Share our blog:

Is Dugin worth reading?

Share:
Is Dugin worth reading?

Picture: Vicente Villamon, Plaza roja de Moscú, Moscow red square, taken on 14 April 2006.

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin is a popular Russian political scientist, well known for his far-right radical views.[1] Eurasianist, Russian imperialist, Shaman of Russian nationalism, Putin`s Rasputin and Bearded madman: these are only a few of his nicknames. He became known to the western world following his famous statement during the Russo-Georgian war: “Our troops will occupy the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the entire country, and perhaps even Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which is historically part of Russia, anyway.”[2] Fortunately, his direct influence on Putin`s inner circle, with the partial exception of Sergei Glazyev and Vladimir Yakunin, remains rather symbolic.[3] [4] Thus, why is it worth getting familiar with some of his publications?

Firstly, one should not ignore his significant indirect influence through his excessive presence in the public media, enormous amount of publications, and impressive networking. He is perhaps the most popular far-right nationalist theorist in the Post-Soviet space. Moreover, the Kremlin widely exploits actors like Vladimir Zhirinovskiy and Dugin in the role of scarecrows, creating a contrast which allows it to present itself as a more balanced and moderated option.[5] Both of them also play the role of unofficial mouthpiece of the Kremlin, expressing opinions which Putin cannot, or should not say.

Secondly, Dugin`s theories are important. Comparing his role to the role of the late Zbigniew Brzeziński in Washington is an exaggeration.[6][7] Nevertheless, the Kremlin cannot ignore a person with a large and growing number of followers, who supports with enthusiasm the creation of “Novorossiya” and presents Putin as a new Tsar, rebuilding the Russian imperium.[8] Thus, it would be not an exaggeration to say that by not reading Dugin`s works we simply ignore one of the pillars of Russian neo-revisionism.

Thirdly, `Duginism` can be an efficient remedy to the populistic movements and the so-called new-right, whose influence is currently growing. One can easily notice the many analogies between Trump and Dugin’s ideas. The difference is that Dugin is expressing his ideas in a more radical context and with a clear and drastic plan for the future. A wider realisation of how much the two men have in common might change the feeling of enthusiasm in some sectors which followed the victories of Brexit and Trump to one of worry.[9]

Fourthly, because we simply know very little about Russia. The basic knowledge of Europeans about Russia is alarmingly poor. It could be argued that it is only thanks to the Ukrainian crisis that citizens of western countries have started to learn a bit more about their Eastern Neighbours. At the present moment, the average IR student from Paris, Berlin or Warsaw is still barely able to refer to Russian political movements apart from the ideologically empty concept of “Putinism”.[10] Learning about these different movements thus makes it easier to understand Russian fears and hopes. It does not necessarily follow that Dugin can be said to reflect the “Russian mentality”. Nevertheless, he has managed to gather around him quite a few supporters and thus represents a significant thread of Russian thinking.

Describing Dugin as the main contemporary Russian philosopher would be very unfair and harmful to such a beautiful activity as that of philosophy.[11] It would also be highly exaggerated to call this person, who has recently lost his positions as a University professor, “Putin’s main adviser”. An adviser is a person in possession of important knowledge, information, or other relevant expertise. Dugin is arguably not such a person. Moreover, Putin, as an ex-KGB officer, has access to a whole range of very close world-class specialists more relevant then “the scarecrow Dugin”, but he definitely has his influence on contemporary thinking and not just in Russia

The main problem with Dugin is not in itself his far-right, sometimes even neo-fascist, opinions, beliefs or ideas.[12] The international press is already used much worse babble, often published in highly respected newspapers. The problem lies in the scale and goal of his mission. His ideas can be found in a large number of publications. His main mission, rather than to question more, is to undermine: to undermine all that he sees as a potential danger to the Kremlin; the existing liberal order, the western structures, the transformation in Ukraine.[13] His arguments against the existing world order, combined with the existing economic and migration problems, often find very fertile ground. Moreover, because they did not read Dugin, experts on Russia now have a problem when it comes to understanding why globalization has taken the US’ place as Russia’s biggest enemy.[14] [15]

The example of the far-right Breitbart News Network, hanks to the number of falsehoods and conspiracy theories it publishes, highlights the danger posed by the activities of preachers of hate such as Dugin. [16] [17] It is therefore important to read, to try to understand, and to start worrying about Dugin and his ideas, rather than ignoring him.[18]

[1] Alexander Dugin – A Russian scarecrow, 20 March 2017, Available at: http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/interviews/2295-alexander-dugin-a-russian-scarecrow, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[2] The Chronicle of a Caucasian Tragedy, 25 August 2008, Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/road-to-war-in-georgia-the-chronicle-of-a-caucasian-tragedy-a-574812.html, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[3] Alexander Dugin – A Russian scarecrow, 20 March 2017, Available at: http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/interviews/2295-alexander-dugin-a-russian-scarecrow, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[4] Ukraine crisis: Russia and sanctions, 19 December 2014, Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26672800, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Pięć powodów, dla których trzeba czytać Dugina, 15 February 2017, Available at: http://www.eastbook.eu/2017/02/15/piec-powodow-dla-ktorych-trzeba-czytac-dugina/, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[7] Zbigniew Brzezinski obituary, 28 May 2017, Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/28/zbigniew-brzezinski-obituary, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[8] Russia: Strelkov’s nationalist movement is reactivated, 28 January 2015, Available at: https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2015-01-28/russia-strelkovs-nationalist-movement-reactivated, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Globalizm i liberalizm to cywilizacja Antychrysta,29 December 2016, Available at: https://dorzeczy.pl/kraj/18103/Globalizm-i-liberalizm-to-cywilizacja-Antychrysta.html, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[12] Alexander Dugin – A Russian scarecrow, 20 March 2017, Available at: http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/interviews/2295-alexander-dugin-a-russian-scarecrow, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[13] Dugin to kremlowski pies łańcuchowy, 30 December 2016, Available at: http://krytykapolityczna.pl/felietony/michal-sutowski/dugin-to-kremlowski-pies-lancuchowy/, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Pięć powodów, dla których trzeba czytać Dugina, 15 February 2017, Available at: http://www.eastbook.eu/2017/02/15/piec-powodow-dla-ktorych-trzeba-czytac-dugina/, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[16] How Breitbart became Donald Trump’s favourite news site, 14 November 2016, Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37109970, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

[17] Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election, 14 November 2016, Available at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/fake-news-donald-trump-election-alt-right-social-media-tech-companies (Consulted on: 07.06.2017)

[18] Dugin to kremlowski pies łańcuchowy, 30 December 2016, Available at: http://krytykapolityczna.pl/felietony/michal-sutowski/dugin-to-kremlowski-pies-lancuchowy/, (Consulted on: 07.06.2017).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close