The misrepresentation of Aleksandr Dugin as an ongoing theme in the West
The brutal murder of Darya Dugina this week has put the position and ideas of her father, Aleksandr Dugin, back into the spotlight, albeit through a haze of distortions, mainly directed towards justifying it. Accordingly, Dugin has been characterised as a close ally of Putin, or even the brains behind Putin, as if Putin did not have his own brain, as well as somehow the architect of the war in Ukraine, and also a fascist, of course, like Putin himself.
Even more shamefully, claims have been circulated by secret police asset Paul Mason and comparable characters that Darya Dugina called Ukrainians “subhuman” and called for their genocide. In fact, she called the Ukrainian authors of war crimes inhuman, and called for them to stand trial while Dugin himself has called Ukrainians brothers. But why let the facts get in the way of vicarious sadism? Evidently, it is not enough to kill this vivacious young woman, NATO and Kiev PR thugs also must spit on her grave.
In reality Dugin’s proximity to Putin and the scale of his influence over him remains persistently exaggerated for reasons more to do with Dugin’s influence in the West than in Moscow, and the Western elite’s increasingly narcissistic and totalitarian character. Dugin is both the best-known contemporary Russian philosopher and among the most influential philosophers associated with the global reactionary Right. In connecting his positions to Putin the suggestion is floated that this whole school of thought, and ultimately all political dissidence, is directed from Moscow as a subversion strategy, without any real substance, or legitimate grievance, and therefore may be suppressed, as opposed to acknowledged and reckoned with.
For the same reason the 2016 election victory of President Trump and populist dissident movements in Europe are repeatedly connected to Putin. The objective is to refuse democratic legitimacy to what would otherwise register as democratic movements, operating in nominally democratic societies, to suppress them as issues of national security. Likewise the admittedly crass, kickboxing buffoon Andrew Tate is unilaterally and suddenly banned from all social media on the grounds he is becoming too popular. People can longer be trusted to think for themselves, in case they come to conclusions opposing the Western oligarchic elites. This self-incriminating consensus now defines an increasingly repressive and broken Western society.
Ubiquitous accusations of fascism belong to the same register albeit in more metaphysical, if equally delusional terms. Russia at least is a concrete geopolitical actor. Fascism and its various cognates (the far-right, white supremacism, etc.) is a supernatural contagion, somehow perpetually “rising” inversely to progressive political victories. Dugin himself has already registered the main thrust of this logic: “First of all, they view all their enemies as fascists. After that, they begin to kill them because they are fascists. Nobody investigates anything. That’s just Bolshevism, just like in the Bolshevik Revolution or in the French Revolution. Everybody who is declared an enemy of the revolution should be exterminated.”
Fascism in this sense represents little more than the term of choice to dehumanise enemies of a paranoid political regime in order to persecute them. Nothing about this is new. In sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe the terms gazari and vaudois, after the destroyed Cathar and Waldensian heresies, were used the same way to propagate the orgy of murder today known as the witch trials.
More recently the term “fascist” itself was employed for this purpose by the USSR following the adoption of the term ‘anti-fascism’ by the Stalinist Comintern against the “social fascist” German Social Democrats. As Francois Furet demonstrates in Le Passé d’une illusion, anti-fascism was never anything more than a Bolshevik front. This front was expanded during the Spanish Civil War to liquidate liberal Republican elements and later internalised in the post-war Soviet sphere. The Berlin Wall was officially known as the anti-fascist defence barrier. Every Eastern European dissident, including Solzhenitsyn and Patočka, was labelled a fascist. When the USSR carved-up Poland in alliance with National Socialist Germany, Stalin described Poland “as another fascist country.”
In short, the term anti-fascism began its career as a result of energetic propaganda to dehumanise the enemies and targets of Moscow. This usage has to some degree reappeared in contemporary Russian propaganda concerning the current conflict with Kiev, which in truth is governed by criminal rather than ideological elements, but its chief meaning today is the enemies or targets of Washington, which now includes the American people. Students of history reaching back more than five minutes may recall the invention of the term ‘Islamofascism’ to prepare the way for the Pentagon’s wars in the Gulf and the concurrent expansion of the West’s secret police apparatus. We now see the term applied to anyone and everyone who takes any stand against a Western regime which, to once again restate this point, is now clearly showing features widely associated with fascism.
From this point of view Dugin’s translator and political philosopher Michael Millerman’s recent identification of Dugin as anti-fascist is clearly erroneous, as various half-literate regime flunkies have recognised. Nonetheless, it is also true that fascism has a historical and not only a rhetorical meaning, and Millerman is correct to point out Dugin has criticised it. Yet ironically it is precisely the fact of this criticism which makes him especially dangerous. Not unlike Julius Evola, it is precisely because Dugin is not a fascist, that is, not committed to this obviously failed ideology, that there’s an exceptional need to destroy him — and for this purpose “fascist” remains the chief term of art.
Dugin himself criticises fascism along the same lines as Evola as a modern political ideology like communism and liberalism. Dugin rejects in particular the racism of fascism/National Socialism and the idea of superior and inferior races. In The Fourth Political Theory he states his position directly:
“We must definitively reject all forms of racism. Racism is what caused the collapse of National Socialism in the historical, geopolitical, and theoretical sense. This was not only a historical, but also a philosophical collapse. Racism is based on the belief in the innate objective superiority of one human race over another. It was racism, and not some other aspect of National Socialism, that brought about such consequences, leading to immeasurable suffering on both sides, as well as the collapse of Germany and the Axis powers, not to mention the destruction of the entire ideological project of the Third Way. The criminal practice of wiping out entire ethnic groups (Jews, gypsies, and Slavs) based on race was precisely rooted in their racial theory — this is what angers and shocks us about Nazism to this day.”
Nevertheless, Dugin also opposes the utopian liberal project to dissolve racial differences into a post-racial Western individualism, and claims the “ideology of progress is racist in its structure.” Liberalism, not communism or fascism (or what Peter Sloterdijk itemises as left and right fascism) constitutes the principal ideological enemy, for the self-evident reason that communism and fascism are both dead; today they survive only as farcical online delusions.
Liberalism won the battle for modernity in 1945 and 1989. What exists today as globalism is the final stage of liberalism after a millenium-long march, beginning with medieval nominalism, advancing through colonialism and modern capitalism, and currently accelerating into digital post-humanism. “You are still allowed to be human; it is optional,” Dugin told German magazine Deutsche Stimme in January 2021; “Tomorrow, being human will mean the same as being Trumpist or fascist.”
Liberalism for Dugin is the radically atomising power directed against all collective identities. Initially the Catholic Church is atomised into Protestantism and feudal estates are fragmented into undifferentiated town’s people, or ‘bourgeoisie’, and ultimately individuals themselves are atomised into intersectional identities and post-human parliaments of organs. It is ironically Dugin’s fellow ‘fascist’, the accelerationist, but nonetheless all too human British philosopher Nick Land who Dugin calls “an open Satanist,” who represents the real spirit of globalism and the famous great reset as “proclaimed by a handful of degenerate and panting old globalist men on the verge of dementia (like Biden himself, the shriveled villain Soros, or the fat burgher Schwab) and a marginal, perverted rabble selected to illustrate the lightning-quick career opportunities for all nonentities.”
Dugin’s terse recent book The Great Awakening Versus the Great Reset analyses the Reset as a desperate and violent attempt to get the globalist project back on track, following the political failure of the Arab Spring and Afghanistan and the emergence of mass opposition in the United States represented by Trump. Underscoring the apocalyptic stakes of the conflict, the book conjures the possibility of a global alliance against this global order consisting of all the anti-global powers in the world, including Communist China, Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Russia itself.
The vision is completely fantastical, undermined in particular by the fact that China is the current reigning world champion of biometric dehumanisation, and Russia itself has been assiduous in imposing Great Reset policies. Dugin nonetheless is correct that a humanity without Russia is unthinkable, and that the current war between Russia and an increasingly totalitarian American empire is potentially apocalyptic in consequence. The murder of Darya Dugina shows that developments have now proceeded to the point of inception of what looks like a de facto NATO-backed terror campaign against Russian intellectuals on Russian soil. It should be clear to everyone sober where the real dangers lie here.