Alexander Dugin, an Alain de Benoist who has the audience of an Eric Zemmour and the influence of a Bernard-Henri Lévy
The editor and writer Christian Bouchet just published a work in French by the Russian author Alexander Dugin, published in Russian in 1997 and entitled The Templars of the Proletariat. At this time Dugin co-directed the National Bolshevik Party with the writer Eduard Limonov, now deceased. Lionel Baland interviewed Christian Bouchet for Breizh-info.
Breizh-info.com: Who is Alexander Dugin?
Christian Bouchet: A theorist and militant, a man who offers us a new vision of the world that its partisans call the “Fourth Political Theory,” the other three being liberalism, communism, and fascism.
Breizh-info.com: What are your relations with him?
Christian Bouchet: I am his editor and we are friends. I've known him since 1992, a period where he represented the European Revolutionary Front in Moscow, a small nationalist-revolutionary “internationale” of which I was one of the leaders.
Breizh-info.com: What is his influence on powerful circles in Moscow?
Christian Bouchet: It's very difficult to estimate. In the Yeltsin era, he was an adviser to the Speaker of the Duma (then held by the communist Gennady Seleznyov) on strategic and geopolitical questions and he was a first rate opposition journalist.
Henceforth, they've presented him, for a time, as “President Putin's Rasputin”, but that's as inaccurate as it is idiotic.
If I had to make a comparison with France, I would say that he's an Alain de Benoist who has the audience of an Eric Zemmour and the influence of a Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Breizh-info.com: Alexander Dugin appears as one of the theorists of neo-Eurasianism. What does that consist of?
Christian Bouchet: The first Eurasianist movement was founded in the 1920s by emigrant Russian intellectuals (Trubetzkoy, Savitsky, Alekseev). They affirmed that Russian identity arose from an original fusion between Slavic and Turkic – Muslim elements and that Russia constituted a “third continent” between the West (denounced as materialist and decadent) and Asia. The Eurasianists differentiated themselves from classic nationalists and Slavophiles and, without being communists, were not opposed to the Soviet experience, which they regarded as the continuation of the Russian imperial idea.
Dugin's neo-Eurasianism reiterates these ideas, but goes much further. It elevates the theory of Mackinder, which contrasts thalassocracy and tellurocracy, “the global island” (America) and the “global earth” (Eurasia), to the height of an explanation of history. Consequently his Eurasianism is perhaps both a purely Russian idea and at the same time a universal idea since Eurasianists, wherever they reside, are those who refer to the values of tellurocracy. Thus, one can consider Dugin's Eurasianism as more than a simple political ideology, it's a system of thought and a vision of the world.
Breizh-info.com: Is Dugin inspired by Russian or Western writers? Who are his principal inspirations?
Christian Bouchet: Among the Russians, there are the Eurasianists I just mentioned. Among the Westerners, Jean Thiriart, Alain de Benoist, Julius Evola, Hermann Wirth, René Guénon, etc.
Breizh-info.com: You edited the newly published work entitled The Templars of the Proletariat, written by Alexander Dugin in 1997. At this time, he co-directed the National Bolshevik Party with Eduard Limonov. What are the principal lessons of this work?
Christian Bouchet: In a series of independent chapters, Alexander Dugin retraces the genealogy of contemporary National Bolshevism: the right wing and left wing Russian National Bolshevism of the 1920s -1930s; Orthodox esotericism and its Third Rome thesis; the Russian sects that arose from the raskol [Translator's note: The split of the Old Believers from the official Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century triggered by Patriarch Nikon's reforms]; the Socialist Revolutionaries; and, more curiously, various Western influences like Guy Debord or the esotericists Aleister Crowley and Jean Parvulesco.
Surprising, sometimes unsettling, this work allows us to better understand the thought of a man whose influence, thirty years later, is extensive.
Breizh-info.com: In this book Dugin speaks of right wing and left wing Russian National Bolshevism in the 1920s – 1930s. What is the difference between these two tendencies?
Christian Bouchet: For Dugin, “left wing National Bolshevism” or the “Scythian movement” was composed of those who considered the October Revolution as a mystic phenomenon, messianic, eschatological, and profoundly national. The principal ideologues of Scythianism were the left wing extremist Ivanov-Razumnik, the member of the presidium of the central committee S. Mstislavsky, and the poet and writer Andrei Biely. Famous poets and writers who would become classics of Soviet literature also grouped around them: Alexander Blok, Sergei Yesenin, Nikolai Klyuev, Alexei Remizov, Evgeny Zamyatin, Olga Forsh, Alexei Chapygin, Konstantin Erberg, Evgeny Lundberg, etc.
Scythianism was characterized by the “apologia for barbarism” against Western civilization, the appeal to the archaic element of the nation and to destructive spontaneity which creates a “new world.” One could include in the “left wing National Bolsheviks” Maxim Gorky, who attempted to create a special popular religion for the communist era.
“Right wing National Bolshevism” is based upon a rationale: the life of a nation, a state, and a people is an organic process which always keeps its center intact. In all dynamic transformations – including crises, revolutions, and insurrections – there exists a dialectic of the “spirit of the people” which leads to providential aims, whatever the desires and the will of the direct participants of events. The nation stays the same – as a living organism – in the different stages of its existence, and even its sickness sometimes represents a syndrome of renewal, a way towards strengthening. The existence of the nation is deeper and more absolute than its sociopolitical history.
Consequently, all changes within a nation are conservative, whatever the external forms which embody them may be. This concept of “right wing National Bolshevism” was consistently and fully formulated by Nikolay Ustryalov. For Ustryalov, Bolshevism and the revolution were only steps in the history of the Russian nation, and dialectically aimed to surpass the crisis that had made the revolution possible. In other terms, Ustryalov and the other “right wing National Bolsheviks” saw the “conservative” element not in the theory of the revolution itself, but only in the continuity of the national context, to which all sociopolitical instruments are subordinated – including the revolution.
Breizh-info.com: What is National Bolshevism's influence in Russia? Does this idea have influence within the communist party or nationalist formations?
Christian Bouchet: The influence of this current in Russia presently seems to be nothing. Partly because of the strategic error of Eduard Limonov who chose a frontal opposition to Vladimir Putin when a critical support would have been strategically a thousand times more promising.
The principal communist party in Russia – there are many – would be considered nationalist in France. As for the nationalist groups they leave me perplexed and I often doubt their seriousness.
Breizh-info.com: Has National-Bolshevism developed in other countries?
Christian Bouchet: One can consider that there has been as many versions of National Bolshevism as countries where communism took root. Ceausescu was doubtlessly a Romanian national communist, there was a Yugoslav national communism. In France even, we had the Parti français national-communiste of Pierre Clémenti.
Breizh-info.com: Does Dugin have influence outside of Russia?
Christian Bouchet: Yes, incontestably. His work is translated into a great number of languages, from English to Turkish passing through Finnish, and he gives conferences in nearly every country in the world where he hasn't been forbidden to travel – he's been banned in the USA – so he's recently spoken in China, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Iraq …