin is acting upon Dugin’s doctrine of Eurasianism, you will see the method in his madness. Putin sees the Ukrainians as a fraternal people. Indeed, the Ukrainians are the original “Russians”. The dukedom of Kiev was founded by the Viking tribe of the “Rus” and one by one the neighboring tribes all started to call themselves “Russian”. Putin’s Eurasian empire needs harbors that will not freeze. It needs grain to feed the Russians. It needs Uranium and Ukraine happens to have the largest Uranium reserves in Europe. Ukraine has coal, oil, natural gas, shale oil, peat, iron ore, copper, titanium, mercury, gold, graphite, and potash salts.

And Ukraine has always been Russia’s breadbasket. The International Grains Council (IGC) forecasts Ukraine’s total 2021-22 grains production at 74.2 million metric tons, up from 64.9 million the year before. The wheat crop is put at 27.2 million metric tons, up from 25.5 million, while production of corn is predicted to rise to 37.3 million metric tons from 30 million in 2020-21. Ukraine’s production of barley is forecast at 8.1 million metric tons in 2021-22, up from 8 million the year before. The country also is expected to produce an unchanged 400,000 metric tons of oats. Compare this to Russia’s and the USA’s wheat production forecast for the same period:

  • Russia: 75.0 million metric tons
  • USA: 46.2 million metric tons
  • Ukraine : 27.2 million metric tons

Ukraine alone produces about half as much wheat as the USA and about 1/3 as much as Russia.

From an imperialist Eurasianist point of view, Putin is only bringing Ukraine “Heim ins Reich” (Home to the Empire) like Hitler did with Austria. Putin does what Dugin wrote. The geostrategic objective behind this is to bring together a Eurasian Empire under Russian Hegemony with the ultimate goal of breaking the perceived stranglehold of the Atlantic countries on world affairs. This perspective explains Putin’s behavior. Seen from the Eurasianist vantage point, it is neither weird nor insane. It is simply premeditated fascist Russian imperialism and coldly calculated power politics.

However, Dugin errs in many ways. One of his key errors is that he believes that the core values of the Atlantic nations of individual liberty, free market economy, democracy, and representative government were imposed upon the peoples of the West by their rulers. We all know that this was not so. We started out with unmitigated autocracy. For hundreds of years, the intellectuals and the peoples of the Western nations fought for their rights and principles. Secularization, rationalism, enlightenment, empiricism, the French Revolution, emancipation of workers and women, social reforms and, alas, the abolishment of slavery were all forces and movements that made the governing elites of the West concede these basic rights to the people.

The concepts of individual liberty and limited government are not limited to the “Atlantic” Western powers. They are obviously universal. Few people enjoy serfdom. The Ukrainian people do not seem to be enthusiastic about the prospect of becoming Eurasians under Russian Hegemony.

Some people say that Ukraine does not deserve better because it is so corrupt. If corruption were a justification for invading and occupying another sovereign nation, then the USA would be a ripe apple for Putin to pick. No matter what the schoolbooks say, corruption and nepotism are the real form of government all around the world. Corrupt or not, a sovereign nation is a sovereign nation and Putin’s actions against Ukraine are acts of unmasked open aggression and pure Eurasianism. Putin is a Eurasianist; a ruthless Russian imperialist inspired by an equally ruthless death ideologue. Putin and Dugin will stop at nothing. Dugin is Putin’s Rasputin.

All things considered, it is simply stunning that, after all the death and misery that such grandiose sounding ideologies as Fascism or Communism have brought upon the peoples of this earth, men like Dugin and Putin can still unapologetically preach and practise the aggressive death cult of Eurasianism. And the world lets them get away with it, because they rattle their nuclear saber.

I do not think that humankind has ever been closer to self-inflicted extinction than today. The sooner we understand why, the greater our chance of survival. I do not agree about much with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, but do I agree that people who set themselves so far outside the limits of tolerable human behavior and who threaten all humankind with destruction, should indeed be eliminated by whichever means possible.

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