Anton Shekhovtsov. Aleksandr Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism: The New Right la Russe1
(Anton Shekhovtsov, 'Aleksandr Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism: The New Right la Russe', Religion Compass, Vol. 3, No. 4 (2009), pp. 697-716.)


Russian political thinker and, by his own words, geopolitician, Aleksandr Dugin, represents a comparatively new trend in the radical Russian nationalist thought. In the course of the 1990s, he introduced his own doctrine that was called Neo-Eurasianism. Despite the supposed reference to the interwar political movement of Eurasianists, Dugin's Neo-Eurasian nationalism was rooted in the political and cultural philosophy of the European New Right. Neo-Eurasianism is based on a quasi-geopolitical theory that juxtaposes the 'Atlanticist New World Order' (principally the US and the UK) against the Russia-oriented 'New Eurasian Order'. According to Dugin, the 'Atlanticist Order' is a homogenizing force that dilutes national and cultural diversity that is a core value for Eurasia. Taken for granted, Eurasia is perceived to suffer from a 'severe ethnic, biological and spiritual' crisis and is to undergo an 'organic cultural-ethnic process' under the leadership of Russia that will secure the preservation of Eurasian nations and their cultural traditions. Neo-Eurasianism, sacralized by Dugin and his followers in the form of a political religion, provides a clear break from narrow nationalism toward the New Right ethopluralist model. Many Neo-Eurasian themes find a broad response among Russian high-ranking politicians, philosophers, scores of university students, as well as numerous avant-garde artists and musicians. Already by the end of the 1990s, Neo-Eurasianism took on a respectable, academic guise and was drawn in to 'scientifically' support some anti-American and anti-British rhetoric of the Russian government.

All animals are equal.
But some animals are more equal than others.2


In August 2008 Russian troops intervened in the armed conflict between Georgia and the separatist self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia, and Russian society found itself increasingly affected by the almost Soviet-like propaganda espoused by the right-wing newsmakers backed by the state. A quasi-religious mantra, 'Tanks to Tbilisi', was introduced into the Russian mass media by Aleksandr Dugin, Doctor of Political Science and a leader of the International Eurasian Movement, and widely publicised by radio, TV and press. '"Tanks to Tbilisi!" - this is a voice of our national history'.3 'Those, who do not second the "Tanks to Tbilisi!", are not Russians. [...] "Tanks to Tbilisi!" - that's what should be written on every Russian's forehead' (Figure 1).4 It was Dugin who first referred to the Georgian military's actions 'against' South Ossetians as 'genocide', long before this became the Russian government's official line of reasoning.5 A month after the tragic events in both South Ossetia and 'core Georgia',6 a Financial Times article correctly asserted that 'against the backdrop of conflict in Georgia and deteriorating relations with the west, Russia's ultra-nationalist thinkers [were] starting to exert unprecedented influence'.7 However, reducing Dugin's doctrine, Neo-Eurasianism, to Russian ultranationalism as advanced by other right-wingers mentioned in the Financial Times piece, would be a simplification. As we shall argue in this article, Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism implies a very specific type of nationalism, namely the nationalism of the New Right, and can itself be considered a Russian version of the broad pan-European movement called the European New Right.

Fig. 1. Dr. Aleksandr Dugin with a Kalashnikov in front of a tank of the South Ossetian insurgent army. June 2008, South Ossetia.

Ideas Matter

The notion of the New Right is doubtlessly one of the most ambiguous terms in contemporary social and political sciences. Predominantly limited to the Europeanised world, the New Right has at least two major national or, rather, cross-national manifestations. The first references to this concept can be found in The New American Right8 and The Radical Right,9 1955 and 1963, respectively. These two edited volumes by contemporary US sociologists' and historians' essays focused on the conservative political movement and considered the New Right 'as mainly the right-wing radicals of McCarthyism and of Midwest neo-populist Republicanism'.10 The notion soon received a wider interpretation in the US academic world and was extended so as to cover the Heritage Foundation, a political think tank founded by the recently deceased Paul Weyrich; the Moral Majority, a Christian political movement that counted Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson among its most prominent members; and also US President Ronald Reagan's social and economic policies. In fact, it was generally a combination of socially conservative and economically liberal policies that was ascribed to the US New Right, and, thus defined, the notion crossed the Atlantic ocean to identify UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's policies.11

Another major manifestation of the New Right - the one we will focus on in this article - is associated with the originally French, though subsequently cross-national network of think tanks, journals, and conferences, labeled the
'Nouvelle Droite' in 1979.12 The entity itself surfaced in 1968 - on the eve of the May uprisings - with the creation of the principal French New Right think tank Groupement de recherche et d'tudes pour la civilisation europenne (GRECE, Group for Research and Studies on European Civilisation) founded by journalists, writers, university professors, and other intellectuals, of whom Alain de Benoist, Pierre Vial, and Jean-Claude Valla were most prominent. In the course of the 1970s the Nouvelle Droite school13 evolved, its relationships with foreign right-wing intellectuals extended, and by the end of the decade - with the formation of the German Neue Rechte (1972),14 Italian Nuova Destra (1974),15 and Belgian Nieuw Recht (1979)16 - one could already speak of the European New Right (ENR)17 as a distinctive metapolitical cross-national network. Its international nature was further enforced in the course of the 1980-1990s when the New Right 'nodes' appeared in the UK (Michael Walker's journal The Scorpion and later the New Right group led by Troy Southgate and Jonothon Boulter), Spain (Jos Javier Esparza's journal Hesprides), Romania (Bogdan Radulescu's journal Maiastra), and some other European countries.18

Despite the fact that all of the 'nodes' that make up the broad ENR network are self-sufficient and have individual doctrines, they share common ideological origins
19 and are characterised by the same set of distinctive features, which allows the scholars to assign these 'nodes' to a common school of thought that contrasts with the neoconservative Anglo-American manifestations of the New Right. The first feature is that the ENR is inherently opposed to individualism, multiculturalism, and egalitarianism. According to the ENR thinkers, these liberal democratic policies are the causes for the alleged contemporary crisis of the Europeanised world. Instead of them, the ENR longs to revive and revitalise Europe by implementing the principles of a hierarchically structured organic community and ethno-pluralism in a new post-liberal order. The second feature is the ENR's extensive adoption of the late Italian communist Antonio Gramsci's doctrine on cultural hegemony.20 This doctrine is based on the concept that a revolution can only be successful if based on the cultural domination over a given society by implanting certain ideological messages through newspapers, conferences, and higher education. The ENR's 'right-wing Gramscism' - together with the adoption of specific New Left ideas, especially its sophisticated anti-capitalist rhetoric, as well as regionalist and ecological stances - has certainly been a novel strategic move to veil its fascist agenda in post-war Europe.21 Having abandoned both the milieu of immediate revolutionary, but extremely marginal fascist groups, and the sphere of parliamentary contestation, to which radical right-wing populist parties adhere, the ENR preferred to 'focus on the battle for minds',22 thus choosing the way of 'metapolitical fascism'. The fascist nature of the ENR, however, is disputed by some scholars who argue that the ENR thinkers have moved beyond fascism and the older revolutionary right-wing project toward 'a unique post-modern ideological synthesis'.23

Aleksandr Dugin's 'Historico-philosophical centre
EON (Aeon)', established in 1988 and transformed into 'Historico-Religious Association Arktogeia (Northern land)' in 1991, became a Russian 'node' of the broad ENR network. (The late Graham Smith referred to 'the Eurasianist New Right'.24) In 1991, Dugin launched his first journal, Milyi Angel (Sweet angel) that featured an essay by the Italian New Rightist Claudio Mutti, interviews with the ENR authors Philippe Baillet and Jean-Pierre Laurant, as well as articles on and by Ren Gunon and Julius Evola, who are considered important sources of inspiration for the ENR. In 1992, Dugin launched another journal Elementy (Elements), the title of which directly referred to the ENR publications, namely French lments,25 Italian Elementi, and German Elemente. Published between 1992 and 1998, each of the nine issues of Elementy featured articles of the thinkers or intellectuals closely associated with this metapolitical network. Also in 1992, two GRECE's major authors, Alain de Benoist and Robert Steuckers, visited Moscow on Dugin's invitation to take part in a panel discussion at the office of the right-wing Soviet-nostalgic newspaper Den' (Day), for which Dugin worked as a journalist. The discussion was also attended by the Den's editor-in-chief Aleksandr Prokhanov and the leader of Russian communists Gennadiy Zyuganov. The early 1990s were the epoch of the so-called 'red-brown alliance' characterised by a practical integration of the Russian radical right and radical left. Thus, it was only natural for the Russian communists (or rather national-communists) to take heightened interest in the ideas of the ENR that used to exploit the left-wing critique of capitalism and bourgeois liberalism. De Benoist was disappointed with his visit to Moscow as, in his own words, he was 'disturbed by the crude imperialism and Jacobinism of the vast majority of the so-called "patriots"', some of whom 'thought about nothing but the restoration of the old Russian domination over Eastern and even Central European countries'.26 The disappointment resulted in the rupture of relations with Dugin, who nonetheless continued to list GRECE as a 'Eurasian' mission to France.

Fig. 2. Aleksandr Dugin makes his speech at the TeKoS colloquium 'Welk Europa morgen?' [What Europe tomorrow?].
The red symbol is an official emblem of both GRECE and TeKoS. November 1 1, 2005, Antwerp, Belgium.

In 2005, Dugin was invited to participate at an inaugural meeting of the British New Right group organised by Troy Southgate, a former British National Front activist and currently a self-confessed New Rightist.
27 Later that year, in Antwerp and Brussels, Dugin participated in two conferences organised by the journal TeKoS, closely associated with Synergies Europennes (Figure 2). During his 2005 trip to Europe, Dugin met and interviewed another ENR thinker, Jean Parvulesco and de Benoist, thus apparently overcoming the 12-year rupture between him and the latter. The interviews were partially shown in one of the episodes of Dugin's TV-show Vekhi (Landmarks), anchored at the Russian Orthodox channel Spas (the title of the Christian Orthodox festivals). The episode was dedicated to the issue of national identity in Europe, and Dugin addressed the issue exclusively to the ENR thinkers, presented to the audience as the 'European intellectual and political elite', while de Benoist was described as a 'prominent European intellectual' and a 'leader of the New Right that unites the best minds of all European states'.28 In September 2008, Aleksandr Dugin - now a Professor in Sociology at Moscow State University (MSU), a distinguished academic institution in Russia - established the Centre for Conservative Research (CCR) at the MSU's Faculty of Sociology. As early as November 2008 de Benoist, the first guest speaker at the CCR, delivered a lecture to MSU students and academic staff. Penetrating the educational sectors is of great importance in the context of the ENR's 'battle for minds' metapolitical strategy, as the universities, institutes, and colleges give specific opportunities to the ENR, so they can exert direct influence upon those who will be forming public opinion and govern countries in future.

The doctrine of Neo-Eurasianism
29 propagated by Dugin, as well as his 'path from a marginal extremist to an ideologue of the post-Soviet academic and political elite' - to cite the title of one of the articles30 - is well researched,31 while the fascist nature of Dugin's ideology is widely discussed.32 This study, however, focuses on a subject that is rarely subjected to thorough analysis, namely the phenomenon of the New Right version of ultranationalism that constitutes - together with the concept of the socio-political rebirth of the 'cultural-ethnic community'33 - a compound core of Neo-Eurasianism. Methodologically, the study is based on the approach elaborated by Roger Griffin who defines generic fascism as follows:

A revolutionary species of political modernism [...] whose mission is to combat the allegedly degenerative forces of contemporary history (decadence) by bringing about an alternative modernity and temporality (a 'new order' and a 'new era') based on the rebirth, or palingenesis, of the nation.34

This approach advances the conceptual framework of a certain 'new consensus' in fascist studies
35 and allows it to transcend the boundaries of the research field by considering fascism, modernism, and political religions. It is also important that the approach is applicable both to the interwar and post-war epochs: As Griffin's concept of generic fascism is developed on the middle, theoretical, rung of the ladder of the abstraction,36 it is possible to go down the ladder to the lowest, empirical, rung to analyze appropriate time- or country-specific ideological features of a movement, party or network.

From the Right to Difference to Ethno-cultural Ghettos

It is seemingly difficult to apply the concept of a nation to the ENR, as the thinkers associated with this network certify (or glorify?) the irrevocable death of a nation-state. As de Benoist assumes, '[t]he idea of the nation-state, which reigned in Europe from the Peace of Westphalia until the first half of the 20th century, is today reaching its end'.
37 However, it is possible to surmount this conceptual contradiction in this study as Griffin's approach implies an organic conception of the nation that is not necessarily equated with the nation-state or its existing boundaries, and which is indebted to modern notion of the sovereignty of the 'people' as a discrete supra-individual historical entity and actor.38

By repudiating the 'modernist' idea of the nation-state, or a political union of the nation-states (i.e., the European Union), the ENR thinkers propose a seemingly 'post-modernist' concept of 'a decentralized federation of organic, ethno-cultural identities that portray the deep "historical" spirit of cultural Europe'.
39 The concept itself is a result of the ultimately modernist, or rather alternative modernist, re-synthesis of the older notion of organic nationalism that holds that 'nations and their characters are organisms that can be easily ascertained by their cultural differentiae' and 'that the members of nations may, and frequently have, lost their national self-consciousness along with their independence', while 'the duty of nationalists is to restore that self-consciousness and independence to the "reawakened" organic nation'.40 The re-synthesised nature of the ENR's concept of an organic nation incorporates the New Left's ideas of political regionalism, thus shifting the emphasis from an organic nation to a federation of organic nations, or mythologized 'ethnie[s] as homogeneous historical or ethnic communities]'.41

Dugin fully agrees with the ENR concept of organic nations, and defines the
'etnos' (Russian word for the 'ethnie') as an 'immediate identity of an individual of the traditional society, from which he [sic!] draws everything - language, customs, psychological and cultural attitudes, life programme, and system of age-related and social identifications'.42 Thus, according to Dugin, the etnosy are 'principal values and subjects of human history', which 'live in reconciliation with natural organic cycles, wave-like mutation, etc.'.43

As Dugin believes the nature of an ethnic community to be superior to, and deeper than, that of a state, Neo-Eurasianism refutes the idea of a modern nation-state, even the Russian one, and promotes the concept of a 'Eurasian empire' built on the principles of 'Eurasian federalism'. According to the concept, all the political units of this 'empire' should be established in accordance with cultural, historical, and ethnic identifications rather than simple administrative division.

In the 1980s the ENR, especially the
Nouvelle Droite, took a 'cultural turn' and its thinkers began highlighting the cultural essence of an ethnie. The 'turn' allowed them to distance themselves from a biological conception of ethnicity by using the notion of a culture as a euphemism for an ethnie. World cultures or cultural identities, seen as 'historic', 'rooted', 'authentic', or 'traditional', became the most important and valuable entities for the ENR. Yet as sovereign peoples may be deprived of their culture, there is a need to preserve and protect cultural authenticity by any means. It is significant to note that the contemporary ENR perceive their own ethnic community, or rather a European national community and culture, as suffering a decadent phase that should be surmounted by reviving, reinvigorating, and restoring the spiritual substance of the community. Therefore, this way of 'preserving' the cultural authenticity is hardly related to conservative thinking as the European community should be rejuvenated to create history rather than be kept as a historical museum piece.

The Neo-Eurasianist doctrine does not stress culture and cultural identity as prominently as the ideological constructs of its French counterparts. Dugin does speak of cultural authenticity but, in his view, culture is only one - even if very important - of the manifestations of an ethnic community, an
ethnie. This peculiarity of Neo-Eurasianism is rooted in Dugin's adoption of the Soviet ethnologist and anthropologist Lev Gumilev's theory of ethnogenesis.45 Since the 1970s, Gumilev's pseudoscientific 'research' on ethnic communities became increasingly influential in the academic circles of the Soviet Union. He virtually legitimised the racist discourse within allegedly internationalist Soviet science. According to Gumilev's theory of ethnogenesis, etnos is a biologised organic community - with its life-energy determined by the forces from outer space - subject to certain irresistible laws of historical development, as it passes the stages of the rise, climax, and convolution. Dugin unequivocally perceives his own, Russian, ethnic community as in the state of decline. He believes the Russian nation is going through a phase of dilapidation stemming from its alienation from its mystical essence. In his judgement, the improvement of the Russian people's severe 'condition in the ethnic, biological and spiritual sense' means appealing to a Russian nationalism defined in cultural ethnic terms.46

If the cultural (and therefore ethnic) identity is seen by the ENR as the most important and valuable entity, then it is logical to assume that the ENR's principal enemy is a force perceived as being opposed to the preservation and rejuvenation of world's unique national communities. Thus, the radical rejection of multiculturalism (the liberal project) and internationalism (the socialist/communist project) are inherent to the ultranationalist core of the ENR's world-view. The movement's ideologists believe that 'homogenizing' and 'assimilationist' practices (first of all, miscegenation) associated with these concepts dilute the differences between cultures and turn them into one universal culture. Multiculturalism and internationalism do not remain abstract in the ENR's world-view: if the relevance of the USSR-promoted internationalism (at least officially) dramatically decreased after the fall of the Soviet Empire, multiculturalism is still embodied by the "Great Melting Pot" of the US. The Anglo-American world in general is viewed as synonymous with materialist decadence, with a world where 'cultural diversity, human solidarity, and spirituality are obliterated in the march towards Americanization and the final victory of the
homo oeconomicus'.47

At this point Neo-Eurasianist doctrine completely concurs with the ENR's world-view. Dugin sees today's globalisation as a process, in which the Western (first of all, Anglo-Saxon, American) cultural approaches become universal, while different socio-political, ethnic, religious, and cultural aspects are often violently or artificially reduced to a single pattern.
48 Within the terms of Neo-Eurasianism, the globalisation and universalism of the Western liberal model led to the decomposition of ethnic communities into autonomous individuals - the process that in turn leads to total mixing of races and peoples, as well as a birth of a new cosmopolitan human. The American multicultural society is hence understood as a purposeful blurring of ethno-cultural differences:

The levelling of economic and political models on a planetary scale assumes the establishment of a single cultural stereotype. It is reasonable to suggest that the modelling of this stereotype shall be done by those forces and poles, which come to be sponsors and guardians of the whole globalisation process. The American way of life, clichs of Americanized ersatz culture transmitted via global media shall supplant local cultural projects, adjusting the historically established diversity to one-dimensional preset patterns.49

In his most important book,
Osnovy geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics], Dugin - 'a sort of mouthpiece and ideologue' of 'the demonization of Western values'50 - has geopolitically grounded Neo-Eurasianist aversion to the US and the Anglo-Saxon world in general. According to the imperialist geopolitical theories to which he adheres,51 the planet is roughly divided into three large spaces: the World Island (principally the US and the UK), Eurasia (predominantly Central Europe, Russia, and Asia), and the Rimland (the states between the World Island and Eurasia). According to the Neo-Eurasianist doctrine, there is a perennial irresolvable confrontation between the 'Sea power' associated with the US dominated 'homogenizing New World Order' and the 'Land power' of the Russia-oriented 'New Eurasian Order' which resists globalisation and ethno-cultural universalisation. In classic Manichean tradition, Dugin demonises the US and the whole Atlanticist 'World Island' as a 'reign of Antichrist'.52

The propagators of both a decentralised federal Europe ('a Europe of a hundred flags'
53) and the Eurasian empire of ethno-cultural regions assume the Third World states that allegedly embody the rooted traditional communities to be their natural allies in a battle against the 'homogenizing New World Order'. According to de Benoist, the cultural 'diversity is the wealth of the world',54 and the ENR promote the idea of anthropological culturalism in their 'struggle against the hegemony of certain standardising imperialisms and against the elimination of minority or dominated civilizations'.55 Here the ENR imitate - in a rather twisted way - the democratic call for the right of all peoples and cultures to be different. As the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms, 'all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind', while 'recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such'.56 The ENR turn this right into an imperative, so 'exclusion is given a place of honour'.57 Now,

'[t]he right to difference' changed from being a means of defending oppressed minorities and their 'cultural rights' into an instrument for legitimating the most extreme appeals for the self-defence of a 'threatened' national (and/or European) identity.58

As a result, the ENR tend to support cultural-ethnic pluralism of the world rather than cultural pluralism (multiculturalism) of a given society or community. The ENR demonstrate pro-Third World solidarity, but eventually the ENR's respect for other indigenous cultural and/or national communities is a way of legitimising European exclusionism and rejection of miscegenation (for a graphic representation of this thesis see Figure 3).

Fig. 3. PC desktop wallpaper available for download at GRECE's website.61 The image apparently depicts a border
between the federal 'New Europe' and the rest of the world.

This kind of legitimisation was required to maintain respectability as the tragic developments of the twentieth century discredited biological racism and it was 'no longer possible to speak publicly of perceived difference through the language of the "old racism"'.
59 Therefore, the ENR claim the insurmountable difference not in biological or ethnic terms but rather in terms of culture, while - in a politically correct manner - rejecting the idea of the hierarchy of cultures. However, the main thrust of the ENR is of European identity, and their ideal is 'a federal Europe' made up of 'homogeneous ethnic-cultural communities'.60

As the name suggests, Neo-Eurasianism refers to Eurasia rather than Europe. Dugin advances the idea of 'positive ethnic pluralism', a project focused on keeping a positive or at least zero sum demographic balance to prevent the disappearance of Eurasian ethnic communities. It is precisely the idea of this project that explains the need for a politically divided Eurasia to give way to a federal Eurasian empire led spiritually by the Russian Federation. All political frontiers are expected to be abolished in favor of new 'natural, organic, ethnic borders'. Dugin asserts that these borders do not imply the political domination of one ethnic community over another, however, they inherently lead to the appearance of ethno-cultural ghettos. In the terms of Neo-Eurasianism, this is called an 'organic cultural-ethnic process' intended to create individual 'national realities' for the Russians, as well as for Tatars, Chechens, Armenians, and the rest.

Although he claims that Neo-Eurasianist ethnic differentialism excludes mixophobia and sometimes ethnic mixing is an inevitable and positive process,
63 Dugin stresses that the Russian nation is in need of keeping its ethnic identity and that there should be special legal regulations to secure preservation of the Russian nation's ethnic identity within the supranational Eurasian empire.64 Apparently, these legal regulations are the 'norms of ethno-cultural hygiene' that Dugin's Neo-Eurasianist order is actively promoting the introduction of.65 As Spektorowski insightfully remarked with regard to the ENR in general, though equally relevant to the Neo-Eurasianist doctrine specifically, the idea behind the New Rightist federalism is 'an exclusionary national-socialist Europe', 'the proper field for the emergence of a new type of totalitarianism relying upon a European version of the "politics of identity"'.66

It is thus evident that Neo-Eurasianist interpretations of 'the right of all peoples to be different' is not so much a means of defending the ethnic-cultural peculiarities of Eurasian peoples, but rather 'an instrument for legitimating the most extreme appeals for the self-defence' of a Russian ethnic identity perceived to be in decline. This idea is perhaps best and most laconically articulated by Dugin himself: 'The will of any people is sacred. The will of Russian people is sacred a hundredfold'.
67 In other words, though all animals are equal, some animals are indeed more equal than others.


In this article, Aleksandr Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism is analyzed through the perspective of the ultranationalism manifested by the European New Right, a broad metapolitical network of think-tanks, journals, colloquiums, and various cultural projects. As a well-known newsmaker and popular political commentator, Dugin has a significant influence upon public opinion in Russia and is pushing it in a right-wing direction. However, the question of whether Dugin's ideas have a direct influence on the Russian authorities remains unanswered. We are inclined to agree with Shlapentokh's observation that

[i]t would be nave to assume that Putin or any member of his inner circle begins his day by reading Dugin's most recent publication the way Soviet officials of the past began their day by reading Pravda.68

Beyond any doubt, there are reasons to think otherwise. In 1999, Dugin was appointed a special advisor to the contemporary Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznev who publicly suggested that Dugin's geopolitical doctrine be made a part of Russians school curriculum.
69 From 1999 to 2003, Dugin was a leading figure in the Centre of Geopolitical Expertise - the expert consultation board of national security established under Seleznev. Most recently, the political commentator Ivan Demidov, who once stated that it were high time to implement Dugin's ideas70 was appointed a Director of the Ideological Directorate of the Political Department of Edinaya Rossiya's (United Russia, the virtually monopolistic political party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin) Central Executive Committee.71 This notwithstanding, there is no evidence that the Kremlin follows the Neo-Eurasianist doctrine. However, to immediately influence the Russian authorities per se is hardly its chief aim. Since the ENR's strategy is 'a long-term project to win hearts and minds',72 Neo-Eurasianists stress - wholly in agreement with the 'right-wing Gramscism' - the importance of developing radical right-wing culture within Russian society, particularly, through higher education. As Capoccia argued, 'democracy can be [...] "defended" by strategies with long-term goals, such as those aiming at promoting a democratic culture through education, or democratic propaganda', most importantly 'in the present context of the "protection and promotion" of democracy in newly democratizing states'.73 Apparently, the Russian New Right led by Aleksandr Dugin, Professor of Sociology at Moscow State University, is perfectly aware of the fact that fascism can be 'defended' the same way.

Short Biography

Anton Shekhovtsov finished Sevastopol National Technical University (Sevastopol, Ukraine) in 2000 and acquired a Specialist degree in English language and literature study. Currently he is a third-year PhD student in Political Science at Sevastopol National Technical University. In his thesis he analyzes new radical right-wing parties in Europe. His academic interests include but are not limited to new radical right-wing parties in Europe, the European New Right, varieties of interwar European fascism, (re)sacralization of politics. He has authored papers in these areas for
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Politologychnyy visnyk, and Naukovyi visnyk 'Gileya'. He is also a co-author of a Russian-language book Radical Russian Nationalism (Moscow 2009) that deals with the contemporary Russian radical right-wing parties, organisations, and groupuscules.


1 This article is based on a paper presented at the interdisciplinary postgraduate conference 'The Russian National Idea', held on June 6-7, 2008, in St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. My thanks go to the conference conveners Victoria Donovan and Robert Harris. I am also grateful to Tudor Georgescu who was very kind to do proof-reading. Any mistakes, however, are solely my own.
2 George Orwell, Animal Farm (New York: Knopf, 1993), 88.
3 Aleksandr Dugin, 'The End of Compromises - Tanks to Tbilisi!',, August 10, 2008 (
4 'Tretya mirovaya nachalas'. Aleksandr Dugin prizyvaet srazhat'sya',, August 9, 2008 (
5 See (or listen) 'Osoboe mnenie s Aleksandrom Duginym', Echo of Moscow, August 08, 2008 (
6 The 'core Georgia' term became widespread in August 2008 and meant Georgia without South Ossetia and a second separatist province of Abkhazia.
7 Charles Clover, 'Invasion's ideologues: Ultra-nationalists Join the Russian Mainstream', Financial Times, September 8, 2008 ( Besides Dugin, the article focuses on other Russian right-wingers like Dmitriy Rogozin, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, and Aleksandr Prokhanov.
8 Daniel Bell (ed.), The New American Right (New York: Criterion Books, 1955). Daniel Bell (ed.), The Radical Right. The New American Right, Expanded and Updated (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963).
10 Peter Viereck, 'The Philosophical "New Conservatism" - 1962', in Daniel Bell (ed.), The Radical Right, 155.
11 On the American and British neoconservative New Right see Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States (New York: Guilford Press, 1995), especially Part II: 'The Rise of the New Right, 1965-1979', 109-202; Chip Berlet, Matthew Nemiroff Lyons, 'From Old Right to New Right: Godless Communism, Civil Rights, and Secular Humanism', in Chip Berlet, Matthew Nemiroff Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (New York: Guilford Press, 2000), 199-227; Jonathan Martin Kolkey, The New Right, 1960-1968: With Epilogue, 1969-1980 (Lanham, New York and London: University Press of America, 1983); Norman P. Barry, The New Right (London and New York: Croom Helm, 1987); Desmond S. King, The New Right: Politics, Markets and Citizenship (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1987); Mark Hayes, The New Right in Britain: An Introduction to Theory and Practice (London and Boulder: Pluto Press, 1994).
12 Le Figaro Magazine founder and GRECE member Louis Pauwels referred to the 'nouvelle droite' in his France Soir article on March 29, 1979, so as to contrast this trend to the 'bourgeois, conservative, and reactionary right'. See Tamir Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone? (Hampshire and Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007), 84-85.
13 On the French Nouvelle Droite see Roger Griffin, 'Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite's Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the "Interregnum"', Modern & Contemporary France 8/1 (2000): 35-53; idem, 'Plus a change! The Fascist Pedigree of the Nouvelle Droite', in Edward J. Arnold (ed.), The Development of the Radical Right in France: From Boulanger to Le Pen (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), 217-252; Pierre-Andr Taguieff, Sur la Nouvelle Droite: jalons d'une analyse critique (Paris: Descartes & Cie, 1994); idem, 'The New Cultural Racism in France', Telos 83 (1990): 109-122; idem, 'From Race to Culture: The New Right's View of European Identity', Telos 98-99 (1993-4): 99-125; Anne-Marie Duranton-Crabol, Visages de la Nouvelle droite: Le GRECE et son histoire (Paris: Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1988).
14 This year Siegfried Phlmann, a Deputy Chairman of Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD, National Democratic Party of Germany), founded the Aktion Neue Rechte (Action New Right) after his failure to become a leader of NPD. See Rainer Benthin, Die Neue Rechte in Deutschland und ihr Einflu auf den politischen Diskurs der Gegenwart (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1996), 28. There's regrettably little research on the Neue Rechte available in English. The first point of reference is Roger Woods, Germany's New Right as Culture and Politics (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). In German see, first and foremost, Armin Pfahl-Traughber, Konservative Revolution und Neue Rechte: Rechtsextremistische Intellektuelle gegen den demokratischen Vefassungsstaat (Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1998); Benthin, Die Neue Rechte in Deutschland; Wolfgang Gessenharter, Kippt die Republik? Die Neue Rechte und ihre Untersttzung durch Politik und Medien (Munchen: Knaur, 1994). See also the web-site of Junge Freiheit (Young freedom), an important newspaper of the Neue Rechte (, and its archive (
15 Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, 145. On the Italian Nuova Destra see Franco Ferraresi, Threats to Democracy: The Radical Right in Italy after the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996); Roger Griffin, 'The Blend of Literary and Historical Fantasy in the Italian New Right', Literature and History 11/1 (1985): 101-124; Marco Revelli, 'La nuova destra', in Franco Ferraresi (ed.), La destra radicale: una ricerca (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1984), 119- 187; Piermario Bologna, Michele Calandri and Emma Mana (eds), Nuova destra e cultura reazionaria negli anni ottanta (Cuneo: Istituto storico della Resistenza in Cuneo e provincia, 1983).
16 By 1993 the Belgian Nieuw Recht was mostly associated with TeKoS (from Dutch Teksten, Kommentaren en Studies), a journal founded in 1979 by Luc Pauwels and published by Delta Stichting (see Another major Belgian 'node' was enabled in 1993, when Robert Steuckers left GRECE and founded his think tank Synergies Europennes (European Synergies).
17 The pan-European phenomenon remains heavily under-researched. Before 2007, there were only two monographs on the ENR available in English, see Tomislav Sunic, Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right (New York: Peter Lang, 1990) and Michael O'Meara, New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe (Bloomington: 1stBooks, 2004), but, ironically, both books were written by ENR adherents. For an unbiased, comprehensive study of the phenomenon see Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone? See also Roger Griffin, 'Interregnum or Endgame? The Radical Right in the "Post-fascist" Era', Journal of Political Ideologies 5/2 (2000): 163-178; Alberto Spektorowski, 'The New Right: Ethno-regionalism, Ethno-pluralism and the Emergence of a Neo-fascist "Third Way"', Journal of Political Ideologies 8/1 (2003): 111-130.
18 Concerned readers can check the links section at the GRECE's web-site ( liens/_liens.php) to evaluate the broadness of the ENR network.
19 On the ideological origins of the ENR see Matthew Feldman, 'Between Geist and Zeitgeist: Martin Heidegger as Ideologue of "Metapolitical Fascism"', Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6/2 (2005): 175-198; Thomas Sheehan, 'Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist', Social Research 48/1 (1981): 45-73; Richard Drake, 'Julius Evola and the Ideological Origins of the Radical Right in Contemporary Italy', in Peter Merkl (ed.), Political Violence and Terror: Motifs and Motivations (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986), 61-89; Pfahl-Traughber, Konservative Revolution und Neue Rechte.
20 On Antonio Gramsci's theory of cultural hegemony see Walter L. Adamson, Hegemony and Revolution: A Study of Antonio Gramsci's Political and Cultural Theory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); Kate A.F. Crehan, Gramsci, Culture, and Anthropology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
21 On the fascist nature of the ENR see Griffin, 'Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia'; idem, 'Plus a change!'; Richard Wolin, The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism: From Nietzsche to Postmodernism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 256-277; James G. Shields, The Extreme Right in France: From Ptain to Le Pen (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 143-157; Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), 210-216.
22 Roger Griffin, 'Introduction', in Cyprian Blamires and Paul Jackson (eds), World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006), 23.
23 Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, 134. For this scholarly position, besides Bar-On's research, see Taguieff, Sur la Nouvelle Droite; Duranton-Crabol, Visages de la Nouvelle droite.
24 Graham Smith, 'The Masks of Proteus: Russia, Geopolitical Shift and the New Eurasianism', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 24/4 (1999): 483.
25 The full title of the French journal is lments pour la civilisation europenne (Elements for European civilisation), while the full title of the Russian journal is Elementy - evraziyskoe obozrenie (Elements - Eurasian review).
26 'Three Interviews with Alan de Benoist', Telos 98-99 (1993-1994): 209-210.
27 On Troy Southgate see Graham D. Macklin, 'Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction', Patterns of Prejudice 39/3 (2005): 301-326. Southgate is also an editor of the New Right journal Synthesis: Journal du Cercle de la Rose Noire (Journal of the circle of the black rose) ( and a prolific musician, whose possibilities of propaganda thus surmount the materialist realm of books, journal articles and discussions.
28 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Puteshestvie po intellektual'noy Evrope - poiski otvetov na zhiznennye voprosy',, November 22, 2005 ( News&file=print&sid=2760). Concerned readers can also watch the episode (http:// The description itself and de Benoist's appearance at the Christian Orthodox TV-channel were all the more surprising since he used to vehemently attack 'Judeo-Christianity' and demand it to give way to pre-Christian European pagan beliefs.
29 Despite the name, Neo-Eurasianism has a limited relation to Eurasianism, the interwar Russian migr movement. On the historical brand of Eurasianism see Vladimir Makarov, 'Pax Rossica: The History of the Eurasianist Movement and the Fate of the Eurasianists', Russian Studies in Philosophy 47/1 (2008): 40-63; Slawomir Mazurek, 'Russian Eurasianism - Historiosophy and Ideology', Studies in East European Thought 54/1-2 (2002): 105-123; Dmitry Shlapentokh, 'Eurasianism - Past and Present', Communist and Post-Communist Studies 30/2 (1997): 129-151.
30 Andreas Umland, 'Formirovanie fashistskogo "neoevraziiskogo" intellektual'nogo dvizheniya v Rossii: Put' Aleksandra Dugina ot marginal'nogo ekstremista do ideologa postsovetskoi akademicheskoi i politicheskoi elity, 1989-2001 gg.', Ab Imperio 3 (2003): 289-204.
31 Andreas Umland, Post-Soviet 'Uncivil Society' and the Rise of Aleksandr Dugin: A Case Study of the Extraparliamentary Radical Right in Contemporary Russia. Unpublished dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Cambridge for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2007; idem., 'Der "Neoeurasismus" des Aleksandr Dugin. Zur Rolle des integralen Traditionalismus und der Orthodoxie fur die russische "Neue Rechte"', in M. Jger and J. Link (eds), Macht - Religion - Politik. Zur Renaissance religiser Praktiken und Men-talitten (Edition DISS., Vol. 11) (Munster: Unrast, 2006), 141-157; idem, 'Kulturhegemoniale Strategien der russischen extremen Rechten', sterreichische Zeitschrift fur Politikwissenschaft 33/ 4 (2004): 437-454; idem, 'Formirovanie fashistskogo "neoevraziiskogo" intellektual'nogo dvizheniya v Rossii'; Marlene Laruelle, Aleksandr Dugin: A Russian Version of the European Radical Right? Kennan Institute Occasional Paper, no. 294 (2006); Dmitry Shlapentokh, 'Dugin Eurasianism: A Window on the Minds of the Russian Elite or an Intellectual Ploy?', Studies in East European Thought 59/3 (2007): 215-236; Alexander Hllwerth, Das sakrale eurasische Imperium des Aleksandr Dugin. Eine Diskursanalyse zum postsowjetischen russischen Rechtsextremismus (Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, Vol. 59) (Stuttgart: ibidem, 2007).
32 Anton Shekhovtsov, 'The Palingenetic Thrust of Russian Neo-Eurasianism: Ideas of Rebirth in Aleksandr Dugin's Worldview', Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 9/4 (2008): 491-506; Andreas Umland, 'Dugin kein Faschist? Eine Erwiderung an Professor A. James Gregor', 'Secondary Debate on Aleksandr Dugin', in Roger Griffin, Werner Loh and Andreas Umland (eds), Fascism Past and Present, West and East. An International Debate on Concepts and Cases in the Comparative Study of the Extreme Right (Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, Vol. 35) (Stuttgart/Hannover: ibidem, 2006), 459-499; Stephen Shenfield, 'Dugin, Limonov, and the National-Bolshevik Party', in Stephen Shenfield, Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (Armonk: M.E. Sharp, 2001), 190-219; Markus Mathyl, 'The National-Bolshevik Party and Arctogaia: Two Neo-Fascist Groupuscules in the Post-Soviet Political Space', Patterns of Prejudice 36/3 (2002): 62-76; Alan Ingram, 'Alexander Dugin: Geopolitics and Neo-Fascism in Post-Soviet Russia', Political Geography 20/8 (2001): 1029-1051.
33 The issue of the rebirth, or palingenesis, of the 'cultural-ethnic community' in relation to Dugin's ideology is extensively dealt with in Shekhovtsov, 'The Palingenetic Thrust of Russian Neo-Eurasianism'.
34 Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 181.
35 See Roger Griffin (ed.), International Fascism: Theories, Causes and the New Consensus (London: Arnold, 1998).
36 On the ladder of abstraction see Giovanni Sartori, 'Concept Misinformation in Comparative Politics', American Political Science Review 64/4 (1970): 1033-1053.
37 Alain de Benoist, 'What is Sovereignty?', Telos 116 (1999): 115 ( pdf/what_is_sovereignty.pdf).
38 Roger Griffin, 'Grey Cats, Blue Cows, and Wide Awake Groundhogs: Notes towards the Development of a "Deliberative Ethos"', in Roger Griffin et al. (eds), Fascism Past and Present, 428.
39 Spektorowski, 'The New Right': 123.
40 Anthony D. Smith, Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 146.
41 Griffin, 'Plus a change', 243. Italics in original.
42 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Evolyutsiya sotsialnykh identichnostey pri perekhode k paradigme postmoderna',, October 06, 2004 (
43 'Programma OPOD "Evraziya"',, April 21, 2001 (
44 'Programma OPOD "Evraziya"'.
45 On Lev Gumilev's theories see Victor Shnirel'man, The Myth of the Khazars and Intellectual Antisemitism in Russia, 1970s-1990s (Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, 2002); idem., 'Lev Gumilev: or "passionarnogo napryzheniya" do "nesovmestimosti kul'tur"', Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 3 (2006): 8-21; Victor Yasmann, 'Red Religion: An Ideology of Neo-Messianic Russian Fundamentalism', Demokratizatsiya 1/2 (1993): 20-38 (; Galya Krasteva, 'The Criticism towards the West and the Future of Russia-Eurasia', The Eurasian Politician 4 (2003) (
46 Aleksandr Dugin, Osnovy geopolitiki. Geopoliticheskoe buduschee Rossii. Myslit' Prostranstvom (Moscow: Arktogeya-tsentr, 2000), 259, 255.
47 Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, 109.
48 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Evraziyskaya ideya v kachestvennom prostranstve',, http://
49 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Evraziyskiy put' kak natsonal'naya ideya' ( modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=849).
50 Leonid Luks, ' "Weimar Russia?" Notes on a Controversial Concept', Russian Social Science Review 49/6 (2008): 34.
51 On imperialist geopolitics see Gearid Tuathail, 'Imperialist Geopolitics', in Gearid Tuathail, Simon Dalby and Paul Routledge (eds), The Geopolitics Reader (London: Routledge, 1998), 15-43.
52 Aleksandr Dugin's speech at the Imperial March in Moscow on May 01, 2007 (http:// See Jean-Adolphe Four, L'Europe aux cent drapeaux. Essai pour servir a la construction de l'Europe (Paris: Presses d'Europe, 1968). A title of the book by the Breton nationalist and ideologue of European federalism Jean-Adolphe Four became one of the major slogans of the ENR.
54 Alain de Benoist, Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des ides contemporaines. 5ime d. (Paris: Copernic, 1979), 25.
55 Etienne Balibar, 'Is There a "New Racism"?', in Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (London and New York: Verso, 1991), 21-22.
56 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (New York: United Nations, 2008), 1-2 (
57 Taguieff, 'From Race to Culture': 124.
58 Ibid.
59 Ralph D. Grillo, 'Cultural Essentialism and Cultural Anxiety', Anthropological Theory 3/2 (2003): 163.
60 Griffin, 'Plus a change', 222.
61'Fonds d'cran, illustrations', Nouvelle Droite - GRECE ( _galerie.php#fonds).
62 Dugin, Osnovy geopolitiki, 258.
63 'Programma OPOD "Evraziya"'.
64 Dugin, Osnovy geopolitiki, 251.
65 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Prishel konets Evropy', APN Kazakhstan, November 14, 2005, http:// An interesting parallel can be drawn between the Neo-Eurasianist concept of a federation and the project of British National-Anarchists (a 'school' within the British New Right led by Troy Southgate), the self-confessed 'racial separatists': '[W]e wish to see a positive downward trend whereby all bureaucratic concepts such as the UN, NATO, the EU, the World Bank, and even nation-states like England and Germany are eradicated and consequently replaced by autonomous village-communities'. While these communities may be established along the lines of common traditional culture, ethnicity or religion, the British National Anarchists long for the communities to avoid 'racial miscegenation' that 'endangers mankind in the same way that hunting and pollution threaten both the environment and the animal kingdom'. See 'What is National Anarchism?', Folk & Faith (http://
66 Spektorowski, 'The New Right': 127.
67 Aleksandr Dugin, 'Organicheskaya demokratiya', in Aleksandr Dugin, Konservativnaya revolyutsiya (Moscow: Arktogeya, 1994) (
68 Shlapentokh, 'Dugin Eurasianism': 221. See also Matthew Schmidt, 'Is Putin Pursuing a Policy of Eurasianism?', Demokratizatsiya 13/1 (2005): 87-100.
69 Ivan Kurilla, 'Geopolitika i kommunizm', Russkiy zhurnal. Obrazovanie, February 23, 1999 (
70 'Ivan Demidov: Russkomu narodu neobkhodimo postavit' sebe tsel'',, November 04, 2007 (
71 See Andreas Umland, 'Moscow's New Chief Ideologist: Ivan Demidov', Global Politician, March 25, 2008 (
72 Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, 7.
73 Giovanni Capoccia, 'Defence of Democracy against the Extreme Right in Inter-war Europe: A Past Still Present?', in Roger Eatwell and Cas Mudde (eds), Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 104.