Alexander Dugin. All photos courtesy of The Wolf in the Moonlight, a documentary directed by Nicholas Rooney and produced by Theatre of Life Productions.
The first sentence of Alexander Dugin’s English-language Wikipedia page says that he is a “Russian political analyst and strategist known for his fascist views.” Dugin has been called many things—“the most dangerous philosopher in the world,” “Putin’s brain,” a modern-day Rasputin whose whose 1997 tome The Foundations of Geopolitics established the modern school of Eurasian geopolitics and became required reading for Russian military officers—but fascist doesn’t really fit. In fact, Dugin posits his seminal 2009 work, The Fourth Political Theory, as the alternative to the three previous ideologies of communism, fascism, and liberalism. He describes his philosophy as anti-fascist, anti-racist, and yet overwhelmingly anti-liberal.
The dissonance between Dugin’s English-language Wikipedia page and his own beliefs strikes at the heart of his work. (It also bolsters the founder of Wikipedia’s own case against the website’s neutrality, and is the reason Countere uses blockchain-based Everipedia). Dugin advocates multipolarity, in a geopolitical and metaphysical sense: that there is not one Western “truth”, but a Russian truth, an African truth, and so on. This doesn’t mean that truth doesn’t exist. Think about it from a physics perspective: the speed of a train in Japan is different depending on if you measure it from Earth or from Mars. Both planets can be correct in their measurements—absolute truth exists—but the absolute truth depends on your frame of reference.
That sounds reasonable enough—branches of the American Right and Left might even agree—but Dugin’s theories become much more threatening in action. They were used as the metaphysical justification for Russian intervention in Syria: simply to prove, Dugin argued, that the United States is not the “only boss in the world.”
Basically, Dugin has created the philosophical framework for anti-Americanism all over the globe. He calls on societies to reject Western individualism, rediscover their ethnos, and become confident in the truths of their civilization. American left and right-wingers wouldn’t be so enthused after learning that Dugin believes that their visions of “progress”—whether promotion of democracy or LGBTQ+ rights—are racist to the societies that don’t want those things, an insult to the cyclical nature of life and civilizations, and a terrible disrespect to the societies of our ancestors.
Scary stuff. There is one great documentary on Dugin, The Wolf in the Moonlight, which interviews the philosopher among the wind-swept steppe and smoky ceremonies of his homeland. Otherwise, most Western media coverage is hysterical and condemnatory, filled with labels endemic to our political paradigm, constantly questioning his relationship with Putin. (For what it’s worth, Dugin insists he has never served as Putin’s advisor, but Putin over the last two decades has followed Dugin’s blueprint to a tee.) Dugin’s interview with the BBC devolved into the interviewer insisting that unlike its global peers, Western media at least tries to tell the truth (and if you believe that, my friend, you are on the wrong website).
We here at Countere Magazine decided to take a different approach. We decided to let the man speak for himself, and to allow our readers to judge the merit of his philosophy. We asked Dugin about his visions of the future, if he thinks the West is doomed, and the forthcoming 24-volume collection he calls his magnum opus. He also gave us a message to the young people of America. Enjoy.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
In a harmonious multipolar world, is there a space for a liberal individualistic civilization like the West? Or do you believe liberalism destined to go into the trash heap of history, just like fascism and communism?
First of all, I think that the multipolar world should be regarded realistically. It is not a utopian concept. It is not some rose dream, people living peacefully and friendly, without any conflict or dispute. Multipolarity is just the shift of the main point of the global decisions from one side, the West, to multiple sides.
Multipolarity could have its own contradictions, conflicts, and oppositions, but they would be of another nature than having one hegemony in the West establishing modern day left-liberalism as a global order with absolute truths. Unipolarity is linked to this new left-liberalism, and everybody who challenges the values of LGBT, BLM, “progress,” “technology,” and “scientific development” is considered to be Nazi, Communist, and so on.
The global unipolar hegemonic order should be replaced by a more realistic multipolar world with different sets of ideologies and values. Chinese values for Chinese, African values for Africa, Muslim values for Muslim world, European values for Europeans. If you become Russian—please, become Russian! You will share with us tradition, conservative society, monarchy, authoritarianism, for the best or worst. And, in response to your question, if American or European civilization prefers to be liberal capitalist democracy, it’s absolutely up to you to base your society on those principles.
In this multipolar world, there is not one universal truth. No such thing. Some great civilization could propose something as universal, but it shouldn’t be imposed. Nobody can be the absolute universal judge. That is multipolarity. It is not ideal, it is just something that is absolutely necessary in our situation.
It sounds like for both Americans and Russians, we think our society has the best values. But seeking to impose them, or make them universal, goes against the way of nature.
Yes. But I think all that is quite understandable. If you seriously and sincerely believe in your values, you could not accept them to be something relative. It is normal—it is naive, but it is normal. The only thing you should recognize is that some other society disagrees with your understanding. You could still regard your own values as the highest, and yet accept that the Other can think differently. That is multipolarity.
You should stay with your absolute truth. But you shouldn’t deny to the Other the capacity to have its own absolute. Neither worse, nor better, just Other. I think that when liberals, the real liberals, show this capacity to accept the Other, we should go with them: speak with them, exchange with them. But when they say you are obliged to be liberal, otherwise you will be regarded as Nazi, or Communist, or Putinist, or Muslim terrorist, that you should be destroyed and annihilated in the name of liberty, that is totally different thing.
The problem with modern-day unipolarity is that America and the West doesn’t accept the right of the Other to be “other than yourself.” Biden’s West, the Democratic Party West, still wants to impose the beliefs of half of the American population as something universal for all humanity. That is total perversion. It is not liberalism. That is new kind of totalitarianism.
When I think of your ideas from a theological viewpoint, I, of course, think that my American values are best—but to impose them as absolutes on other people would be to play the role of God. I’m wondering what your thoughts are in terms of how God relates to The Fourth Political Theory and multipolarity.
So that is the main thing. The relation to the Gods depends not on the God, but on the culture or society. Not because the God is different, but because the culture or society is different.
For example, we’re Russians. We think that our Christian Orthodox civilization—church, religion, society, history, tradition—is something universal. We are sure that we are right, that we have the absolute truth, but we could admit that there are some other cultures that have their own way to this truth. And we don’t try to impose our way to this absolute truth. It is not relativism, nor is it universalism. It is balanced.
“The only thing we insist is that everybody has a right to be different.”
Because the Other has a different point of departure. Maybe the final point, the point of destination, coincides. Maybe not. But if we don’t reach the end, we could not judge whether there is one God or not, or whether it is our God or not. We could claim that from the start. But we should prove that. And we cannot prove it convincing each other. We should realize our faith inside of us. So we should become saints. We should become real Christians. Not just beginners.
We should come nearer to the final point of destination, and only from that point, we should judge the Other. And maybe judge ourselves, rather than the Other. Because the closer to God we come, the less desire we have to judge the Other, and the more divine we become: less aggressive, less will-to-power. That is very important! By coming to the core of our religion, we become somehow universal—but not by imposing our starting point on the Other.
In the case of liberalism, liberals cannot say that they defend their God. They defend their unique truth: the pure relativism, the totally nihilistic attitude. Your society could be nihilist, but it is your decision. It may be your way, to God or the devil, but it’s up to you to decide. The only thing we insist is that everybody has a right to be different.
If America is happy with its society, it’s up to you. It’s your President. But I am almost absolutely sure that half of American people as well reject these interpretations of liberalism. Because it is anti-liberalism at its core: to oblige the Other that doesn’t want to accept your views. The good of liberalism is accepting the differences. Modern-day left-liberalism doesn’t accept the differences. It obliges us to think in its way. To say this thing and never other things. And we reject that. It is pure totalitarianism. It is dangerous and we should fight against that.