The attempted assassination of Russian political philosopher Alexander Dugin, 60, on August 21, 2022, which resulted in the murder of his daughter Darya Dogina, a 29-year-old activist in the international Eurasian movement headed by her father, raised questions about who is responsible and the reasons behind it, as both are inseparable issues.
Sociologist and strategic thinker Alexander Dugin enjoys a central position in the Russian Federation and its strategic policies, to the point of being called “Putin’s mind,” “Putin’s Rasputin,” and “the most dangerous philosopher in the world.” Although the Russian security authorities concluded 24 hours after the car bombing that the Ukrainian Special Services was responsible, it does not negate the possibility of the involvement of others, whether in cooperation or facilitation, since getting rid of Dugin is a common interest for many parties in addition to the Ukrainian government.
Thus, questioning the responsible parties for the assassination attempt leads to the most important question on the reasons behind that attempt, which is explained by reading Dugin’s “mind” and the strategic dimensions of his system of political and social philosophical ideas, as well as the role of that system in directing Russia’s policies and strategic projects, which are focused in four of Dugin’s books: “The Foundations of Geopolitics: Russia's Geopolitical Future,”, “The Fourth Political Theory,” “The Salvation from the West …Eurasia…Indigenous Civilizations versus Atlantic Civilizations”, and “Postmodern Geopolitics.”
The most important axes of the Dugin’s philosophical and strategic system are the Fourth Political Theory and the Eurasian Union. They are two philosophical axes on which Russian strategic policies and political positions on many issues were founded, such as the unilateral international system, NATO, the Muslim world, Ukraine, China, Israel, Syria, and Iran.
The Fourth Political Theory
What Dugin termed the “Fourth Political Theory” is the cornerstone of his political philosophy. It is explained in his book of the same title published in 2009. His theory is based on criticizing the Western modernist project in general, as well as its three major ideologies: liberalism, communism, and fascism.
First, the liberal capitalism ideology, which Dugin asserts declined because of its dismantling of rational human references, as it is based on false values, which results in human’s loss, alienation, and living in a world of illusions. Dugin contends that the citizen in liberal capitalist societies became a slave to commodities and markets. Inequality and tyranny prevailed in those societies that describe themselves as democratic, while shattering the great liberal narratives of rationality, progress, and equality.
Second, the communist ideology with its three orientations (the old left, national communism, and the new left). Dugin describes it as a “plagued dogma that does not have a revolutionary project to change the future. Rather, it descended to the same demands as did the liberal ideology.
Third, fascist ideology (including Nazism), according to Dugin, is an ideology with a “statism” that has nothing to do with socialism. Instead, it worked to mobilize social components in repressive ways for the benefit of the state apparatus, as evidenced in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.
Dugin’s theoretical analytical basis for his fourth theory is the immediacy (or the Dasein) derived by the German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger. This philosophical concept establishes a pluralistic and moral world in which traditions, family, and religions are respected, away from the domination of Western centralism and its liberal values. In doing so, Dugin excludes the Individual, who represents the theoretical basis of liberal ideology; the class, as in communist ideology; and the nation, as did fascism.
Based on his critique of the three ideologies, Dugin put forward his fourth theory of revolutionary conservatism,” as he described it. It is conservative in its commitment to human and family values but revolutionary in its project to build an entirely different future that calls for a new, pluralistic, and moral world away from the values of Western centralism. This would be a Russian-led achievable world that embodies the geopolitical sovereignty of the Eurasian continent’s powers and major civilizations—specifically Russia, China, Iran, and India–in the face of the Atlantic powers led by the United States of America.
The Eurasian Union
The philosophical vision embodied in Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory, clearly influenced by the Orthodox Christian value system and Heidegger’s existential philosophy, established the Eurasian Union Project as a geopolitical vision of Alexander Dugin. Such a project commences with “establishing a Russian empire capable of meeting the American challenge,” writes Dugin, covering the former Soviet Union’s swathers, merging its territory with the Eurasian bloc along with Eastern Europe, Manchuria, and the Orthodox sector in the Balkans all the way to the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Dugin’s Eurasian vision is not separated from his concept of “multiculturalism,”-a pluralism which he rejects as a unipolar international order led by the United States of America. It is also not separated from his call for an international system of “multipolarity.” Dugin asserts that Russia is reasserting itself not as the second pole in the bipolar system but as one of the few poles in the context of a multipolar system in which Russia stands with China as two parties that together with the West form something resembling a three-polar system, with the potential for the emergence of other self-sufficient poles in the future, such as the Muslim world, India, Africa, and Latin America.
The Eurasian vision advocated by Dugin was admired by the head of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, Dugin’s close friend, especially in terms of Putin’s Eurasian geopolitics regarding his strategic policies, a position that led him to confront the United States of America and to practice actual intervention over areas of the former Soviet Union, starting with Georgia and ending with Ukraine, just as Dugin’s theory claims.
Strategic Policies and Political Stances
The two main axes of Alexander Dugin’s philosophy, the Fourth Political Theory and the Eurasian Union, contributed in formulating the Russian Federation’s strategic policies and political positions on many issues, including the unilateral international order, NATO, the Islamic world, Ukraine, China, Israel, Syria, and Iran. This contribution may largely explain the reasons behind the attempt to assassinate Dugin.
The unilateral international order, led by the United States of America, suffers from a crisis for which all humanity pays a price, and it imposes creating a new multipolar world order. The conflict between the America and the former USSR continued but in another way despite the end of the Cold War era, with geopolitics replacing ideology in the conflict between the two poles, according to Dugin.
NATO is the real adversary of the Eurasian Union Project. NATO did not expire with the end of the Cold War. Instead, it carried on its role as a key tool for the United States of America and its group of member states in their new struggle against Russia and the Eurasian ambitions it represents, in addition to the role of the rich NATO countries in imposing their vision of globalization as a form of “neocolonialism” on the poor countries of the South.
The Ukrainian case has an important space in Dugin’s geopolitical project. "Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning," he declared in “The Foundations of Geopolitics,” calling upon Russia to almost completely absorb Ukraine, using the name “New Russia” (Novorossia) to refer to it. He insisted after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine that it “is not a war on the Ukrainian people or on the state, but a war on Western puppets who try to dominate the world, also against the Neo-Nazis, who turned against the will of the Ukrainian people in 2014.”
Dugin’s positions on Syria are equally important, whether in terms of Syria’s geopolitical consideration as Russia's first line of external defense; his strong rejection to U.S. intervention and what it represents in the Syrian crisis; his position on the terrorist organization ISIS as a U.S. intelligence tool threatening Russia's national security; or his warning of the potential for total collapse in the event that Syria enters into political chaos and vacuum. This is in addition to his call for resolving the Syrian crisis from within Syria itself.
The Islamic world, along with Russia, China and India, is prestigious in Dugin's thoughts as a fundamental geopolitical and civilizational force in the continent of Eurasia. It is a world founded, like the rest of the civilizations of Eurasia, on a value system that is incompatible with the liberal Western value system. The Islamic world has the right to live as per its own values. It is in the interest of the Islamic world to cooperate with Russia and China in the face of the liberal West. But the Shiite Muslim world, represented by Iran, has a special position to Dugin, by virtue of Iran’s positions against the American globalization, unlike the Sunni Muslim world, which is closest to that globalization, as in Turkey, hence; Dugin’s calls for the necessity of a Russian-Iranian alliance.
As for Israel and Zionism, although some of Dugin’s positions are ambiguous towards them, but he adopts the vision of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish religious groups -like a group (Naturi Karta)- who rejects establishing the State of Israel. Dugin also sharply criticizes of the positions of Jews living outside Israel on human rights issues, where they claim to support such rights in the world, unless it comes to the rights of the Palestinian human being, where their positions turn to the opposite. Dugin calls on us to “not to look at Israel as a Western democratic state” but to pay attention to the fact that it exploits this image to justify its policies, especially in front of the West.
Not Just a Theorist
In order to take another step forward in trying to understand the reasons behind the attempted assassination of Alexander Dugin it is important to look at him, his philosophical vision, his Eurasian geopolitical project, and the resulting positions beyond being just a philosopher or theorist. Many philosophers and theorists who are theoretically similar to Dugin surpass him in their anti-American and anti-NATO positions.
However, unlike them, Dugin is a strategic state thinker who contributes in the policymaking of a major country with imperial ambitions. His book “The Foundations of Geopolitics” is adopted as an essential part of the curriculum at the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Army By joining the Russian opposition early after the fall of the Soviet Union, Dugin’s participated in the popular uprising that contributed to the overthrow of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, declaring his support for President Vladimir Putin from the first moments he came to the office. Dugin, then, occupied several sensitive positions in the government: political and military adviser in the Kremlin; adviser to Gennady Selezniov, the Duma speaker; and as an active member of the ruling United Russia party, as well as his strong relationship with President Putin himself.
Dugin’s loyalty to his Eurasian vision was also transformed early into a political program of action on the ground, founding the International Eurasian Movement in 2001, in which his daughter Daria Dugina was active. In his words, this movement called for “the creation of the fourth law to the earth, that should be radically different from the model based on the dictatorship of liberal ideology, which produces, for us, a unipolar system.”
Dugin also founded the Russian Eurasia Party in 2002, described by Western bodies as the mastermind behind Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The United States of America listed Dugin on its sanctions list in 2014, while his daughter, Daria, was on the British sanctions list for “spreading false news about the Russian war on Ukraine.”
Added to all this is Ukraine’s position in Dugin’s geopolitical vision and the role of that position in influencing Russia’s policies towards Ukraine. Such policies ended with Russian military operations in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Ukraine, like Crimea, has never existed as a state. Rather, it consists of completely heterogeneous territories and peoples.
Dugin published a long article on December 22, 2021 entitled “Ukraine in the Great Game of the West,” which he concluding by saying, “When Moscow was weak and ruled either by fools or direct agents of Western influence, Russia lost Ukraine, which fell into the hands of ultra-nationalist politicians chosen directly by the West. When Putin began to restore Russia’s sovereignty and power as a great power, the Ukrainian issues came to the fore. Zbigniew Brzezinski was convinced that without Ukraine, Russia could not become a sovereign pole of a multipolar world, he would have been right, Russia today has set a firm path to become such a pole.”
In light what we mentioned above, the real reasons for the attempted assassination of Alexander Dugin can be understood for his vision that has turned into superpower-led policies recreating geopolitics, not only on the continent of Eurasia but throughout the world.