Staunton, October 26 – Russia is engaged in an ideological struggle with liberalism at home and abroad, the influential Russian Eurasianist Aleksandr Dugin says. Moscow has clearly articulated what it is against, but having failed to develop an ideology of its own, it remains incapable to saying what it is for and thus risks losing this competition.
In a TV interview, Dugin says “the West criticizes Russia and each of our actions be they in Crimea, Novorossiya or Syria from the position of liberalism.” And because of that, Russians in general and Vladimir Putin in particular have come to view liberalism as hostile to Russia (tsargrad.tv/article/2016/10/26/aleksandr-dugin-nelzja-vesti-ideologicheskuju-vojnu-ne-imeja-ideologii).
To defeat it, the Eurasianist says, Russia must do two things, the first of which it is on its way to doing – rooting out all the liberalism which “put down deep roots” in Russian life beginning in the 1990s – and the second, articulating its own ideology to put in place of liberalism, something it has not yet done.
Ultimately, he suggests, “these two things are closely connected” because “we cannot pull out liberalism by the roots, if we do not find something to replace it.” And unfortunately, “the bearers of the liberal virus do everything … to sabotage from the inside any effort to advance a consistent alternative ideology” based on Russian identity and exceptionalism.
They are helped in this by the fact that in modern times, there have been only two ideologies opposed to liberalism, Dugin says. These are communism and fascism, “including various forms of nationalism,” and both are anathema to Russia because of their specific historical experience.
Consequently, many feel that “if we reject liberalism then we are forced to oppose to it either Marxism and communism or forgive the expression fascism.” It is possible to put various “fig leaves” on these, but their “essence remains unchanged.” And Russians know this as do their opponents.
“Perhaps,” Dugin continues, “that is why we are afraid to fight for an ideology.” But in the current ideological war, Russia must have one. “We simply have no other way out if we want to escape this vicious circle” except by coming up with a new ideology, the fourth, instead of the existing three.
“In modern times, there is no such theory because liberalism, communism and fascism exhaust all the theoretical possibilities laid down in the era of the Enlightenment,” Dugin argues. But in the current post-modern period, it is possible to construct a fourth political theory by turning to both the past and the future.
“In the past,” he argues, “we see the ideal of tradition, empire, the holy Christian monarchy and the symphony of power. This is not liberalism, communism or fascism,” but something else entirely. And that means that with the new ideology, “modernity and its axioms must be sacrificed.”
At the same time, the new, fourth, ideology, must be constructed with a view to the future as well; and having done that, it will be possible to “throw into the trash heap” liberalism, communism and fascism, and thus liberate Russia from all three. “It is possible,” he says, that “that will be completely compatible with the rebirth of tradition.”
“Let this be called a Conservative Revolution,” Dugin says. That may sound “paradoxical” but Russia has no other path available. It must have an ideology. It can’t use any of the existing three. And so it must turn to what he calls “the Fourth Political Theory.”