Saturday, February 10, 2007

Eurasianism: a Link to the Soviet Past

In Chechnya Weekly, Marlene Laruelle writes about the Eurasianist philosophy of Alexander Dugin and its relation to Russian government policy in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. In doing so she shows, among other things, that the Kremlin’s current moves towards a rapprochement with Asia may be influenced by thinking that derives not only from Dugin’s mystical ideology, but also from the distinctly unmystical and realpolitik-based heritage of Russia’s Soviet past. An excerpt from the conclusion:

It is difficult to determine the real influence that Dugin’s ideas have on the Kremlin. His Center for Geopolitical Expertise claims to be working for the Presidential Administration, the government, the Federation Council and the Duma. Dugin may have also written analytical briefs and contributed to the development of Russia’s national security doctrine. He appears to have ties to Kremlin “strategist” and Presidential Administration Advisor Gleb Pavlovski. Therefore, it is possible that his stance on Chechnya has been adopted by certain individuals within the Kremlin. Indeed, his convictions on how the federal structure should be reorganized correspond to the changes being implemented by Putin (e.g. reducing the autonomy given to national republics by merging them into larger regional unities; reaffirming Chechen society’s right to religious and cultural but not to political autonomy). However, Dugin is not the only one to have considered these questions. Yevgeny Primakov, for example, has expressed a desire for rapprochement with Asian countries, and, in particular, with the India-China-Iran triangle. This desire itself harks back to former Soviet traditions still present, for example, in Russian Orientalist milieus. So although Dugin holds views on this subject similar to those expressed by Primakov, the latter is inspired by a “great power” Soviet culture, not by Dugin. It is therefore probable that the “polit-technologs” of the Presidential Administration are also inspired by such Soviet traditions internal to Party and State apparatuses and not simply by Dugin himself.
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