some megalomaniacal dictator bent on conquest, but an ideological war motivated by the “Eurasianist National Bolshevism” of Alexandr Dugin, Vladimir Putin’s ideological mentor.
Dugin was “sanctioned” by the United States a long time ago, and his works in translation are hard to find in the West, so I doubt there are two people in the Biden White House who have studied them and are prepared to engage in the war of ideas necessary to defeat “Eurasianist National Bolshevism” and neutralize its hold on the minds of many Russians.
Dugin’s political movement has long had the reorientation of Ukraine from West to East – from Berlin to Moscow – as one of its goals. Ukraine declared Dugin persona non grata in 2006 for his efforts to destabilize the country and in 2014 one of the operatives of Dugin’s “Eurasia Party” actually organized an attempted coup in Ukraine.
Oleg Bahtiyarov, an operative of the Eurasian Youth Union of Russia, recruited as many as 200 “civil activists” to attack and seize the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Bahtiyarov’s plan included Molotov Cocktails, ladders to access the buildings and $500 to each participant for the assault scheduled for about a month before Ukraine’s 2014 election and which was to be streamed live on TV.
Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, broke up the plot, but what was astonishing about it to outsiders was that it was not the work of the Russian security services, but the machinations of a multinational political movement bent on reshaping the post-Cold War world.
And this resonates with many Russians, who see Ukraine’s move to join the West as ingratitude for the sacrifices the Soviet people made to liberate the country from Nazi occupation and a betrayal of the Russian peoples’ historic mission to lead a Eurasian cultural, economic and military movement to counter and eventually destroy what they call the global dictatorship of the American Empire.
In Dugin’s words:
When there is only one power which decides who is right and who is wrong, and who should be punished and who not, we have a form of global dictatorship. This is not acceptable. Therefore, we should fight against it. If someone deprives us of our freedom, we have to react. And we will react. The American Empire should be destroyed. And at one point it will be.*
And as we explained in “Putin And Democrats Are Ideological Soulmates” many of the Eurasianist criticisms of the “American Empire” would sound perfectly normal and be embraced at most American colleges and universities or gatherings of Democrat progressive policy organizations.
Central to achieving the Eurasianist goal is reassembling much of the old Soviet empire that grew out of World War II.
To most Americans the myths and facts of World War II are grounded the Western and Pacific theaters of operation: Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, D-Day, Pointe du Hoc, the Battle of the Bulge, Patton’s tankers, Iwo Jima, the Band of Brothers, Rosie the Riveter, Bull Halsey, and the Enola Gay won WWII as every American knows.
The sieges of Moscow and Leningrad, the battle of Stalingrad and the battle of Kursk are vague shadows obscured by the twin suns of America’s post-war technological prowess and Hollywood mythmaking. The notion that by invading Ukraine Russians are simply redeeming territory and people they shed rivers of blood to “free” from Nazi tyranny makes no sense to most Americans.
But to Russians the names of the cities and villages of Ukraine are haunting reminders of what they call “the Great Patriotic War.”
The largest tank battle in history, the Russian victory in the Battle of Kursk, was fought just a short distance from the border between Ukraine and Russia. Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, was the scene of four epic battles – two during the Nazi invasion and two during the Soviet drive to expel them. Likewise, Ukraine’s capital Kiev, was the scene of an epic Soviet defeat as was the siege of Odessa also the scene of an epic Soviet defeat and hard-fought recapture. Berdychiv in north Ukraine, Odessa and many other cities and villages in Ukraine were the scenes of Nazi mass murder during the Holocaust, and the use of those historical memories make the present invasion to “denazify” Ukraine look perfectly appropriate to many Russians.
Indeed, looking at the present battle map it would be hard not to conclude that in some sense the Russians are following in the footsteps of their grandfathers in what they claim is the “denazification” of Ukraine.
However, the Eurasianist vision of Dulgin and Putin is much bigger than simply refighting and winning the Soviet victories in World War II, that’s merely part of the marketing, that’s not the vision itself.
Their grand vision is nothing less than a new world order with Eurasia, not America, at its center. And the pegs that will anchor this new world order are a Russia that stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific, Red China, and Iran.
Understanding that vision makes the Biden administration’s clumsy and naive attempts to induce Red China to get Putin to abandon the invasion of Ukraine completely laughable. Even more naïve is the idea that we could rely on the Russians to assist in crafting a deal with Iran to stop the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons, or that buying oil from Iran isn’t destructive of our national security.
In those gambits Biden failed to recognize that Russia, Iran and Red China are each the beneficiaries of the Eurasian new world order envisioned by Aleksandr Dugin and Vladimir Putin and now being put into motion – and perhaps success – through the American foreign policy establishment’s ignorance and hubris and Joe Biden’s weakness.
*Aleksandr Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory, translated By Mark Sleboda and Michael Millerman (London, Arktos, 2012) page 193.
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Eurasianist National Bolshevism