In the 1920s, geopolitical thinking manifested itself undisguised among Russian nationalist-minded émigrés in the shape of Eurasianism. It was influenced partly by late Slavophilism of the 1870s and 1880s, partly by German geopolitics in the shape of Carl Schmitt, K. Haushofer, and Ernst Niekisch. On the other hand, in the Soviet Union geopolitics had no chance to be permitted as a separate doctrine as even national bolshevism could exist only behind the facade of Marxism-Leninism. Geopolitics became officially accepted as a political theory only in post-totalitarian Russia. Its rapidly growing popularity was, probably, due to. the new frustrating situation after the break-up of the Soviet empire. With 25 million Russians living beyond the frontiers of the Russian Federation, the idea of restoring the empire and the former Soviet Union's status of a superpower was harboured by considerably large quarters of society.

Geopolitics became the new ideological panacea for Russian-minded statist national patriots who quite often called themselves Eurasians (evraziitsy) or neo-Eurasians (neo-evraziitsy). As has been noted, this category of nationalists can be found within the Establishment in general, and within the army and other power structures in particular. Neo-Eurasianism includes aspects of both traditionalist and `modernist' thinking. Imperial thinking and orientation belong mainly to the first category, whereas the latter is characterised by urbanism and industrial, technological, and military-industrial projects.

Emerging in the early 1990s, Russia's new statist (imperial) nationalism represented several different currents of thought including different versions of anti-communist nationalism ( of the 'red-brown' ideology. At the same time, however, the neo-Eurasians showed certain common traits such as a very critical if not hostile attitude towards the West and its universalist ideas. This common ideological orientation was strengthened by the humiliating break-up of the Soviet empire in 1991. In post-Soviet Russia, hardliners among nationalists and nationalist-minded communists considered Yeltsin's government with its neoliberal reform policy to represent alien non-Russian interests.

Originally, the Eurasians were a movement among young Russian émigré intellectuals in the 1920s and early 1930s. The founder of their doctrine was Prince Nikolai Trubetskoi (1890-1938). The Eurasian manifesto entitled Exodus to the East (Iskhod k vostoku) was published in Prague in 1922.

Originally, the Eurasians were a movement among young Russian émigré intellectuals in the 1920s and early 1930s. The founder of their doctrine was Prince Nikolai Trubetskoi (1890-1938). The Eurasian manifesto entitled Exodus to the East (Iskhod k vostoku) was published in Prague in 1922.

Rejecting the possibility of a universal civilisation, the Eurasians pointed out the detrimental impact of the expanding European (Romano-Germanic) culture on other civilisations. This being the case, Nikolai Danilevsky's view of the contagious rotten Europe was more or lest revived. Russia's future was considered to be in the East. As a concept Eurasia was defined as a politically, historically and culturally indivisible territory which more or less coincided with that of imperial Russia. It constituted an organic and harmonic totality and needed protection from alien cultural influences. Thus, Russia should not copy European institutions but preserve its own traditions. In plain language, this implied a traditionalist policy. Spiritually, Russia should return to its pre-Petrine state - Muscovite Russia that had been an Orthodox theocracy.

However, besides being traditionalist Eurasianism included elements of modern nationalist thought. In particular, the new science of geopolitics was more or less adopted by the Eurasians. Moreover, even some germs of German racist thinking can be found, in particular in Trubetskoy's writings coloured by unsophisticated cultural anthropology. The attitude of the Eurasians towards Italian fascism was almost benevolent. Their view of the ideal, culturally autarchic and 'ideocratic' state was influenced by the principles of a corporative system of society. Soviet Russia, for its part, provoked contradictory feelings. Among the Eurasians, there were those who more or less sympathised with the Soviet regime. At the same time, they hoped that Bolshevism sooner or later would be replaced by Eurasianism. In their view, there were some positive features in the Soviet system such as a strong government with a clearly identifiable ruling group (the communist party) and the Soviets permitting ordinary people to participate in governing the country. Nikolai Alekseev, the leading political scientist in the Eurasian movement, advocated `a Russia with Soviets, but without communists. In a word, Russia should abandon Marxism, reject the communist party, and adopt Eurasianism as her new guiding doctrine.

In the 1920s, geopolitical thinking manifested itself undisguised among Russian nationalist-minded émigrés in the shape of Eurasianism. It was influenced partly by late Slavophilism of the 1870s and 1880s, partly by German geopolitics in the shape of Carl Schmitt, K. Haushofer, and Ernst Niekisch. On the other hand, in the Soviet Union geopolitics had no chance to be permitted as a separate doctrine as even national bolshevism could exist only behind the facade of Marxism-Leninism. Geopolitics became officially accepted as a political theory only in post-totalitarian Russia. Its rapidly growing popularity was, probably, due to. the new frustrating situation after the break-up of the Soviet empire. With 25 million Russians living beyond the frontiers of the Russian Federation, the idea of restoring the empire and the former Soviet Union's status of a superpower was harboured by considerably large quarters of society.

Geopolitics became the new ideological panacea for Russian-minded statist national patriots who quite often called themselves Eurasians (evraziitsy) or neo-Eurasians (neo-evraziitsy). As has been noted, this category of nationalists can be found within the Establishment in general, and within the army and other power structures in particular. Neo-Eurasianism includes aspects of both traditionalist and `modernist' thinking. Imperial thinking and orientation belong mainly to the first category, whereas the latter is characterised by urbanism and industrial, technological, and military-industrial projects .

In the early 1930s, the movement was split as the numerous anti­communist Eurasians withdrew and, in fact, moved towards the extreme right, i.e. the NTS or the Russian fascists and national socialists. In 1992, the ideas of Eurasianism became a fashionable umbrella ideology for numerous Russian nationalist movements and groupings. `Eurasia' became a codeword for Russia's lost imperial identity emphasising the differences between Russian and European civilisations. Concepts like the `Eurasian space' (evraziiskoe prostranstvo) implying the territory of the former Soviet empire, 'Eurasianism' or `Russia's geopolitical interest as a Eurasian power' became frequent in the national patriots' vocabulary. As time went on, the slogans of almost all political movements including those of Zyuganov's communists and Yeltsin's liberals became more or less coloured by Eurasianism. This thinking coincided with a renewed interest in the traditional strong Russian state. The idea was that the Russian state needed to be strong, powerful and centralised in order to be able to rule its vast territory. This being the case, Russia should not be too democratic, the argument went. In principle, this train of thought became a common denominator for the nationalists and communists in the opposition as well as for the liberals in power.

 National bolshevism

The birth of the Soviet state was accompanied by a totally new ideological phenomenon in Russia, that of interaction between the extreme left, the ruling Bolsheviks, and part of the extreme right, the proponents of the Russian idea. As a result, a new red-white, or later even a red-white-brown, ideology called national bolshevism, came into being. This phenomenon, however, was not confined to Soviet Russia, but appeared in Europe as well, in particular in the Russian émigré community and in Germany. Thus, there was a continuous interaction of Bolshevik and rightist ideas not only in Soviet Russia but also in Europe, and above all in Germany. This process of reciprocal influences was especially fruitful in the 1920s.

Before the October revolution, Vladimir Lenin had pledged himself to work for the dissolution of the Russian empire. In his view, the granting of national self-determination to smaller nations would lead to a voluntary union between them and socialist Russia (unification through separation). The Leninist thesis about the nations' right to autonomy and secession from the Russian empire earned the party an influx of enthusiastic members from among the various national minorities, primarily among Jews, but also among Latvians and Georgians.

Yet, when the Bolsheviks had seized power, Lenin faced a new unexpected problem. His principle about the peoples' right to self-determination `no longer weakened the position of the Czar but, on the contrary, that of the Soviet government. The Azerbaijani, the Armenians and the Georgians declared their independence, and other countries - Ukraine, White Russia (Belarus), Poland, the Baltic countries and Finland - followed suit. In this new situation, the Bolsheviks realised that their political survival required all their efforts to save and restore the Russian empire. This being the case, they made a political volte face in turning down the idea of world revolution in favour of saving Russia. As the Bolshevik regime had a very narrow social base - many of the leaders of the party were Jews - finding a modus vivendi of sorts with anti-Western Russian nationalists was a conditio sine qua non.

The civil war of 1918-20 divided the rightist and nationalist forces. There were numerous proponents of the extreme right within the army, the security police and the Church, who sided with the Bolsheviks in the spirit of `red patriotism'. These antiliberal and anti-Western conservatives considered the Bolsheviks to be the only political force capable of restoring the Russian empire. In their view, the socialist and internation­alist character of the Soviet regime was a transient phenomenon.

Large parts of the tsarist officer corps, including Aleksei Brusilov, the commander-in-chief, and Admiral Vasilii Altwater, joined the Red Army and greatly helped the Bolsheviks win the civil war. The White movement was considered to rather serve foreign interests including those of Great Britain. As a paradox, Russia's national interests were now defended by internationalist Vladimir Lenin who opposed a partition of the former empire. The Bolsheviks were promoting the imperial idea by re-establishing Russia's supremacy over White Russia (Belarus), Ukraine, and Transcaucasia.

In the wake of the civil war, the Bolsheviks were to deepen and extend their cooperation with the Russian national right. `The new Marxist-Leninist ideology, like the early Christianity, had to make its peace with the state. Revolutionary Bolshevism had to compromise with Russian state power' (Carter 1990, 46). Already during the civil war, there had been signs of a gradual merger of bolshevism with a traditional Russian concept of the state as the incarnation of the imperial idea. Lenin urged upon the Bolsheviks the necessity for intelligent compromise with their national conditions. Thus, the preconditions for the emergence of national bolshevism, the new shadow ideology, were created. Being formally radical and leftist, it actually represented conservatism and great power nationalism.

In the early 1920s, this new trend of thought was paralleled abroad by an émigré movement with the journal Smena vekh (Change of Landmarks) as its mouthpiece.

Emerging in the early 1990s, Russia's new statist (imperial) nationalism represented several different currents of thought including different versions of anti-communist nationalism ( of the 'red-brown' ideology of  for example Alexander Dugin ( translated the occultist works of Julius Evola into Russian). At the same time, however, the neo-Eurasians showed certain common traits such as a very critical if not hostile attitude towards the West and its universalist ideas. This common ideological orientation was strengthened by the humiliating break-up of the Soviet empire in 1991. In post-Soviet Russia, hardliners among nationalists and nationalist-minded communists considered Yeltsin's government with its neoliberal reform policy to represent alien non-Russian interests.

Having deep historical roots, the aforementioned anti-Western attitude implies that Russia should not let herself be influenced by pernicious West has been accused of having tried to undermine Russia from within through communism, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism as well as through alien religions, alien ideas and alien life-style.

In post-Soviet Russia, the neo-Eurasians' view of a Western cosmo­politan conspiracy is, in fact, quite secular. Theoretically, A. Dugin, the proponent of a `leftist' national socialism of sorts  or `red-brown' philosophy, considers the eternal civilisational and geopolitical conflict between Atlanticism and Eurasianism  to be the real reason behind all the Western conspiracies against Russia. In practical politics, the ongoing economic, political and cultural globalisation process in the world is interpreted as being administered by a small cosmopolitan elite. Russia's degradation from super power to a regional great power, along with its deep and protracted political and economic crisis, is explained as having been engineered by the cosmopolitan West and its `fifth column' (the democrats in general, and the Jews in particular ) within Russia.

During the years of perestroika and later, the leading reformers were labelled `agents of influence' (agenty vliianiia) by their ideological and political adversaries. Alexander- lakovlev, the architect of glasnost' and Mikhail Gorbachev's right hand, is a good case in point. He was de facto accused of having collaborated with Western intelligence services with the purpose to destabilise the Soviet Union. Yeltsin's cabinets headed by Yegor Gaidar and Viktor Chernomyrdin (1992-98), as well as by Sergei Kirienko in 1998, were nicknamed an `occupational government' by the 'red-brown' opposition. The regime was also called anti-Russian with the implication that it acts in collusion with the West at the expense of Russia's national interests.

As a geopolitical theory, neo-Eurasianism appears in several versions. Politically, Dugin's hard-line 'red-brown' doctrine seems to be the most important: It was gaining more and more devotees in Russia over the last years of the 1990s. It is a well-known fact that Alexander Dugin, as well as his former comrade-in-arms, Alexander Prokhanov, are the most prominent ideologists of neo-Eurasianism. This doctrine serves as an umbrella philosophy for other geopolitical theories including those of Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky.

Dugin's `red-brown' meta-ideology

In the late 1990s, A. Dugin had become very influential within the establishment, serving as an adviser to Gennadii Seleznëv, the communist speaker of the Russian Duma. Furthermore, his book The Basics of Geopolitics: Russia's Geopolitical Future (Osnovy geopolitiki: Geopoliticheskoe budushchee Rossii) that appeared in 1997, and re­appeared in an enlarged edition in 1999, was written with the help of Russian Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of RF.

There are at least three classical geopoliticians - Sir Halford Mackinder, Karl Haushofer and Carl Schmitt - who have influenced Dugin. In this chapter, however, we will mainly focus on the ideas of the first-mentioned as constituting the essential background to neo-Eurasianism.

The central idea of Mackinder's theory is geopolitical dualism, i.e. the eternal antagonism between the sphere of land and that of sea, between continental and maritime powers. In the twentieth century, the former were represented by Russia and Germany, the latter by the USA and Great Britain. Imperial Russia as well as the Soviet Union constituted the Eurasian `heartland' ; the repository for global landpower. Whoever controls the Eurasian land-mass will dominate the world, was Mackinder's conclusion. No wonder that Russian neo-Eurasians have found his theory attractive!

In Dugin's view, during the cold war the aforementioned geopolitical confrontation was disguised by ideological quarrels between liberalism and Marxism-Leninism, two Western anti-traditional theories. Dugin's con­ception as presented in Osnovy geopolitiki (The Basics of Geopolitics) takes this geopolitical antagonism further by asserting that the two sides are not just divided because of competing geostrategic interests, but are culturally incompatible. The Russian Eurasian thinker views the civilisational conflict between 'Atlanticism' and 'continentalism' (Eurasianism) as the main antagonism in the world.

Then, how does Dugin view this cultural confrontation? Two time-honoured opposite spheres of life - trade and warfare - are confronting each other. The Atlanticist civilisation of merchants is challenging the continental or Eurasianist civilisation of heroes. The former civilisation implies commercialisation of life, whereas its continental counterpart has manifested itself in militarisation of life - Dugin calls this civilisation military-authoritarian (voenno-avtoritarnaia tsivilizatsiia). Dugin traces this confrontation back to ancient history, to the Peloponnesian war between maritime Athens and land-based Sparta, as well as to the Punic wars between Carthage and Rome. Both Athens and Carthage continued the Phoenician tradition of seafaring, trading, and colonising coastal areas. During the twentieth century, Great Britain and the USA represented the maritime 'Atlanticist' civilisation that mphasised the primacy of economics. Dugin calls the USA the `new Carthage'.

On the other hand, Russia/the USSR ('the New Rome'), as well as Germany before its surrender in 1945, embodied the alternative continental military-authoritarian idea, Eurasianism . In these countries, economics were subordinated to politics. In such a culture, politics usually implies the use of force. As regards the Soviet Union, Dugin seems to accept it as representing incomplete Eurasianism. The struggle between 'Atlanticist' and Eurasianist thinking never ceased after 1917 but continued behind the scenes within the Soviet establishment. As a matter of fact, Dugin is here referring to the well-known general conflict between 'Westernisers' (zapadniki) and national patriots. In Soviet history, Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev were Eurasians or close to this Weltanschauung, whereas Trotsky and Khrushchev were typical 'Atlanticists'.

Dugin points out that Eurasianism was popular within the army in general and in the army's intelligence service GRU in particular. On the other hand, 'Atlanticist' thinking was to be found within the security forces like NKVD and KGB .

Significantly enough, in 1992 Dugin explained the unpopular war in Afghanistan as a plot engineered by the 'Atlanticist' KGB who wanted to compromise the `Eurasian' GRU and the army (ibid., 116 f).

The other main differences between Atlanticism and Eurasianism, as Dugin views them, are individualism vs collectivism, plutocracy vs ideocracy, democracy vs authoritarianism.

Dugin tries to combine a preservationist policy towards traditions with a selective modernisation of society without Westernisation. This `modernist' attitude he shares with numerous leaders of non-Western countries of the `Third World' . It should be remembered that Mussolini and Hitler favoured modernisation and industrialisation of their countries even if they rejected liberal democracy.

The Eurasians were defeated in August and December 1991. The fall of the Soviet ideocratic regime and the break-up of the Soviet empire signified the end of a bipolar world, Dugin concludes. In the new geopolitical situation, sea power, i.e. the maritime West (the `new Carthage'), was taking, over and establishing global hegemony. The view that the world was becoming multipolar was misleading as far as all the new expanding geopolitical centres, such as China, the Islamic world and the Pacific region, constituted only territorial versions of the Atlanticist system of values . In plain language, Dugin views the contemporary world as unipolar and dominated by the USA.

This is a Russian Eurasian's geopolitical assessment of the world of the 1990s, contrary to his own preferences. On the other hand, he previews that a new Eurasian Empire will emerge sooner or later as `a potential geopolitical inevitability'. Land power tendencies and continental impulses cannot be abolished unilaterally . The struggle between sea power and land power is irreconcilable and eternal. Dugin concludes that the post-cold war unipolar world is temporary.

In Dugin's view, Russia without being an empire is inconceivable. Russian nationalism is more related to space and soil than to ethnic Russianness. Russia can survive only as a multinational empire, not as an ethnic state. In this respect Dugin, a typical statist, disagrees with all the ethnocentric nationalistswho consider the fate of the Russian ethnos to be of primary importance and proclaim the idea of a Russian nation state (Etat-Nation). Some of the extreme ethnocentric nationalists advocate even the creation of a monoethnic state that would imply ethnic cleansings.

Yeltsin's Russian Federation resembles a national state, as about 80 per cent of the population are Russians. Here we, probably, see one important reason why most Russian nationalist ethnocentrist movements including the extreme right supported President Yeltsin's re-election in 1996. These national patriots are most worried about how to fight Russia's `inner enemies' - the aliens (inorodtsy) in general and the Jews in particular - who are considered guilty of all the country's shortcomings and tragedies. This train of thought leads directly to racism and anti-Semitism. In Dugin's view, the national state (bat-Nation) is a product of Western political thought that contradicts Russia's imperial traditions. That is why Dugin calls the post-Soviet Russian Federation a transitional formation in the ongoing global geopolitical process (ibid., 183). Russia is a broader concept and represents all the Russians living in the Eurasian space, i.e. in all the parts of the former Soviet empire.

In the constellation of liberal reformers versus conservative nationalists, Dugin calls the former `leftist', the latter `rightist'. As both the reformers and the conservatives are internally divided on the issue of Russia's, future, the Eurasian ideologist presents six different geopolitical projects, concerning the country's statehood.

Regionalism as a geopolitical concept is equivalent with the separatist tendencies within the Russian Federation (the RF). The idea of creating a Siberian republic is a good case in point. Yet, this project has never materialised, as has been the case with other analogous ideas. According to Dugin, some extreme liberals openly advocate the dissolution of the Russian Federation hoping that its geopolitical status could be reduced to that of Russia of the fourteenth century.

These `leftist' ideas are paralleled by the theory of a 'monoethnic Russian republic' founded on the principles of racial purity and ethnic isolationalism. This project has been proclaimed by some movements belonging to the extreme right including the ROD . In Dugin's view, the ethnocentric nationalists play into the hands of the West by exaggerating the danger of 'inner enemies' and preferring isolationism to empire building.

Russian centralism is equivalent with the idea of a national state (bat­Nation) and represents statist thinking. It has materialised more or less in Yeltsin's Russian Federation that is interpreted differently by its `leftist to create a `common European house' (Obshcheevropeiskii dom) is a good case in point.

The views of the `rightist' neo-Eurasians are to be found in the political programmes and other pamphlets of the intransigent 'red-brown' opposition, i.e., the `national communists' (we would call them national Bolsheviks) and the `traditional imperialists' (traditsional-imperialisty). Zyuganov and his party belong to the former, Dugin and Prokhanov to the latter category. The dividing line between national bolshevism and `traditional imperialism', however, is blurred. The weekly Den' (Day) and its successor Zavtra (Tomorrow) have been the most popular mouthpieces of 'red-brown' neo-Eurasianism.

Proceeding from the idea of Russia's imperial mission in history, rightist neo-Eurasianism proclaimed the restoration of the dissolved empire as its primary task. Yet, this would not imply a new Soviet regime under the banners of Marxism-Leninism. Instead, there should emerge a totally new empire with a more flexible and pragmatic political system than the Bolshevik one. In the sphere of international politics, it should become an independent autarchic `continent' that requires some geopolitical arrangements.

Dugin has outlined a very ambitious geopolitical project for Russia's return to greatness. Its imperial rebirth is supposed to materialise through the emergence of a Eurasian empire constituting a broad anti-Western continental bloc of several 'sub-empires'. The new imperial Russia will serve as the centre of this bloc called `The Grossraum Confederation' (Konfederatsiia Bolshikh Prostranstv).

The aforementioned geopolitical bloc of different civilisations is based upon one sole uniting principle: the rejection of Atlanticism, of US hegemony in the world, as well as of the values of liberal market economy.

The Confederation of Grossraums eopolitical control--e er the whole Eurasian continent. In fact, Dugin is suggesting what probably many representatives of Russia's military-industrial complex are tacitly dreaming of. He himself, however, declares freely that Russia's geopolitical purpose is to oppose, and in the long run to defeat the Atlanticist powers spearheaded by the USA. This would become possible if the aforementioned Confederation came into being.

The question arises, how Dugin can imagine that Germany and Japan would side with Russia against the USA (and Great Britain). And why would the fundamentalist Iran suddenly take a liking to the Russians who have made war against Islamic Afghanistan and Chechnya? However that may be, Dugin finds psychological as well as geopolitical and civilisational reasons for establishing these strategic alliances. Psychologically, Dugin sees his chance in the fact that the USA, the sole economic and military super-power in the post-cold war world, is being more and more disliked by the rest. As there is no more any `Soviet threat', numerous non­communist states including allies refuse to cooperate with the United States on many important issues such as Cuba, Libya, Iran, nuclear proliferation etc.

At a 1997 Harvard conference, it was reported that the elites of countries comprising at least two-thirds of the world's people - Chinese, Russians, Indians, Arabs, Muslims and Africans - saw the United States as the single greatest external threat to their societies. Furthermore, the Japanese public in 1997 considered the USA as a threat to Japan second only to North Korea. Thus, Western unity begins to crack.

Yet, this growing international resentment with the USA policy is not enough. Dugin hopes that the USA's overwhelming military and economic superiority in the world will make most land-based regional major powers realise that they have to unite in defending their continentalist values against the encroachments of Atlanticism. To a certain extent, he has been right. The formation of the European Union, the fundamentalist Iran's strong religious influence in Central Asia, and Japan's protracted commercial war with the USA, are all signs of a growing antihegemonic opposition within the international community.

Dugin's geopolitical project envisages military-authoritarian empires to be established in Central Europe around Germany, in Central Asia around Iran and in the East Asian and Pacific region around Japan. This implies that Russia, the heartland for Eurasia, will establish three strategic axises in order to make the continental bloc or confederation work: the Western axis Moscow-Berlin, the southern axis Moscow-Teheran, and the eastern axis Moscow-Tokyo.



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