THE SAGE OF RUSSIA -(Interview with Alexander Dugin) Intervista ad A. Dugin
THE SAGE OF RUSSIA (Interview with Alexander Dugin)
“Russian values hold that justice is more important than freedom, that the collective is more important than the individual. Russia is not a country; it is a civilization.”
In the nineties, while the halls of the Kremlin were filled with Western (American for the most) Ivy League professors dispensing “valuable” advices to a drunken Yeltsin and the Kremlin establishment in an attempt to fix the crumbling Russian economy, and while all around the Russian society was in a shambles, a man was talking of a new great Russia rising from the ashes of the Soviet Union: Alexandr Dugin. Back then, few paid attention to his rhetoric. He was a “prophet” preaching in the wilderness. Even in the USA, no one had heard of Alexandr Dugin. At the time, the pro-Western Russian elitists discounted him as nothing more than a fellow with strange ideas. Those days are long passed. Mr. Dugin is now a respected philosopher who has, some say, the ears and eyes of the Kremlin. He is a man with a profound understanding of the geopolitical arena, particularly as it relates to Russia’s interests.
Today in the United States, there are people who are closely watching what Dugin is doing and saying. His behavior is scrutinized, especially by some of the left and right-wing circles and intelligence communities who are insulted and concerned by the anti-liberal and anti-West stance of Mr. Dugin. A substantial number of articles have been written about Dugin’s person and belief system. Undoubtedly, there is little understanding among the Western media and intellectuals about Mr. Dugin’s ideology. He has been described in many ways and forms. They sometimes refer to him as a fascist, sometimes as a Bolshevik, a Kremlin spokesperson, a nationalist, and so on. All these labels denote superficiality of judgment and a lack of understanding of Dugin’s philosophy.
Dugin rejects the idea of a unipolar world where the USA and the West, under the banner of NATO, are the main players of the world’s geopolitical chess game. The struggle is to counter this unipolar force to create a multi-polar world where Russia refuses to be encircled by Atlanticism and becomes an alternative to the hegemony of the USA and NATO. In this optic, the concept of Eurasia becomes an important counter-balancing force opposed to the Atlanticism. In order to survive, Russia has to form alliances outside the boundaries of the Western-controlled nations. Russia must build and develop relationships with alternative nations that have similar interests, such as Iran, Venezuela and China, to oppose US hegemony. But make no mistake; this attempt to consolidate the idea of multipolarism will not be without major struggles.
Because of the latest developments on the world stage, particularly in light of the “Arab Spring” revolution and the aggression in Libya by NATO, I was interested in seeking Dugin’s take on the subject, specifically his opinion of the Kremlin’s puzzling reaction to the above events and to clarify the internal political climate in Russia today. I spoke to Dugin the day before Medvedev’s announcement regarding Vladimir Putin’s decision to run for the presidency in the Russian elections to be held in March next year. In this interview given for our website, “Conflitti e Strategie,” the words of Dugin sound prophetic: “Medvedev is zero-man, docile and absolutely controlled by Putin, a kind of a puppet,” thus anticipating the news given the next day by the mass media.
The success of a multi-polar world hinges upon the dynamics played out in the internal Russian discourse. The Arab Spring and the NATO aggression might appear momentarily to be a foreign policy success for the Obama administration, but in the long run, the radical elements which are heavily present in the Arab Spring’s rebels may turn out to be a boomerang for the United States’ foreign policy and for the lovers of democracy, liberal style. Only time will tell.
Interview with Alexandr Dugin on September 24,2011
- Mr. Dugin, what are the differences that characterize the opposing political currents in Russia and which ones appear to be prevailing? (Signor Dugin;quali differenze caratterizzano gli attuali schieramenti in Russia e quale sembra prevalere?)
As Alain de Benoist has once said, the political families are in a state of divorce with the intellectual families. This is the case in modern Russia, as well as the Western countries. Russian politics are a purely formal construction controlled directly by the Kremlin. It is authoritarianism – for the best and for the worst. So the power (Putin – Medvedev) gives no importance at all to the opinions of political parties, and they are mostly lacking in any political philosophy at all. Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a kind of humorist clown with purely populist stands, changing at times during the same political speech. It is completely devoid of sense. Russian Communists are more independent ideologically, but are guided by the puppet Zuganov, who is a political coward and is controlled by the Kremlin. That is a real catastrophe for Russia – the political party with the best program is in the hands of the opportunist and the conformist… Under such conditions the Communists are out of play being under pressure from the Kremlin and led by an improper leader. There is also the extra-parliamentary liberal rights opposition (Pravoey Delo), with a strong, ultraliberal Atlanticist world vision. In this case, there is real coherence between political form and ideological content, but this force is very unpopular with the masses and is also manipulated by the Kremlin’s technologists. Now we pass to the real power – Putin and the people around him who run the country. Their views represent a highly contradictory mixture of liberalism and Westernism, with civil nationalism and patriotism – both gravitating around the person of the national leader. There are two faces of this stand – inner and outer. In domestic affairs, patriotic emotions are provoked, but any attempt to give them more coherent expression are severely repressed (Putin has a fear of consistent nationalism and counters it by force). For the West, the liberal side of Putin’s world vision is stressed to appease the USA and NATO (maybe in order to gain time for the recovery of Russian power, or maybe by a sincere faith of Putin himself in the effectiveness of the Western model). There is a kind of unnatural hybrid between patriotic Eurasianism and pro-Western liberal Altanticism. That is the real reason why the Russian concrete politic and political party only masks the unlimited powers of Putin. The “United Russia” has no political program or strategy at all, and this emptiness and absolute docility helps mask Putin’s autocratic rule under faked democracy – “suspended democracy.” The secret of this unholy alliance between hollow nationalism and globalist pro-Western liberalism lies in the proportions of both parts: It is organized strictly 50/50. For Putin, no part should prevail; the balance should stay untouched forever. It is his deepest idea, the key of his personal “double jeu.” Nobody has been able to resolve the enigma of whether Putin is a Russian nationalist disguised in the occidentals’ mask, or whether he is a globalist under the mask of a patriot. Nobody can be certain who Mr. Putin really is. Sometimes I wonder whether he himself knows who he really is… So, Russian politics and political philosophy are a little bit schizophrenic. What we see on the surface is completely false. But the insanity goes deeper in the heart of secret agent Putin playing with the political elite, the country, the world and maybe with himself, a dangerous and morbid game. It seems more and more that things in Russian politics are going to go crazy…
2. In a recent interview, you praised the initial work done by Putin, but then criticized him for not completing the job that he started. Which job were you referring to? (In una recente intervista Lei ha valutato positivamente l’operato iniziale di Putin, criticandolo, però, per non aver completato il lavoro avviato. A quali interventi si riferisce?)
The job perfectly performed by Putin was the salvation of the country after Yeltsin’s rule. Russia was falling apart and Putin has stopped this by saving the unity and order. It was extremely difficult, but he did it. I consider that a really heroic action. His charisma and high ratings are due to this first period and its concrete results. The liberals were opposed to that course, but Putin won them over and gained the real support of the Russians. Later, he started to proceed slower and slower, gave the power to cynics, men of corruption and servile classes and concentrated on the power but neglected strategies, programs and an historical sense of the political mission. He didn’t abdicate wholly from his first steps, but started to go astray. He is playing with things that are not supposed to be played with – faith, philosophy, culture, reason, and logos. He considers society to be a mob of docile idiots. He became a kind of tyrant installing sovereign dictatorship instead of commissarial dictatorship (using the language of Carl Schmitt).
3. For what reason did Putin sponsor the candidacy of Medvedev who at the time was a character of little importance and of low stature?( Per quale motivo, Putin, ha sponsorizzato la candidatura di Medvedev, all’epoca un personaggio di scarso rilievo e di scarsa levatura?)
Medvedev is zero-man, docile and absolutely controlled by Putin, a kind of a puppet. He has a liberal appearance, so it is granted that he should please the West and certainly never gain real popularity at home. Therefore, he is not dangerous and serves well the paradigm of Putin’s smart play – the West is enchanted and full of expectations of the new Gorbachev and on the domestic level, there is no competition from weak, unknown and liberal persons (Russians hate liberals). Putin considers it to be really smart, but I find it rather stupid. He’s losing time, not gaining it. He enjoys his smarts, but society continues to degrade, collapse and fall apart. Maybe he is dreaming of a repetition of the original scenario of Yeltsin’s period – reentering the Kremlin after a catastrophic rule of “weak Westerners” to the greater joy of the triumphant population. Worse, he could think that this present game (with the Medvedev puppet) is proving to be excellent and will try to continue it. He doesn’t want to accept that the country is again on the edge of a catastrophe – the acceptance of the Western liberal paradigm in economic and social affairs has undermined the situation to the critical point.
It cannot be excluded that we will be in opposition to Putin if he continues the course he is now on. But all this is an internal Russian problem. Comparing Putin to any Western political leader, we should recognize that he is simply the best of all of them. In the West, the situation is much worse, so all is relative. We Eurasianists are disappointed in Putin in the measure that he deflects from the patriotic line. The idea of Medvedev’s presidency and of putting the highest confidence in political technologist, Vladislav Surkov, are seen by us as a serious, and maybe fatal, flaw of Putin that will cost him and all of us too much. Putin gives no signs that he is ready to recover and evaluate the status quo properly. He is not capable of performing areality check. This is very bad and dangerous.
4. We hear of deep contrast between Putin and Medvedev. Is this just for show, or is it a real conflict between the two leaders? (sentiamo di contrasti profondi tra Putin and Medvedev. E questa solo una scena ho un conflitto reale fra I due leaders?)
This point I have explained already, but after having said what was said, I can add that the game of disinformation and political puppet shows could turn bad for Putin, and that faked liberalism and mock “contradictions” with his liberal shadow can lead to real catastrophe. Today it is just a show, but living amidst the society of spectacle we should be prepared that the shift from the game to the reality is every day easier. Now the contrast is virtual; tomorrow the virtual will replace the reality.
5. One of the foundational elements of Putin’s political agenda was to reorganize the economy based on strategic sectors for national independence and security and also based on complementary sectors. How is this agenda progressing and with which modalities, especially in comparison to China? (Uno degli elementi fondanti del programma di Putin era la riorganizzazione di una economia fondata su settori strategici per l’indipendenza e la difesa nazionale e su settori complementari. Come sta marciando il programma e che ruolo assume e con quali modalità specialmente se paragonato con la Cina?)
It was certainly the original idea of Putin, but it seems that he has lost it now, submerged in the purely technical challenges of governance and the flood of the all too penetrating corruption. The main difference with China consists of the fact that the Chinese economy is based on the strategic approach to national interests and is guided by the iron hand of the totalitarian communist (national-communist) party. There is a long-term strategy in China, and nothing of this sort exists in Russia where the Western liberal paradigm prevails. On other hand, the Russian economy is structured around our natural resources and our completely destroyed or sold-off industries. China is an industrial State with little resources. Both economies are trying to grow using Western patterns, but at the same time , seek to preserve their independence. China fulfills the task much better. More consequently, the Russian economy is undermined by ultra-liberals (Kudrin, Nabiullina, Dvorkovich, Shuvalov and so on) who are key persons in Putin’s government.
6. What importance does the present establishment attribute to entering the WTO and what conditions are you willing to accept? (Quale importanza attribuisce l’attuale establishment all’ingresso nel WTO e quali condizioni è disposto ad accettare?)
I consider that in the present state of affairs and Russia’s being the world supplier of natural resources, there is no need to enter the WTO. I confess my gratitude to Georgia that it hinders Russia’s entering the WTO. The entrance into the WTO will damage the Russian economy and reinforce the position of the liberals. We are not going to gain much economically from the admittance to the WTO, but would rather lose something, and certainly lose something politically.
7. In your strategic vision, Europe has an indispensible role. How do you currently view Europe in light of the economic crisis that has struck the Euro zone? (Nella sua visione strategica, l’Europa assume un ruolo indispensabile. Come vede attualmente l’Europa soprattuto in luce della crisi economica che ha colpito l’eurozona?)
I think that European unity is a very good thing. But Europe should start with politics and ideas, not with the economy. It is an error. Now it is a hard time economically, and that could easily provoke the split of Europe. The fragility of such a construction is obvious now. Without clear political ideas and consistent geopolitical strategies, as well as a special stance in front of the USA and its present dubious role in world affairs, European unity is lacking reality. For Russia, Europe is actually a most desirable partner (Putin has opportunely evoked the Greater Europe from Lisbon to the Vladivostok). But for that, we need another Europe: Strong, free, independent from the USA, with proper economic, energetic and strategic visions, with clearly defined European ideas.
8. What about China? Are the Chinese an untrustworthy ally, an adversary, or an ally for strategic purposes? (La Cina? Un alleato infido, un avversario, un alleato strategico?)
China is certainly an ally today in order to oppose the unipolarity and crash the American hegemony. If Russia is strong and consolidated, China can continue to be an ally and, maybe tomorrow, a friend. But if Russia weakens the vast Siberian space with small Russian populations, this may turn out to be an irresistible temptation for the Chinese, who could transform one day into a foe. Good Russian politics can prevent it by encouraging the southern expansion of China and strengthening the links with Japan (Medvedev is doing quite the opposite, as is always his case). These are two geopolitical trends to develop more.
9. What are the ties between the different Russian political forces with American political forces? What in particular are the ties between the pro-Putin groups and the Republicans in the USA? (Quali sono i legami delle varie componenti politiche russe con quelle americane? Quali, in particolare, quelli dell’area di Putin con la componente repubblicana americana?)
There are no real links because there is nothing political in the Russian political party life. Putin’s party is an empty form without any content. With Vladislav Surkov as its main manager, there will be more of the same in the future. All ties are purely virtual.
10. What are the major differences between Putin’s establishment and the other Russian Nationalistic organizations? Is Putin the only credible leader of Russian Nationalism? (C’è una differenza tra la componente di Putin ed eventuali altre organizzazioni nazionaliste russe significative; oppure è l’unico esponente credibile di questa area?)
That is the difficult question. Most consistent Russian nationalist organizations are against Putin, considering him the puppet of oligarchy and liberalism, a tyrant with no regard for the national problem. He is seen more and more as evil in such a milieu. Nobody considers him a reliable national leader in the nationalist sense. His credibility in such circles is very low or nonexistent. Putin’s establishment is based on corruption, opportunism, servility, lies and personal tyranny, as well as on the ultra-liberal prescriptions. The appeals to the national cause are made only for pragmatic goals and are fake and unnatural. We Eurasianists are, nevertheless, supporters of Putin preserving the last hope that he will one day awake from the doze, free from the liberal entourage and reveal his real (we presume) Russian nature. We don’t care about the complete lack of democracy; we care about his inconsistency and devaluation of the Idea in its essence. His pragmatism is dangerous because he can be manipulated by different means of networks warfare. At the same time, we are still comparing Putin with Yeltsin (and presently with Medvedev), which gives him greater credibility, and also with the Western leaders who are a thousand times worse than he (not for us, but for the European people and for Europe in general as a civilization – Western leaders simply destroy it; Putin, on his side, hesitates to restore our Eurasian civilization but doesn’t act consciously in the sense of a voluntary destruction).
11. What do you think of the current Russian Communist party? (cosa pensa dell’attuale partito comunista russo?)
Their program is very good. But their leaders are worse than nothing. There is no chance with them. It is doomed.
12. What is your opinion regarding the “Arab Spring”? Why was the Russian government initially “timid” in expressing their disapproval of the NATO intervention in Libya? (Qual’e la sua opinione riquardo la “primavera araba”? Perche il governo Russo si e` mostrato timido nell’esprimere il suo dissenso sull’intervento della NATO in Libia?)
I have explained in the essential points what I think about the present state of things in Russian politics. Medvedev is a puppet with a definite liberal Western role that cannot be changed during the playing of the actual theater piece. So he has to be timid, not exactly supporting the NATO operation, but not exactly opposing it either. The Arab Spring is not finished yet. Some Iranian sources seriously count that it could turn out to be an anti-American and anti-Israeli revolt in the entire Muslim world. I am sure that the USA and Israel are now losing more than they are gaining there. We support Gaddafi because of his heroic resistance against NATO and the USA. But it could turn out that there will be a new wave of anti-Americanism and anti-Atlanticism in the near future in the Arab and Muslim world. So we will see. The USA cannot even theoretically count on the implementation of democracy there. It is out of the question. So it rests on the fundamentalists and the chaotic bloody ethnic tumults throughout the entire Muslim world. Every unit of this war of the all against the all will be at the same time anti-Western. I like it. It is just a beginning of a real spring. Coupled with the “second wave of crisis,” it is a real chance to get rid of American world hegemony and start to construct a multipolar world. So I see in the future a possible world war and certainly a world revolution.