Aleksandr Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics

Dunlop, John B.

John B. Dunlop is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His current research focuses on the conflict in Chechnya, Russian politics since 1985, Russia and the successor states of the former Soviet Union, Russian nationalism, and the politics of religion in Russia.

 

One perceptive observer of the Russian political scene, Francoise Thom, noted as far back as 1994 that fascism, and especially its "Eurasianist" variant, was displacing Russian nationalism among statist Russian elites as a post-communist "Russian Idea," especially in the foreign policy sphere. "The weakness of Russian nationalists," she emphasized, "stems from their inability to clearly situate Russian frontiers. Euras[ianism] brings an ideological foundation for post-Soviet imperialism." 1

There probably has not been another book published in Russia during the post-communist period that has exerted an influence on Russian military, police, and statist foreign policy elites comparable to that of Aleksandr Dugin's 1997 neo-fascist treatise, Foundations of Geopolitics. 2 The impact of this intended "Eurasianist" textbook on key elements among Russian elites testifies to the worrisome rise of fascist ideas and sentiments during the late Yeltsin and Putin periods.

The author of this six-hundred-page program for the eventual rule of ethnic Russians over the lands extending "from Dublin to Vladisvostok," Aleksandr Gel'evich Dugin, was born in 1962, the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Russian military officers. 3 His father is said to have held the rank of colonel, and, according to one source, he served in Soviet military intelligence, in the GRU. 4 By all accounts, Dugin was a bright and precocious youth with a talent for learning foreign languages. (He is said to have mastered at least nine of them.) While still a teenager, he joined a secretive group of Moscow intellectuals interested in mysticism, paganism, and fascism. Both the "masters" of this group and their "disciples" engaged, inter alia, in translating the works of foreign writers who shared their interests. As one of his contributions, Dugin completed a translation of a book by the Italian pagan- fascist philosopher Julius Evola.

Dugin is reported to have been detained by the KGB for participating in this study group, and forbidden literature was subsequently discovered at his apartment. According to one account, he then was expelled from the Moscow Aviation Institute, where he had enrolled as a student some time in the late 1970s. According to another account, he eventually managed to graduate from the institute. 5

In 1987, during Gorbachev's second year of rule, Dugin was in his mid-twenties and emerged as a leader of the notorious anti-Semitic Russian nationalist organization, Pamyat', headed by photographer Dmitrii Vasil'ev. During late 1988 and 1989, Dugin served as a member of the Pamyat' Central Council.

In 1989, taking advantage of increased opportunities to visit the West, Dugin spent most of the year traveling to Western European countries. While there, he strengthened ties with leading figures of the European New Right, such as Frenchman Alain de Benoist and Belgian Jean-Francois Thiriart. These contacts led to Dugin's "belated reconciliation" with the USSR, just as that state was approaching its final demise. It appears that, largely as a result of these contacts with the European Nouvelle Droite, Dugin became a fascist theorist. On the subject of Dugin's indubitable fascist orientation, Stephen

Shenfield has written: "Crucial to Dugin's politics is the classical concept of the 'conservative revolution' that overturns the post-Enlightenment world and installs a new order in which the heroic values of the almost forgotten 'Tradition' are renewed. It is this concept that identifies Dugin unequivocally as a fascist." 6

By the beginning of the 1990s, as the Soviet Union was approaching its collapse, Dugin began to assume a more high-profile political role. He formed an association with "statist patriots" in the communist camp and was, for a brief period, close to the Genadii Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. According to Stephen Shenfield, Dugin "probably played a significant part in formulating the nationalist communist ideology that was Zyuganov's hallmark." 7

In 1991, the year that witnessed the end of the USSR, Dugin made the acquaintance of an important neo-fascist writer with ties to elements in the Russian military, Aleksandr Prokhanov, whose journal Den' (subsequently renamed Zavtra), served as a key sounding-board for the "red-brown opposition." 8 Dugin soon emerged as "one of the leading ideologists of Den' in its best period (1991-1992)." 9

In July 1992, Dugin also began to edit his own journal, Elementy: evraziiskoe obozrenie, which appeared twice yearly (later once a year) in a print run of 5,000-10,000. The journal's title was borrowed from the theoretical journal of the French New Right, Elements, edited by Alain de Benoist. Concerning Dugin's journal, Aleksandr Verkhovskii and Vladimir Pribylovskii have noted: "In speaking of Elementy, one should not forget that half of each issue is comprised of 'geopolitical notebooks' containing articles about the global opposition of various civilizations, primarily Russia and the West." 10

During the early 1990s, Dugin founded his own publishing house, "Arktogeya." This name was borrowed from the publishing house of German racist writer Guido von List (1848-1918). It combines the ancient Greek words arktos (north) and gea or gaia (land), a reference to the vanished polar continent that was supposedly the original home of the Aryans. 11

In 1991-1992, Prokhanov and Dugin attempted to form an alliance between certain leaders of the European New Right and several department heads and professors at the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The first issue of Elementy in 1992 published the transcript of an April 1992 roundtable, held on the premises of the academy, which included Lieutenant General Nikolai Klokotov, head of the academy's strategy department; Lieutenant General Nikolai Pishchev, deputy head of the same department; Major General Vladislav Iminov, head of the academy's department of military history; Alain de Benoist, "the leader of the European New Right"; and Jean Lalou, another New Right spokesman. 12

The commander of the General Staff Academy, General Igor' Rodionov, was reported to be "particularly well-disposed toward Dugin," and Dugin's ideas evidently continued to enjoy his support once he became Russian Defense Minister in 1996-1997. 13 It may be significant that Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics was written during the time that Rodionov was serving as defense minister. 14

The General Staff Academy and GRU's interest in geopolitics and Eurasianism reached back some forty years. "Beginning in the 1950s," Francoise Thorn remarked, "Soviet strategists like General Shtemenko and Admiral Gorshkov were inspired by Eurasianist thinking." 15 As for Dugin, he singled out Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, a Soviet military chief of staff in the early 1980s, as "an outstanding geopolitician, strategist, and Eurasian." 16

In 1993, Dugin joined his efforts with those of charismatic demagogue Eduard Limonov (born 1943) and founded the National Bolshevik Party (NBP). As Verk-hovskii and Pribylovskii have pointed out, "The ideology of the National Bolshevik Party was fully generated by one man--Aleksandr Dugin." 17 Limonov played the role of a fascist-style leader, and Dugin served as second in command and the party's chief theoretician. The new organization appears to have been more influenced by German than by Russian national Bolshevism. The German National Bolshevik Ernst Niekisch had "advocated a German-Russian alliance against the West. In the Soviet Union, especially Stalin's Soviet Union, many German nationalists [like Niekisch] saw the logical fulfillment of the war against 'Jewish capitalism.'" 18 In 1995, Dugin ran for the Russian State Duma on a National Bolshevik platform but was resoundingly rejected by voters, receiving a mere 0.85 percent of the vote. 19

In 1997, Dugin broke with the stormy Limonov and began a noteworthy political ascent. In that same year, he published his Foundations of Geopolitics, one of the more influential works of the post- communist period. It appears to have been written with the assistance of General Nikolai Klokotov of the General Staff Academy, who served as an official consultant to the project. Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense, also may have served as an adviser. 20 Perhaps due in part to such high-level input, "Dugin's geopolitical ideas [as expressed in Foundations] are clearly much more influential than are the other more openly mystical and esoteric sides of his philosophy." 21

During the following year, Dugin's career took a key step forward when he was named an adviser on geopolitics to Gennadii Seleznev. Seleznev was chairman (or "speaker") of the Russian State Duma and a major player in Russian politics. (In June 2001, Seleznev was ranked the tenth most influential political figure in Russia by Nezavisimaya gazeta's panel of experts. 22) In the course of a March 1999 radio interview, Seleznev made public the fact that Dugin was serving as one of his advisers and "he urged that Dugin's geopolitical doctrine be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum." 23 Two years later, at the founding congress of the hew "Eurasia" movement, Dugin boasted, "I am the author of the book Foundation of Geopolitics, which has been adopted as a textbook in many [Russian] educational institutions." During the same congress, the aforementioned General Klokotov-- now a professor emeritus but one who continued to teach at the academy--noted that the theory of geopolitics had been taught as a subject at the General Staff Academy since the early 1990s and that in the future it would "serve as a mighty ideological foundation for preparing a new [military] command." 24 At present Dugin's book presumably is being used as a textbook at the General Staff Academy.

In 1999, Dugin's publishing house brought out a volume of writings by the interwar emigre Eurasian writer, Prince Nikolai Trubetskoi. In his introduction to the volume, Dugin wrote that Trubetskoi "can be termed the Eurasian Marx." 25 It seemed that Dugin saw a similar exalted role for himself as the formulator of a new "Russian Idea" at the dawn of a new millennium.

Some time in late 1999, Dugin founded "The Center for Geopolitical Expertise" in Moscow. In an article in Zavtra, he speculated that this new center might shortly become "an analytical instrument of the Eurasian Platform for, simultaneously, the Presidential Administration, the Government of the Russian Federation, the Council of Federation, and the State Duma." 26 In late March of 2000, in a second Zavtra article, Dugin envisioned a new role for the Russian secret police (which until recently had been

headed by the newly elected Russian president, Vladimir Putin). Whereas in his 1993 book, Konspiralogiya, Dugin had criticized the secret police for perceived "Atlanticist," that is, pro-American and pro-British sympathies, he now toasted the KGB (the initials he preferred to FSB) as "a new caste, a new social stratum" called upon both to hold the line against "American hegemony" and to "recreate a mighty Eurasian sovereign state" which would include all of the CIS republics. 27

In August 2000, after reading an article by "one of the chief ideologists of the [Putin] Kremlin," Gleb Pavlovskii, Dugin wrote Pavlovskii suggesting a meeting. Pavlovskii, the creator of several influential pro-Kremlin Web sites, agreed. Commenting on this burgeoning relationship, journalist Andrei Kolesnikov remarked: "Extreme right ideology is not only turning into the dominant view in Russian publications and state rhetoric, it is also becoming fashionable in a salon sense." 28

In November 2000, shortly before undertaking a trip to Brunei, President Putin declared publicly, "Russia has always perceived of itself as a Eurasian country." 29 Dugin later termed this statement "an epochal, grandiose revolutionary admission, which, in general, changes everything. The prophecy of [French conspiratologist] Jean Parvulesco has come to pass .... There will be a Eurasian millennium." 30

On April 21, 2001, Dugin achieved new heights with the founding congress of the "Pan-Russian Political Social Movement 'Eurasia.'" Holding this congress underscored the close relations that Dugin had formed with present and especially former members of the Russian special services. The congress took place in a hall belonging to the "Honor and Dignity" Club, a group of veterans of the special services and law enforcement organizations. The head of the club, Vladimir Revskii, earlier had served in Vympel, a special operations unit attached to the First Chief Directorate of the KGB (and later the SVR). Revskii officially opened the congress and later was elected to membership in "Eurasia's" ruling body, the Political Council.

Petr Suslov, also a former Vympel member and a retired colonel in the SVRY, played an even more noteworthy role at the congress. Suslov served as head of the committee that organized the congress and then was elected deputy leader of the new movement (with Dugin chosen as the leader). 31 During a July 2001 interview, Suslov confided that he was a graduate of the Ryazan' Paratroop School who had then "served in the structures of the KGB ... in a unit which conducted special operations abroad." 32 In this capacity, he said, he had served in Afghanistan, Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Retiring from the SVR in 1995, he had become a consultant on issues relating to the Caucasus for Duma speaker Seleznev, which had provided him with an opportunity to meet Dugin, who was advising Seleznev on geopolitical questions. The two soon realized that they agreed on many key issues.

Writing for the Gleb Pavlovskii-sponsored web site, SMI.ru, journalist Grigorii Osterman commented: "[Petr] Suslov himself enjoys broad connections within the leadership of the FSB (there exists information that he is an external employee of the central apparatus of the FSB), as well as in the Presidential Administration, bodies to which the leader of 'Eurasia,' Dugin, also has entree." 33 "Dugin is already being perceived," the weekly Obshchaya gazeta observed, "not as the preacher of an ideological sect but as an officially recognized specialist on geopolitical questions." 34

In a similar vein, the investigative weekly Versiya observed in late May 2001: "Contacts between Pavlovskii and 'Eurasia' actually do occur, but most likely on the level of personal consultations. Aleksandr Dugin and the head of Kremlin politico-technology enjoy good, friendly relations." Under

Vladimir Putin, the newspaper continued, Dugin had become "one of the drafters of the concept of national security." It was noted that Dmitrii Ryurikov, a leading adviser to President Yeltsin on foreign affairs, and currently the Russian ambassador to Uzbekistan, had agreed to become a member of "Eurasia's" Central Council. Dugin's new organization, Versiya went on, also was engaged in "the preparing of analytical reports on foreign affairs for the Presidential Administration." As for the financial support of "Eurasia," the newspaper wrote: "The financial support of the movement comes through regional organizations of the special services. And this support, according to our sources, is not small. Moreover, not only finances are provided but also 'necessary' connections." 35

In his address to the founding congress of "Eurasia," Dugin expressed his gratitude to "the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation," for its assistance, before also thanking the Moscow Patriarchate, the Central Spiritual Administration for the Muslims of Russia, and other organizations. 36 On May 31, 2001, the Russian Ministry of Justice officially registered the "Eurasia" movement, which was reported to have branches in fifty regions of Russia. 37 In late June 2001, "Eurasia" hosted an ambitious conference, provocatively titled "Islamic Threat or a Threat to Islam?" held at the Presidential Hotel in Moscow. The titular co-chairmen of the conference were Seleznev (who did not attend) and Sheikh Talgat Tadzhuddin, the officially recognized head of the Muslims of Russia and the CIS states. 38

By summer 2001, Aleksandr Dugin, a neo-fascist ideologue, had managed to approach the center of power in Moscow, having formed close ties with elements in the presidential administration, the secret services, the Russian military, and the leadership of the state Duma. In an interview with the Krasnoyarsk division of Ekho Moskvy Radio on July 25, 2001, Dugin, commenting on Putin's role at the recent G-8 meetings in Genoa, affirmed, "It is my impression that in the international sphere Putin is splendidly realizing the Eurasian political model." 39 Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist incidents in New York City and Washington, D.C., Dugin's opinion was solicited by a major Russian newspaper, along with the views of the secretary of the Russian Security Council, the speaker of the Federation Council, and various Duma faction leaders, which testifies to the perceived influence that Dugin wields in present-day Russia. 40

Several Russian journalists have underscored that Dugin-style "Eurasianism" meets a number of political needs in Russia. A belief in the primacy of the rights of the individual over those of the state, journalist Evgenii Ikhlov wrote, would result in the control of civil society over the state. In Russia, by contrast, Ikhlov continued:

[O]ur new chief stratum are incapable of ruling under such a democracy.... [T]hey stand in need of an attractive foundation for another, non-democratic model. Here Eurasianism extraordinarily fits the bill. It offers the following: an authoritarian-charismatic (autocratic) model; selfless and ascetical serving of the regime as the highest form of valor (the messianic great power syndrome); the agreement of ethnic and religious minorities to play a subordinate role; and imperial xenophobia. 41

"What induces the regime to seek a new ideology in Eurasianism?" journalist Dmitrii Radyshevskii, asked. He answered: "Here [in Dugin-style Eurasianism] there are ideas which meet the psychological needs of society: there is an alternative to the failed love affair with the West; there is the [Russian] tradition of messianism; and there is the proximity of Asia.... The regime stands in need of a new ideology, but of a traditional one, 'integral and great.' All of this is happily combined in Eurasianism." 42

 

The Geopolitics of Dugin's 1997 Book

Dugin's militant views on geopolitics, as expressed in his 1997 "textbook," presumably will strike Western readers as both crude and mad, representing a slight improvement over the ravings of Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovskii. Although Dugin's ideas and prescriptions are indeed extreme, dangerous, and repellent, it should be emphasized that they are very much in the tradition of the writings of interwar fascists and adherents of the European Nouvelle Droite. Historically speaking, fascist thought more than once has resulted in explosive expansionism. It should be noted that Dugin does not focus primarily on military means as a way of achieving Russian dominance over Eurasia; rather, he advocates a fairly sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services, supported by a tough, hard-headed use of Russia's gas, oil, and natural resource riches to pressure and bully other countries into bending to Russia's will. Dugin apparently does not fear war in the least, but he would prefer to achieve his geopolitical goals without resorting to it.

Drawing on the extensive twentieth-century literature on geopolitics--and especially on the interwar German school of Karl Haushofer--Dugin posits a primordial, dualistic conflict between "Atlanticism" (seafaring states and civilizations, such as the United States and Britain) and "Eurasianism" (land- based states and civilizations, such as Eurasia-Russia). 43 As Wayne Allensworth noted, once one penetrates below the surface of Dugin's seemingly rational and scholarly language in Foundations of Geopolitics, one realizes that "Dugin's geopolitics are mystical and occult in nature, the shape of world civilizations and the clashing vectors of historical development being portrayed as shaped by unseen spiritual forces beyond man's comprehension." 44 In Dugin's treatise, as Allensworth underscores, the author has appropriated almost wholesale "the idea" of Belgian geopolitician Jean Thiriart, who "recognized the Russified Soviet Union as the final bastion of civilization in a Europe overrun by rootless American consumerism." Thiriart earlier had advocated the formation of a new "Holy Alliance" of the USSR and Europe aimed at constructing a "Euro-Soviet Empire," which would stretch from Vladivostok to Dublin and would also need to expand to the south, "since it required a port on the Indian Ocean." 45

 

The Gorbachev Debacle

The Gorbachev years (1985-1991) represent, in Dugin's eyes, one of the most wrenching geopolitical defeats in the millennial history of Russia-Eurasia-USSR. Beginning in 1989, it became clear that "no- one in the Soviet leadership was capable of explaining the logic of traditional [Soviet] foreign policy and, as a result, there took place the lightning-fast destruction of the gigantic Eurasian organism ..." (95). 46 Unexpectedly, the USSR "found itself in almost the same situation as postwar Germany--its world influence reduced to nothing, its territory sharply diminished, its economy and social sphere reduced to ruins" (96).

Dugin contends that the Soviet disaster of 1989-1991, like the earlier German one, resulted from a failure of the country's leaders to heed the counsel of its geopoliticians. Hitler disregarded the advice of Karl Haushofer and other specialists when he decided to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. In similar fashion, a "certain secret department of the GRU" and other voices had been advocating a "Eurasian" course for the USSR, but their advice went unheeded (103).

As Dugin sees it, the "project" that Westernizing Russian reformers attempted to implement during the Gorbachev and Yeltsin years by now has been discredited fully: "This project denies such values as

the people, the nation, history, geopolitical interests, social justice, the religious factor, etc. In it, everything is constructed on the principle of maximal economic effectiveness, on the primacy of the individual, on consumerism, and the 'free market'" (179).

Dugin believes the Atlanticists (especially the United States) consciously plotted the downfall of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR. "The Heartland therefore is required to pay back Sea Power in the same coin" (367). The goal, as Dugin sees it, is to resuscitate and reinvigorate Eurasia/Russia after the near-fatal geopolitical blows it absorbed from 1989 to 1991.

Dugin emphasizes that the current Russian Federation, which appeared in 1991 from under the rubble of the USSR, is not a full-fledged state, but rather "a transitional formation in the broad and dynamic global geopolitical process" (183). The new states that have come into existence in the space of the former Soviet Union also do not, with the sole exception of Armenia, possess any markings of authentic statehood (187). Instead they represent artificial, ephemeral political constructs.

The ethnic Russian people, in contrast, are seen as "the bearers of a unique civilization." 47 Russians are a messianic people, possessing "universal, pan-human significance" (189). The Russian people, Dugin insists, can serve only as the core ethnos of a vast empire: "[T]he Russian people (i.e. Russia) never made its goal the creation of a mono-ethnic, racially uniform state" (190). Such a distorted view represents "the Atlanticist line masking itself as 'Russian nationalism'" (213).

"A repudiation of the empire-building function," Dugin warns sternly, "would signify the end of the Russian people as a historical reality, as a civilizational phenomenon. Such a repudiation would be tantamount to national suicide" (197). Deprived of an empire, Russians will "disappear as a nation" (251). The sole viable course, in Dugin's view, is for Russians to rebound from the debacle of 1989- 1991 by recreating a great "supra-national empire," one in which ethnic Russians would occupy "a privileged position" (251-252). The result of such a rebuilding effort would be "a giant continental state in the administration of which they [Russians] will play the central role" (253). This ethnic model, Dugin notes, is quite similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

In order to facilitate the recreation of a vast Russian-dominated continental empire, Dugin advocates the unleashing of Russian nationalist sentiment, but of a specific type. "This [Russian] nationalism," he writes, "should not employ state but, rather, cultural-ethnic terminology, with a special emphasis on such categories as 'Narodnost" and 'Russian Orthodoxy'" (255). Religious sentiment, Dugin urges, should be placed front and center: "Russians should realize that they are Orthodox in the first place; [ethnic] Russians in the second place; and only in the third place, people" (255). There is a need, Dugin insists, for the "total churchification" of Russians, for the Russian nation to become viewed simply as "the Church" (255-256). Such an emphasis, he believes, should--together with a persistent focus on the glorious past and bright future of the Russian nation--help bring about the "demographic upsurge" so desperately needed by Russians today. Economic incentives by themselves will prove insufficient to promote such an upsurge (256-257). One "radical" slogan, Dugin concludes, must be consistently put forward: "The nation is everything; the individual is nothing" (257). This slogan encapsulates one of Dugin's most cherished beliefs.

 

Gutting Atlanticism

Employing the "strategy of the Anaconda" (a term borrowed by Dugin from inter-war German geopoliticians used in reference to Britain), the United States and its close allies are seen as exerting

unrelenting pressure on all Eurasian coastal zones (103, 110). Following precepts enunciated by Francis Fukuyama among others, the United States seeks to implant its own political and economic model throughout the globe (127). Moreover, following the prescriptions of Paul Wolfowitz, the United States attempts to reduce Russia's role to that of a lowly "regional power" (199). In cynical fashion, the United States wants to "transform Russia into an 'ethnic reservation' so that it can receive full control over the world" (169).

How is a revived Eurasian--Russian empire to bring about "the geopolitical defeat of the U.S." (260)? An appropriate response to the looming Atlanticist threat, Dugin contends, is for the renascent Eurasian-Russian empire to direct all of its powers (short of igniting a hot war), as well as those of the remainder of humanity, against the Atlanticist Anaconda. "At the basis of the geopolitical construction of this [Eurasian] Empire," Dugin writes, "there must be placed one fundamental principle--the principle of 'a common enemy.' A negation of Atlanticism, a repudiation of the strategic control of the United States, and the rejection of the supremacy of economic, liberal market values--this represents the common civilizational basis, the common impulse which will prepare the way for a strong political and strategic union" (216). The anti-Americanism of the Japanese, "who remember well the nuclear genocide and the disgrace of political occupation," must be unleashed, as well as the fervent anti- Americanism of fundamentalist Muslim Iranians (234, 241). On a global scale, Dugin declares, "the main 'scapegoat' will be precisely the U.S." (248).

One way in which Russia will be able to turn other states against Atlanticism will be an astute use of the country's raw material riches. "In the beginning stage [of the struggle against Atlanticism]," Dugin writes, "Russia can offer its potential partners in the East and West its resources as compensation for exacerbating their relations with the U.S." (276). To induce the Anaconda to release its grip on the coastline of Eurasia, it must be attacked relentlessly on its home territory, within its own hemisphere, and throughout Eurasia. "All levels of geopolitical pressure," Dugin insists, "must be activated simultaneously" (367).

Within the United States itself, there is a need for the Russian special services and their allies "to provoke all forms of instability and separatism within the borders of the United States (it is possible to make use of the political forces of Afro-American racists)" (248). "It is especially important," Dugin adds, "to introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements-- extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics" (367).

Dugin's Eurasian project also mandates attacking the United States through Central and South America. "The Eurasian project," Dugin writes, "proposes Eurasian expansion into South and Central America with the goal of freeing them from the control of the North" (248). 48 As a result of such unrelenting destabilization efforts, the United States and its close ally Britain eventually will be forced to leave the shores of Eurasia (and Africa). "The entire gigantic edifice of Atlanticism," Dugin prophesies, "will collapse" (259). He believes that this could happen unexpectedly, as occurred with the sudden collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR. Expelled from the shores of Eurasia, the United States would then be required to "limit its influence to the Americas" (367).

 

The Moscow-Berlin Axis

Within the territorial sprawl of Eurasia, Dugin's program focuses on the formation of three key axes: Moscow-Berlin, Moscow-Tokyo, and Moscow-Teheran. With regard to the future of Europe, Dugin writes: "The task of Moscow is to tear Europe away from the control of the U.S. (NATO), to assist European unification, and to strengthen ties with Central Europe under the aegis of the fundamental external axis Moscow-Berlin. Eurasia needs a united, friendly Europe" (369). In advocating this path, Dugin appears to be influenced by the writings of the European New Right, which from the 1970s on, argued for "the strict neutrality of Europe and its departure from NATO" (139). The basis of the Moscow-Berlin axis, Dugin writes, will be "the principle of a common enemy [that is, the United States]" (216).

In exchange for cooperating with Russia in this project, Dugin proposes that Germany be given back "Kaliningrad oblast' (Eastern Prussia)" (228). As a result of a Grand Alliance between Russia and Germany, the two countries will divvy up the territories lying between them into de facto spheres of dominance. There is to be no "sanitary cordon." "The task of Eurasia," Dugin emphasizes, "consists in making sure such a [sanitary] cordon does not exist" (370). Russia and Germany together, he insists, "must decide all disputed questions together and in advance" (226).

The integration of swaths of Western and Central European territory into a German sphere of dominance will be encouraged directly and abetted by Eurasia-Russia. The formation of a "Franco- German bloc" especially is to be supported (171). "In Germany and France,'" Dugin asserts, "there is a firm anti-Atlanticist tradition" (369). Germany's influence likely will spread to the south--to Italy and Spain (220). Only Britain, "an extraterritorial floating base of the U.S." is to be cut off and shunned (221).

Moving eastward, Dugin proposes offering Germany de facto political dominance over most Protestant and Catholic states located within Central and Eastern Europe. The "unstable" state of Finland, which "historically enters into the geopolitical space of Russia" is seen as an exception (316). In this instance, Dugin proposes that Finland be combined together with the Karelian Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation into a single ethnoterritorial formation "with maximal cultural autonomy, but with strategic integration into the Eurasian bloc" (371-372). The northern regions of Finland, Dugin adds, should be excised and donated to Murmansk oblast'.

On the subject of the Baltic states, Dugin proposes that Estonia be recognized as lying within Germany's sphere. A "special status," on the other hand, should be accorded to both Latvia and Lithuania, which suggests that they are to be allocated to the Eurasian-Russian sphere. Poland, too, is to be granted such a "special status" (372).

With regard to the Balkans, Dugin assigns "the north of the Balkan peninsula from Serbia to Bulgaria" to what he terms the "Russian South" (343). "Serbia is Russia," a subheading in the book declares unambiguously (462). In Dugin's opinion, all of the states of the "Orthodox collectivist East" with time will seek to establish binding ties to "Moscow the Third Rome," thus rejecting the snares of the "rational-individualistic West" (389, 393). The states of Romania, Macedonia, "Serbian Bosnia," and even NATO-member Greece in time, Dugin predicts, will become constituent parts of the Eurasian- Russian Empire (346, 383).

As for the former union republics of the USSR situated within Europe, they all, in Dugin's view, (with the exception of Estonia) should be absorbed by Eurasia-Russia. "Belorussia," Dugin asserts flatly, "should be seen as a part of Russia" (377). In similar fashion, Moldova is seen as a part of what Dugin calls "the Russian South" (343).

On the key question of Ukraine, Dugin underlines: "Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning. It has no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness" (377). "Ukraine as an independent state with certain territorial ambitions," he warns, "represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics" (348). And he adds that, "[T]he independent existence of Ukraine (especially within its present borders) can make sense only as a 'sanitary cordon'" (379). However, as we have seen, for Dugin all such "sanitary cordons" are inadmissible.

Dugin speculates that three extreme western regions of Ukraine--Volynia, Galicia, and Trans- Carpathia--heavily populated with Uniates and other Catholics, could be permitted to form an independent "Western Ukrainian Federation." But this area must not under any circumstances be permitted to fall under Atlanticist control (382). With the exception of these three western regions, Ukraine, like Belorussia, is seen as an integral part of Eurasia-Russia.

At one point in his book, Dugin confides that all arrangements made with "the Eurasian bloc of the continental West," headed by Germany, will be merely temporary and provisional in nature. "The maximum task [of the future]," he underscores, "is the 'Finlandization' of all of Europe" (369).

 

The Moscow-Tokyo Axis

The cornerstone of Dugin's approach to the Far East lies in the creation of a "Moscow-Tokyo Axis." In relation to Japan, he emphasizes, "the principle of a common enemy [that is, the United States]" will prove decisive (234). As in the case of Germany, Japan is to be offered an imperial Grand Bargain. Dugin recommends that the Kuriles be restored to Japan as Kaliningrad is to be restored to Germany (238). For future expansion purposes, Japan is to be encouraged to impose "its own 'new order,' which it planned to carry out in the 1930s, in the Pacific Ocean" (277).

Dugin notes that another important ally of Eurasia-Russia will be India, which, like Japan, will be invited to join Russia in efforts to contain and perhaps dismember China. The two Koreas and Vietnam also will be invited to participate in this effort (360). Mongolia is seen as constituting "a strategic ally of Russia" and is to be absorbed directly into Eurasia-Russia (363).

Like the United States, the People's Republic of China is seen as constituting an enormous danger for Eurasia-Russia. Once it rejected Mao's healthy path of "peasant socialism," China set about instituting economic reforms that have been achieved "at the price of a deep compromise with the West" (232- 233). China, in Dugin's perverse view, verges upon being an Atlanticist factotum.

At several points in his book, Dugin gives vent to a fear that China might at some time in the future "undertake a desperate thrust to the North--into Kazakhstan and Eastern Siberia" (172). In a section titled "The Fall of China," Dugin directly warns: "China is the most dangerous geopolitical neighbor of Russia to the South" (359). China, he maintains, is a danger to Russia both "as a geopolitical base for Atlanticism and by itself, as a country with heightened demographic compactness in quest of 'no man's land'" (360).

Because of the threat to Russia's vital geopolitical interests represented by China, Dugin holds that the PRC must be dismantled. He underlines: "Tibet-Sinkiang-Mongolia-Manchuria taken together comprise a security belt of Russia" (363). Eurasia-Russia must seek, at all costs, to promote "the territorial disintegration, splintering and the political and administrative partition of the [Chinese] state" (360). "Without Sinkiang and Tibet," he concludes, "the potential geopolitical breakthrough of China into Kazakhstan and Siberia becomes impossible" (362).

As "geopolitical compensation" for the loss of its northern regions, China, Dugin recommends, should be offered development "in a southern direction--Indochina (except Vietnam), the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia" (363). These areas constitute China's appropriate sphere of dominance.

It should be noted that in the lengthy postscript section appended to the 1999 version of Foundations of Geopolitics, Dugin reaffirms his belief in the need for Eurasia-Russia to effect a dismembering of China (781). In an interview given by Dugin in late July 2001, however, he backed off slightly from this position--presumably in deference to Putin's stated position on China--but only to a degree. He continued to insist that Russia's relations with Japan, Iran, and India were more vital and significant than those with China. 49

 

The Moscow-Teheran Axis

The most ambitious and complex part of Dugin's program concerns the South, where the focal point is a Moscow-Teheran axis. "The idea of a continental Russian-Islamic alliance," he writes, "lies at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy. [T]his alliance is based on the traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization" (158). "On the whole," he continues, "the entire Islamic zone represents a naturally friendly geopolitical reality in relation to the Eurasian Empire, since the Islamic tradition ... fully understands the spiritual incompatibility of America and religion. The Atlanticists themselves see the Islamic world, on the whole, as their potential opponent" (239).

As the result of an especially broad Grand Alliance to be concluded with Iran, Dugin maintins that Eurasia-Russia will enjoy the prospect of realizing a centuries-old Russian dream and finally reach the "warm seas" of the Indian Ocean. "In relation to the South," he writes, "the 'geopolitical axis of history' [Russia] has only one imperative--geopolitical expansion to the shores of the Indian Ocean" (341). "Having received geopolitical access--in the first place, naval bases--on the Iranian shores," he writes, "Eurasia will enjoy full security from the strategy of the 'Anaconda ring'" (241). Eurasia-Russia and the Empire of Iran, he emphasizes, will have "one and the same geopolitical tendency" (242).

As a consequence of this Grand Alliance, Eurasia-Russia should be prepared to divide up the imperial spoils with "the Islamic Empire in the South" (239). After asking the question "What is the Russian South?" Dugin claims that it includes "the Caucasus [all of it]"; "the eastern and northern shores of the Caspian (the territories of Kazakhstan and Turkmeniya)"; "Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgiziya and Tajikistan"; plus "Mongolia." Even these regions, he notes, should be seen "as zones of further geopolitical expansion to the south and not as 'eternal borders of Russia'" (343). "Control over the Caucasus," Dugin notes at one point in the book, "opens ... an exit to the 'warm seas'" (349).

The extensive stretch of territory lying to the south of the Russian Federation is to be divvied up with a future Iranian Empire and with Armenia as well. "A special geopolitical role," Dugin writes, "is played by Armenia, which is a traditional and reliable ally of Russia in the Caucasus. Armenia will serve as a most important strategic base in the thwarting of Turkish aggression to the north and to the east." It is necessary, therefore to create "the [subsidiary] axis Moscow-Erevan-Teheran" (352). "The Armenians," Dugin underscores with approval, "are an Aryan people ... [like] the Iranians and the Kurds" (243).

Azerbaijan represents one example of how the trio Eurasia-Russia, Iran, and Armenia might choose to divide up the spoils. "If Azerbaijan," Dugin warns, "maintains its [present] pro-Turkish orientation, then that 'country' will be split up among Iran, Russia, and Armenia. Almost the same holds true with regard to other regions of the Caucasus--Chechnya, Abkhaziya, Dagestan, etc." (243). "It makes sense," Dugin writes elsewhere, "to bind Azerbaijan to Iran" (352).

According to Dugin, Kazakhstan will be integrated "into a common continental bloc with Russia" (354). Abkhaziya, too, will be tied "directly to Russia" (351). He speculates that a "united Osetiya" also might be incorporated into Eurasia-Russia (351). And as for the remaining parts of Georgia? Dugin implies that what remains of this Orthodox Christian country after Russia absorbs Abkhaziya and South Osetiya might be turned over to Iran as booty, appropriate punishment, presumably, for its prickly independent course toward Russia in the post-communist period.

According to Dugin, a key reason for concluding a Grand Alliance with Iran is Russia's need for a Muslim ally in its struggle against secular Turkey and "Islamic Saudi Arabia" with its dangerous Wahhabism. Turkey is to be treated as harshly as the United States and China. "It is important," Dugin writes, "to take into consideration the necessity of affixing to Turkey the role of 'scapegoat' in this [Eurasian] project" (244). Kurds, Armenians, and other Turkish minorities are to be provoked into rebellion. Dugin stresses the need to create "geopolitical shocks" within Turkey (352). Like Azerbaijan, Dugin predicts that Turkey could be dismembered by Eurasia-Russia, Iran, and Armenia in the future. If such a dismemberment should not occur, however, Turkey, like China, must be encouraged to expand exclusively southward, "into the Arab world through Baghdad, Damascus, and Riyadh" (244).

 

Conclusion

In a moment of exultant imperial elan, Dugin revealingly trumpets at one point in his book, "The battle for the world rule of [ethnic] Russians has not ended" (213). It is necessary to speak the unvarnished truth. An official adviser on geopolitics to the speaker of the Russian Duma is a dangerous Russian fascist. As has been noted, Dugin also reportedly enjoys close ties to elements in the presidential administration, the secret services, the military, and the parliament. Although Dugin's influence should not be exaggerated, it also should not be understated. One is required to ask whether Russian fascism--a tendency which exhibits contempt both for international borders and for international law--has a realistic chance of emerging as the "new political thinking" in international affairs in Vladimir Putin's Russia. In late 1998, Russian academic Andrei Tsygankov appropriately warned that the discourse of Dugin and of like-minded "Eurasians" is in reality "the discourse of war." 50

Interviewed by a journalist from the army newspaper Krasnya zvezda in May 2001, Dugin patiently explained: "Eurasian space is the territory of Russia, the countries of the CIS and a part of the adjacent territories to the West and to the South, where there is no clear-cut geopolitical orientation. All of this comprises Eurasian strategic space broadly understood." 51 The army reporter offered no objections to this quite mad schema.

Aleksandr Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics, to summarize, represents a harsh and cynical repudiation of the architecture of international relations that was laboriously erected following the carnage of the Second World War and the emergence of nuclear weapons. Dugin and his "system," it seems, resemble the combustible interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe, with the lurid imperial fantasies of the Duce, the Fuhrer, and other fascist demagogues. Could a reversion to a destructive past be the "dividend" which Russia and the West are to receive for having finally and with enormous effort put an end to the cold war?

First published in Demokratizatsiya 12.1 (Jan 31, 2004): 41. To read this article as a PDF, click here

 

NOTES

The author would like to thank Robert Otto for generous and extremely helpful bibliographical assistance. Thanks also to Glen Howard for bringing several useful bibliographical items to my attention and to my research assistants, Joyce Cerwin and Yuliya Shmeleva, for their fine work.

1. Francoise Thom, "Eurasiansm: A new Russian foreign policy?" Uncaptive Minds 7, no. 2 (1994): 76.

2. Aleksandr Dugin, Aleksandr. Osnovy geopolitiki: Geopoliticheskoe budushchee Rossii (Moscow: Arktogeya, 1997). The book was republished without change by Dugin in 1999, together with lengthy supplemental materials--of no great significance--appended under the title Myslit' prostranstvom. My references are to the 1997 edition.

3. Unless otherwise indicated, the biographical information on Dugin provided in this paper comes from Stephen Shenfield, Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2001), 190-220.

4. See Marina Latysheva, Issledovateli temnykh sil iz dvizheniya 'Evraziya' sdelali dlya prezidenta analaticheskii tsentr i gotovy zamenit' MID. Versiya, May 29, 2001.

5. Charles Clover, "Will the Russian bear roar again?" Financial Times, December 12, 2000.

6. Shenfield, 195. For a representative sample of Dugin's theoretical fascist writings, see Aleksandr Dugin, Absolyutnaya rodina (Moscow: Arktogeya, 1999).

7. Shenfield, 192.

8. On Prokhanov, see John B. Dunlop, The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Empire, 2d. ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 169-177.

9. Aleksandr Verkhovskii and Vladimir Pribylovskii, Natsional-patrioticheskie organizatsii v Rossii (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo 'Institut eksperimental' noi sotsiologii,' 1996), 50.

10. Ibid., 51.

11. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 395.

12. See "Rossiya, Germaniya i drugie," Elementy, 1 (1992): 22-25.

13. Shenfield, 198.
14. Clover.
15. Thorn, 67-68.
16. Aleksandr Dugin, Konspiratologiya (Moscow: Arktogeya, 1993), 115. 17. Verkhovskii and Pribylovskii, 50.

18. Wayne Allensworth, The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization and Post-Communist Russia (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), 257.

19. Shenfield, 194.
20. Clover.
21. Shenfield, 199.
22. "100 vedushchikh politkov Rossii v iyune," Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 10, 2001. 23. Shenfield, 197.

24. See "Stenogramma raboty uchreditel'nogo s'ezda Obshcherossiiskogo Politicheskogo Obshchestvennogo Dvizheniya 'Evraziya,' 21 aprelya 2001," at http://eurasia.com.ru:8101/syezd.htm.

25. See Aleksandr Dugin, introduction to Nikolai Trubetskoi Nasledie Chingizkhana (Moscow: AGRAF, 1999), 5-25.

26. Aleksandr Dugin "Evraziiskaya platforma," Zavtra, January 21, 2000.

27. Aleksandr Dugin "Zarya v sapogakh," Zavtra, March 31, 2000.

28. Andrei Kolesnikov "Posle podvodnoi lodki," Izvestiya, August 29, 2000.

29. Vladimir Putin, "Rossiya vsegda oshchushchala sebya evroaziatskoi stranoi," Strana.ru, November 13, 2000.

30. http://www.arctogaia.com/public/putin/htrr, May 23, 2001.
31. Yaroslava Zabello "Evraziya--prevyshe vsego?" Transkaspiiskii proekt: informat-siono-

analaticheskii server, June 13, 2001.
32. Pavel Polnyan "Sibir' otchenlyaetsya legko," Moskovskii komsomolts v Krasno-yarske, 29, July 18,

2001,http://arctogaia.krasu.ru/eurasia/dugin_krskl2.shtrr.
33. Grigorii Osterman "Esli vakhkhabizm ne sdaetsya, ego ipravlyayut," June 28, 2001, SMI.ru,.

34. Aleksandr Maksimov and Orkhan Karabaagi. "Oni v svoikh korridorakh," Obshchaya gazeta, May 31, 2001.

35. Latysheva.
36. "Stenogramma ..."
37. Strana.ru, June 4, 2001.

38. Tadzhuddin is recognized by a minority of the forty Muslim administrations in Russia, but he can boast of "not at all bad connections with the [Russian] special services," with whom he has been cooperating since taking up his current post in 1980. See Maksimov and Karabaagi. It should be noted that on June 19, 2001, a rival organization of "Eurasians," headed by state Duma deputy Abdul- Vakhed Niyazov, held a founding congress for a new Eurasian Party of Russia (EPR). Niyazov is an ethnic Russian (formerly Vadim Medvedev), who converted to Islam in 1996. On July 26, 2001, the EPR, with branches in seventy regions of Russia, was registered by the Russian Ministry of Justice. Dugin has assailed this rival group as being witting tools of Saudi Arabia and of Wahhabism. A number of well-known leaders of Muslim background in Russia and in CIS states, on the other hand, have offered support for the EPR. These leaders include Aslambek Aslakhanov, Ramazan Abdulatipov, Chingiz Aitmatov, Olzhas Suleimenov, Stanislav Derev, and Mufti Akhmad Kadyrov. The presidents of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, also have indicated a degree of support. See Novye izvestiiya (June 30, 2001 and July 27, 2001); Nezavisimaya gazeta (June 8, 2001 and July 31, 2001); SMI.ru (June 19, 2001); Moskovskii komsomolets (August 3, 2001); and NG-religii (August 8, 2001).

39. Aleksandr Dugin "Interv'yu dlya 'Ekho Moskvy-Krsnoyarsk'," 25 iyulya 2001, posted at:http://arctogaia.krasu.ru/eurasia/dugin_int_1.shtm.

40. See "Rossiya dolzhna uchest' oshibki Ameriki," Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 13, 2001. For Dugin's take on the events of September 11, see his "Lastochki
Apokalipsa," http://arctogaia.com/public/lastochki.html, September 12, 2001.

41. Evgenii Ikhlov"Oni v svoikh korridorakh: Dve storony novogo evraziistva," Obshchaya gazeta, August 2, 2001.

42. Dmitrii Radyshevskii "Soblazn evraziistva," Moskovskie novosti 18, May 1-14, 2001.

43. For a useful survey of twentieth-century Western geopolitical literature, see Geoffrey Parker Western Geopolitical Thought in the Twentieth Century (London: Croom Helm, 1985). Chapter five of Parker's book is devoted to "German Geopolitik."

44. Allensworth, 249. 45. Ibid., 251.

46. Here and subsequently, the page numbers given in parentheses refer to the 1997 edition of Dugin's book.

47. All italics appearing within quotations are those of Dugin.

48. In this connection, the following report is of interest. During a visit to Moscow in May of 2001, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela "indicated that he and Putin share a vision of a world in which power must be more evenly distributed to offset the unipolar influence of the United States, and that his dream of a 'Bolivaran Federation' of Caribbean and Latin American nations fits into that scheme." Chavez made it clear that he and Putin "would work together to form a strategic alliance against [the] U.S." Petroleumworld, May 15, 2001.

49. Dugin, "Interv'yu dlya 'Ekho Moskvy-Krasnoyarsk.'"

50. Andrei P. Tsygankov "Hard Line Eurasianism and Russian Contemporary Geopolitical Perspectives." East European Quarterly (Fall 1998): 323, 329.

51. "Geopolitika. Evraziiskii milliard."

Word count: 7973
Copyright HELDREF PUBLICATIONS Jan 31, 2004 

 

 

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