Dugin is a figure who strives to find global support for Russia’s political goals intermingled with philosophy. He may be a source for Putin and other names in the Kremlin, but this effort seems far from credible and trustworthy.
Alexander Dugin has made statements directly opposing Western liberalism. From the beginning, Dugin has compared various claims to validate a Russia and Eurasia-centered thought system. He expects this to be accepted at least by those in Eurasia or those opposing the West. Ultimately, Dugin advocates for a Multipolar World, seeking to establish a philosophical space against the fundamental progress of the Western world. Discussing unipolarity and multipolarity in International Relations is one thing, but the validity of the Eurasianism idea Dugin speaks of is another. Dugin defines the unique ideological and civilizational descriptions of various regions from a global perspective and wants to systematize multipolarity accordingly.
Firstly, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution were not initiated by peasant Russians. Then consider these points: In 1989, the Bipolar World collapsed, the USSR lost the Cold War, and in the 2010s, as Russia was recovering, it desired to regain the power of the Russian Empire era. It defends the Multipolar World order, citing numerous issues in the Unipolar World and taking a bit from Kant, Hobbes, and others.
It’s not Dugin but the Western world that most debates and criticizes Realism, Idealism, Liberalism, and others. Dugin largely plagiarizes from there, using the negatives to his advantage to promote his ideas. My observation is that Dugin criticizes the Western world with very little material from the West itself. Additionally, the effort to engage in politics with the added idea of Eurasianism is noteworthy. In other words, what I criticize and find noteworthy is his idea of engaging in politics through a convoluted path.
The democratic countries that develop globalization processes have many trained experts with mind maps like Realism, Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Constructivism within their political systems, interacting strongly with each other. The issues of morality and interests in international behaviors that we all know are just mental functions. However, these varied perspectives must be used to generate ideas necessary for progress in the political arena. Moreover, their natural flourishing is preferred.
Global Democracies produce more global power than others, with the USA still leading in this area. For example, global business people are not only developing their activities but also serve as centers of power. Their counterparts are not just business people but also governments and political leaders. A common characteristic of these global business powers in the context of politics might be their Idealist, Liberalist, and Realist nature.
On Dugin’s Criticism
Dugin’s thoughts are published on “Geopolitica.ru”. I will discuss the ideas I encountered in an article titled “Realism in International Relations” dated November 27, 2023. (Access Address: https://www.geopolitika.ru/en/article/realism-international-relations?utm_referrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f )
According to Dugin, Realists believe that human nature is inherently flawed and fundamentally irreparable, hence selfishness, predation, and violence are ineradicable. To me, this does not belong to Realists but is a very familiar expression of a Western character. Western civilization has an individualism-enhancing approach. Dugin advocates for the use of state power to completely control a society. Initially, we see this distinction: against individual freedom, rights, and interests, Dugin places “state authority” that can be balanced differently under any power at various times.
Dugin then brings in the topic of International Relations. He says, International Relations are only based on the balance of power among completely sovereign entities. True, but he thinks incompletely. After the theories of the European Balance of Power System, we saw the theories of the World Balance of Power System in the Twentieth Century. Both World Wars occurred within this World Power Balance System, with the Russian Empire in the first phase and the USSR in the second. The USSR collapsed, but Russia remained as a permanent member of the United Nations. It seems that the Russians have benefited the most from these power balance theories. I’m not sure if Dugin is aware, but today theories of Global Power Balances are still debated. How will the Russian State System solve the position of Russian oligarchs in globalization, based on the “educational” methods of state authority? Some oligarchs are both Realist and Liberalist.
Real problems cannot be solved with philosophical explanations alone. In the context of Globalization developing within the Nation-States system, of course, there is a chaotic situation. Ultimately, with the global GDP exceeding 100 trillion US dollars and the global economic size tending to increase, the reality is that new capacities and actors influencing everything known stand before us. Therefore, looking at Russia’s or China’s thinking that they deserve more share from this growing pie and the efforts of Moscow or Beijing to grow and strengthen further, what else can we say? What is the reality? Is it the Russian state beating Ukraine with a club whenever it wants? Is this the magic formula of the Eurasian proposition? Is this the philosophy developed against chaos? I can see that some powerful states are more engaged in sustaining their interests than others, leading to various aggressive foreign policies by powers like the USA. Capitalism is primarily about protecting and enhancing material interests. Those with the means, and there are, develop scenarios to “manage chaos,” including using artificial intelligence and various tools. Most affected by these developments are the innocent people of the whole world and weak countries. Are we not aware of these “painfully real” happenings, is that what is thought? The solution is not as Dugin describes; I see a contradiction here, and that’s what I criticize. Russia does not have a past convincing to innocent people, and the issues they currently present are not very convincing either.
Suppose Russia was in the place of the USA, would it not continue the Hegemony War? Would they share what they have with everyone? Even today, I see the Russians leading the political games to take over the mines in Africa from the Westerners. Today, Russia wants to earn more from the sales of natural gas, oil, and various minerals, wanting to dominate these fields in the global markets. But even here, they see the USA opposing them.
Dugin says that the term chaos is not negative in theory; it is just an expression of the factual situation arising from the most serious approach to the concept of sovereignty. What did you understand? Let me explain. Let nation-states exist, states be fully sovereign, borders never change, let’s call this the nation-states system, but… But, in the current situation, there is a “Leviathan” in the world,
let’s destroy it first. America sees itself as a supra-national power, creating a chaotic environment for itself, attacking sovereign nation-states, wanting to change their borders, wanting everyone to obey it, let’s destroy this “single sovereign supra-national entity” together, even if we have to cause chaos!
Western writers, like Joseph S. Nye Jr., can talk about the idea of “liberal realism.” This means that international decisions start with realism, but they don’t end there. Dugin must not be able to think of this!.. Dugin primarily targets Liberalism philosophy. But he tries to explain it by mixing it with politics.
On Dugin’s Liberalism Criticism
Firstly, we need to properly address the Enlightenment process in Russian society. Every historian knows the historical evolution of Moscow. Are we to say that during the times of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) or John Locke (1632-1704), the Russians were not predatory and egoistic? Leaving the past aside and looking simply, why did Russia invade Crimea in 2014?
One might explain countries with Western thought as anti-American, but I can’t comment on that. However, looking at Japan, which has embraced Enlightenment ideas, we see a Japanese with their cultural values, family, school, professional life, national system, and even standing in globalization. How much of a problem is the debate between Realism and Liberalism for them, both for their country and the world? But looking at Russia, Japan is an enemy country like the USA, and there must be a proposition from Dugin in this political picture. Dugin’s thought that “liberal states don’t fight each other” is not very rational.
It’s useless to cherry-pick historical processes to draw certain conclusions. Starting from the Fifteenth Century in Europe, the Renaissance and Reformation movements were seen. It was said that the Enlightenment process had begun. Before reaching the Twenty-First Century, the Information or Digital Age began worldwide. The concept of Globalization was fully understood. Now, along with National Powers, Global Powers are at play in the world. Young generations raised in globalization are better able to assimilate the Digital Age and the Fourth Industrial Revolution than we do. Humanity is now in Global Capitalism, whether you accept it or not!
So will the war be with Russia’s “State Capitalism” or “Oligarchic Capitalism,” or with the USA’s “Liberal Democratic Capitalism” model? Shouldn’t we clarify this first? Are we to accept that the spread of Neo-Colonialism as a disease in the world is only valid for Liberals and not related to Capitalism based on Russian oligarchy?
In my opinion, the idea of a single world government, an advanced step of old Marxism’s Internationalism, is unrealistic, as is the Liberal Democratic International System. It is not right to label these subjects as a Globalized World System. Why are we discussing these? As Russia attacks other countries, so does America. Russia wants its weapons to be purchased, so does America. In the Bipolar World, many countries used both the ruble and the US dollar. In today’s Unipolar atmosphere, the US wants its dollar to be widely used. The ruble, not daring to compete with the dollar, advocates for a new monetary system: let BRICS develop and rival the dollar! Aren’t these the realities? Why does Dugin choose not to speak these truths, giving the impression of creating a philosophy with a cut-and-paste explanation?
Dugin explains Chinese, Islamic, Indian civilizations like he does Russian civilization. He points out the moral and socio-political differences. For example, he says that in Islamic civilization, adherence to Sharia principles and fundamental religious principles requires being Illiberal. China, with its Communist, anti-bourgeois, and anti-individualist form and traditional Confucianism, is Illiberalist. The principles of Vedanta philosophy in India have nothing in common with those of Liberal Globalism. Dugin also makes similar explanatory remarks about Africa and Latin America. Would you explain Illiberalism like this? If you go by what Dugin says, you need to agree on many issues, including the Orthodox Church, Ecumenism, belief issues in Marxist philosophy. Today, many Western economists defend Illiberalism. It would be more realistic if this discussion is done within its own context.
On Dugin’s Multipolar World Theory
In my opinion, Dugin cannot place Realism or Liberalism correctly. Or rather, he positions these concepts contrary to what everyone knows, using them with a distorted narrative method for his purpose. What is closer to his multipolar world theory? Realism or Idealism?
There are those who believe or want to believe in Dugin’s “fabricated” theory, and they are not few. In the end, this is also a matter of political choice, and I cannot comment on that. Politics is like that. As I mentioned earlier, Dugin seems to be trying to make historical facts with philosophical claims and also aligns all arguments in Russia’s favor, thus making politics. My objection is to calling such an explanation and conclusion a “theory.”
Like Dugin, I also grew up in a Bipolar World, and we all saw the harms of a Unipolar world. If a Multipolar World is to emerge, I would like it to develop on its own. Attacking Ukraine first and then seeking refuge in China, publishing propaganda maps that “divide” the world and then trying to strengthen a bloc against US sanctions, these might be the necessary political policies from Moscow’s perspective; but I can’t see the necessary magic philosophy for humanity
here! Attacking Iraq first and then controlling the Middle East energy routes and market, dictating unity in the Liberal Democracy camp, these too might be seen as necessary political policies from Washington’s perspective. But every country and power center will have its own politics, and acknowledging this is not wrong. The wrong thing is to fight power struggles by killing people, taking land from those concerned with their daily survival, and giving it to others; these are the fundamental issues.
Where does Dugin place conservatives in politics? Trotskyists against Stalinism in the USSR accused the existing regime of becoming conservative. Such political attitudes can be seen in Dugin as well.
I don’t want to explain American, British, Russian, German, Italian, French, Turkish conservatives here, but my point is that they exist in such a political field. Where do we place definitions of Liberal, Libertarian, fiscal, national, nationalist, traditionalist, cultural, social, religious, patriarchal, progressive, or authoritarian conservatism?
Politics, Strategy, and Propaganda
Those in power are the decision-makers for their policies. There is much to write and discuss about Russia’s politics. However, it’s more accurate to examine these issues in terms of what they are doing and want to do. On the other hand, the policy topic within a country is formed from all other topics. This includes government and state organs, strategic, economic, socio-cultural, manpower, military, scientific and technological, transportation, and communication, and many other topics, which they determine in accordance with humanity and execute both domestically and internationally in interaction with others.
Dugin’s propagandist approach is clear, and he takes on the role of being complementary to his strategies. This is how it works in Russia; in other countries, like America, it’s different, with different methods and institutions. China, India, or Turkey also have their policies within the world family with certain goals according to their perspective.
What Dugin should not do is this: Create spheres of influence, believers, and partners for myself, focus the existing ones on my goals, use those in these areas as much as possible, sacrifice them if necessary, choose to win together if needed, but ultimately let Russia be the winner against the enemy country America. We can read the topic of politics, strategy, and propaganda in this composition.