Staunton, March 9 – The fundamental if often unrecognized paradox of Russia under the rule of Vladimir Putin is that the country has made giant strides in regaining its sovereignty but that at the same time it has put itself at risk of losing its national identity, according to influential Eurasianist Aleksandr Dugin.
In a Zavtra commentary, Dugin says that the recovery of state sovereignty is very important because only “a sovereign state does what it wants.” And sovereignty” he continues, “abolishes the idea of international law, the system of treaties which are constantly changing among sovereign subjects” (zavtra.ru/blogs/russkie_na_grani_poteri_identichnosti).
“Several sovereign states can force another sovereign state to do or not do something,” he suggests, “but this is a decision based on force and not on law.” At the same time, Dugin argues, “the sovereignty of one state ends where the sovereignty of another is in effect.” Only liberals rely on international law and seek to reduce sovereignty to something as small as possible.
With regard to sovereignty, Putin has achieved an enormous amount by having decided to pursue “the strengthening of sovereignty which was lost in the 1990s.” According to Dugin, “when our rulers have strengthened sovereignty, they have covered themselves with glory; when they have lost it, shame. This measure of sovereignty remains in Russia to this day.”
But the situation with regard to identity is less good, the Eurasianist thinker says. “Identity is the state of the people, of the popular spirit, and of society which transmits Tradition and preserves that which was before. We are a Russian and Orthodox people. Culture in language, faith, and many small elements is what makes Russians Russians.”
According to Dugin, “identity at a minimum involves three people: the father, the man and the son.” It is something which is handed down from one generation to another, and with this, “we now have problems” because identity in our society is ill and we are on the brink of losing it.”
Sovereignty and identity are interrelated, of course. For example, “under Peter, we strengthened sovereignty but lost identity; under Nicholas, we gained enormous sovereignty and began to restore identity.” But then something fell apart, and Russians lost both until the Bolsheviks “gradually restored sovereignty and completely changed identity.”
“Now sovereignty is on the rise,” Dugin continues. That is good, but Russian identity is in trouble and is “degrading.” “We have lost Soviet meanings, the model of monarchy looks at present like a caricature … and nationalism is flawed and pathetic.”
Dugin concludes: “this paradox defines the time in which we live. Let us hope” that having recovered sovereignty, Russians can now do something similar with identity.