Hazem Saghieh

Let’s Welcome Aleksandr Dugin to the Region

A century and a half ago, rulers of the region used to wonder, “How do we become like the democratic West?” A century and a half later, some ask, “How do we become like Russia?” which has never succeeded in making the shift towards democracy.

The grounds for comparison today are different: Iran today is disappointed with not having the air force that Moscow boasts and which is adeptly killing Syrians. These are the goals to aspire to and the examples to follow.

An Iranian institute, called “The New International Horizons”, recently organized a conference in Beirut. Russia’s Aleksandr Dugin was invited to the event with pro-Iran and Hezbollah media celebrating the unusual guest.

Dugin’s name came to prominence under the Vladimir Putin. A philosopher, he bases his creed on the exceptionalism of Russia. He seeks more Putinism, after adding some improvements to it that align more and more to his ideology. Most significantly, he aspires for the world to be totalitarian, where the state sees everyone and everything. He opposes human rights and their universality and the rule of law, believing they are hostile ideas produced by a hostile West.

Many view him as a clown, but many also take him seriously.

In his youth, Dugin was expelled from university. He was known to admire opponents of pragmatism and modernity. He also admired Hitler. He was influenced by advocates of Eurasianism: Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954), Nikolai Trubetzkoy (1890-1938) and Lev Gumilyov (1912-1992). Gumilyov was the most prominent of the three. He spent years in Soviet jails and labor camps and has been accused of being anti-semitic.

Eurasianism, according to Dugin, gives Russia a unique non-western character because it lies between Europe and Asia. Russia is not just a nation, but a civilization in and of itself. Its identity does not belong to the Russian federation, but the “Russian world.” The natural enemy of this “world” is the West. Dugin founded the Eurasian Youth Union, which staged a semi-Mussolini like parade in Moscow. It was reported that his works have influenced Putin. In wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Dugin claimed that Putin adopted some of his views on Russia’s ethnic, cultural and religious superiority. It appears that some figures in the president’s entourage harbor these ideas. He has turned into an influential media personality after spending years openly defending the division and colonization of Ukraine.

Dugin does not hate the entire West, just it democratic and liberal circles. Assessing the 20th century, he concluded that the beneficial aspects of fascism and Stalinism must be adopted. A national Bolshevism must therefore, be established. When he voiced support for Donald Trump’s run for president in 2016, he stressed that what divides Russia from the West is the ideas of enlightenment that are linked to the rule of law and individual rights. Without these two factors, the West would be excellent. Once its leaders understand that these two ideas are bad, then disputes between them and Russia would cease to exist. Dugin praised the American people, but urged them to get rid of oligarchism and embrace real values: Totalitarianism and fascism.

This is not a conflict of civilizations. On the contrary, it is a call for civilizations, who are similar in their insistence to combat the West, to come together and reject modernism, democracy and what Dugin describes as Atlantic, capitalist and liberal hegemony. He also called for forming strategic alliances throughout the world with forces that oppose Atlanticism. “Colored” revolutions are the means to cement this hegemony.

Khameneist Iran enjoys a solid position in this alliance. Dugin is not opposed to including the left in his agenda, on condition that it recognize traditional and conservative values and reject modernism and the universality of values. This is indeed taking place today whereby Russia is leading the “third wave” against the West after two previous failed ones: Czarism and Bolshevism.

This is exactly what we need in this part of the world, which has an excess of freedoms and rule of law!

What would the region be like if it were to endure the defeat of the third Russian wave?

The Arabs had previously struck similar alliances with Nazi Germany and Soviet Communists and the results were disastrous. Fighting Zionism was the claim for striking the new alliance and it was the reason for the previous catastrophic ones. One must keep in mind that Putin, not Dugin, holds the final say in such matters. He was the one who decided to share Syria’s skies with the Israelis.

Iran’s final advice for us is to once again plunge in its muddy mess. Such muddy ideas are the virtues of the Iranian revolution and regime that have been bestowed on us.