Panslavism for the XXI Century
My name is Rodrigo Sobota, I am a part-time Slavist with deep interest on all fields of the culture, civilization, etc… that have been a common trait of Slavic civilization across the centuries. I’ll be soon reaching my home country, and in this, I expect to put forward some projects of mine. One of them is the planned opening of a new Russo-Czech chapter of Eurasia, for which I have already found many potential friends who share my ideals of Russo-Czech cooperation. We expect to, using historical and recent metapolitical, social, ideological, and whatnot paradigms, to push this mission forward and gradually accrue the fulfillment of our vision.
I am very interested in Eurasianism because I – consciously or not – shared a lot of the elements that made my ideals common with Dugin’s own view. My own admiration for Slavophilia, Plato, anti-Westernism, the primeval Russia, Oswald Spengler, Rene Guenon and Julius Evola. The notion of Sacred Empire, etc… As well as my great disdain for Liberalism and individualism as an specifically Western – and not universal – paradigm that contradicts the spirit of the earlier Traditional societies.
The Slavs still make up the largest ethnic group in Europe today. About 1,200 years ago, the Slavs spoke one language. Even today, they share a common heritage and a common culture. "The civilization of the Slavs," you wrote, "belongs to the vast steppes of the East," and the ethnogenesis of the Slavs is closely related to the Indo-Iranian peoples of Eurasia and the East of Europe.
In your words, "Slavic civilization has never been completely Western," even in the case of the Slavic peoples who fell under the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church. The Slavs never "fully entered the orbit of the Latin West", unlike those nations that originated in the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. One of the important reasons for this is the late acceptance of Christianity (late compared to Western nations)? An important reason are certainly the features of Slavic culture?
– Slavs were some of the last peoples to fully adopt christianity. As late as the mongol period, and many Slavic peoples under the orbit of the golden horde in the east were not christian, but mixed pagan slavic and also steppe practices like kurgan burials. Even then, we must say that as a group, we were still united until very recently, while other ethnic groups like the germanics were already diverging.
That said, it is not only the pagan core, but also the fact that Cyrilus and Methodius gave us the opportunity to build the foundations of our society in a totally divergent fashion, adopting the glagolithic alphabet, and also adopting byzantinism and orthodoxy mixed with our own essence as a form of cultural „sarmatianism“, resembling the polish baroque current of the same name. The very presence of sarmatianism, and the peculiar and divergent ethno-social structure of the ruthenian and cossack element within the lands of the old polish-lithuanian commonwealth, attests to this fundamental divergence and also to our common essence as a people of eurasia, even when the poles and other western slavs had adopted the latin foundations of the west.
This kind of dichotomy, then, attests precisely to what i meant as the fundamental dichotomy in our own identity. And to be sure, the rus were even further apart, being orthodox, and being essentially eurasian in their usage and customs. They were, in themselves, the byproduct of the turanian-slavic mix of which Dugin, Gumilev and before that Danilevsky all speak about, in that there‘s a pronounced mix between the nomadic steppe element, with the eastern-slavic byzantine customs, usages, and outlook. The best writer on the subject, undoubtedly, is Konstantin Leontiev, but Dugin has outmatched him recently.
Dugin‘s own analysis of russian dasein, and logos, also sheds light on this. From his speculations on why russia never developed philosophy, because it never had an accentuated sense of the „other“ as in western outlook, to many other things. Other authors that help understand this, of which i am aware, are leontiev, spengler (partially), but also ivan kireyevsky. Ivan kireyevsky correctly noticed that the comsological outlook of russian society was a byproduct of an essentially different, byzantinist outlook that predated modernity and was more centered upon platonism, and stood in opposition to the modern outlook of the west, and also of the aristotelian and romano-german individualism and logocentrism that permeated the early west from the middle ages on. Russian civilization had always tendencies that were markedly divergent from that, and the concept of a distinct individuality never really appeared there as it did in Western Europe.
Is there, or has there been a Slavic civilization in the past? Can the Slavs today completely distance themselves from the Romance-German spirit in order to form a separate civilization, or does this remain only a remote potentiality?
– Yes, there has been one such, and such a civilization is also marked by the accentuated tendency towards the mix between Sarmatianism and Byzantinism, and also a Platonic outlook that is genuinely holistic, and genuinely bears the characteristics that were found in the writings of Dostoyevsky for instance.
The examples of past civilizations of the Byzantinist mould are: Rus, Ruthenian and Malorussian Slavs under Poland, the Tsardom of Bulgaria and Serbia, and even the ancient Kingdom of Great Moravia. Their only significant Latin counterpart would be Poland. But even Poland, despite being more strongly aligned with the West, was still in many respects behind it, and shared many features that were culturally and spiritually distinctive from the Latin spirit. Sarmatianism is really just its most famous iteration.
The religious division into the Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the great schism of 1054, had tragic consequences for the Slavs. Especially after the South Slavs. In your opinion, did this division permanently prevent the political unity of the South Slavs?
– Yes, in many respects, though what was really decisive was the lack of a strong centralized power. Great Moravia could have adopted, in my view, Byzantinism, and could have been a stronghold of Slavdom in Central Europe, but it dissolved too quickly for that to happen. As a result, this power vaccuum was taken over by the Latin Hungarians, Poles, and Germans, while the Slovak and Czech language began to drift apart to such an extent that after the 16th century they were mutually uninteligible.
For the South Slavs, the division between the kingdom of Croatia and the kingdom of Serbia was fateful. And the very divisions caused by the Schism, together with the absorption of Croatia by Latin Hungary after 1100, also meant that the Western pole of Slavdom was the passive subject of poles of power that were neither Slavic, nor Byzantinist, but rather belonged to the Latin West. This would have decisive implications for the wellbeing, identity and unity of Slavonic civilization. It would not be, after the peak of the Serbian kingdom, until the emergency of Muscovy as Rus that we could witness the creation of a powerful Slavic polity that was simultaneously a pole of civilization into itself, and could be regarded as being in this sense totally divergent from the West on all elements.
Today, the Slovenian peoples are also divided into "nation-states", as a rule opposed and misled. Both the "nation-state" and the concept of the modern nation are, in your words, "artificial creations, typically of a Western character." Can you explain it in more detail?
– I share Dugin’s opinion in this regard, in that Traditional society and organization did not know, fundamentally, the Nation-State, but rather that the essence of such an organization is very typically Romano-German and Modern in character. As such it could be discarded from the primeval Romano-German elements and mentality in themselves. This is also true for other, more remote poles and civilizations, like the primeval India, China, or even the Islamic world – it is safe to say that before Sykes-Picot, the Islamic world also never knew the nation-state, and even today it remains a confusing and controversial element among Muslims – many of whom seek to abolish the concept and the divisions it brought among them.
Similarly, even though the Slavic folks are now divided into nation-states, this is a very recent invention. Before that, and they crystallized themselves for a long time around specific multi-ethnic Empires, hereditary monarchies like the Habsburgs, Russia, Poland, and even the Ottoman Empire. But in itself, we can say that not only the organization into specific ethnostates is very recent, it is also not absolute or definite, but must necessarily change with regards to the nature of the day and age that we live in.
Divided, Slavs easily fall prey to the colonizers. Today, it is the atlanticist and liberal West (not the Romano-Germanic Europe), which imposes its own values (or "values") - values of materialistic civilization, contrary to the Slavic "view of the world", to the Slavic traditional culture and spirituality, to the Slavic spiritual heritage.
You outline a total of nine major stages in the development of Slavic identity in relation to the polarity of "East" and "West". The first is the one in which Kievan Russia occurs, the era of St. Cyril and Methodius, the Great Moravian...
In the "second phase", the dominant pole of Slavic (and Byzantine) identity became the Serbian Empire (Emperor Dušan), along with the Bulgarian Empire.
The history of Slavdom was marked by the conflict between Latin Slavdom (Poland) and Byzantine-Orthodox and Eurasian Russia - the Orthodox "Third Rome". In your opinion, in the case of Poland, is it a Spengler "pseudomorphosis" or an authentic, Slavic-Latin culture and movement?
– It is a pseudomorphosis, but one that has affected Poland far more deeply and essentially than the Ruthenian, Malorussian, and Bielorussian elements, and certainly far more than Rus.
Whereas Latinity has become an essential part of Polish identity, it is not such of broad Ruthenian identity, which always remained very distinct even during the age of Polish supremacy after the Union of Lublin in 1569.
For the Rus, it was a totally different character, essence, civilizing factor. We broadly agree with Leontiev that the Byzantinist element had fused with the Mongolian and Turanic one, and that out of this emerged fundamental Russian identity. Not only, but this form of identity was dominant until the advent of the Petrine pseudomorphosis, and the forceful imposition of Western modernity into the elites of the Russian Empire.
As a matter of fact, after the Reformation, the essential character of primordial Romano-Germanic civilization was fundamentally shattered. There only remained the primordial Western-Eurocentric paradigm to be developed, the “Faustian” one with definite Protestant undertones that would also give rise to Liberalism. But apart from Poland, and the fundamental mold of Traditional civilization was quickly dissolved in these Slavic states that fell under Romano-German element, and many of them became Protestant and subject to influences of a proto-liberal and early modern type.
In my view, which tends towards Byzantinism, Slavophilia, Romanticism, and Traditionalism, this cosmological view was never dominant or even appreciated by the Western pan-Slavs. Many of them remained Catholic traditionalists, or, at best early modern, but also many of them sought the roots of authentic Slavdom within the East. Ludovit Stur of Slovakia is one clear instance of this, but there are others. In Poland too, as pointed out by Konrad Rekas, we witness intellectual figures of the Romantic age defending an inherently “Eastern” essence of Slavdom, and even greater approximation with Russia. Serbian-Russian links were also extremely powerful, and so were Bulgarian-Russian links. And I share their view, that Slavdom could have discerned itself as a fundamental Byzantinist-Slavophile whole, instead of a fragmented mixture between Slavic substrate, Eastern elements, the remnants of Catholicism, and the modernistic irreligious and proto-liberal society on top.
The next major conflict (after the conflict with Catholic Poland) is one that has been going on for centuries between the Germanic (Teutonic) world and Slavdom, led by Russia. It ended in 1945 (with a Russian victory). Why do you think the German world is no longer a threat to the Slavic peoples? Pangermanism has long been the "great antithesis" of Slavdom, the antithesis from which German Nazism evolved.
– The Germanic world, today, has been decisively defeated. Not only that, but the social engineering and the complexes that the Liberal Atlanticists imposed upon the defeated Germany have changed it forever.
In a certain sense, the Germany of 1870-1945 is never coming back. This Germany is dead and buried, and so is the concept of pan-Germanism in itself, with the historical catastrophe of Nazism. Furthermore, the German people as a whole, no longer possess the same spirit of yesterday, and in my view, they have become too americanized, too liberal, and are losing their fundamental identity as an ethnos. Even though they still lead economically, their population is ageing and dwindling, half of all female scientists in Germany are childless, and the postmodern spirit is very strong there. Not only that, but the cultural brilliance on all fields of art, science, philosophy, etc... of the Wilhelmine days no longer exists.
Germany risks becoming another Netherlands, another Sweden, and sinking into the depravity of the postmodern liberal existence where the abyss is complete and where the light of the Sun does not reach. A few elements try to break up with this paradigm, but overall, I see more future among us Slavs than among the post-modern Western Europeans, who are now at the end of their historical and civilizational prominence. The future belongs to the East, to us Slavs, to China, to India, and even Turkey and the likes. France, Britain and even Germany, on the other hand, to me, these represent the past. Their glory days as world Empires of the typical Western modern spirit are now long gone, while the threat of Islamization and loss of identity among them is deeper and deeper.
The dominant cultural code, according to German Professor Wolfgang Wipperman, was and remains anti-slavism in Germany. However, there has always been a different, slavophile and pro-Russian current in Germany.
– Yes, that’s true. And even before, during the Conservative Revolution, there was a very strong Russian influence on all fields. Russian emigres had decisive intellectual roles, and among them we might count Ivan Ilyin, a certain Boris Brasol who had definite ties with Germany, while there was the definite presence of a secret emigre society that had direct contacts with Goebbels and the Nazis. It was called the Aufbau Vereinigung, and it is the subject of an American book that details the influence of Russian occultism and White Emigre reactionism into the broad Nazi worldview. Even the anti-Slavic Nazis had plenty of room for certain extreme White elements, who were in natural symbiosis with their aims.
Russia has previously defeated Poland, the Swedes, the Ottomans ... Finally, the (Nazi) Third Reich, and has established itself as the dominant pole of Slavdom. How do you see the position and role of Russia today in relation to the rest of the Slavic world?
– Russia remains, by virtue of its historical legacy, and also its dimension as a power, as one of the key pieces of the Slavic checkerboard. Today’s Russia is Liberal, but my conviction is that with the breakup of Yugoslavia, Russia must necessarily work towards its assertion as an Eurasian civilization first and foremost so that it can then serve as the center of gravity of the Conservative Revolution in the broad Turanian-Slavic dimension of Central Asia and also Eastern Europe. In that sense, many people of West and South Slavic provenance, and especially more in the former USSR, agree with my vision. The current borders and geopolitical divisions are too artificial to reflect any deeper reality or synthesis within Slavdom, and the memory of other ages is still fresh in us. We are not unanimous, but we agree that the Eurasian synthesis offer a vastly superior paradigm that is already operational and possible from 2019 onwards.
The so-called "eighth phase" of Slavdom's development encompasses Tito and Titoism - the "grand synthesis of the South Slavic peoples", a special kind of "patriotic socialism" in opposition to the West.
The "ninth phase" of Slavdom is the one we are in today. The phase of Eurasia. Slavophilia does not oppose (neo)-Eurasianism, especially if it is not understood as narrow, ethnic nationalism, which confronts the Slavs with all other non-Slavic peoples. The Slavs are still a significant ethnos in Eurasia, connected with other nations by various links in the common space of Eurasia.
Today there are also Slavic peoples whose elites consider themselves to have blended fully into the West, into the Western world. In fact, they accept a subordinate position within the supposedly superior Western civilization, renouncing the Slavic name and origin. In your opinion, is it only temporary, or their lasting civilizational choice?
– It is temporary. Even in my country Czechia, or in places like Slovakia, or even in Poland where the general spirit disdains of Communism, the Warsaw Pact and the Russian legacy, there’s dissent.
Pro-NATO has been a very recent and very relative choice. We are still very different from Western Europe. We only recently emerged from Communism, and we are, in many ways, far more “primitive” than most Western Europe which has felt the effects of Liberalism for a very long time. We still remain more deeply connected to our essence, and to our identity, as independent peoples, and we are also acutely aware of how Communism made us different and had better aspects than the present day Liberal paradigm esp. in regards to the preservation of our ethnic identity. The works and the broad Duginist mentality and analysis of these phenomena have a very strong echo upon us, consciously or not, and this demonstrates that we still have a distinct mentality and distinct ways from the Western Euro-American heartland. And also, a different fundamental goal.
"The Kosovo issue," you wrote, "has shown that the West will never help us" (Also: "The West is not ours, a Slаvic civilization.") Cooperation and unification of Russian and Serbian Eurasianism, the "Russian and Serbian chapter of Eurasianism," is a priority. In your view, this movement should be extended to other Western and South Slavic peoples. Can you explain it in more detail?
– I stand entirely by that phrase, in my opinion, the West is too decadent. All of Leontiev’s and Spengler’s (and also Nietzsche’s) indictments of Western decadence, made long ago, have came to pass in our day and age. Western civilization is dying, and we should converge towards a new geopolitical and cosmological model. Eurasianism is the best solution in this regard, in that it already offers the answers and the work that the paradigms which I posed to myself during my earlier years are already answered.
We, broadly, can agree that Western civilization is decadent. Most Muslims would agree with me. Many Czechs too. And undoubtedly, many Serbs, Turks, Russians, and whatnot. Even many Brazilians agree with me. The West today amounts to nothing concrete, and is on the verge of total formlesness. Eurasian paradigm is young, new, it is based upon solid paradigms, and is definitely the way of the future. Nobody cares about or respects the West any more, and certainly not as they did back in the early 20th century when Western power was at its peak. Today, most of the people who orbit outside of the West have nothing but disdain for it, and it is in such day and in such age as ours that we have the golden opportunity to end the dominance of the Western paradigm once and for all.
In your opinion, in what way the ideology of pan-Slavism in the 21st century should be reformed and adapted?
– Perhaps the best answer to this is that pan-Slavism can be synthesized into the idea of Turkic-Slavic Eurasianity, which will include Hungary, Turkey, places like Kazakhstan, and whatnot. But also, namely, Macedonia, and the whole sphere of the Slavic world, with Slavs playing the most prominent roles. There are plenty of common elements among us that can reinforce this goal. All I say is that we push forward.