Alexander Dugin’s Heideggerianism
This paper argues for the central role of Martin Heidegger’s thought in Alexander Dugin’s political philosophy or political theory. Part one is a broad overview of the place of Heidegger in Dugin’s political theory. Part two outlines how Dugin uses Heidegger to elaborate a specifically Russian political theory. Part three shows how apparently unphilosophical political concepts from Dugin’s political theory have a Heideggerian meaning for him. Because of what he regards as a homology between the philosophical and the political, his readers must always be aware of the philosophical significance of his political concepts and vice versa. Tracing Heidegger’s central role helps clarify Dugin’s political thought.
Keywords: Heidegger, Dugin, Dasein, Russia
1. Introduction and Background
Alexander Dugin is known in the West as “Putin’s brain,” (Barbashin, 2014) at best, and as a “crackpot” (Applebaum, 2014) and “neo-fascist” (Shekhovtsov, 2014) at worst. This work presents another view of Dugin: that he is a serious political theorist. If he were to have no influence on Russian politics, his writings would still deserve to be read by those who make it their business to listen to and reflect carefully on what thinkers have had to say about the political. But the merits of his distinctive understanding of the political have not been acknowledged, because it has not been made clear how that understanding rests on the two pillars of Rene Guenon’s traditionalism and Martin Heidegger’s philosophy. According to Dugin, it is necessary to master each of these on its own terms before comparing the two or interpreting one through the other (Dugin, 2010: n6). This paper focuses on the latter pillar, Heidegger.
Part one provides a broad overview of the place of Heidegger in Dugin’s theory. Part two outlines how he uses Heidegger to elaborate a specifically Russian political theory. Part three shows how apparently unphilosophical political concepts from his political theory, like “people” and “the West,” possess a philosophical and Heideggerian meaning for Dugin. Because of what he regards as a homology between the philosophical and the political, his readers must always be aware of the philosophical significance of his political concepts and vice versa. Tracing Heidegger’s central role helps clarify Dugin’s political philosophy.
Heidegger’s significance for Dugin has not always been clear. Dugin had already published more than ten volumes when Laruelle (2006: 13) wrote that he “does not find [Heidegger’s philosophy] congenial.” But by his 2011 Heidegger book, the second of four, he claims that to master Heidegger’s thought is “the main strategic task of the Russian people and Russian society,” and indeed “the key to the Russian tomorrow” (455). Moreover, despite Dugin’s previous silence on the matter, Heidegger, he writes, “influenced my intellectual formation in the most direct and immediate manner” from 1999-2009 (Dugin, 2010: n6). Heidegger’s influence first becomes explicit in 2009. The Russian version of The Fourth Political Theory was published that year, though the first congress on the topic of the fourth political theory took place as part of the Eurasian Intellectual Youth Conference at the Moscow State University Center for Conservative Research late 2008. According to the summary of the conference, Dugin did not mention Heidegger in his presentation. Heidegger is first mentioned at a March 2009 conference, and then in the 2009 book. In both cases, he is called “the deepest – ontological! – foundation of the fourth political theory” (Dugin, 2009b). An English translation overlapping partly with the Russian version of The Fourth Political Theory was published in 2012, and the chapters of the original Russian version that were untranslated were published in 2017 as The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory. Between those two English publications, Dugin published among other things two collections: a four-volume work on Martin Heidegger and a fourteen-volume work called Noomachy: Wars of the Intellect, based on methodological insights from the Heidegger books (Dugin, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016). Heidegger therefore plays a dominant role in Dugin’s writings.
Accordingly, Dugin should be studied alongside other political theorists deeply influenced by Heidegger. An obstacle to such study has been the impression that Dugin’s self-presentation as a political theorist is little more than a façade meant to present as legitimate an underlying illegitimate, unphilosophical neo-fascism (Wolin, 2016: l-li; Beiner, 2015; Umland, 2017; Sokolov, 2009). But a commitment to sound analysis cautions us against sharing that judgment. It should be a conclusion, not an a priori position, that Dugin’s concepts and projects are best understood as fascistic. Taking Dugin’s self-presentation as a political theorist on its own terms is a better way to begin.
The basic idea of the fourth political theory is as follows. The twentieth century was marked by the ideological struggle between liberalism, communism, and third-way approaches, such as fascism and Nazism. Liberalism emerged victorious, and no worthy contenders arose to oppose it after its victory. It was once possible to reject liberalism in favor of a serious alternative; now there are none. Dugin considers and dismisses a number of seeming alternatives as theoretically bankrupt, practically irrelevant, or too narrow to oppose liberalism successfully. The fourth political theory declares itself in opposition to the three political theories, i.e. liberalism, communism, and fascism (Nazism, nationalism). That is, it declares an opposition to liberalism that refuses to become a variant of either communistic or third-way theories. Accordingly, time and again when responding to allegations that he is a fascist, or when providing an overview of his position, Dugin reiterates that the fourth political theory is as anti-fascistic as it is anti-liberal and anti-communistic (Dugin, 2012b; Millerman, 2014). The cover art for the Russian version of the book illustrates the point. It depicts a square divided into four parts. One part shows a hammer and sickle; another, fasces; a third, the dollar sign. The fourth part shows a question mark. The fourth political theory is marked by the question mark, in contrast to the hammer and sickle, fasces, and dollar sign.
The concept of the fourth political theory is thus intended to carve out a space for thought and action beyond the constraints of the ideological options of the last century. That does not entail that it has nothing in common with those options or that it is merely negative. Dugin (2012) suggests that each ideology has a core, and he argues that if that core is rejected, the remaining elements lose their cohesion and ideological charge and can be reconfigured into something new. Individualism, class-based analysis, and, among third-way theories, racism and statism are identified as cores of the rejected political theories, as is a progressive view of history in liberalism and communism. Among the remaining elements available for reconfiguration are the emphasis on freedom, the analysis and critique of capitalism, and the role of the ethnos or Volk (Dugin, 2012).
Dugin’s more considered view is that whatever use it makes of the remnants of neutralized political ideologies, the positive content of the fourth political theory has its own structure. The spirit, soul, and body of that structure are theology, ethnosociology, and geopolitics. Heidegger is the “existential core,” the “being-towards-death” of the structure and its components (Dugin, 2017: 18-19, 222). Heidegger is truly a “sine qua non,” or pillar (Dugin, 2010: n6) then: without him, the structure of the fourth political theory collapses. Although Dugin has written books on each aspect of the structure (geopolitics, ethnosociology, theology, Heidegger), all of which are also well represented in the online universe of the fourth political theory, by his own account the Heideggerian core is most important. Heidegger even proves to be vital for the practical task of meeting with other political actors on the world stage who share the attitudes of the fourth political theory. Dugin (2017b) has recounted his amazement at that fact as follows
I was meeting the speaker of the Iranian parliament and for two hours we discussed the connections between Iranian thinkers and the fourth political theory. In detail! Because in Iran there is a tradition of interpreting Heidegger in the context of Shiism. That is, we understand each other perfectly. And there are such interlocutors in the Philippines, in Argentina, to say nothing of France, Italy, and America.
2. The Fourth Political Theory as Russian Political Theory
The fourth political theory may be regarded and considered as a Russian political theory. We can call “specifically Russian” any element of the fourth political theory that refers to or is based on something like the idea of Russia as a distinct entity, category, or unit of analysis, the minimum quality that would justify calling it Russian besides the fact that it was developed in Russian and in Russia. The general question of what if anything could be specifically Russian, as opposed to merely European or Asian, has long been vigorously disputed in Russia, for instance in the debates between Slavophiles and Westernizers. Dugin takes a side in favor of the position that there is something essentially, and not just accidentally, distinct about Russia.
Russian specificity plays a foundational role in the fourth political theory to the extent that that theory draws nourishment from the tradition of Eurasianism, classically developed by a group of Soviet émigrés in the 1920s and 1930s. One of Eurasianism’s main hypotheses concerned the civilizational distinctness of Russia-Eurasia. The theses of civilizational distinctness and civilizational plurality are cornerstones of the fourth political theory taken over explicitly from classical Eurasianism (Mazurek, 2002; Grier, 2003; Riasanovsky, 1964: 212-213). In one work Dugin (2018) outlines thirteen approaches to the interpretation of civilizations. Among them is the existential account of Russia’s distinctness, which, given the centrality of Heidegger to Dugin’s project, is the one this paper focuses on.
The existential account of Russia’s distinctness receives its most thorough treatment in Dugin’s (2011) second Heidegger book, Martin Heidegger: The Possibility of Russian Philosophy. That book begins with the recognition that sociologically Russia finds itself in a state of so-called “archeomodernity.” The modernity Dugin refers to indirectly comprises material factors, to be sure, but it especially concerns ideational, or even ontological-existential ones. Specifically, modernity refers to an entire complex of thought developed and dominant in the West. The “archeo-” component of archeomodernity is not simply the pre-modern. To understand it as the pre-modern is to understand it from the perspective of the modern as not yet modern. Instead, Dugin opts to understand it as something not preceding “modernity” in time, but differing from it structurally and co-existing with it temporally. It is a hypothetical core of non-Western Russian identity, the Russian archē. He postulates that many tensions in Russian literature, theology, and politics attest to something besides the logic of Western modernity operating in Russian society. In itself, that is a common enough idea among Russia writers, for whom Russia’s double identity is a major theme, for instance in the aforementioned disputes between Slavophiles and Westernizers. But Dugin’s interpretation of the idea that Russia is both modern and not modern, Western and not-Western, adds to customary disputes and reflections an unorthodox philosophical approach, which searches for the meaning of Russia’s double identity through Heideggerian methods and terms.
Indeed, after reviewing a number of Russian authors on precisely the topic of Russia’s identity at the start of his book, Dugin declares that none of them has given a satisfactory account of Russia’s situation. He claims to be the first Russian author to give an adequate philosophical account of Russia’s dual identity or archeomodernity, as well as to propose a roadmap for overcoming archeomodernity and to find solid philosophical ground for the notion of a uniquely Russian identity.
Dugin pictures Russia’s archeomodernity as a “hermeneutic ellipse,” whose two foci are the Western one and the Russian one. He treats the Western focus as part of an actually existing hermeneutic circle, which can be said to consist of the writings of the Western philosophical tradition, first and foremost. The question he poses is whether something to be called “Russian philosophy” is possible as the hermeneutic circle whose center point would be the hypothetical (at first only indirectly felt and inferred) Russian focus or archē. When Dugin maps certain Russian authors, political parties, and historical periods onto the hermeneutic ellipse, he shows readers how the hypothetical Russian archē exerts its influence in each case. Some Russian authors, for instance, though writing from within the Western hermeneutic circle nevertheless seem to gravitate toward something outside it, thereby distorting the circle more or less into an ellipse, depending on the force of attraction. Western ideas taken up in Russia are thus modified in such cases according to the pull of the attractor. But after a review of the literature that could pass most plausibly as specifically Russian (the Sophiology of Vladimir Solovyov, for instance), Dugin disputes that any author or school has realized the merely hypothetical project of elaborating a Russian hermeneutic circle or even posed the problem adequately.
Dugin does not make the implicit judgment that archeomodernity should be overcome explicit before beginning to discuss the way he proposes to overcome it. But his project of overcoming archeomodernity might perhaps be understood in general terms as agonism against the West in political modernity, since his self-understanding is not only non-Western but seemingly anti-Western. Yet Dugin’s anti-Westernism differs from post-colonial and other agonistic comportments towards the West in being anti-modern more than anything: “My standpoint,” he has said, “is against Modernity” (Dugin, 2017: 217, 224-229). To the extent that it is possible to think of a West that is not modern (i.e. does not stem from the philosophical principles of modernity), but is rooted deeply in its own archaic soil, Dugin is not against the West. In a recent interview (Robinson, 2017), Dugin says the following about the claim that he is anti-Western:
I am not anti-Western. I am anti-liberal. In fact, I love the West. I have written eight volumes dedicated to Western culture, Western philosophy… I am interested in the Western logos; I study it; it is extraordinarily complicated. I don’t only criticize it; I know it and understand it deeply. […] I find that I have more sympathizers in Western cultural circles than in Russian ones. The West is my spiritual, intellectual motherland. […] I know all the so-called ‘cursed’ French poets by heart. I love English culture. I’m not some evil Russian peasant who hates the West. […] Of course, I am a Russian patriot, a Russian man, and a Russian above all else. But I am not indifferent about the West.
The point is that although it is modernity that needs to be overcome to break the structure of archeomodernity in Russia, and although modernity developed in the West and might be identified as the West, Dugin distinguishes between modernity, which he opposes, as well as liberalism, which he opposes, and the West as such, which, as the statements he makes in the interview shows, he not only does not hate, but loves as a “spiritual, intellectual motherland,” provided we are talking about its non-liberal aspects.
For Dugin, who approaches the matter on the basis of Heideggerian philosophy, “modernity” is the name for a “dialectical moment of the destiny of Logos.” The anti-modernity of the fourth political theory is therefore fundamentally aligned with Heidegger’s thought of another beginning of philosophy (Dugin, 2017: 217, 220). If modernity is part of the destiny of the first beginning of philosophy, Heidegger’s new inceptual thinking of another beginning promises to inaugurate a new destiny for Logos.
To overcome Russia’s structural archeomodernity, Dugin proposes the following operation: find a way to circumvent the Western hermeneutic circle by gaining some approximately or completely total grasp of it and then bracketing it. That should help to bring the hypothetic Russian archē into relief. Heidegger more than anyone, Dugin thinks, has comprehensively grasped the Western hermeneutic circle in thought, from its very beginning to what Heidegger regards as its very end, Nietzsche, and indeed beyond that end to the project of inceptual thought and “another beginning” (Dugin, 2010; Heidegger, 2012, 2013, 2015a, 2015b). Heidegger’s inceptual thought is therefore the key to overcoming archeomodernity.
The operation proceeds by first taking Heidegger’s account of the history of Western philosophy as the comprehensive overview of the Western hermeneutic circle and zeroing in on the notion of Dasein, which Dugin (2010) calls “the first, principal, and, essentially, sole axiom of Heideggerian philosophy.” The basis for this procedure is the question whether Dasein is completely constituted by the Western philosophical tradition – in which case, once the tradition is bracketed, so is Dasein – or whether, on the contrary, Dasein as the source of that tradition is what we are left with after bracketing the tradition. In short, Dugin asks whether Dasein can be the x that remains after the deconstruction of the West. With this question, we come to a crucial moment in the operation of dismantling archeomodernity and plausibly identifying the Russian archē as the Russian Dasein.
In his first Heidegger book, Dugin limited himself to two principal tasks. First, he sought to provide the best possible Russian translation of Heideggerian philosophy, replacing the inadequate translations of Bibikhin in particular. Second, he sought to provide an account of Heidegger’s philosophy that positioned his middle-period, beyng-historical writings as key to both Being and Time, on one hand, and to later writings featuring the figure of “the fourfold” (das Geviert), on the other. At the end of that book, he declares that he has said precisely half of what he wants to say about Heidegger. The second half comes in the book now under our consideration. Here something is done that was not done in the first book. Dugin asks whether translations into Russian of Heidegger’s German terms are not strict equivalents of the German, which is how they were treated by assumption in the first book, but instead designate distinct phenomena. This procedure, if successful, would allow him to access something fundamental, namely Dasein, while at the same time distinguishing fundaments at the level of the existential analytic. In other words, the idea that Russia is not simply the West, that it is somehow distinct, becomes rooted not in superficial cultural differences superficially understood, nor in historical trajectories operating with an insufficiently philosophical notion of historical time, but rather in the domain of Heideggerian philosophy, with the methods of that philosophy carefully applied to the Russian language as revelatory of Russian Dasein.
In Heidegger (2010), the term “existentials” refers to essential structures of the beings that we are. Existentials are distinct from categories, which are the structures of ordinary sorts of beings, whereas the specific being we are, Dasein, is not just a thing in the world, but rather is a composite Heidegger identifies as “being-in-the-world.” Thus, “world” and “being-in,” for instance, are “existentials” or essential structures of the being that we are. Now, Dugin makes a convincing argument that Russian Dasein is existentially distinct from what Heidegger described as simply Dasein. As evinced by issues arising from the translation of Heidegger’s existentials into Russian, the existential analysis of Dasein in the Russian language reveals, Dugin argues, that Russian Dasein is not merely a particular cultural expression of generic Dasein, but rather fundamentally different in its ontological root and structure.
Dugin observes that clumsy neologisms Heidegger had to invent to describe Dasein’s existentials in German, such as “being-in-the-world” [In-der-Welt-sein], for instance, can be expressed with Russian words relatively familiar from everyday use. There is a host of common Russian words rooted in the Russian word for being, bytiye, byt that can be read as existentials of Russian being-in-the-world or Byvaniye: ubyvaniye, prebyvaniye, ot-byvaniye, po-byvaniye, pere-byvanyie, dobychya, izbyvaniye, sbyvat’, sobytiye, obyvanyie, za-bytiye. Dugin interprets that to mean that Russian Dasein has a different relation to being than Heidegger’s Dasein does. In short, Dugin argues that there is not one general Dasein differing “existentielly,” or merely superficially, from one cultural expression to another, but rather a plurality of Daseins that differ “existentially,” in their fundamental relation to being.
The discovery of the Russian Dasein constitutes the core of what is distinctly Russian in Dugin’s thought. Dugin seems to show that the Russian archē, previously inferred or postulated on the basis of the phenomenon of the hermeneutic ellipse, is accessible as Russian Dasein, a recognition with the potential to undermine Russia’s archeomodernity, inaugurating an explosive philosophical-political revolution. “The birth,” Dugin writes, “of the Russian subject,” by which he means the discovery and liberation of the Russian Dasein, is a mystery [tainstvo]; it is something that has never happened in our history. To accomplish that is to accomplish everything” (Dugin, 2011c: 120). What sets Dugin apart from other Russian thinkers occupied by the question of Russia’s identity is precisely this discovery, made possible on the basis of Heidegger’s philosophy.
The discovery of the Russian Dasein reveals that the Russian logos is constituted differently than the Western (German, Greek) one. The Western logos distinguishes abruptly between this and the other, and the Western sense of being is likewise always sharply distinguished from non-being, even if being and non-being stand in a dialectical relationship. In the Russian case being is constitutionally almost indistinguishable from its matrix, from non-being, and the same is true of logos. This more than anything explains for Dugin why philosophy arose in the West but not in Russia: the Russian logos never became distinctly enough demarcated in the Russian Dasein for that. Dugin’s (2018b) strange statement that the modernization of Russia consists in the task of understanding Heraclitus perhaps acquires its meaning from the fact that on Heideggerian grounds, Russian modernity can only mean the birth of logos out of the chaos of Russian Dasein. It is worth noticing that Dugin advanced that strange thesis at a conference called “Against The Postmodern World,” for that shows how intertwined for him are philosophical and political positions. The homology between philosophy and the political in his thought implies that even abstruse philosophical concepts have their political counterparts. At any rate, to repeat, the radical birth of the logos has not yet occurred in Russia, according to Dugin. What is dominant in Russian Dasein is not logos but chaos, understood as the pre-logical matrix that contains and exceeds logos, not as the post-logical “confusion” of disorder (Dugin, 2018b). Accordingly, he ends his book by outlining a path toward a philosophy of chaos.
Having established a basis on which the possibility of Russian philosophy can finally posed adequately, namely on the basis of an existentially distinct Russian Dasein, Dugin does not consider his work complete – even though, if he is right, the basic groundwork has been laid firmly for the first time in Russian history. Discovering that basis does not yet accomplish the task of fully understanding and dismantling the structure that has occluded it hitherto. Because of the prevalence of archeomodernity as the ordering principle of Russian society, the need arises for a comprehensive plan to deal with it. Dugin’s plan has three parts: “the classification, systematization, and comparative study of archeomodernity in various periods of Russian history and in various fields”; “correct comprehension of the West”; and “elaborating a philosophy of chaos.” All three are extremely important. Let us consider the second one.
Initially, Dugin wants to understand the West in order to undermine archeomodernity and free up the Russian archē, Russian Dasein, for itself. Eventually, additional study of the West can be undertaken from the perspective of a now liberated and firmly grounded Russian Dasein. The problems arise, for Dugin, when a confused archeomodern Russian person studies the West, for such a person lacks the proper orientation. Thus, he rejects the idea of letting Russian Westernizers serve as guides to the understanding of the West: identifying with the “modern,” rather than the Russian, they have too much dislike for Russia to be good teachers, and their love of the West does not reveal the West in its genuine nature, with its vices and virtues, but rather, through distorting lenses, as “a grotesque chimera” and “perverse caricature.”
A Russian who aims to understand the West, Dugin argues, resembles the foreign agent of an intelligence unit: “he must completely master a foreign identity, while still preserving his own inviolable.” Just as few are chosen for the difficult task of serving as a foreign agent, so, too, only a few, select persons fit for the task are able to develop a comprehensive understanding of the West and report back. Those chosen should be firm in their commitment to the Russian identity, and they should avoid two errors:
Not to fall under the spell of Western culture, especially after they begin to discover the orderliness and interconnectivity of its elements in the grand scale (the West possesses a certain grandeur that is not so easy to withstand); and not to reject the West too early, finding it worthless, empty, beneath the Russian principle [archē], before its structure becomes evident.
The Russian thinker must beware not to become too much enthralled to the West in his study of it, lest the agent betray the agency’s aims and ruin the operation by an immoderate love for the target (Glover, 2017). Nor should he simply reject it as unworthy before deciphering its deep codes. Probably, similar principles apply in the practice of any political-philosophical examination of radical alternatives to one’s own principles.
Despite Dugin’s claim, a circumstantial exaggeration, perhaps, that the West is his “spiritual, intellectual motherland,” he is clearly an “agent” precisely of Russia. It is obvious that he has neither rejected the West prematurely nor exchanged for it his Russianness. One easily senses the self-reference, intended or not, when he writes that only “well-formed persons, with a profound experience of Russian identity, animated by the secret fire of the Russian archē” stand a chance of comprehending the West and avoiding the two aforementioned errors. Dugin has taken the standard of the ideal agent from his own experience as the first Russian thinker to penetrate to the depths of what it is to be Russian, a feat he accomplished by way of Heidegger through the problematic of archeomodernity. It might be unusual to speak of a profound experience of one’s identity, but for Dugin as for Heidegger, Dasein is truly something to be existentially experienced and withstood, and not merely conceptually understood. Russian Dasein is a “secret fire.”
From Dugin’s perspective, the agent’s work proceeds through certain “terminals” whereby one world can be accessed from another. Examples include Jungian psychology and cultural anthropology. As we have seen, the terminal of Heideggerian philosophy is the main access point to the Western hermeneutic circle. That is so much the case that in this context Dugin makes the claim that “to master Heidegger is the main strategic task of the Russian people and Russian society in the near term,” calling Heidegger “the key to the Russian tomorrow.” Heidegger is key because for Dugin (2011) the meaning of and purpose of Russian political projects depend entirely on whether or not they arise from a correct understanding of the deepest foundations of Russian identity:
Attempts to advance a “Russian doctrine,” a “Project Russia,” a “National Idea,” and so on…all lack much value, since all initiatives to develop such general systems can under present circumstances give no results and only sow the seeds of an empty and conceited dogmatism. It is much more constructive to honestly admit that there is something we don’t know, that something is missing, that we need something, and to try to learn about it, to acquire it, to discover it, rather than pretend that everything is in order and that only some purely external factors, “evil forces” or “competitors,” hinder the realization of self-evident steps and plans. There are no such steps and plans. There is no Russian philosophy. There is no Russian national idea. And there won’t be until we take upon ourselves the task of beginning by digging to the fundament, which we tried to do by studying Russian Dasein (448).
3. The Homology Between Philosophy and the Political
In the preceding sections it was my intention to briefly explain the fourth political theory’s deep rootedness in Heideggerian philosophy. I showed that its place in Dugin’s theory amounts to more than mere influence, constituting instead a rather sophisticated and ingenious operation meant to unearth the possibility of a Russian Dasein starting from the recognition of archeomodernity. Dugin sometimes calls the fourth political theory “Eurasianism” when he applies it to Russia. One cannot discuss the fourth political theory, or Eurasianism, without philosophy, for “Eurasianism is, first and foremost, a philosophy,” and “without philosophy, Eurasianism is incomplete, even impossible” (Dugin, 2017: 113).
But philosophy for Dugin (2018b) is always at least implicitly political. Even philosophy that appears not to be political is somehow political, because philosophy and the political “have a common root.” “All philosophy,” Dugin proclaims, “has a political dimension.” Indeed, there is a “precise homology” between the dimensions:
If philosophy moves in one direction, politics cannot move in another direction. Politics moves together with philosophy. If something has changed in philosophy, something will change in politics. If something changed in politics, something changed in philosophy, which predetermined this change in politics. Politics has no autonomy from philosophy. […] In other words, the historical picture, history, history as such, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the construction and death of civilizations, conflicts between civilizations, political revolutions…decisions about tramways…all this has a philosophical dimension behind it, not always evident and not always recognized, but the task of those who study the philosophy of politics is to elaborate the entirety of this total homology, this equal (homo) meaning (logos). The meaning of history is political-philosophical or philosophical-political.
Dugin distinguishes between politics and the political. The political is the name he gives to the domain of the homology between philosophy and politics. In this domain, political concepts emerge from philosophical content. These concepts structure the interpretation of politics.
In light of his remarks on the relationship between philosophy and politics through the domain of the political, Dugin’s readers should always attend to the implicit politics of his philosophical statements and to the implicit philosophical grounds of his statements on politics. A complete discussion of this methodological principle is beyond the scope of the present essay. But it is possible to examine a few of the main political concepts related to the Heideggerian philosophy of the previous section here, the more so since Dugin often makes the connection to politics and political concepts explicit. All philosophy might be implicitly political; the fourth political theory falls into the category of philosophical thought that is explicitly political and highly politically charged. In this section, I examine some of its politically charged concepts to show that they mirror Dugin’s Heideggerian philosophy. As the Heidegger books provide extended treatments of the philosophical grounds of his theory, the Fourth Political Theory books are written in a more popular style. “It is necessary,” Dugin writes in a “political poem” in one such book, “to broaden the target audience through a simplification of the form of the Eurasian message.” These books present important political aspects of his theory, and not always together with the philosophical roots (Dugin, 2017: 144, 113-146). Among them, perhaps the central political notion rooted in Heidegger’s philosophy is that of the narod.
Just as studies of the Chinese character min, meaning people, are “crucial to making sense of political imaginaries in contemporary Asia,” (Williams and Warren, 2014: 47), so, too, is the Russian word narod crucial to understanding the political imaginary, and political philosophy, of Eurasianism and the fourth political theory. Usually translated as “people,” it is worth transliterating the word and working with the equivalents Dugin gives, like Volk. According the fourth political theory, no forms of liberalism, communism, or fascism (i.e. of the first, second, and third political theories) conceive the narod adequately, ignoring it, constructing it with incorrect methods and axioms, or misinterpreting it in terms of race. In attempting to move beyond them, Dugin proposes the Heideggerian formula Volk als Dasein: the narod, or Volk, is to be interpreted as Dasein (the Russian narod as the Russian Dasein). Here Dugin follows Heidegger’s reflections on the Volk, which are not easy to understand but should not be collapsed into a crude representation of what that word might have meant for the Nazis. Heidegger, after all, derides Nazis in his writing for their unphilosophical notion of the Volk. It may be helpful to consider some of Heidegger’s thoughts on the Volk as they are presented in his writings on another beginning in order to get a sense of what it could mean to characterize Dugin’s thought as völkisch in this context.
Heidegger’s (2012) first comments on peoplehood, embedded in a meditation on the nature of philosophy, come in a series of questions: “How does a people become a people? Does a people become only that which it is? If so, then what is it? How can we know: (1) What a people in general is? (2) What this or that people is? (3) What we ourselves are?” (35). Heidegger’s philosophical project, recall, is to think beyond both beings and the traditional philosophical concept of being in order to inaugurate a new history of philosophy from out of a more original experience of what he awkwardly calls “beyng” (Seyn), to distinguish it from the traditional philosophical concept that he aims to surpass (Sein, being). In light of that project, Heidegger emphatically does not think that peoplehood should be thought of using any concepts or methods arising from the philosophical tradition, as he understands it. As he writes, “here all Platonic ways of thinking fail,” – and for Heidegger, so-called Platonic ways of thinking dominate Western philosophy down to Nietzsche – “ones which would propose, to a body of people, an idea, a meaning and value, according to which that people is supposed to ‘become’” (35). Not a fixed idea of what a people should become, but rather its own discovery of its rootedness in fundamental ontology should prevail. Heidegger cryptically postulates that, “a people first becomes a people when its most unique members appear and when they begin to experience a presentiment […],” and he relates his musings on the people (Volk) to his overall philosophical project, linking it to a vocabulary of “beyng” and “Dasein” (35, 316).
The point is that for Heidegger, as for Dugin, that which is named by the word “Volk,” or “narod,” must be understood philosophically, in the specifically fundamental-ontological sense of Heidegger’s philosophy. It might eventually make sense to subsume that sort of völkisch fundamental ontology under a general concept of fascism or racism. Initially, though, despite the cryptic character of Heidegger’s perspective, more is obscured than clarified by collapsing the Heideggerian Volk, and accordingly the Duginian narod, into generic fascism or Nazism, or anything like that, surface terminological similarities notwithstanding. In short, the Nazi “Volk” and the Heideggerian “Volk” are but homophones, and Dugin’s narod is modeled after the latter.
English translations of Dugin’s books have tended to transliterate the Russian word narod, since it would be misleading to translate it as “people” (for instance, the demos is not the narod), and this essay follows that convention. That would be good practice even in general studies of the Russian word. It is all the more so in the study of a comprehensive theoretical system in which the word, and the phenomenon, plays such an important part. For Dugin (2017), the narod is “the absolute, main, central, first and last concept of Eurasian philosophy” (115). Taking Volk als Dasein, that judgment would seem to map onto the judgment that Dasein is “the first, principal, and, essentially, sole axiom of Heideggerian philosophy.”
The Eurasian discussion of the Russian narod differs from Anglo-American political-theoretic talk of the people. That is the case in large part because it does not operate with and even rejects civic nationalism for an existential interpretation of the “people.” The narod is as important to Eurasian political theory as the individual is to liberal political theory, the class to Marxist political theory, and the race and state to fascistic political theories (Dugin, 2012). Dan Avnon (2013) once remarked that Israelis should raise a red card anytime a politician is caught using the Hebrew word “am,” which also means “people” in the sense of narod. His thought was that that sense of “people” carried with it too many non-liberal presuppositions and the unacceptable traces of a pre-modern worldview. Eurasianism, by contrast, is an embrace of the non-liberal, resonances of the Russian language and a concerted effort to show a red card to any attempts to mute those resonances out of modern or postmodern commitments. The narod gives “us” its language, “and this is firewood for the soul” (Dugin, 2017: 116). “The simple utterance of a randomly selected Russian word,” Dugin (2017) writes movingly, “is real magic, a colossal spiritual deed” (117). In short, Eurasian political theory must be the magic circle of the Russian language, given its narod-centrism.
The emphasis on the narod is not only non-liberal: it is anti-liberal. The concept of the narod appears “in opposition to liberalism” (Dugin, 2017c). The fourth political theory raises red cards to those who speak of the people in another sense, as the civic (1st political theory) or even racial (3rd political theory) “nation.” The existential notion of peoplehood is directly opposed to all such nationalisms, which are modern phenomenon. Modernity “is absolutely wrong,” and the fourth political theory is thus not only anti-liberal, but also anti-nationalist (and anti-communist) (Dugin, “Traps and Dead Ends,” n.d.). It “is a theory of global, absolute, and radical Revolution aimed not only against the domination of the West in particular, against the current state of European civilization, the hegemony of the United States of America, or liberalism, but against modernity itself” (Dugin, “The Problem of the Dveil,” n.d.). A Heideggerian notion of the existential plurality of Dasein, of the Daseins of peoples, is the main philosophical, political concept in this revolution. The specific notion of Russian Dasein stands at the center of the promise of a specifically Russian Conservative Revolution (Dugin, 2011c).
There is a key word in Heidegger, Ereignis. In simplified terms, Ereignis is the transformative event when “beyng” and Dasein come into authentic correspondence. Since Dasein for Dugin is Dasein als Volk, and since there is not only one general or generic Dasein, but a plurality of Daseins, accordingly each Volk has its own Ereignis, which it is its task to prepare and undergo. Dugin (2011c) suggests that proper understanding of the Russian political project (and project, or Entwurf, is another key Heideggerian term) therefore requires to be interpreted as a Russian Ereignis (120). The entire apparatus of political Eurasianism, including its ideological, geopolitical, and philosophical resources, is, according to the logic of Dugin’s argument, employed to bring such a transformation event about. Other political projects not rooted in Heidegger are inauthentic simulacra, which may or may not be put into the service of the goal. The Heideggerian interpretation of the narod comprises what Dugin calls a “metaphysics of populism,” providing the inchoate longings of anti-liberals with “strategy, consciousness, thought, a system, and a plan of struggle” (Dugin, 2018c).
A Platonic metaphysics of populism distinguishes between the body, soul, and spirit of the narod (Dugin, 2018b). The body is “the space it occupies, and also population, quantity, demography, production, and economy [as well as] wars and peace agreements, trade and handicrafts.” The soul comprises “tradition, religion, culture, customs, mores, [and] ethics,” while those like philosophers and leaders “directly responsible for the fate of the narod and the state” constitute its spirit. A Heideggerian metaphysics of populism, however, replaces the tripartite division into body, soul, and spirit with the formula, Dasein als Volk. Accordingly, “what we call ‘the body of the narod’ or the economy (Wirtschaft) and production,” Dugin explains, “ceases in this case to be a separate domain, defined by the material factor. Henceforth it is the domain of care [or concern] (Sorge),” one of Dasein’s existentials. Since production is rooted in care, “to wish that the narod would not create anything artificially, would not involve itself in the element of τέχνη, is the same as depriving it of intentionality (Sorge). But that just is Dasein, which cannot but be concerned.”
In Dugin’s model, philosophers and others who face their being-toward-death authentically are existentially delineated as “single ones,” who nevertheless are not other than the narod as Dasein. They are an expression of its authentic existence. But Dasein can also exist inauthentically. When it does, not leaders and philosophers, but “deputies,” “commissioners,” “jesters” and “clowns” carry the day as the many faces of das Man, the expression of everyday, inauthentic Dasein. For Dugin, who believes himself to be following Heidegger on this matter, liberalism, communism, fascism, Nazism, and indeed all of modernity expresses inauthentic Dasein. Consequently, the notions of peoplehood represented by those theories are inauthentic. The Volk or narod is “the true existential foundation” for alienated forms of society. Dugin’s existential populism expressly rejects racism and statism as alienated, inauthentic expressions of Dasein, writing, for instance, that, “the state is the name of das Man [‘the they’] in the Third political theory.” On his own analysis, his Dasein-populism, consistently with the logic of the fourth political theory, is neither racist nor statist. One may nevertheless wonder what it risks becoming if it does not succeed in being or remaining authentic.
Besides the concept of the narod, another philosophically charged political concept in Eurasianism is “the West.” First, Eurasianism operates with a multivalent concept of the West. Section headings in The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory (2017) include the following: “the West and its challenge,” “the archaic roots of Western exclusiveness,” “what do we understand by ‘the West’?” “the conception of ‘West’ and ‘East’ in the Yalta world,” “in the 1990s, ‘the West’ becomes globalization,” “post-modernity and ‘the West,’” and “the post-West” (21-70). As the quotation marks around the term “the West” indicate together with its periodization (archaic, Yalta, 1990s, post-), Eurasianism lacks a single, simple a-historical concept of the West, tracing it instead as a distinct figure of speech comprising a recognizable, though shifting set of ideational commitments. Second, the list of headings suggests that as Dugin tracks the West from its “archaic roots” to its postmodern stages and even to the “post-West,” he is projecting, to an extent, consciously and explicitly, political history and political configurations onto a base of existential-ontological shifts. Third, and perhaps obviously, the Eurasian use of the concept of the West does not constitute any sort of “overemphasis on units of space,” even though Eurasianism does privilege the notion of space in other ways. “It is perfectly evident,” Dugin writes, “that ‘the West’ is not a purely geographical term” (21). Although the units he emphasizes are spatial, they are not units of space. Rather, in the case of Heidegger’s Dasein, spatiality is one of their “existentials.”
In his “political poem” on Eurasianism, Dugin (2017) discusses East and West in terms of not geography but ontology (or rather “metaphysical geography”), invoking the Iranian mystic Suhrawardi. In this perspective, East, West, Asia, Russia – all of these are “in the first place…ontological concept[s]” (128). Eurasianism is not just the idea that Russia is located in physical space between Europe and Asia. It is the idea that Russia – “Russia is a doctrine, Russia is an order, Russia is mysticism, Russia is a cult […] Russia is a sacred concept” – or Eurasia is the place where a spiritual awakening occurs, where a person accomplishes “the journey to the country of the East from the country of the West,” effecting “a spiritual return” that is “at the same time physical, historical, political, cultural, intellectual, psychological, and aesthetic” (128-29). It is of course necessary to bear in mind that these comments are made in a section explicitly presented as a “poem” evoking Eurasianism with metaphors. But it is worth presenting and discussing such comments and figures nonetheless, for they tell us something about a very different kind of political theory than orthodox political theorists may be used to encountering (133).
The spiritual interpretation of Eurasianism is, Dugin (2017) writes, “indeed the deep understanding of Eurasianism”:
Eurasianism as ontology, as philosophy, as metaphysics. Eurasianism is not merely a balance of some kind of West with some kind of East; it is not merely their dialogue, as we sometimes say for foreigners [!]; it is not merely equilibrium of poles. The essence of Eurasianism is that it is the path from the West to the East, and it is that path which is implemented in Russia (129).
Eurasian political theory is concerned with facilitating spiritual awakenings. Indeed, it “is in the first place a spiritual doctrine” (131). At least at one level of analysis, “the West” becomes the name for that sleep from which the “Eurasian” is to awaken. Eurasia is the “between” that alone can facilitate the awakening. That is why Dugin refers to it using Suhrawardi’s figure of “the purple archangel,” in whom “pure light and blazing darkness” mix to produce purple (131). This understanding of Eurasianism requires a “[combination of] the metaphysical map of being with a geopolitical map,” and making that combination is not the least problematic of the metaphorical, religious, and philosophical operations proposed here and elsewhere. But problematic or not, the task at hand is to understand certain elements of Eurasianism as an applied or particularized elaboration of the fourth political theory.
Any adequate consideration of Dugin’s political theory must be based on the dual recognition that his thought is deeply indebted to Heidegger’s philosophy, on one hand, and, on the other, that it extends it and elaborates it in a more explicit political direction than Heidegger ever did, regarding its political aspects as homologous to its philosophical ones. One cannot interpret Eurasianism as merely geopolitical when it is “in the first place a spiritual doctrine”; neither can one interpret it merely as a spiritual exercise due to its insistence on the implicit political dimension of philosophical spirituality.
“Russia,” Dugin has said, “needs to be allowed the possibility of formulating its own logos.” The imposition of foreign models of understanding politics and everything connected with it, however, has deprived Russians of that right, and “that is the source, the drama of my personal struggle” (2017b). The construction of Eurasianism and the fourth political theory, whose “deepest foundation” is Heidegger, is constituted by the aim of freeing up the Russian logos, and other civilizational logoi more broadly, from the hegemonic, ideational constraints of the modern liberal West. Due to the political-philosophical homology, a revolutionary political anti-modernism corresponds to this aim. Heidegger stands at the center of Dugin’s revolutionary political philosophy.
I would like to thank the various anonymous reviewers who read and criticized earlier drafts of this paper, as well as Ruth Marshall, Ed Andrew, Michael Freeden, and Kenji Hayakawa for their helpful comments on the present work.
This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship
Avnon D (2013) Political Concepts in the Israeli Hebrew Mind, The Andrea and
Charles Bronfman Chair of Israeli Studies Lecture Series, University of
Toronto, November 28.
Beiner R (2015) Who is Aleksandr Dugin? Crooked Timber.
Dugin A (n.d.) Traps and dead ends of the new nationalism, The Fourth Political
Theory Website, no date. Available at http://www.4pt.su/en/content/traps-and-dead-ends-new-nationalism (accessed August 8, 2017).
Dugin A (n.d.) The Fourth Political Theory and the Problem of the Devil, The Fourth
Political Theory website, no date. Available at http://www.4pt.su/en/content/fourth-political-theory-and-problem-devil (accessed August 8, 2017).
Dugin A (1990) Puti Absolyuta (Moscow)
Dugin A (2009) The Fourth Political Theory, conference at Moscow State University
Center for Conservative Research. Available at http://konservatizm.org/konservatizm/theory/140309014819.xhtml (Accessed November 14, 2017).
Dugin A (2009) Chetvertaya Politicheskaya Teoriya. Moscow: Amfora.
Dugin A (2010) Martin Khaydegger: Philosophia Drugogo Nachala. Moscow:
Dugin A (2011) Martin Khaydegger. Vozmozhnost' Russkoy Filosofii. Moscow:
Dugin A (2011b) Etnosotsiologiya. Moscow, Akademicheskiy Proyekt.
Dugin A (2011c) Arkheomodern. Moscow: Arctogeya. Available at
http://books.4pt.su/sites/default/files/pdf/archeomodern_layout_1.pdf (accessed November 14, 2017).
Dugin A (2012) The Fourth Political Theory. London: Arktos.
Dugin A (2012b) “Aleksandr Dugin: Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, and the
Fourth Political Theory,” Youtube, August 23, 2012b. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QrnJKf-hhE (accessed November 14, 2017).
Dugin A (2015) Last War of the World-Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary
Russia. London: Arktos.
Dugin A (2014) Martin Khaydegger. Posledniy Bog. Moscow: Akademicheskiy
Dugin A (2016) Martin Khaydegger. Metapolitika. Eskhatologiya Bytiya. Moscow:
Dugin A (2017) The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory. London: Arktos.
Dugin A (2017b), There is no need to fear awakening of the Russian narod, interview
with Alexander Prokhanov, Izborskiy Klub, Available at https://izborsk-club.ru/13615 (accessed June 29, 2017).
Dugin A (2017c), Modern Populism, The Fourth Political Theory Website. Available
at http://www.4pt.su/en/content/modern-populism (accessed August 8, 2017).
Dugin A (2018), Theory of a Multipolar World. Forthcoming, London: Arktos.
Dugin A (2018b) Political Platonism. Forthcoming, London: Arktos.
Dugin A (2018c) The Fourth Political Theory and the Italian Logos. The Fourth
Political Theory Website. Available at http://4pt.su/en/content/fourth-political-theory-and-italian-logos (accessed March 7, 2018).
Glover S (2017) The FBI translator who went rogue and married an ISIS terrorist.
CNN Politics May 1.
Grier PT (2003) The Russian Idea and the West, in Russia and Western Civilization:
Cultural and Historical Encounters, ed. Russell Bova. London: Routledge.
Heidegger M (1989) Basic Concepts. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger M (2010) Being and Time. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Heidegger M (2012) Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event). Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Heidegger M (2013) The Event. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger M (2015) The History of Beyng. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger M (2015b) The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of
Anaximander and Parmenides. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger M (2017) Ponderings VII-XI: Black Notebooks 1938-1939. Bloomington,
Indiana University Press.
Laruelle M (2006) Aleksandr Dugin: A Russian Version of the European Radical
Right? Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kennan Institute Occasional Papers Series #294
Mazurek S (2002) Russian Eurasianism – Historiosophy and Ideology. Studies in East
European Thought 54(1-2): 105-123.
Millerman M (2014) Theory Talk #66: Alexander Dugin on Eurasianism, the
Geopolitics of Land and Sea, and a Russian Theory of Multipolarity. Theory-Talks.org, December 7. Available at http://www.theory-talks.org/2014/12/theory-talk-66.html (accessed November 14, 2017).
Riasanovsky NV (1964) Prince N.S. Trubetskoy’s ‘Europe and Mankind.’ Jahrbücher
für Geschichte Osteuropas 12.
Robinson P (2017) Interview with Alexander Dugin. Irrussianality, September 13.
Available at https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/interview-with-alexander-dugin/ (accessed November 14, 2017).
Schmitt C (2008) Constitutional Theory. Durham: Duke University Press.
Sokolov M (2009) New Right-Wing Intellectuals in Russia: Strategies of
Legitimization. Russian Politics & Law 47(1): 47-75.
Umland A (2017) Alexander Dugin – A Russian Scarecrow. New Eastern Europe.
Wolin R (2016) The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger.
New York: Columbia University Press.
Williams MS and Warren ME (2014) A Democratic Case for Comparative Political
Theory. Political Theory 42(1): 26-57.
 Alexander Dugin, “The Fourth Political Theory,” Moscow State University Center for Conservative Research, March 14, 2009. http://konservatizm.org/konservatizm/theory/140309014819.xhtml [Accessed November 14, 2017].
 Ten chapters of the original Russian were not included in the 2012 English translation, which in turn included texts not in the original Russian version.
 For Richard Wolin, “the ‘fourth political theory’ differs from fascism in name only.” For Beiner, the fourth political theory is a “misleading title, intended to convey the image of Dugin as a ‘theorist,’ offering the world a new ‘political theory,’” whereas his true commitment is “to a project of a Nazified Russia.” Andreas Umland opines that, “While the ‘neo-Eurasianist’ is obfuscating his ideology as ‘conservatism’ or a non-fascist ‘fourth political theory,’ Dugin’s entire ideology is expressly fascist in that it aims for a radically new-born, ultra-nationalistic (though not ethnocentric) Russia and, indeed, world.”
 I acknowledge the difficulty in getting started. Although not the most academically sound method for gaining an initial impression of a thinker, a Google search for Dugin, who is still unknown enough among political theorists that they might get their first impression just that way, yields troubling results. They include a description of him as someone “known for his fascist views, who calls to hasten the ‘end of times’ with all-out war,” as well as a page about him with the title “The Most Dangerous Philosopher in the World.”
If one digs around enough to discover he was once a lecturer at Moscow State University, a fact that might suggest academic legitimacy, a bit more digging reveals he was dismissed from his post after allegedly urging the genocide of Ukrainians and for his role in the conflict in Donbass. On one hand, Dugin has been interviewed together with Francis Fukuyama; on the other, he has also appeared on Alex Jones’s Infowars. He is a contributor to a recent volume by an academic press on Heidegger in Eastern Europe and Russia. But he has also written about runes and “magical matter” online. Some images found in a search for him include him lecturing in the classroom; others feature him campaigning in front of the eight-pointed star of the Eurasian movement, standing beside David Duke, and holding a rocket launcher. This mishmash of neo-fascist traces, irrationalist postures, and apocalyptic politics might dissuade some from paying Dugin attention as a serious theorist. Writings such as the present article attempt to present a more complete picture and to motivate further study.
 It is up to each reader to decide whether they share Dugin’s enthusiasm about the act of clearing such a space. “I really do not understand,” he writes (2012, 35), “why certain people, when confronted with the concept of the Fourth Political Theory, do not immediately rush to open a bottle of champagne, and do not start dancing and rejoicing, celebrating the discovery of new possibilities.”
 The various dimensions of this episteme are reflected in the cyber-topology of its networks, which includes such nodes as 4pt.su, katehon.com, geopolitika.ru, arcto.ru, evrazia.org, arctu7.wixsite.com/ethnosociology, imaginaire.ru, platonizm.ru, against-postmodern.org, etc. For the books on the geopolitical, ethnosociological, Heideggerian, and theological aspects of the fourth political theory, see e.g. Dugin, 1990, 2011b, 2015.
 We do not want to call mathematics “Russian” just when it is done in Moscow. The same is true of political theory. A substantive mark of distinction should be associated with the qualifier.
 They are the ontological, dynamic, systemic, structural-functional, educational, axiological, psychoanalytic, religious, philological-linguistic, ethnosociological, constructivist, anthropological, and existential approaches.
 However, the project of a multi-vectored analysis using all thirteen approaches should be left open.
 He has a book-length study of the phenomenon of archeomodernity, which he characterizes as follows: “[The book] tries to get the essence of the morbid social structure based on the disharmonic associations of contradictory elements. The archeomodernity [sic] is present when the modernization of society has outer sources and [doesn’t] correspond[d] to the psychological roots of [a] given society. The result is ugly acculturation and the pathology where the collective consciousness is in opposition to the collective unconsciousness. The author proposes his own method to cure this kind of social illness” (Dugin, 2011c: 138). On page 120 and elsewhere, the book champions the “fundamental identification of the narod with the Heideggerian category of Dasein,” a theme this paper examines in detail below.
 Dugin’s account follows Heidegger (1989) in distinguishing between the merely “old” and “antiquated” and the historically or essentially original and inceptual, which does not lie in the past. “According to the historiological reckoning of time,” Heidegger writes, “the earliest is indeed the oldest, and, in the estimation of ordinary understanding, also the most antiquated. The earliest, however, can also be the first according to rank and wealth, according to originality and bindingness for our history [Geschichte] and impending historical [geschichtliche] decisions. […] We name this ‘earliest’ the incipient [das Anfängliche]. From it comes an exhortation in relation to which the opining of the individual and the many fails to hear, and misconstrues its essential power, unaware of the unique opportunity: that remembrance of the inception can transport us into the essential” (6).
 Here is how Dugin puts it in a recent interview, in response to a question about whether Russia is undergoing a conservative turn: “I have […] written a book which is called Archeomodern, in which I describe how the modernization of Russian society, both in the Tsarist and Soviet periods, was partial, preserving a certain conservative, archaic core. Many things which seemed modern, such as Bolshevism, had a different semantic. On closer inspection, they weren’t so modern and contemporary. Marxism is undoubtedly a modernistic and progressive ideology; it was accepted, and on the basis of it the old conservative system was overturned. At least on the level of formal declarations, that’s what happened. But, looking more closely at what happened in Soviet society, it becomes clear that the Soviet period was more archaic than the Tsarist period. A large quantity of the people who were drawn into government had an ancient worldview, an ancient Slavic, eschatological religion, largely sectarian, which largely overcame the hermeneutic overlay of communism. The best commentator on this was the Israeli-Soviet dissident Mikhail Agursky, who wrote a book National-Bolshevism, in which he describes how Bolshevism, like the Soviet period as a whole, wasn’t what it seemed to be, that not just modernization but also archaism lay at the foundation of the communist epoch.” (Robinson, 2017).
 Also, while Dugin makes good use of certain postmodern writers, he is opposed to postmodernity. See www.against-postmodern.org for texts in Russian of a conference actually called Against [the] Postmodern World. Dugin’s four presentations at that conference will be included in Dugin, Platonic Politics (forthcoming). See also the video “‘Pure Satanism’: Alexander Dugin on Postmodernity in Western Society,” March 26, 2009. Available online from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quxWhp5y23E [Accessed August 8, 2017].
 Dugin explores the case that not only the relation to being is different, but also that being itself is different in the different cases (i.e. that Russian Dasein and other Daseins not only have a different “Da” but also a different “Sein”), but he does not firmly commit to either alternative.
 The term “confusion” is Rene Guenon’s. Heidegger (2017) had also reflected on chaos: “Why do the Germans grasp with so much difficulty and so slowly that they lack the chaos they would need to arrive at their essence and that ‘chaos’ is not confusion and blind ferment but is rather the yawning of that abyss which compels a grounding?” (230); “Chaos and χαος are not the same. Chaos mostly refers to the disorder which is a consequence of a loss of order; thus chaos, as the interpenetration and mishmash of all claims, measures, goals, and expedients, is completely dependent on the precedent ‘order’ which still operates on it as its nonessence […] In contrast, χαος, chaos in the original sense, is nothing nonessential and ‘negative’ – instead, it is the gaping open of the abyss of the essential possibilities of grounding An experience of this kind of ‘chaos’ is reserved for the one who is decided and creative – this ‘chaos’ cannot be brought into order, but ‘only’ into an unfolding toward an extreme and ever freer opposition. The essentiality – the nearness to being – of a humanity can at times be gauged by what it takes, and can take, to be ‘chaos’” (323).
 The quotes that follow are all from the concluding section of the book, unless otherwise indicated.
 Elsewhere (2017), he uses the metaphor of demonology to describe the study of Europe and the West: “knowledge of Europe, the moon goddess, abducted by Zeus and taken away to the devil knows where in the West – this is very important knowledge, but negative knowledge, general demonology, if you prefer. After all, not only Satanists studied the names of demons; abbots, respectable Catholic theologians, were also interested in this question. They wrote out demonic names, familiarized themselves with them, not of course in order to come into contact with them, but to have an idea of mystical geography and its maps, landscapes, populations, and borders, lying at the farthest reaches of being” (130).
 An adequate understanding of Heidegger demands more of the agent than just learning German and reading Heidegger. The “ideational and philosophical context,” the “surrounding intellectual milieu,” must also be learned, including Nietzsche, Brentano, Husserl, Fink, Jünger, Schmitt, Hölderlin, Trakl, and more. And although Heidegger is the preferred point of access, Dugin also suggests – and himself provides in other works – study of the following access points, each of which operates with some sense of the totality and completion of the West, seen from the perspective of its end or coming to an end: “Sociologists (Durkheim, Mauss, Tönnies, Sombart, Durand, etc.); Historians of religion and traditionalists (Guenon, Evola, Eliade, etc.); Psychoanalysts (Freud, Jung, etc.); Structuralists (de Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, etc.);Cultural Anthropologists (Boas, Malinowski, etc.) and ethnosociologists (Thurnwald, Mühlmann, etc.); Culturologists (Spengler, Toynbee, etc.); Annales School Historians (Bloch, Braudel, etc.); Ludwig Wittgenstein (especially his later writings); Postmodernists (Deleuze, Derrida, Lyotard, etc.).” Dugin, 2011.
 The original 2014 lecture is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pNvujZFT-E&list=PLr21HKxwoZejTYgk7brDOiV9UBZofFh2g&index=16 [Accessed August 8, 2017]. All the quotations in this paragraph are from this source.
 Etnosotiologiya (Dugin, 2011b) includes an extended critical discussion of racial theories and an rigorous, explicit rejection of the concept of race. Neither ethnos nor narod is racial.
 “Nation” is also not the best translation, since narod and natsiya, the transliteration of “nation,” are two distinct concepts in Russian ethnosociology.
 Fittingly, if the narod is the central concept of Eurasianism, Heidegger is the deepest foundation of the fourth political theory, and Dasein is the core of Heideggerian philosophy (all statements already discussed above), then it is perfectly sensible for Dugin to have sketched out an existential, Dasein-centric theory of the narod, where all of these ends meet, as he has done. Dugin 2018b
 It also differs from other conceptions of peoplehood among right-wing anti-liberals, incidentally. Compare, for instance, Schmitt’s (2008) discussion of the Volk (302).
 The narod is distinct from the ethnos in ethnosociology, and the narod, not the ethnos, is the “central” category, which is why “ethnocentrism” is a misleading, inaccurate term. Note, by the way, that: “all that we have said of Russians [in the sections I cited, about the magic of the language, for instance] can be said with certain adjustments of other peoples [narodi], too”). Dugin, 2017: 118.
 For instance, through its incorporation of Schmitt’s theory of large spaces. Also, Dugin writes that space is so existentially important for Russians that a book on Russian Dasein could be called Being and Space, unlike Heidegger’s Being and Time. Dugin 2011; 2017, 72-84,121-22.
 Dugin’s discussion draws on the works of Henri Corbin, who was a scholar of both Heidegger and Iranian mysticism. So the discussion of Suhrawardi can perhaps be read as a “poetic” analogue to Heidegger in this context.
 Incidentally, Dugin cautions against an interpretation of Eurasian’s spiritual mission that would privilege mysticism. Speaking to Alexander Prokhanov, Dugin (2017b) asserts that it is possible “to build an entirely rational, scientific [political] model” on the based on a reconceptualization of the notion of time, one that makes of it an image of eternity, and there is much more even in his popular works concerning the issue of eternity than there is of anything resembling mystical experience.
University of Toronto © 2017
This is an open access article distributed under the CC-BY 3.0 License.
[Pre-proof copy. International Journal of Political Theory August 2018].