Dugin's Image of Finland

28.02.2018

Alexandr Dugin is a Russian political scientist and philosopher, and prominent spokesman for Eurasianism.

Eurasianism developed from Slavophile thinkers such as Nikolai Trubetskoi; they formulated the idea of a Russia which is neither Oriental nor Western. Early Eurasianists believed that the Soviet Union would soon become a new national, non-European and Orthodox Christian community, leaving behind proletarian internationalism and militant atheism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alexander Dugin re-emerged as the leading representative of the redefined Eurasianism. For Dugin, Eurasianism is in particular the geopolitical struggle between the American-led sea-based powers and Eurasian land-based powers; To break the Atlanticist liberalism, according to Dugin, a conservative revolution is needed.

The 56-year old Dugin has served as a professor at the Moscow State University and led its Center for Conservative Studies at the Department of Sociology. Prior to this, he was involved in numerous political groups; In the 80s, Dugin first joined the fascist and anti- Semitic Pamyat: an organisation which criticized Gorbachev's perestroika, warned of the Zionists and the Freemasons, but which was not sufficiently well-developed for Dugin. In the early 90s, he also belonged to the (subsequently banned) National Bolshevik Party. In 1993, Dugin was also involved in writing the founding platform for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, led by Gennadi Zjuganov. Under the influence of Dugin, the platform leaned more to the nationalistic than socialistic.

Over the years Dugin has written on the glorification of Tsarism and Stalinism, as well as esotericism and all sorts of mysticism, combined with Russian nationalism; he is also familiar with the ideas of the traditionalist school, exemplified by René Guénon and Julius Evola. Despite this background, he is now part of the branch of the Russian Orthodox Old Believers, which originated in the 17th century as an opposition movement to reforms of Orthodox liturgy. The Western media likes to label the bearded, melancholy-looking Dugin as a modern Rasputin and the "Kremlin's ideologue." To his credit, Dugin has also won a place on the United States sanctions list and the Ukraine has named him persona non grata.

Dugin has written books on geopolitics, conservative revolution, Putin, Martin Heidegger's philosophy, Christian eschatology and his own Fourth Political Theory (4PT) which, in his view, goes beyond socialism, fascism and Western liberalism. In recent years, Dugin's works have been translated into numerous languages, including English, German, Swedish and French. He also has links to the European New Right, for example the French Nouvelle Droite, whose chief philosopher Alain de Benoist has, like Dugin, written against liberalism, globalization, immigration and American cultural supremacy. Interest in Dugin's ideas is found in many countries especially among the critics of liberalism and America. However, Dugin's Eurasianism imposes certain conditions on supporting nationalism:

I consider the “White nationalists” allies when they refuse modernity, the global oligarchy and liberal-capitalism, in other words everything that is killing all ethnic cultures and traditions. The modern political order is essentially globalist and based entirely on the primacy of individual identity in opposition to community. It is the worst order that has ever existed and it should be totally destroyed. When “White nationalists” reaffirm Tradition and the ancient culture of the European peoples, they are right. But when they attack immigrants, Muslims or the nationalists of other countries based on historical conflicts; or when they defend the United States, Atlanticism, liberalism or modernity; or when they consider the White race (the one which produced modernity in its essential features) as being the highest and other races as inferior, I disagree with them completely. (Alexandr Dugin on “White Nationalism” & Other Potential Allies in the Global Revolution)

Dugin has visited Finland a couple of times to attend Russia activist Johan Bäckman's events in 2014 and 2017. During his visits, Dugin talked about the liberal totalitarianism represented by the EU and NATO, the geopolitical position of Finland, the ongoing information war, and more widely of the Finno-Ugric region, its history and "unique civilization". There is an audio recording entitled "Liberalism has gone grazy" in the archives of the Yle Areena Horisontti program in which journalist Samuli Suonpää interviews Dugin.

In my opinion, Dugin is at his best in his criticism of liberalism. Dugin lambasts liberalism as a nihilistic philosophy which demands freedom from any kind of collective identity, but does not produce any positive change after rejecting tradition. In competition with totalitarian ideologies - communism or fascism - liberalism once seemed to be a tangible and attractive alternative. But when these forms of totalitarianism were overcome, the nihilistic nature of liberalism was revealed: it is not an ideology of positive, but rather of negative freedom, which tries to redefine sexuality and to undermine the cultures and civilizations of entire peoples. Dugin, however, is pleasingly confident that the post-liberal era is about to come.

"The History and World View of Finno-Ugric Civilization" that came out in December 2017 is, to the best of my knowledge, Dugin's first Finnish publication. The book deals with Finns and Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia through their mythologies and shamanistic beliefs. The book also features a preface to a Finnish reader. Previously, a few of Dugin's writings were to be found in Finnish on the 4PT web site, where the book's preface "The Finnish Idea - Thoughts on Finnish Identity and Borders Policy" has also been previously published.

Dugin claims to admire Finnish culture. He considers Finnishness to be an independent and culturally significant "centennial partner of Russia"; for Dugin, Russian culture itself is a combination of Slavicism and Finno-Ugric. But he has also written in a different vein. In his 1997 book, The Foundations of Geopolitics, Finland is referred to as part of the Russian sphere of interest; as part of the Eurasian empire. In this somewhat peculiar book Dugin suggests that Southern Finland will be combined with the Republic of Karelia and northern Finland will be donated to Murmansk Oblast. During his visits to Finland, Dugin denied that he would want to make Finland part of Russia again; however, his desire to raise Russia into a mighty role in the multipolar world order is very clear. Dugin has also been influenced by the Belgian politician Jean-François Thiriart, who already in the 1950s envisioned a symbiotic European-Russian empire from Dublin to Vladivostok. At the moment, however, it seems that the only vision coming into being within the EU bears the baleful handwriting of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi. page2image29928page2image30088

 

What, then, may Dugin's reader harvest of a Finno-Ugric civilization and worldview? If you want to know about the phenotype of the Uralic peoples, Nenets shamanism, the Great Mother of Udmurt, Joma, the god Kuzka of the Mordavians, the Marian religion, or Finnish bear worship, this book certainly has its moments. I should also like to point out that if you ignore the geopolitical tone of the introduction, the actual target group of the book could well be Finnish folk religionists, neopagans, and cultural anthropologists. The book is peopled by a dizzying number of Ugric mythological characters, prehistoric deities and belief systems; Christianity is mentioned only briefly. So if the "Turanian Logos", "the Uralic World's Geosphere" or the "Classical Eurasian Apophatic Runic Scripture" are of interest, then maybe the book will find its readers.

Frankly, I was interested mainly in the preface, where Dugin tackles more familiar topics and approaches Finnishness and Russians from his own singular perspective. The eccentric Dugin divides the Finns rather amusingly into pro-Western "white Finns" and Eurasian "red Finns", which sounds like something from the Finnish Civil War of 1918. But so be it. Dugin continues his history lecture and explains how during the Swedish rule Finns were influenced by Germanic Protestantism and Western Europe, while under the Russian Empire Finns received Orthodox and Eurasian influences. However, Dugin contends that Finns were never really "Russified", and as a result, they became an independent and multifaceted borderland nation.

Dugin holds that Finnish identity may be distorted by "too much west" as well as by "too much east". This is reminiscent of the old "third position" political vision; as the English used to say "Neither Moscow nor Washington". Is this just a propaganda statement or Dugin's honest opinion? He depicts Finland as exemplar of a neutral, pragmatic political policy for the whole continent of Europe. Finland, however, has been rapidly transformed into a Euro-Atlantic, cosmopolitan and liberalist lackey of the West by its current decision- makers, very much against the collectivist, spiritual and traditionalist Eurasia envisioned by Dugin. Although the plans of Russia's political leadership may differ from Dugin's in the realm of Realpolitik, the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union already exists, comprising Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; Iran has also discussed a free trade agreement that could enable their accession to the Eurasian Union. However, there is still a journey to Dugin's ultimate goals, and the United States will naturally strive to maintain its global political dominance, even by force.

The actual historical bounty of Dugin's 108-page Finnbook is, in the end, quite small, because the mythological material is downright breathtaking. Dugin delves into the Kalevala national heritage, with Väinämöinen and everything. Is this all just aesthetics for politics and an exercise in "hybrid influencing", whereby Dugin wants to attract Russia- minded kindred spirits from Finland? An open question. My feeling was that Dugin is genuinely interested in that whereof he writes.

His (even more interesting) books about the Fourth Political Theory should also be translated into Finnish. They deal with the radical rejection of liberalism, capitalism and individualism. Dugin's political theory also makes a peculiar connection with Heidegger's abstruse and difficult philosophy. But perhaps this Russian-flavored "Heideggerian radical conservatism" would find its students. 

Original Finnish review published in Sarastus webzine - https://sarastuslehti.com/2018/02/01/duginin-suomi-kuva/