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Fascinating interview with Russia’s conservative philosophy icon Alexander Dugin

On 31 August, Paul Robinson interviewed Alexander Dugin in Moscow.

Originally appeared on Irrussianality

Paul Robinson (PR): I am writing a book about Russian conservatism and wanted to talk with you as a well-known Russian conservative. In the West, many people talk of a ‘conservative turn’ in Russia. Do you think that this is the case?

Alexander Dugin (AD): This is a difficult question. In the first place, in order to have a conservative turn, one must follow the line of modernization. And that’s where the problems start. I have even written a book which is called Archeomodern, in which I describe how the modernization of Russian society, both in the Tsarist and Soviet periods, was partial, preserving a certain conservative, archaic core. Many things which seemed modern, such as Bolshevism, had a different semantic. On closer inspection, they weren’t so modern and contemporary. Marxism is undoubtedly a modernistic and progressive ideology; it was accepted, and on the basis of it the old conservative system was overturned. At least on the level of formal declarations, that’s what happened. But, looking more closely at what happened in Soviet society, it becomes clear that the Soviet period was more archaic than the Tsarist period. A large quantity of the people who were drawn into government had an ancient worldview, an ancient Slavic, eschatological religion, largely sectarian, which largely overcame the hermeneutic overlay of communism. The best commentator on this was the Israeli-Soviet dissident Mikhail Agursky, who wrote a book National-Bolshevism, in which he describes how Bolshevism, like the Soviet period as a whole, wasn’t what it seemed to be, that not just modernization but also archaism lay at the foundation of the communist epoch.

In my opinion, one can imagine the archeomodern as a system like fractions: the numerator is the modern, and the denominator is the archaic. Western society went along a different path, in which the archaic and the modern are on the same plane. That is, modern and traditional society displaced one another. And the entire process of the modernization of Western societies consisted of the replacing of elements: monarchy by democracy, religion by secularity. But in Russia, from the very beginning all these things were not mutually exclusive, i.e. one could be modern and archaic. The Soviet period was at one and the same time both progressive and archaic, what the national-Bolsheviks called ‘Soviet Rus’.

In order to understand whether or not there has been a conservative turn in contemporary Russian politics, one must first of all establish the correct version of Russian history, which a Westerner simply can’t do, because a Westerner considers his own history to be a universal paradigm. But in Russia, that’s not the case. Here, the 18th century was more modern than the 19th; the 19th more modern than the 20th. Consequently, when we talk about a conservative turn, we must bear in mind a completely different topology. Some of what we have has progressed, and some has become archaic, creating a very complicated system of coordinates.

For instance, religion was the numerator in Tsarist Russia. During the transition to communism, religion moved to being the denominator and predetermined the semantics and hermeneutics of the Stalinist period. Formally, Stalin wasn’t a Tsar, but informally he was. That is to say that the overthrown monarchy transitioned from being an explicit to an implicit model. Archaic populism, which in the 19th century was below, now moved on top in the form of communism and popular rule. With the change of places, these elements create a model which a Western thinker just can’t understand, as he is guided by linear Aristotelian logic, by the principle of the excluded middle. But the archeomodern is founded on the principle of the excluded middle. Consequently, when we speak of a conservative turn, we must put this thesis into the system of coordinates corresponding to Russian history. I have a book on this theme, The Sociology of Russian Society, where I look at the base concepts of this more complex system of coordinates in great detail.

Clifford Geertz, the American anthropologist, introduced the concept of ‘thick description’. In order to understand Russian society today, one must give it its thick description, which is never done in the West. In the West, people rely only on the ‘thin description’, and resort to thick description only in the cases of archaic societies, and Clifford Geertz  himself only used it when studying Indonesian societies. But thick descriptions aren’t employed with transitional barbaric states like Russia, China or the countries of Latin America, and completely incorrectly, as this concept can be used to describe not just archaic and barbaric societies, but also developed ones. If people in the West would describe their own societies from the point of view of thick description, they would discover many new things about themselves. Baudrillard said good things about this when he said that he was born in a very complicated world, and that at the end of his philosophical activity it had become even less comprehensible. One shouldn’t be afraid of this lack of comprehension. Russia society is incomprehensible and complicated, and one shouldn’t simplify it, simply understand it. And European society is similarly incomprehensible and complicated.

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PR: If you are right about the archeomodern, does that mean that Russia has always been a conservative country? Even in times of modernization?

AD: Yes, one can say that in some sense Russia has always been conservative. But it’s necessary to elaborate that even when we overthrew the Tsar, and we rejected the institution of monarchy, we didn’t reject the monarchical hermeneutic. For us Lenin was the God of the Soviet period, and Stalin was the Tsar, who also gave birth to his own kind of sacralisation. The Soviet Union came to an end precisely at the point when Lenin and Stalin ceased to be holy figures, sacred monarchs, when they ceased to be symbols. Of course, there were many other reasons, but that’s exactly how it was.

If you understand how to decipher our society, then the Soviet period can be divided into three stages, and it degraded in proportion to the degree of desacralization. All these cycles, including the Soviet, the Tsarist, the era before the Schism, have their own map, their own topography. This conservative element is present at every step, and at every step its strength varies.

If you take the contemporary period, then there is a break with the Soviet archaic, which is discredited, but also modernized. And now the monarchic, Orthodox archaic, which used to be the denominator, is rising up and becoming the numerator. That is to say that our society is conservative in the Soviet sense, but also in another way. Today, monarchism, conservatism is the ideology of the ruling elite, there is the cult of the leader or cult of the Tsar, which is more and more explicit and is becoming closer and closer to being formalized in a monarchical system. But consciousness is becoming more and more progressive, individualistic, that is less archaic than in the Soviet period. In other words, each stage of Russian history has its own formula, its own idea of conservatism and modernization. But the two terms can’t be used in the same way throughout the entire length of Russian history.

PR: That is to say that there is no history of Russian conservatism?

AD: No, because the understanding of conservatism, the semantics of conservatism change fundamentally at every stage. As a result, it is very difficult to determine in Russian history and philosophy who in reality was a conservative.

PR: That is true.

AD: For instance, the Slavophiles. We are used to considering them conservatives. But how then do you explain that they were under police surveillance, and were considered a dangerous element? How do you explain the fact that they had more influence on the Populists, that is on the left, the socialists and the revolutionaries, than on the right? The Black Hundreds were formally conservatives, but you won’t find any references to Slavophilism among them. But you’ll find lots of references to the Slavophiles among the socialist revolutionaries.

PR: I read that Aleksandr Kireev, during the post-reform period, wrote that the aristocratic opposition was for representative institutions, for a liberal economy, but the liberals in the government were against.

AD: Exactly. And Aksakov, for instance, said that there was no need to give the people political rights, as the Russian people should be left outside of politics. The people didn’t understand it and would be destroyed if they were given political rights. It would be divided up into individuals. We see this idea, that one must preserve the unity and wholeness of the people, but in a different configuration, among the anarchists, the Populists, the socialist-revolutionaries, and even, in some version, the communists. That is, the hermeneutic, the interpretation of these or those terms – freedom, politics, people, justice, law, power, will, independence, state power – are a product of the milieu in which they are proclaimed and of the time at which we are looking at them. They change their semantics. They don’t have any universal meaning in Russian history. I once again underline the importance of Mikhail Agursky, who was a Russian, deeply loved the Russian people. He was Jewish, emigrated to Israel, and died here in 1991 having come to the first congress of compatriots. He was the person who wrote the most intelligent work entitled National-Bolshevism, about the essence of the Soviet period, in which he writes about the left conservatives and collects all these paradoxes. One can’t talk about conservativism or communism without having read his work. He also wrote a book in English, his dissertation, Third Rome.

PR: I have read this book.

AD: In this book, he provides an enormous number of examples which show the unsuitability of the classical Western political systems for describing Russia’s political history. Our conservatism is so heterogeneous, multifaceted, dialectic and paradoxical, that in order to speak seriously and accurately about it, it’s very important to understand this complicated dialectic, because what appears to be conservatism on one level is revolutionary on another; and what appears revolutionary is conservative.

PR: You have spoken about revolutionary conservatism. Do you think that one and the same person can be both a revolutionary and a conservative?

AD: Yes, that’s how it is. Take the example of Savinkov. Savinkov was undoubtedly a revolutionary. But look at his mystical ideas – he’s a complete mystic, a populist-mystic. There’s a lot like that, especially in Populism and in early communism. Andrei Platonov, for instance, was a Soviet writer, who was more archaic than just about anybody. Pre-Christian myths rise to the surface of his model – sun-worshippers, etc. There are deep roots in Russian sectarianism, in Russian mysticism, in Russian eschatology. And these were actualized in the 20th century. And this gives rise to a feeling of a certain madness in the Soviet period, which was a very specific madness. It was the madness of a reanimated subconscious, which had come to the surface. In order to understand either the Soviet or the contemporary period of history, one needs to be able to measure Russian society in many ways and to use many methodologies, including the subconscious. We have an Orwell-esque doublespeak, you say one thing but mean another. But in our case, political speech is even more complex. What our people say has almost no connection with reality. What does Putin say? I think that even he doesn’t understand what he’s saying because now he’s a liberal, now a conservative; now he’s for sovereignty, now for globalism, and now against globalism.

PR: In the West, they say that he has become a conservative, even a nationalist, even an ultranationalist. What do you think? Is he a conservative or a liberal, or a statist?

AD: I think that the West is becoming stupid in front of our eyes. It can’t even deal with itself, can’t describe itself correctly, and its attempts to describe others are even more comic. Western people weren’t always like that. I have researched very carefully when it was that the mental collapse of Western society began. Europe and the West weren’t always as idiotic as they are now. This idiocy grew very gradually in the 70s, and the 1980s were the turning point. When we read scientific literature written in the 70s, liberal, left, and right, we’re immersed in a world of openly honest people. They can be mistaken, say untrue things, but they are all genuinely dedicated to the logos. And then there’s some kind of frontier, when they all started to lie, which in my opinion is connected to a shift of liberals to the left. Suddenly, Western society began to become very stupid; it became narrower and narrower. Formally it continued along the same lines as before, but something had changed. It’s the same thing with rock music. My friends who are specialists tell me that you can listen to a certain band up to 1975, but after that you can’t, and it’s the case with all of them. It’s what Jung called ‘abaissement de niveau mental’, a lowering of the mental state. The decline of Europe about which Spengler wrote took place in the 1980s in the consciousness of Western people. Westerners were open, free, liberal; they allowed many points of view; they were critical; they listened to one another. And suddenly, this all changed. One has the impression that the spirit of totalitarianism and stupidity transferred from us to you. We had a totalitarian ideology, the Germans were fascist. And now, liberal ideology turned into a totalitarian one. Political correctness – the idea that one can’t call things by their proper names – has created a situation in which the things Westerners say have been deprived of any meaning. Westerners’ evaluations have ceased to correspond to any rational procedures. We experienced this in the 30s, when people were accused of just about anything, without giving them any right to speak, and on this basis, sentence was pronounced. This is how the American education system now works. If you don’t say that Putin is a tyrant, a murderer of children, a cannibal, then you won’t defend your dissertation, your book won’t be released, your report won’t be published. What happened here in 1937 is happening nowadays with you.

What people are saying about Putin is so biased. It’s so connected to the psychoanalytical complexes which have been let loose in Western culture that I have problems speaking about it. Individually, you are all wonderful people; but when it comes to publications, universities, news, mass media, all that stops. It becomes impossible to explain anything. It wasn’t like this even during the Cold War, when any arguments were all the same considered. The war continued in every direction. Now one has the impression that a new spirit has appeared in the West in the epoch of globalization. It won’t tolerate any objection or contradiction. It demonizes everything and everybody with its clichés: ultranationalist, nationalist, fascist, extremist, gender-incorrect, refusing to recognize homosexual marriages.

Conservatism exists only so that it can be overcome. Those who fought with racism have become the most extreme racists. Conservatives in the current situation are objects of this liberal racism. There are conservatives who have a non-liberal point of view. For now they still have the right to speak, but this is considered very dangerous for society, and so they must be isolated lest they gain power with unpredictable consequences, and so it’s better to destroy them in their mothers’ wombs. This liberal approach is pejorative, racist. It speaks of conservatives as if they don’t have a right to exist. Washington and Brussels nowadays are classic examples of the 1937 NKVD-ist.

I still sincerely believe that there are people in the West who are capable of dealing with this, who understand something, but they are few. I have an acquaintance in Canada who recently told me that he had written a dissertation and they told him that if he doesn’t criticize Dugin as a fascist, as a Nazi, a murderer, a terrorist, then he has no chance of defending it and finding a job, never, not here and not in a Canadian university. My acquaintance said, ‘I’ve read Dugin and there’s nothing like that in his books. I haven’t found anything like that; it’s a much more complex system; it can be seen as something special, exotic, but not at all like that.’ So, the people who try to accuse Putin of totalitarianism and conservatism are far more intolerant, and cruel, exclusivist and racist than he.

I recently read something about myself in Newsweek, in which it was said that Dugin is a supporter of the fourth political theory. That’s true. But, the fourth political theory rejects liberalism, communism, and fascism. They write further: ‘He’s a fascist.’ But how can one simultaneously reject the third political theory and be a fascist! From my point of view, it’s impossible! But that doesn’t stop the authors of this article. It’s the logic of double standards. It permeates the entire attitude towards Russia. If I say that there’s no proof that Russian hackers lay behind Trump’s election, then I’m a fascist. It’s very difficult to carry out a fundamental scientific dialogue because one of the sides is irresponsible. For a long time, it was we who were irresponsible. For a long time. I agree with that. But now we look at you, at the West, and we see only complete madness, because if we were take what you in the West propose in terms of criteria for democratization, freedom, and development, we would go completely out of our minds.

Therefore, the terms applied to Putin – conservative, nationalist, ultranationalist – are so senseless, particularly on the lips of a Westerner who is simply looking for proof of guilt. A conversation with a Westerner immediately creates the feeling that you are justifying yourself, you’re hiding something, even if it isn’t something you actually did. This is absolutely unbridled racism. The Westerner never allows himself to think that in principle he might be wrong, and that, for instance, the African, the Russian, the Muslim, the Japanese, the Chinese, or the communist might be cleverer or more right than he. So where are we? We are in a racist model, which is becoming more and more intolerant. This is in spite of Western culture, which still in the 20th century was genuinely open, inquisitive, was oriented to many points of view. Look at all the great Western thinkers, none of them were liberals, they were all anti-liberal, whether they were on the right or the left, but they were all oppositionists, their discourse was critical. Liberal thinkers were first small in number, and second very stupid. Popper and Hayek for example. They also have a right to exist, but they don’t shine very brightly. The genuine figures of Western, European thought are of course left-wing thinkers, oppositionists. But this stopped at some point. And the puniest, stupidest representatives of Western thought, that is to say the liberals, and their most unattractive, banal version began to dominate. And in the end, everything narrowed to the totalitarian discourse which began to dominate in the 1980s.

PR: There are people who say that you are anti-Western.

AD: No, I don’t agree. I am not anti-Western. I am anti-liberal. In fact, I love the West. I have written eight volumes dedicated to Western culture, Western philosophy. I have written two volumes on Greek and Byzantine culture; a volume on Latin culture; a volume on Germany; a volume on France; a volume on England; a volume on America, including North America. I am interested in the Western logos; I study it; it is extraordinarily complicated. I don’t only criticize it, I know it and understand it deeply. Until a certain moment when this liberal, globalist ideology triumphed, the West was a jewel. The West produced daring thought, beautiful thought, sunny thought. It had everything. Until the 1980s. What happened in the West in the 80s affected universities, art, mass media, all of society. I consider that contemporary Europe is an anti-Europe. I simply cannot accept the West in its current condition, at the end of modernity. I find that I have more sympathizers in Western cultural circles than in Russian ones. The West is my spiritual, intellectual motherland. That’s not to mention Western European culture, which I admire. I know all the so-called ‘cursed’ French poets by heart. I love English culture. I’m not some evil Russian peasant who hates the West. I know European languages quite well. I know the West, I live my life through it. One can even say that I love the West. But I am deeply offended by its current condition, because it’s sincere pain for a close friend. It’s a systemic pain. Not accidentally, something malfunctioned, something went wrong. And I am trying to understand what it was.

Of course, I am a Russian patriot, a Russian man, and a Russian above all else.  But I am not indifferent about the West.

PR: That leads me to one of my questions. I wanted to ask, that in your works you cite a lot of Western philosophers. So can one say that your thought is founded on a Western paradigm?

AD: Of course, I even think in French.

PR: But, you are best known as a Eurasianist.

AD: Well, there are European and Asian parts.

PR: But it seems to me that you cite far fewer Asian sources. So how can you say that Russia is a Eurasian country, when the sources of your thinking are Western?

AD: Good question. Do you see what Asia is? When we speak about what Asia is, we mostly think of something non-Indo-European. But there are two cultures in Asia which are indeed Indo-European – Iran and India. Here I must say that Iranian thought, religion, metaphysics and history have had a colossal influence on me. Iranian thinkers such as Sakharvardi, Molasadra, the Zoroastrian tradition and Shiite Iran, are sources of continual inspiration. For me, Iranian thought hasn’t been worked out in as much detail as Western though, but is far more capacious and voluminous. I have even written a volume on the Iranian logos. The second civilization which I admire is Indian civilization. I began my philosophical research with a study of Advaita Vedantism, which is a colossal, fundamental Indo-European logos compared to which Greek philosophy is only faint echoes. And what is best in Greek philosophy, such as Platonism and neo-Platonism, in reality has Indian influences. Second, my research into the Indo-European cultures which are the foundations of Europe, led me to Turan. The Turan were the nomadic Indo-European peoples who were the ancestors of the Iranians, the Indians, and the European peoples, who created European culture. So, the Turanian factor, which is the basis of our Eurasians, is of first importance to me. And those peoples which accepted the mission of the Turanian Indo-Europeans are the Mongols, the Turks, who are normally considered Asiatics, but their culture is based on the same principles, the vertical of power, building an empire, honour, will, military societies, which are what I like in European culture. Being a total anti-racist, I consider that you can’t compare peoples with one another. We must accept them as they are. We can never evaluate one people from another’s point of view. Methodologically, this is incorrect and immoral. In this sense, I am a follower of Nietzsche and his genealogical morality, when he said that every people has its own morality. Therefore, we can never evaluate one people from another’s point of view, as both have different moralities. Thus, if we look at Asia, at the East, not through the eyes of a Westerner, but through the eyes of a Russian, an open-minded person, we see a spiritual treasure there. We will not oppose European culture to Asiatic culture, but we see a deep world of variety and polyphony of East and West.

Therefore, if we take a thick description, we understand that we are not talking about the opposition of East and West. We are talking about a deep understanding of the essence of the East and the West. Russia, which occupies a space in between, is not a mechanistic combination of East and West, not simply a imposition of two peripheral zones, but a special field in which a dialogue of principles takes place, an exchange of conceptual semantic cores between the most varied types of cultures. In Russia there are elements of Iranian culture, and Indian, although to a lesser degree, and also Mongolian and Turkish, which have brought colossal positive benefits into our history. This is the approach which is Eurasianism. Paying great attention to the Western logos and regarding it with love, I love no less and pay no less attention to the logos of the East, to traditional society in all its varied forms. And even Eastern, Indian, Turkish, Chinese culture – I have a book on Chinese culture, which isn’t one logos, but a whole collection of logoses and civilizations.

We are dealing with a world which is so complicated that its complexity obliges us to reject simple oppositions and the use of simple forms like conservative-modernist, good-bad, liberal-not-liberal. Eurasianism is an invitation to anti-racism. If we begin to understand these cultures, we begin to understand Russians. For me, the concept of the Eurasian, the Russian, is a concept of complexity. As soon as we begin to speak of the Eastern or Asiatic parts of Russian culture, we narrow our discourse so much and so reduce it that all conversation becomes unthinkable. That is why I am a Eurasian. I think in Indo-European languages, including Farsi, Sanskrit, which in my head periodically pop up in the form of certain terms for which I can’t find analogues, but which form part of my thinking.

PR: You said that this isn’t an opposition of West and East. But in your old book about geopolitics, you said that conflict between continental and maritime powers is inevitable. Doesn’t what you wrote in your book contradict what you just said about opposition?

AD: No. In my book on geopolitics, I write that we are close to certain continental European states, such as Germany. But Eastern Europe’s interests are incompatible with those of the Anglosaxon maritime powers. It’s not I who dreamt up geopolitics, but MacKinder. But I saw a serious base in it, because it explains a lot of the historic confrontations with the West; with that West which is moved very gradually towards its current globalist position. If we analyze the genealogy of globalization, we see clearly an Anglosaxon policy, this liberalism is an Anglosaxon, an American phenomenon. And this liberalism, which developed out of the Protestant ethic, according to Weber, has gradually become the core of the ideology which has triumphed on a global scale. But this is not the whole West, not all of Europe.

PR: It’s not the West? It’s just the Anglosaxon world?

AD: It’s not the whole West. It’s part of the West, which is beginning to grow larger and larger. This liberal, capitalist civilization, which is part of the West, is beginning to swallow the entire West. So, it was a part, but is becoming the whole. Steven Gia, if I’m not mistaken, or some Dutch thinker, I can’t remember, has an interesting idea. The idea is that this was the ideology of Scottish traders of the epoch of the Glorious Revolution. Then, its logic began to take hold of at first England, then America, and then gradually became the norm. So, everything which beforehand was part of a very complex Western culture, gradually became subordinated to a totalitarian ideology. Eurasianism opposes this globalist liberal ideology. That is, it doesn’t oppose the West as such, but that which accepts this ideology in the form of NATO, atlanticism, liberalism, capitalism. The West has tied its fate to such a small part, small spot, to a cancerous swelling of Scottish philosophy of common sense, which was part of a distinct people, had its own roots, its own place, but at some point grew into a cancerous swelling and somehow became universal. Dobriyan speaks beautifully about this, about how the specificity of cancer lies in the production of unnecessary cells. The production of something complex, like male and female, produces a third thing, something new. But cancer produces only the same cells. Our civilization instinctively opposes it, as it does this Scottish philosophy. Now, the purpose of this confrontation is just to be left in peace, because we have always defended ourselves, but we have sometimes pushed outwards our frontiers.

Consequently, we must above all fight this spirit. If it was just the ideology of Scots, it wouldn’t bother us. But when the entire world must follow the ideology of 17th century Scots, we are surprised because we consider that ideology is much richer than that. This ideology of common sense, and I don’t know of anything unhealthier, was a basis for the thinking of the founding fathers of America. But I still consider it to be some type of pathology; it’s a local pathology which has a right to exist. That’s my opinion. We shouldn’t throw it out. I personally am not going to throw it out. I just don’t like it. And why should I accept this nonsense as the main ideological model? Me and all my people? And here I stand on the side of the Europeans before the 1980s, and also on the side of Asians. I cannot understand why this rubbish is being thrust on humanity. Even if I could understand, I wouldn’t agree, and so we must create a powerful geopolitical bloc to resist it.

PR: But it seems to me that Russia needs two things to resist this ‘Scottish ideology’, which it doesn’t have. The first is resources: economic, moral, political. The second is will. It seems to me that your government does not have the will. The current authorities still want some compromise with globalization. I remember that in your book on geopolitics there was a map which showed a grandiose continental bloc, which it seems to me Russia does not have the power to create.

AD: As they say, nothing is ever impossible for Russians. We are a magical, fantastical people, and when it seems that all is lost, that we have no more resources, we somehow win. Napoleon came, considered that we were nobodies, and then ran away. Hitler’s powerful army, which was much stronger than ours, came. This was a worthy opponent. But they lost everything. In the 90s Eurasianism, when I first wrote that text, was considered pure nonsense. Then Putin proclaimed the Eurasian Union. We began to move forward a little; we pushed back a bit. Crimea is ours. Donetsk is ours. South Ossetia is ours. Abkhazia is ours. Soon, still more will be ours. Yes, of course, the maps I draw are absurd. But the path to the ideal project is long. You have to have a lofty goal. You must remember that any of our achievements, expansions, are nothing compared with what we must do. We must carry the light of Eurasian polycentric civilization. We must free civilizations, including the Anglosaxon, from Locke’s Heartland, which itself is falling into the abyss and dragging all humanity with it. This is our mission. Whether we can do it or not, nobody knows, but we are trying. As a philosopher, as a thinker, I am trying. Putin, as a practitioner, is trying.

I agree with you that our situation is far from optimistic. But look at yourselves. Everything you have has completely collapsed. What’s going on in America? Civil war. It talks about this in the Bible: why do you behold the mote in another’s eye when you don’t notice the beam in your own? I agree with this. Our will is weak, we aren’t intelligent enough, our resources are insufficient, our economic situation is bad, but not as bad as yours which is a total nightmare. And what’s going on in the West is genuine hell, which is becoming reality, though you don’t realize it yet. With our people, with our government, with our corrupt political elite, you can’t don’t anything. But we’ve had it like that for centuries. And yet look at our territory! America now needs to take an examination to see whether it will survive, because it has taken as much of the world as we have, but clearly can’t cope with it. I agree that everything is not very good here, that we don’t have the strength for a new upsurge. But there is a Russian proverb: The eyes fear, but the hands act. It’s a dream. This Russian dream propels us forward. It will last a long time, and I can’t say whether it will be fulfilled immediately, but we will live to see its fulfilment. We are pushing so far forward we cannot be stopped.

When I wrote the project on Eurasianism and tried to persuade the Yeltsin regime to push it forward, I was considered mad because everyone was sure that the West, liberalism, NATO, were fate. But some time passed, and they stopped thinking it was mad.

PR: Finally, I would like to ask you about the influence of your ideas. You no doubt remember the article ‘Putin’s Brain.’ There it’s written that you have a significant influence on geopolitical thinking in Russia. But others say that you have no influence and are a peripheral figure.

AD: Those who think that I stand on the periphery of power are correct. I have no influence. I don’t know anybody, have never seen anyone, I just write my books, and am a Russian thinker, nothing more. I write books, somebody reads them.

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Alexander Dugin

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