Book highlight from “Understanding Contemporary Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism: The Post-Soviet Cossack Revival and Ukraine’s National Security” by Dr Olexander Hryb.
Part 1 of the highlight introduced the concept of Eurasianism; Part 2 focused on Putin’s statements of his civic nationalism; Part 3 outlined his idea of the reign of ‘Russian civilisation’; Part 4 addressed the issue of Russia’s return to Eurasian ideology. Part 5 considered contradictions in Kremlin’s ideology. Part 6 explores a range of various Eurasianist ideas which could be tested by Russia and concludes the book highlight.
4.2.6 Unknown Unknowns of Putin’s Eurasianism
The Map in this Blog shows Dugin’s counter strategy to create a multipolar world http://med.org.ru/article/1886
Although Alexander Dugin’s links to FSB, GRU, Russian General Staff, Duma and presidential administration are well documented (Basin 2017), it is not quite clear whether he is a product or an inspiration of Putin’s Eurasianism. He is often referred to as Putin’s ‘favourite philosopher’ or even ‘Putin’s brain’, although others consider him not influential in the Kremlin (Ratner 2016). Dugin certainly does not hide his fascination with the Russian leader: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable”.
Taking into account KGB’s tradition of social engineering (‘active measures’), it would be prudent to assume that the Eurasian movement is a test laboratory where one could safely play out ideas before implanting them into the wider Russian society and beyond. Not all ideas will take roots, so experimenting might be essential in order to avoid negative political consequences i.e. popular rejection of ideas associated with Russia’s leadership. Novorossiya project is a good example when ‘Young Eurasians’ Movement was sponsored by the Presidential administration in order to penetrate Eastern Ukraine and test this ideological construct from Kharkiv to Odesa. Once the Novorossiya project failed, the idea was quickly withdrawn from the state controlled Russian media. Dugin’s public appeals to kill more Ukrainians resisting the Russian takeover caused a public outcry and cost him his professorship at the Moscow State University after 10,000 people signed a petition.
So, what are other relevant ideas that the new Eurasianists are playing with? Shaping Europe as a joint living (settlement) space with Germany at the expense of Central European neighbours is a persistent one. Some Eurasianists even entertain the idea that Germany can ‘buy into’ the great bargain with Moscow if Berlin will be ‘granted’ East Prussia (Kaliningrad oblast’) back. Could Putin’s success in ‘Schroderization’ of Germany be a hint of more things to come?
Formation of major Russia-Eurasian alliances with Tokyo and Teheran is another consistent theme, even though slightly corrected with Putin’s (tactical?) reorientation towards China. Despite pursuing aggressive policy of ‘land-grabbing’ in the FSU area, Kremlin seems to be quite liberal in settling territorial dispute with Japan dated to WWII. Could formation of the Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo axes be on the mind of the Russian leader as portrayed on the geopolitical drawings of the new Eurasianists?
Isolation of Great Britain as American ‘floating air-carrier’ in Europe is another prominent theme in opposing American ‘atlanticism’ and making sure that Russia controls the entire Eurasian landmass and therefore, in Mackinder tradition, the whole world. How many of these ideas are shared by Vladimir Putin personally? The answer is unknown but might be irrelevant in the same way as nobody really knows whether Hitler believed in theories of Arian racial superiority or just used them to impose his will on the Germans and the outside world. What is clear that more Eurasianist ideas could be tested unless the rest of the affected world will offer credible deterrence against confrontational agenda of Putin’s Russia. As German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned the world is facing a “new phase of nuclear rearmament,” and is in the midst of “Cold War 2.0.” (Quoted from Politico https://www.politico.eu/article/sigmar-gabriel-world-in-cold-war-2-0/ ).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Olexander Hryb is a London based writer with over 20 years experience in research, analysis, media and PR. He studied history, politics and the sociology of culture in Lviv, Prague and Warsaw. Olexander worked as a broadcaster and online journalist for the BBC World Service, Polish Radio (Overseas Service) and as analyst for DCD Intelligence. He is currently an associated member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology as well as a Cultural Adviser in the British Army. His articles appeared in the Ukrainian Review (London), Border and Territorial Disputes of the World Series (John Harper), and the British Army Review.
“Understanding Contemporary Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism: The Post-Soviet Cossack Revival and Ukraine’s National Security” by Dr Olexander Hryb is available on Amazon:
ABOUT “UKRAINIAN VOICES” BOOK SERIES
Dr Hryb’s book is the second volume in the “Ukrainian Voices” book series.
The “Ukrainian Voices” book series includes English- and German-language monographs, edited volumes, document collections and anthologies of articles authored and composed by Ukrainian politicians, intellectuals, activists, officials, researchers, entrepreneurs, artists, and diplomats.
The series aims to introduce Western and broader audiences to Ukrainian explorations and interpretations of historic and current domestic as well as international affairs.
The purpose of these books is to familiarise non-Ukrainian readers with how some prominent Ukrainians approach, research and assess their country’s development and position in the world. The series was founded in 2019, and the volumes are collected by Andreas Umland.
You can watch an online presentation of the first volume of the series – Ukraine’s Maidan, Russia’s War by Mychailo Wynnytsky here: