“Putin’s Rasputin” and the vision of Great Russia

They called him “Putin’s Rasputin”. However, the Alexander Dugin he neither appoints nor dismisses ministers, nor does he even go in and out of the Kremlin, nor does he put words in the mouth of the Russian president. And much more he is not a “Rasputin“, it’s probably the exact opposite. He is a strict intellectual, ideological father of Great Russia and Eurasianism, who wants the Kremlin to serve this ideology. And when he judges that he does not serve it sufficiently, his tongue becomes a whip even for the Russian president. This is, perhaps, the reason that Vladimir Putin about a decade ago he had removed Dugin from his professorship at Moscow University. Since then, however, a lot of water has flowed down the drain.

The key phrase that connects him to Putin is “Russkiy Mir”, which means Russian world, in a sense also Russian peace. It is she who is largely behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In Western eyes, this ideology is a form of ethno-racial religious fundamentalism, invoking blood, land, faith, nation, people, language and leader. This, however, is a rather crude depiction of Dugin’s ideology.

He, like Putin at the political level, envisions a “Greater Russia”, which includes the regions adjacent to today’s Russia that share a common history, Russian culture and Russian Orthodoxy. According to Western sources, Dugin has since the early 2000s carried out informal diplomatic missions to Turkey, Iran and China in 2018.

Alexander Dugin with his daughter, Daria, who was killed when a bomb exploded in her car on the outskirts of Moscow

Whether he was acting on behalf of the Kremlin or in his academic capacity remains controversial. The bottom line is that he was vigorously advancing his vision of a multipolar world order, in which the power of the US and its “sea powers” would be offset and underpinned by “continental powers” centered and led by Russia. In this context, his trips to Greece are included. He, moreover, considers the Russians to be the “Greeks of the North”. Along the way, however, Dugin appeared to be marginalized by the Kremlin. Perhaps because his rhetoric was strict and he himself treated the Russian president as a softie. Nevertheless, his writings had a profound influence on Russia, especially on the wing of the regime that was convinced that the West wanted to humiliate Russia rather than cooperate with it. This is the prevailing view, at least within the country. Dugin has been declared the de facto ideological father of the Russian invasion, without this meaning that he was ever a blatant, much less a cheap propagandist.

Although he never held public office, the influence he exerted and exerts over Russia’s ruling elites was and remains unquestionable. An illustrative example is the term “Novorossiya” (New Russia), which is used for Eastern Ukraine and has recently been included in the rhetoric of the Russian president. For anyone who has read Dugin, echoes of his thinking are evident in his recent speeches.

The prophecy”

When asked in 2008 about the development of relations between the United States and non-Russian ex-Soviet republics, Dugin left no room for misunderstanding. He argued that Russia should treat these relations as “a declaration of psychological, geopolitical, economic and open warfare.” In another interview the same year, he warned that if Ukraine attempted to join NATO or the EU, “Russia would have to respond by supporting an insurgency in the eastern regions and Crimea.”

Dugin shocked in front of the burning car, shortly before rescue crews arrived

He had, in fact, added: “I could not rule out the entry of the armed forces there”… This is also the reason why the murder of his daughter is not only a blow against him and his family. The drafts even reach the Kremlin. In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, he lost his position at Moscow University for inciting his followers to violence against Ukraine online. No one was surprised, then, when he enthusiastically greeted the news of the Russian invasion last February. According to him, the invasion promised a definitive “liberation” of Ukraine from Western influence and through it “a total change in the architecture of the entire world order.”

Dugin’s quasi-secular framing of this conflict echoes Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia’s claim that the invasion entails a “metaphysical war.” Alexander Dugin was born in Moscow in 1962. He was determined early on to pursue an academic career, but on his own terms, without suffering the strong ideological and political flag that set him apart from his peers. His theory has its roots in a text by Plato.

According to him, the entire area from Portugal to the Bering Strait constitutes a single continent, Eurasia, which by its very nature stands in opposition to the “Sea Peoples”, led by the Anglo-Saxons. His pioneering work is the book “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” (1997), which even became so popular that supermarkets placed it on their checkouts! It was seen as a guide for how the West should be dealt with by Russia. Among other things, he proposes drastic methods, capable of neutralizing the subversive activity of the West against Russia. 20 years ago Dugin attempted to combine his intellectual vision with political action. Thus, he founded the Eurasia Party.

“From that party many turned to Putin’s government,” Foreign Affairs wrote. Dugin’s outward appearance, reminiscent of a monk, is no accident. It refers to his relationship with the Russian Old Believers. They are Orthodox who have rejected the reforms imposed by the Moscow Patriarch Nikon in the second half of the 17th century. He remains a popular commentator on Russian television and perhaps the most widely accepted contemporary Russian philosopher. Whether he has influence over Putin cannot be answered.

Let’s be content, however, with what he himself had said. Speaking to an Italian television network, he denied being an ambassador-advisor to the Russian president. He had confirmed, however, without hesitation, that the Kremlin’s geostrategies reflect his theories. “My influence over him is strong, if indirect,” he had explained. “In the Soviet Union I was considered a right-wing dissident, and during the Yeltsin era I was completely banned from public life, accusing me of being a left-wing extremist. But when Putin came to power, I was given the opportunity to return to television and spread my message openly.” The murder of his daughter in front of his eyes is a huge personal blow. He himself, moreover, had once said that he is guided by family, country and God. Especially when his 30-year-old daughter was following in her father’s footsteps with great success and was his pride.

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Putins Rasputin vision Great Russia

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