Foundations of Eurasianism
By Alexander Dugin
Introductory Note: This page presents the combined republication of two separate articles by Alexander Dugin, titled “Milestones of Eurasianism” and “The Eurasian Idea.” They have been published together because we believe that these two together give a more complete view of Eurasianist theories and their philosophical roots. However, our audience should be aware that these two texts by themselves are not entirely satisfactory for understanding Eurasianism, and may lead to misunderstandings if read without reference to other key texts. We urge our audience to read the other articles by or about Alexander Dugin and also articles about the subject Eurasianism on this site for a more complete view of Eurasianist theory. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)
Milestones of Eurasism
Eurasism is an ideological and social-political current born within the environment of the first wave of Russian emigration, united by the concept of Russian culture as a non-European phenomenon, presenting–among the varied world cultures–an original combination of western and eastern features; as a consequence, the Russian culture belongs to both East and West, and at the same time cannot be reduced either to the former or to the latter.
The founders of Eurasism:
- S. Trubetskoy(1890–1938)–philologist and linguist.
- N. Savitsky (1895–1965)–geographer, economist.
- V. Florovsky(1893–1979)–historian of culture, theologian and patriot.
- V. Vernadsky(1877–1973)–historian and geopolitician.
- N. Alekseev– jurist and politologist.
- N. Ilin– historian of culture, literary scholar and theologian.
Eurasism’s main value consisted in ideas born out of the depth of the tradition of Russian history and statehood. Eurasism looked at the Russian culture not as to a simple component of the European civilization, as to an original civilization, summarizing the experience not only of the West as also–to the same extent–of the East. The Russian people, in this perspective, must not be placed neither among the European nor among the Asian peoples; it belongs to a fully original Eurasian ethnic community. Such originality of the Russian culture and statehood (showing at the same time European and Asian features) also defines the peculiar historical path of Russia, her national-state program, not coinciding with the Western-European tradition.
The Roman-German civilization has worked out its own system of principles and values, and promoted it to the rank of universal system. This Roman-German system has been imposed on the other peoples and cultures by force and ruse. The Western spiritual and material colonization of the rest of mankind is a negative phenomenon. Each people and culture has its own intrinsic right to evolve according to its own logic. Russia is an original civilization. She is called not only to counter the West, fully safeguarding its own road, but also to stand at the vanguard of the other peoples and countries on Earth defending their own freedom as civilizations.
Criticism of the Roman-German civilization
The Western civilization built its own system on the basis of the secularisation of Western Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), bringing to the fore such values like individualism, egoism, competition, technical progress, consumption, economic exploitation. The Roman-German civilization founds its right to globality not upon spiritual greatness, as upon rough material force. Even the spirituality and strength of the other peoples are evaluated only on the basis of its own image of the supremacy of rationalism and technical progress.
The space factor
There are no universal patterns of development. The plurality of landscapes on Earth produces a plurality of cultures, each one having its own cycles, internal criteria and logics. Geographical space has a huge (sometimes decisive) influence on peoples’ culture and national history. Every people, as long as it develops within some given geographical environment, elaborates its own national, ethical, juridical, linguistic, ritual, economic and political forms. The “place” where any people or state “development” happens predetermines to a great extent the path and sense of this “development”–up to the point when the two elements became one. It is impossible to separate history from spatial conditions, and the analysis of civilizations must proceed not only along the temporal axis (“before,” “after,” “development” or “non-development,” and so on) as also along the spatial axis (“east,” “west,” “steppe,” “mountains,” and so on). No single state or region has the right to pretend to be the standard for all the rest. Every people has its own pattern of development, its own “times,” its own “rationality,” and deserves to be understood and evaluated according to its own internal criteria.
The climate of Europe, the small extension of its spaces, the influence of its landscapes generated the peculiarity of the European civilization, where the influences of the wood (northern Europe) and of the coast (Mediterraneum) prevail. Different landscapes generated different kinds of civilizations: the boundless steppes generated the nomad empires (from the Scythians to the Turks), the loess lands the Chinese one, the mountain islands the Japanese one, the union of steppe and woods the Russian-Eurasian one. The mark of landscape lives in the whole history of each one of these civilizations, and cannot be either separated form them or suppressed.
State and nation
The first Russian slavophiles in the 19th century (Khomyakov, Aksakov, Kirevsky) insisted upon the uniqueness and originality of the Russian (Slav, Orthodox) civilization. This must be defended, preserved and strengthened against the West, on the one hand, and against liberal modernism (which also proceeds from the West), on the other. The slavophiles proclaimed the value of tradition, the greatness of the ancient times, the love for the Russian past, and warned against the inevitable dangers of progress and about the extraneousness of Russia to many aspects of the Western pattern.
From this school the eurasists inherited the positions of the latest slavophiles and further developed their theses in the sense of a positive evaluation of the Eastern influences.
The Muscovite Empire represents the highest development of the Russian statehood. The national idea achieves a new status; after Moscow’s refusal to recognize the Florentine Unia (arrest and proscription of the metropolitan Isidore) and the rapid decay, the Tsargrad Rus’ inherits the flag of the Orthodox empire.
Wealth and prosperity, a strong state and an efficient economy, a powerful army and the development of production must be the instruments for the achievement of high ideals. The sense of the state and of the nation can be conferred only through the existence of a “leading idea.” That political regime, which supposes the establishment of a “leading idea” as a supreme value, was called by the Eurasists as “ideocracy”–from the Greek “idea” and “kratos,” power. Russia is always thought of as the Sacred Rus’, as a power [derzhava] fulfilling its own peculiar historical mission. The Eurasist world-view must also be the national idea of the forthcoming Russia, its “leading idea.”
The Eurasist choice
Russia-Eurasia, being the expression of a steppe and woods empire of continental dimensions, requires her own pattern of leadership. This means, first of all, the ethics of collective responsibility, disinterest, reciprocal help, ascetism, will and tenaciousness. Only such qualities can allow keeping under control the wide and scarcely populated lands of the steppe-woodland Eurasian zone. The ruling class of Eurasia was formed on the basis of collectivism, asceticism, warlike virtue and rigid hierarchy.
Western democracy was formed in the particular conditions of ancient Athens and through the centuries-old history of insular England. Such democracy mirrors the peculiar features of the “local European development.” Such democracy does not represent a universal standard. Imitating the rules of the European “liberal-democracy” is senseless, impossible and dangerous for Russia-Eurasia. The participation of the Russian people to the political rule must be defined by a different term: “demotia,” from the Greek “demos,” people. Such participation does not reject hierarchy and must not be formalized into party-parliamentary structures. “Demotia” supposes a system of land council, district governments or national governments (in the case of peoples of small dimensions). It is developed on the basis of social self-government, of the “peasant” world. An example of “demotia” is the elective nature of church hierarchies on behalf of the parishioners in the Muscovite Rus’.
The work of L. N. Gumilev as a development of the Eurasist thinking
Lev Nikolaevic Gumilev (1912–1992), son of the Russian poet N. Gumilev and of the poetess A. Akhmatova, was an ethnographer, historian and philosopher. He was profoundly influenced by the book of the Kalmuck Eurasist E. Khara-Vadan “Gengis-Khan as an army leader” and by the works of Savitsky. In its own works Gumilev developed the fundamental Eurasist theses. Towards the end of his life he used to call himself “the last of the Eurasists.”
Basic elements of Gumilev’s theory
- The theory of passionarity [passionarnost’] as a development of the Eurasist idealism;
- The essence of which, in his own view, lays in the fact that every ethnos, as a natural formation, is subject to the influence of some “energetic drives,” born out of the cosmos and causing the “passionarity effect,” that is an extreme activity and intensity of life. In such conditions the ethnos undergoes a “genetic mutation,” which leads to the birth of the “passionaries”–individuals of a special temper and talent. And those become the creators of new ethnoi, cultures, and states;
- Drawing the scientific attention upon the proto-history of the “nomad empires” of the East and the discovery of the colossal ethnic and cultural heritage of the autochthone ancient Asian peoples, which was wholly passed to the great culture of the ancient epoch, but afterwards fell into oblivion (Huns, Turks, Mongols, and so on);
- The development of a turkophile attitude in the theory of “ethnic complementarity.”
An ethnos is in general any set of individuals, any “collective”: people, population, nation, tribe, family clan, based on a common historical destiny. “Our Great-Russian ancestors–wrote Gumilev–in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries easily and rather quickly mixed with the Volga, Don and Obi Tatars and with the Buriates, who assimilated the Russian culture. The same Great-Russian easily mixed with the Yakuts, absorbing their identity and gradually coming into friendly contact with Kazakhs and Kalmucks. Through marriage links they pacifically coexisted with the Mongols in Central Asia, as the Mongols themselves and the Turks between the 14th and 16th centuries were fused with the Russians in Central Russia.” Therefore the history of the Muscovite Rus’ cannot be understood without the framework of the ethnic contacts between Russians and Tatars and the history of the Eurasian continent.
The advent of Neo-Eurasism: historical and social context
The crisis of the Soviet paradigm
In the mid-1980s the Soviet society began to lose its connection and ability to adequately reflect upon the external environment and itself. The Soviet models of self-understanding were showing their cracks. The society had lost its sense of orientation. Everybody felt the need for change, yet this was but a confused feeling, as no-one could tell the way the change would come from. In that time a rather unconvincing divide began to form: “forces of progress” and “forces of reaction,” “reformers” and “conservators of the past,” “partisans of reforms” and “enemies of reforms.”
Infatuation for the western models
In that situation the term “reform” became in itself a synonym of “liberal-democracy.” A hasty conclusion was inferred, from the objective fact of the crisis of the Soviet system, about the superiority of the western model and the necessity to copy it. At the theoretical level this was all but self-evident, since the “ideological map” offers a sharply more diversified system of choices than the primitive dualism: socialism vs. capitalism, Warsaw Pact vs. NATO. Yet it was just that primitive logic that prevailed: the “partisans of reform” became the unconditional apologists of the West, whose structure and logic they were ready to assimilate, while the “enemies of reform” proved to be the inertial preservers of the late Soviet system, whose structure and logic they grasped less and less. In such condition of lack of balance, the reformers/pro-westerners had on their side a potential of energy, novelty, expectations of change, creative drive, perspectives, while the “reactionaries” had nothing left but inertness, immobilism, the appeal to the customary and already-known. In just this psychological and aesthetic garb, liberal-democratic policy prevailed in the Russia of the 1990s, although nobody had been allowed to make a clear and conscious choice.
The collapse of the state unity
The result of “reforms” was the collapse of the Soviet state unity and the beginning of the fall of Russia as the heir of the USSR. The destruction of the Soviet system and “rationality” was not accompanied by the creation of a new system and a new rationality in conformity to national and historical conditions. There gradually prevailed a peculiar attitude toward Russia and her national history: the past, present and future of Russia began to be seen from the point of view of the West, to be evaluated as something stranger, transcending, alien (“this country” was the “reformers’” typical expression). That was not the Russian view of the West, as the Western view of Russia. No wonder that in such condition the adoption of the western schemes even in the “reformers’” theory was invoked not in order to create and strengthen the structure of the national state unity, but in order to destroy its remains. The destruction of the state was not a casual outcome of the “reforms”; as a matter of fact, it was among their strategic aims.
The birth of an anti-western (anti-liberal) opposition in the post-Soviet environment
In the course of the “reforms” and their “deepening,” the inadequacy of the simple reaction began to be clear to everyone. In that period (1989–90) began the formation of a “national-patriotic opposition,” in which there was the confluence of part of the “Soviet conservatives” (ready to a minimal level of reflection), groups of “reformers” disappointed with “reforms” or “having become conscious of their anti-state direction,” and groups of representatives of the patriotic movements, which had already formed during the perestroika and tried to shape the sentiment of “state power” [derzhava] in a non-communist (orthodox-monarchic, nationalist, etc.) context. With a severe delay, and despite the complete absence of external strategic, intellectual and material support, the conceptual model of post-Soviet patriotism began to vaguely take shape.
Neo-Eurasism arose in this framework as an ideological and political phenomenon, gradually turning into one of the main directions of the post-Soviet Russian patriotic self-consciousness.
Stages of development of the Neo-Eurasist ideology
1st stage (1985–90)
- Dugin’s seminars and lectures to various groups of the new-born conservative-patriotic movement. Criticism of the Soviet paradigm as lacking the spiritual and national qualitative element.
- In 1989 first publications on the review Sovetskaya literatura[Soviet Literature]. Dugin’s books are issued in Italy (Continente Russia [Continent Russia], 1989) and in Spain (Rusia Misterio de Eurasia [Russia, Mystery of Eurasia], 1990).
- In 1990 issue of René Guénon’s Crisis of the Modern Worldwith comments by Dugin, and of Dugin’s Puti Absoljuta [The Paths of the Absolute], with the exposition of the foundations of the traditionalist philosophy.
In these years Eurasism shows “right-wing conservative” features, close to historical traditionalism, with orthodox-monarchic, “ethnic-pochevennik” [i.e., linked to the ideas of soil and land] elements, sharply critical of “Left-wing” ideologies.
2nd stage (1991–93)
- Begins the revision of anti-communism, typical of the first stage of Neo-Eurasism. Revaluation of the Soviet period in the spirit of “national-bolshevism” and “Left-wing Eurasism.”
- Journey to Moscow of the main representatives of the “New Right” (Alain de Benoist, Robert Steuckers, Carlo Terracciano, Marco Battarra, Claudio Mutti and others).
- Eurasism becomes popular among the patriotic opposition and the intellectuals. On the basis of terminological affinity, A. Sakharov already speaks about Eurasia, though only in a strictly geographic–instead of political and geopolitical–sense (and without ever making use of Eurasism in itself, like he was before a convinced atlantist); a group of “democrats” tries to start a project of “democratic Eurasism” (G. Popov, S. Stankevic, L. Ponomarev).
- Lobov, O. Soskovets, S. Baburin also speak about their own Eurasism.
- In 1992–93 is issued the first number of Elements: Eurasist Review. Lectures on geopolitics and the foundations of Eurasism in high schools and universities. Many translations, articles, seminars.
3rd stage (1994–98): theoretical development of the Neo-Eurasist orthodoxy
- Issue of Dugin’s main works Misterii Evrazii[Mysteries of Eurasia] (1996),Konspirologija [Conspirology] (1994), Osnovy Geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics] (1996), Konservativnaja revoljutsija [The conservative revolution] (1994), Tampliery proletariata [Knight Templars of the Proletariat] (1997). Works of Trubetskoy, Vernadsky, Alekseev and Savitsky are issued by “Agraf” editions (1995–98).
- Creation of the “Arctogaia” web-site (1996) – arctogaia.com.
- Direct and indirect references to Eurasism appear in the programs of the KPFR (Communist Party], LDPR [Liberal-Democratic Party], NDR [New Democratic Russia] (that is left, right, and centre). Growing number of publications on Eurasist themes. Issue of many Eurasist digests.
- Criticism of Eurasism from Russian nationalists, religious fundamentalists and orthodox communists, and also from the liberals.
- Manifestations of an academic “weak” version of Eurasism (Prof. A. S. Panarin, V. Ya. Paschenko, F.Girenok and others) – with elements of the illuminist paradigm, denied by the Eurasist orthodoxy – then evolving towards more radically anti-western, anti-liberal and anti-gobalist positions.
- Inauguration of a university dedicated to L. Gumilev in Astan [Kazakhstan].
4th stage (1998–2001)
- Gradual de-identification of Neo-Eurasism vis-à-visthe collateral political-cultural and party manifestations; turning to the autonomous direction (“Arctogaia,” “New University,” “Irruption” [Vtorzhenie]) outside the opposition and the extreme Left and Right-wing movements.
- Apology of staroobrjadchestvo[Old Rite].
- Shift to centrist political positions, supporting Primakov as the new premier. Dugin becomes the adviser to the Duma speaker G. N. Seleznev.
- Issue of the Eurasist booklet Nash put’[Our Path] (1998).
- Issue of Evraziikoe Vtorzhenie[Eurasist Irruption] as a supplement to Zavtra. Growing distance from the opposition and shift closer to the government’s positions.
- Theoretical researches, elaborations, issue of “The Russian Thing” [Russkaja vesch’] (2001), publications in Nezavisimaja Gazeta, Moskovskij Novosti, radio broadcasts about “Finis Mundi” on Radio 101, radio broadcasts on geopolitical subjects and Neo-Eurasism on Radio “Svobodnaja Rossija” (1998–2000).
5th stage (2001–2002)
- Foundation of the Pan-Russian Political Social Movement EURASIA on “radical centre” positions; declaration of full support to the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin (April 21, 2001).
- The leader of the Centre of Spiritual Management of the Russian Muslims, sheik-ul-islam Talgat Tadjuddin, adheres to EURASIA.
- Issue of the periodical Evraziizkoe obozrenie[Eurasist Review].
- Appearance of Jewish Neo-Eurasism (A. Eskin, A. Shmulevic, V. Bukarsky).
- Creation of the web-site of the Movement EURASIA: eurasia.com.ru
- Conference on “Islamic Threat or Threat to Islam?.” Intervention by H. A. Noukhaev, Chechen theorist of “Islamic eurasism” (“Vedeno or Washington?,” Moscow, 2001].
- Issue of books by E. Khara-Davan and Ya. Bromberg (2002).
- Process of transformation of the Movement EURASIA into a party (2002).
Basic philosophical positions of Neo-Eurasism
At the theoretical level Neo-Eurasism consists of the revival of the classic principles of the movement in a qualitatively new historical phase, and of the transformation of such principles into the foundations of an ideological and political program and a world-view. The heritage of the classic eurasists was accepted as the fundamental world-view for the ideal (political) struggle in the post-Soviet period, as the spiritual-political platform of “total patriotism.”
The Neo-Eurasists took over the basic positions of classical Eurasism, chose them as a platform, as starting points, as the main theoretical bases and foundations for the future development and practical use. In the theoretical field, Neo-Eurasists consciously developed the main principles of classical Eurasism taking into account the wide philosophical, cultural and political framework of the ideas of the 20th century.
Each one of the main positions of the classical Eurasists (see the chapter on the “Foundations of classical Eurasism”) revived its own conceptual development.
Criticism of the western bourgeois society from “Left-wing” (social) positions was superimposed to the criticism of the same society from “Right-wing” (civilizational) positions. The Eurasist idea about “rejecting the West” is reinforced by the rich weaponry of the “criticism of the West” by the same representatives of the West who disagree with the logic of its development (at least in the last centuries). The Eurasist came only gradually, since the end of the 1980s to the mid-1990s, to this idea of the fusion of the most different (and often politically contradictory) concepts denying the “normative” character of the Western civilization.
The “criticism of the Roman-German civilization” was thoroughly stressed, being based on the prioritary analysis of the Anglo-Saxon world, of the US. According to the spirit of the German Conservative Revolution and of the European “New Right,” the “Western world” was differentiated into an Atlantic component (the US and England) and into a continental European component (properly speaking, a Roman-German component). Continental Europe is seen here as a neutral phenomenon, liable to be integrated–on some given conditions–in the Eurasist project.
The spatial factor
Neo-Eurasism is moved by the idea of the complete revision of the history of philosophy according to spatial positions. Here we find its trait-d’union in the most varied models of the cyclical vision of history, from Danilevsky to Spengler, from Toynbee to Gumilev.
Such a principle finds its most pregnant expression in traditionalist philosophy, which denies the ideas of evolution and progress and founds this denial upon detailed metaphysical calculations. Hence the traditional theory of “cosmic cycles,” of the “multiple states of Being,” of “sacred geography,” and so on. The basic principles of the theory of cycles are illustrated in detail by the works of Guénon (and his followers G. Georgel, T. Burckhardt, M. Eliade, H. Corbin). A full rehabilitation has been given to the concept of “traditional society,” either knowing no history at all, or realizing it according to the rites and myths of the “eternal return.” The history of Russia is seen not simply as one of the many local developments, but as the vanguard of the spatial system (East) opposed to the “temporal” one (West).
State and nation
Dialectics of national history
It is led up to its final, “dogmatical” formulation, including the historiosophic paradigm of “national-bolshevism” (N. Ustryalov) and its interpretation (M. Agursky). The pattern is as follows:
- The Kiev period as the announcement of the forthcoming national mission (IX-XIII centuries);
- Mongolian-Tatar invasion as a scud against the levelling European trends, the geopolitical and administrative push of the Horde is handed over to the Russians, division of the Russians between western and eastern Russians, differentiation among cultural kinds, formation of the Great-Russians on the basis of the “eastern Russians” under the Horde’s control (13th–15th centuries);
- The Muscovite Empire as the climax of the national-religious mission of Rus’ (Third Rome) (15th–end of the 17th century);
- Roman-German yoke (Romanov), collapse of national unity, separation between a pro-western elite and the national mass (end of the 17th-beginning of the 20th century);
- Soviet period, revenge of the national mass, period of the “Soviet messianism,” re-establishment of the basic parameters of the main muscovite line (20th century);
- Phase of troubles, that must end with a new Eurasist push (beginning of the 21st century).
Neo-Eurasism owns the methodology of Vilfrido Pareto’s school, moves within the logic of the rehabilitation of “organic hierarchy,” gathers some Nietzschean motives, develops the doctrine of the “ontology of power,” of the Christian Orthodox concept of power as “kat’echon.” The idea of “elite” completes the constructions of the European traditionalists, authors of researches about the system of castes in the ancient society and of their ontology and sociology (R. Guénon, J. Evola, G. Dumézil, L. Dumont). Gumilev’s theory of “passionarity” lies at the roots of the concept of “new Eurasist elite.”
The thesis of “demotia” is the continuation of the political theories of the “organic democracy” from J.-J. Rousseau to C. Schmitt, J. Freund, A. de Benoist and A. Mueller van der Bruck. Definition of the Eurasist concept of “democracy” (“demotia”) as the “participation of the people to its own destiny.”
The thesis of “ideocracy” gives a foundation to the call to the ideas of “conservative revolution” and “third way,” in the light of the experience of Soviet, Israeli and Islamic ideocracies, analyses the reason of their historical failure. The critical reflection upon the qualitative content of the 20th century ideocracy brings to the consequent criticism of the Soviet period (supremacy of quantitative concepts and secular theories, disproportionate weight of the classist conception).
The following elements contribute to the development of the ideas of the classical Eurasists:
The philosophy of traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, Burckhardt, Corbin), the idea of the radical decay of the “modern world,” profound teaching of the Tradition. The global concept of “modern world” (negative category) as the antithesis of the “world of Tradition” (positive category) gives the criticism of the Western civilization a basic metaphysic character, defining the eschatological, critical, fatal content of the fundamental (intellectual, technological, political and economic) processes having their origin in the West. The intuitions of the Russian conservatives, from the slavophiles to the classical Eurasists, are completed by a fundamental theoretical base. (see A. Dugin, Absoljutnaja Rodina [The Absolute Homeland], Moscow 1999; Konets Sveta[The End of the World], Moscow 1997; Julius Evola et le conservatisme russe, Rome 1997).
The investigation on the origins of sacredness (M. Eliade, C. G. Jung, C. Levi-Strauss), the representations of the archaic consciousness as the paradigmatic complex manifestation laying at the roots of culture. The reduction of the many-sided human thinking, of culture, to ancient psychic layers, where fragments of archaic initiatic rites, myths, originary sacral complexes are concentrated. Interpretation of the content of rational culture through the system of the ancient, pre-rational beliefs (A. Dugin, “The evolution of the paradigmatic foundations of science” [Evoljutsija paradigmal’nyh osnovanij nauki], Moscow 2002).
The search for the symbolic paradigms of the space-time matrix, which lays at the roots of rites, languages and symbols (H. Wirth, paleo-epigraphic investigations). This attempt to give a foundation to the linguistic (Svityc-Illic), epigraphic (runology), mythological, folkloric, ritual and different monuments allows to rebuild an original map of the “sacred concept of the world” common to all the ancient Eurasian peoples, the existence of common roots (see A. Dugin Giperborejskaja Teorija [Hyperborean Theory], Moscow 1993.
A reassessment of the development of geopolitical ideas in the West (Mackinder, Haushofer, Lohhausen, Spykman, Brzeszinski, Thiriart and others). Since Mackinder’s epoch, geopolitical science has sharply evolved. The role of geopolitical constants in 20th century history appeared so clear as to make geopolitics an autonomous discipline. Within the geopolitical framework, the concept itself of “Eurasism” and “Eurasia” acquired a new, wider meaning.
From some time onwards, Eurasism, in a geopolitical sense, began to indicate the continental configuration of a strategic (existing or potential) bloc, created around Russia or its enlarged base, and as an antagonist (either actively or passively) to the strategic initiatives of the opposed geopolitical pole–“Atlantism,” at the head of which at the mid-20th century the US came to replace England.
The philosophy and the political idea of the Russian classics of Eurasism in this situation have been considered as the most consequent and powerful expression (fulfilment) of Eurasism in its strategic and geopolitical meaning. Thanks to the development of geopolitical investigations (A. Dugin, Osnovye geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics], Moscow 1997) Neo-Eurasism becomes a methodologically evolved phenomenon. Especially remarkable is the meaning of the Land – Sea pair (according to Carl Schmitt), the projection of this pair upon a plurality of phenomena – from the history of religions to economics.
The search for a global alternative to globalism, as an ultra-modern phenomenon, summarizing everything that is evaluated by Eurasism (and Neo-Eurasism) as negative. Eurasism in a wider meaning becomes the conceptual platform of anti-globalism, or of the alternative globalism. “Eurasism” gathers all contemporary trends denying globalism any objective (let alone positive) content; it offers the anti-globalist intuition a new character of doctrinal generalization.
The assimilation of the social criticism of the “New Left” into a “conservative right-wing interpretation” (reflection upon the heritage of M. Foucault, G. Deleuze, A. Artaud, G. Debord). Assimilation of the critical thinking of the opponents of the bourgeois western system from the positions of anarchism, neo-marxism and so on. This conceptual pole represents a new stage of development of the “Left-wing” (national-bolshevik) tendencies existing also among the first Eurasists (Suvchinskij, Karsavin, Efron), and also a method for the mutual understanding with the “left” wing of anti-globalism.
“Third way” economics, “autarchy of the great spaces.” Application of heterodox economic models to the post-Soviet Russian reality. Application of F. List’s theory of the “custom unions.” Actualization of the theories of S. Gesell. F. Schumpeter, F. Leroux, new Eurasist reading of Keynes.
The Eurasian Idea
Changes in the Original Meaning of Eurasianism
Different terms lose their original meaning through their daily use over the course of many years. Such fundamental notions as socialism, capitalism, democracy, fascism, have changed profoundly. In fact, they have turned banal.
The terms “Eurasianism” and “Eurasia” also have some uncertainties because they are new, they belong to a new political language and intellectual context that is only being created today. The Eurasian Idea mirrors a very active dynamic process. Its meaning has become clearer throughout history but needs to be further developed.
Eurasianism as a Philosophical Struggle
The Eurasian Idea represents a fundamental revision of the political, ideological, ethnic, and religious history of mankind, and it offers a new system of classification and categories that will overcome standard clichés. The Eurasian theory went through two stages—a formative period of classical Eurasianism at the beginning of the 20th century by Russian emigrant intellectuals (Trubeckoy, Savickiy, Alekseev, Suvchinckiy, Iljin, Bromberg, Hara-Davan, et al.) followed by the historical works of Lev Gumilev and, finally, the constitution of neo-Eurasianism (second half of the 1980s to the present).
Classical Eurasian theory undoubtedly belongs to the past and can be correctly classified within the framework of the ideologies of the 20th century. Classical Eurasianism might have passed, but neo-Eurasianism has given it a second birth, a new sense, scale, and meaning. When the Eurasian Idea arose from its ashes, it became less obvious, but has since revealed its hidden potential. Through neo-Eurasianism, the entire Eurasian theory has received a new dimension. Today we cannot ignore the large historical period of neo-Eurasianism and must try to comprehend it in it modern context. Furthermore, we will describe the various aspects of this notion.
Eurasianism as a Global Trend; Globalization as the Main Body of Modern History
In the broad sense the Eurasian Idea and even the Eurasian concept do not strictly correspond to the geographical boundaries of the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian Idea is a global-scale strategy that acknowledges the objectivity of globalization and the termination of nation-states (Etats-Nations), but at the same time offers a different scenario of globalization, which entails no unipolar world or united global government. Instead, it offers several global zones (poles). The Eurasian Idea is an alternative or multipolar version of globalization, but globalization is the currently major fundamental world process that is deciding the main vector of modern history.
Paradigm of Globalization—Paradigm of Atlantism
Today’s nation-state is being transformed into a global state; we are facing the constitution of planetary governmental system within a single administrative-economic system. To believe that all nations, social classes, and economic models might suddenly begin to cooperate on the basis of this new planet-wide logic is wrong. Globalization is a one-dimensional, one victor phenomenon that tries to universalize the Western (Anglo-Saxon, American) point of view of how to best manage human history. It is (very often connected with suppression and violence) the unification of different social-political, ethnic religious, and national structures into one system. It is a Western European historical trend that has reached its peak through its domination of the USA.
Globalization is the imposing of the Atlantic paradigm. Globalization as Atlantism absolutely tries to avoid this definition. Proponents of globalization argue that when there will be no alternative to Atlantism that it will stop being Atlantism. The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama writes about the “end of History,” which actually mean the end of geopolitical history and of the conflict between Atlantism and Eurasianism. This means a new architecture of a world system with no opposition and with only one pole—the pole of Atlantism. We may also refer to this as the New World Order. The model of opposition between the two poles (East-West, North-South) transforms to the center-outskirt model (center—West, “rich North”; outskirt—South). This variant of world architecture is completely at odds with the concept of Eurasianism.
Unipolar Globalization Has an Alternative
Today the New World Order is nothing more than a project, plan or trend. It is very serious, but it is not fatal. Adherents of globalization deny any alternative plan of the future, but today we are experiencing a large-scale phenomenon—contra-globalism, and the Eurasian Idea coordinates all opponents of unipolar globalization in a constructive way. Moreover, it offers the competing idea of multipolar globalization (or alter-globalization).
Eurasianism as Pluriversum
Eurasianism rejects the center-outskirt model of the world. Instead, the Eurasian Idea suggests that the planet consists of a constellation of autonomous living spaces partially open to each other. These areas are not nation-states but a coalition of states, reorganized into continental federations or “democratic empires” with a large degree of inner self-government. Each of these areas is multipolar, including a complicated system of ethnic, cultural, religious and administrative factors.
In this global sense, Eurasianism is open to everyone, regardless of one’s place of birth, residence, nationality and citizenship. Eurasianism provides an opportunity to choose a future different from the cliché of Atlantism and one value system for all mankind. Eurasianism does not merely seek the past or to preserve the current status quo, but strives for the future, acknowledging that the world’s current structure needs radical change, that nation-states and industrial society have exhausted all their resources. The Eurasian Idea does not see the creation of a world government on the basis of the liberal-democratic values as the one and only path for mankind. In its most basic sense, Eurasianism in the 21st century is defined as the adherence to alter-globalization, synonymous with a multipolar world.
Atlantism is not Universal
Eurasianism absolutely rejects the universalism of Atlantism and Americanism. The pattern of Western-Europe and America has many attractive features that can be adopted and praised, but as whole it is merely a cultural system that has the right to exist in its own historical context along with other civilizations and cultural systems.
The Eurasian Idea protects not only anti-Atlantic value systems, but the diversity of value structures. It is a kind of “poliversum” that provides living space for everyone, including the USA and Atlantism, along with other civilizations, because Eurasianism also defends the civilizations of Africa, both American continents, and the Pacific area parallel to the Eurasian Motherland.
The Eurasian Idea Promotes a Global Revolutionary Idea
The Eurasian Idea on a global scale is a global revolutionary concept, called upon to be a new platform for mutual understanding and cooperation for a large conglomerate of different powers: states, nations, cultures, and religions that reject the Atlantic version of globalization.
If we analyze the declaration and statements of various politicians, philosophers, and intellectuals we will see that the majority of them are adherents (sometimes unaware) of the Eurasian Idea.
If we think about all of those who disagree with the “end of history” our spirits will be raised and the failure of the American concept of strategic security for the 21st century connected with constituting the unipolar world, will be much more realistic.
Eurasianism is the sum of the natural, artificial, objective, and subjective obstacles on the path of unipolar globalization; it offers a constructive, positive opposition to globalism instead of a simple negation.
These obstacles, however, remain uncoordinated in the meantime, and proponents of Atlantism are able to manage them easily. Yet, if these obstacles can somehow be integrated into a united force, they will be integrated into something united and the likelihood of victory will become much more serious.
Eurasianism as the Old World (Continent)
The New World is part of the Second Old World or a more specific and narrow sense of the word Eurasianism applicable to what we call the Old World. The Notion of the Old World (traditionally regarding Europe) can be considered in a much wider context. It is multi-civilizational super space, inhabited by nations, states, cultures, ethnicities, and religions connected to each other historically and geographically by dialectic destiny. The Old World is an organic product of human history.
The Old World is often opposed to the New World, the American continent, discovered by Europeans and transformed into a platform for an artificial civilization, where European projects of modernism were created. It was built upon human-produced ideologies as a purified civilization of modernism.
The United States was the successful creation of the “perfect society,” formed by intellectuals from England, Ireland, and France, while the countries of South and Central America remained colonies of the Old World, and Germany and Eastern Europe were less influenced by this idea of a “perfect society.”
In the terms of Oswald Spengler, dualism between Old and New world can be brought to opposites: culture-civilization, organic-artificial, historical-clinical.
The New World as Messiah
As a historical product of Western Europe during its evolution, the New World very early on realized its “messiah” destiny, where the liberal-democratic ideals of the Enlightenment were combined with the eschatological ideas of radical protestant sects. This was called the theory of Manifest Destiny, which became the new symbol of belief for generations of Americans. According to this theory, American civilization overtook all cultures and civilizations of the Old World and in its current universal form, it is obligatory for all nations of the planet.
With time, this theory directly confronted not only the cultures of the East and Asia, but came into conflict with Europe, which seemed to the Americans to be archaic and full of prejudice and antiquated traditions.
In turn, the New World turned away from the heritage of the Old World. Directly following World War II the New World became the indisputable leader in Europe itself with the “criteria of verity” of others. This inspired a corresponding wave of American dominance and at a parallel time the beginning of a movement that seeks geopolitical liberation from the brutal, transoceanic, strategic, economic and political control of the “elder Brother.”
Integration of the Eurasian Continent
In the 20th century, Europe became aware of its common identity, and step-by-step started to move towards the integration of all its nations into a common union, able to guarantee full sovereignty, security, and freedom to itself and all members.
The creation of the European Union became the most important event that helped Europe restore its status as a world power alongside the USA. This was the response of the Old World to the excessive challenge of the New World.
If we consider the alliance of the USA and Western Europe as the Atlantic vector of European development, European integration under the aegis of the continental countries (Germany, France) may be called European Eurasianism. This becomes more and more obvious if we take into consideration the theory of Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Urals (de Gaulle) or even to Vladivostok. In other words the integration of the Old World includes the vast territory of the Russian Federation.
Thus, Eurasianism in this context may be defined as a project of the strategic, geopolitical, and economic integration of the north of the Eurasian continent, considered the cradle of European history and the matrix of European nations.
Parallel with Turkey, Russia (both ancestors of the Europeans) is historically connected with the Turkic, Mongolian, and Caucasus nations. Russia gives the integration of Europe a Eurasian dimension in both the symbolic and geographic senses (identification of Eurasianism with continentalism).
During the last few centuries, the idea of European integration has been proposed by the revolutionary faction of European elites. In ancient times, similar attempts were made by Alexander the Great (integration of the Eurasian continent) and Genghis Khan (founder of history’s largest empire).
Eurasia as Three Great Living-Spaces, Integrated across the Meridian; Three Eurasian Belts (Meridian Zones)
The horizontal vector of integration is followed by a vertical, vector.
Eurasian plans for the future presume the division of the planet into four vertical geographical belts (meridian zones) from North to South.
Both American continents will form one common space oriented on and controlled by the USA within the framework of the Monroe Doctrine. This is the Atlantic meridian zone.
In addition to the above zone, three others are planned. They are the following:
- Euro-Africa, with the European Union as its center.
- Russian-Central Asian zone.
- Pacific zone.
Within these zones, the regional division of labor and the creation of developmental areas and corridors of growth will take place.
Each of these belts (meridian zones) counterbalance each other and all of them together counterbalance the Atlantic meridian zone. In the future, these belts might be the foundation upon which to build a multipolar world: the number of poles will be more than two; however, the number will be much less than the number of current nation-states. The Eurasian model proposes that the number of poles must be four.
The Meridian zones of the Eurasian project consist of several “Great Spaces” or “democratic empires.” Each possesses relative freedom and independence but are strategically integrated into a corresponding meridian zone.
The Great Spaces correspond to the boundaries of civilizations and include several nation-states or unions of states.
The European Union and the Arab Great Space, which integrates North, Trans-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, for Euro-Africa.
The Russian-Central Asian zone is formed by three Great Spaces that sometimes overlap each other. The first is the Russian Federation along with several countries of the CIS—members of the Eurasian Union. Second is the Great Space of continental Islam (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan). The Asian countries of the CIS intersect this zone.
The third Great Space is Hindustan, which is a self-dependent civilization sector.
The Pacific meridian zone is determined by a condominium of two great spaces (China and Japan) and also includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia (some researchers connect Australia with the American Meridian zone). The geopolitical region is very mosaic and can be differentiated by many criteria.
The American meridian zone consists of the American-Canadian, Central and North American Great Spaces.
Importance of the Fourth Zone
The structure of the world based upon meridian zones is accepted by most American geopoliticians who seek the creation of a New World Order and unipolar globalization. However, a stumbling block is the existence of the Russian-Central Asian meridian space: the presence or absence of this belt radically changes the geopolitical picture of the world.
Atlantic futurologists divide the world into the three following zones:
- American pole, with the European Union as its close-range periphery (Euro-Africa as an exemption) and
- The Asian and Pacific regions as its long-range periphery.
- Russia and Central Asia as fractional, but without it as an independent meridian zone, our world is unipolar.
This last meridian zone counterbalances American pressure and provides the European and Pacific zones ability to act like self-dependent civilization poles.
Real multipolar balance, freedom and the independence of meridian belts, Great Spaces, and nation-states depend upon the successful creation of a fourth zone. Moreover, it’s not enough to be one pole in a two-pole model of the world: the rapid progress of the USA can be counterbalanced only by the synergy of all three meridian zones. The Eurasian project proposes this four-zone project on a geopolitical strategic level.
Eurasianism as Russian-Central Asian Integration; Moscow-Tehran Axis; Fourth Meridian Zone – Russian-Asian Meridian Integration
The central issue of this process is the implementation of a Moscow-Tehran axis. The whole process of integration depends on the successful establishment of a strategic middle and long-term partnership with Iran. Iranian and Russian economic, military, and political potential together will increase the process of zone integration, making the zone irreversible and autonomous. The Moscow-Tehran axis will be the basis for further integration. Both Moscow and Iran are self-sufficient powers, able to create their own organizational strategic model of the region.
Eurasian plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan
The integration vector with Iran is vitally important for Russia to gain access to warm-water ports as well as for the political-religious reorganization of Central Asia (Asian countries of CIS, Afghanistan and Pakistan). Close cooperation with Iran presumes the transformation of the Afghani-Pakistani area into a free Islamic confederation, loyal both to Moscow and to Iran. The reason this is necessary is that the independent states of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the continuing source of destabilization, that being neighboring countries. The geopolitical struggle will provide the ability to implement a new Central-Asian federation and transform this complicated region into one of cooperation and a prosperity area.
Russian-Indian cooperation is the second most important meridian axis in integration on the Eurasian continent and the Eurasian collective security systems. Moscow will play an important role, decreasing the tensions between Delhi and Islamabad (Kashmir). The Eurasian plan for India, sponsored by Moscow, is the creation of a federation that will mirror the diversity of Indian security with its numerous ethnic and religious minorities, including Sikhs and Muslims.
The main regional partner in the integration process of Central Asia is Turkey. The Eurasian Idea is already becoming rather popular there today because of western trends interlaced with Eastern. Turkey acknowledges its civilization differences with the European Union, its regional goals and interests, the threat of globalization, and further loss of sovereignty.
It is strategically imperative for Turkey to establish a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation and Iran. Turkey will be able to maintain its traditions only within the framework of a multipolar world. Certain factions of Turkish society understand this situation—from politicians and socialists to religious and military elites. Thus, the Moscow-Ankara axis can become geopolitical reality despite a long-term period of mutual estrangement.
The Caucasus is the most problematic region to Eurasian integration because its mosaic of cultures and ethnicities easily leads to tensions between nations. This is one of the main weapons used by those who seek to stop integration processes across the Eurasian continent. The Caucasus is inhabited by nations belonging to different states and civilization areas. This region must be a polygon for testing different methods of cooperation between peoples, because what can succeed there can succeed across the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian solution to this problem lies not in the creation of ethnic-based states or assigning one nation strictly to one state, but in the development of a flexible federation on the basis of ethnic and cultural differences within the common strategic context of the meridian zone.
The result of this plan is a system of a half-axis between Moscow and the Caucasian centers (Moscow-Baku, Moscow-Yerevan, Moscow-Mahachkala, Moscow-Grozny, etc.) and between the Caucasian centers and Russia’s allies within the Eurasian project (Baku-Ankara, Erevan-Teheran, etc.).
Eurasian Plan for Central Asia
Central Asia must move toward integration into a united, strategic, and economic bloc with the Russian Federation within the framework of the Eurasian Union, the successor of the CIS. The main function of this specific area is the rapprochement of Russia with the countries of continental Islam (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan). From the very beginning, the Central-Asia sector must have various vectors of integration. One plan will make the Russian federation the main partner (similarities of culture, economic and energy interests, a common security system). The alternate plan is to place the accent on ethnic and religious resemblance: Turkic, Iranian, and Islamic worlds.
Eurasian Integration of Post-Soviet Territories; Eurasian Union
A more specific meaning of Eurasianism, partially similar to the definitions of the Eurasian intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s is connected with the process of the local integration of post-Soviet territories. Different forms of similar integration can be seen in history: from the Huns and other (Mongol Turkic, Indo-European) nomad empires to the empire of Genghis Khan and his successors. More recent integration was led by the Russian Romanov Empire and, later, by the USSR. Today, the Eurasian Union is continuing these traditions of integration through an unquiet ideological model that takes into consideration democratic procedures; respects the rights of nations; and pays attention to the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic features of all union members. Eurasianism is the philosophy of integration of the post-Soviet territory on democratic, non-violent, and voluntary basis without the domination of any one religious or ethnic group.
Astana, Dushanbe, and Bishkek as the Main Force of Integration
Different Asian republics of the CIS treat the process of post-Soviet integration unequally. The most active adherent to integration is Kazakhstan. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is a staunch supporter of the Eurasian Idea. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan similarly support the process of integration, though their support is less tangible in comparison with Kazakhstan.
Tashkent and Ashabad
Uzbekistan and especially Turkmenistan oppose the integration process, trying again to gain the maximum positive results from their recently achieved national sovereignty. However, very soon, due to the increasing rate of globalization, both states will face a dilemma: to lose sovereignty and melt into a unified global world with its domination by American liberal values or to preserve cultural and religious identity in the context of the Eurasian Union. In our opinion, an unbiased comparison of these two options will lead to the second one, naturally sequential for both countries and their history.
Armenia continues to gravitate towards the Eurasian Union and considers the Russian Federation an important supporter and conciliator that helps it to manage relations with its Muslim neighbors. It is notable that Tehran prefers to establish a partnership with ethnically close Armenia. This fact allows us to consider two half-axis—Moscow-Yerevan and Yerevan-Tehran—as positive prerequisites for integration.
Baku remains neutral, but its situation will drastically change with the continued movement of Ankara towards Eurasianism (it will immediately affect Azerbaijan). Analysis of the Azerbaijani cultural system shows that this state is closer to the Russian Federation and post-Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia than to religious Iran and even moderate Turkey.
Georgia is the key problem of the region. The mosaic character of the Georgian state is the cause of serious problems during the construction of a new national state that is strongly rejected by its ethnic minorities: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Adjaria, etc. Furthermore, the Georgian state does not have any strong partners is the region and is forced to seek a partnership with the USA and NATO to counterbalance Russian influence. Georgia is a major threat, able to sabotage the very process of Eurasian integration. The solution to this problem is found in the Orthodox culture of Georgia, with its Eurasian features and traditions.
Ukraine and Belarus—Slavic Countries of the CIS
It is enough to gain the support of Kazakhstan and Ukraine to succeed in the creation of the Eurasian Union. The Moscow-Astana-Kiev triangle is a frame able to guarantee the stability of the Eurasian Union, which is why negotiations with Kiev are urgent like never before. Russia and Ukraine have very much in common: culture, language, religious, and ethnic similarities. These aspects need to be highlighted because from the beginning of Ukraine’s recent sovereignty Russophobia and disintegration have been promoted. Many countries of the EU can positively influence the Ukrainian government, because they are interested in political harmony in Eastern Europe. The cooperation of Moscow and Kiev will demonstrate the pan-European attitudes of both Slavic countries.
The above-mentioned factors pertain to Belarus, where integration intentions are much more evident. However, the strategic and economic status of Belarus is less important to Moscow that those of Kiev and Astana. Moreover, the domination of a Moscow-Minsk axis will harm integration with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which is why integration with Belarus must proceed fluently and without any sudden incidents—along with other vectors of the Eurasian integration process.
Eurasianism as Weltanschauung
The last definition of Eurasianism characterizes a specific Weltanschauung: a political philosophy combing tradition, modernity, and even elements of postmodernism. This philosophy has as its priority traditional society, acknowledges the imperative of technical and social modernization (without separating from traditional culture); and strives for the adaptation of its ideological program to post-industrial, informational society, which is called postmodernism. Postmodernism formally removes the counter positions of tradition and modernism, disenfranchising and making them equal. Eurasian postmodernism, on the contrary, promotes an alliance of tradition and modernism as a constructive, optimistic, energetic impulse towards creation and growth. Eurasian philosophy does not deny the realities discovered by the Enlightenment: religion, nation, empire, culture, etc. At the same time, the best achievements of modernism are used widely: technological and economic advances, social guarantees, freedom of labor. Extremes meet each other, melting into a unifying harmonic and original theory, inspiring fresh thinking and new solutions for the eternal problems people have faced throughout history.
Eurasianism is an Open Philosophy
Eurasianism is an open, non-dogmatic philosophy that can be enriched with new content: religion, sociological and ethnological discoveries, geopolitics, economics, national geography, culture, strategic and political research etc. Moreover, Eurasian philosophy offers original solutions in specific cultural and lingual contexts: Russian Eurasianism will not be the same as French, German, or Iranian versions. However, the main framework of the philosophy will remain invariable.
Principles of Eurasianism
The basic principles of Eurasianism are the following:
- Differentialism, the pluralism of values systems versus the conventional obligatory domination of one ideology (American liberal-democracy first and foremost);
- Tradition versus suppression of cultures, dogmas, and discoveries of traditional society;
- Rights of nations versus the “gold billions” and neo-colonial hegemony of the “rich North”;
- Ethnicities as values and subjects of history versus the depersonalisation of nations, imprisoned into artificial social constructions;
- Social fairness and human solidarity versus exploitation and humiliation of man by man.
Dugin, Alexander. “Milestones of Eurasianism.” Ab Aeterno, No. 3, (June 2010). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/12/milestones-of-eurasism/ >.
Dugin, Alexander. “The Eurasian Idea.” Ab Aeterno, No. 1, (November 2009). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/11/the-eurasian-idea/ >.