Saturday, September 17, 2022

Russia at Risk of Giving Up Its Future to Eurasianism Just as It Once Did to 'Madness of Marxist Communism,' Tsipko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 15 – Aleksandr Dugin does not have the influence in Russia many in the West think, Aleksandr Tsipko says; but the ideological system of Eurasianism which rejects European values and celebrates the cult of force and the destruction of the individual risks becoming a threat to 20th century Russia much as Marxist communism was to the 20th.

            Anti-Westernism, the most prominent strain of which is Eurasianism, has “again become popular” in Russia, the senior Russian commentator says. “But people must remember that behind it stands a desire to justify our backwardness and some kind of sadistic conception of suffering as a manifestation of some special Russian mission.”

            Two figures from the first emigration of the 20th century played a special role in developing such ideas, Konstantin Leontyev and Nikolay Trubetskoy, Tsipko says (

            Leontyev argued that “the chief enemy of man is humaneness” because “only suffering opens to a man the path to God.” And because he believed that, he called for submission to the early powers however cruel they might be. Trubetskoy in his early writings went even further and celebrated the cruelty of rulers as a model for Russia.

            Today, Tsipko argues, some are trying to “force Russia to live according to the ideas of Nikolay Trubetskoy who supposed that the heritage of Chingiz Khan is much closer to the Russian soul than is the Roman-German culture of the West.” Indeed, unlike Leontyev, he “idealized the East” in general.

            Today’s Eurasianists follow Trubetskoy and “tell us that we Russians will acquire genuine primacy and genuine independence when we look at Russia not from the West but from the East, when we ‘reject the unquestioned authority of European culture’ and ‘the ideals of European progress.’”

            “From the point of view of the fathers of Eurasianism,” Tsipko continues, “absolutely everything of ‘the Roman-Greek form of life,’ that is, republicanism, division of powers, equality of all before the law, and rotation of power, we Russians don’t need and only when we do away with them will we stand on the path of genuinely independent development.”

            Dugin is one of these, the Russian commentator says; but he adds that he “agrees with those that the leader of our Eurasianism doesn’t play as some in the West think a serious role in the formation of the ideology of present-day Russia.” But it is clear that “’the anti-Westernism” he and others promote is leading to “the dehumanization of Russia.”

            Moreover, Tsipko continues, just as was the case at the dawn of Eurasianism, attraction to it now is not accidentlly leading to “the justification of the crimes of Stalin and the Great Terror” and attacks on Gorbachev as “an enemy of the Russian people” given “his humanism and profound rejection of all that stood behind Stalinism.”

            “We will lose everything if we look at Russia from the East” because Eastern cultures have an entirely different attitude toward death, but even they, Tsipko says, do not manifest anything like the support for the world and ideals of Timur and Chingiz Khan as do Russia’s Eurasianists.”

            “Only someone who has lost his conscience and reason can insist that Russia’s salvation lies in the rejection of the authority of European culture, the rejection of the ideals of European progress, the rejection of the values of the Enlightenment and humanism, in the rejection of European faith in progress, and in the rejection of the values of freedom and even human life.”

            Today’s Eurasianists instead deny everything that “underlies the humanism of all European culture, including the Russian,” Tsipko says. And this represents a terrible step down from the liberal conservatism of Vekhi followers like Ivan Ilin which were part of the Kremlin’s ideology two decades ago.

            Those caught up in Eurasianism in the past often turned away from it on reflection. Among them, Tsipko says, was Nikolay Trubetskoy himself, who saw the falsity of Eurasian ideas and regrated to the end of his life that he had engaged in the promotion of such notions earlier in his life.

            “Do we really have to sacrifice our future in bringing to life” the very ideas even he decided had to be rejected? Tsipko asks. “Was the 20th century really not enough for us Russians when we gave up our lives to the madness of Marxism communism?” Do we in fact want to “do it again?”

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