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Duguine, from occult thinker to official influencer
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Duguine, from occult thinker to official influencer

This man is the Epinal image of the Russian thinker with a tragic destiny. His high receding forehead overhangs a long face frozen in a serious expression and ending, as it should, with a white beard. A touch of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and a ladle of Fyodor Dostoyevsky for appearance.

The political career of the self-proclaimed philosopher Alexander Dougin is less homogeneous. At 60, he is now at the height of his career. The murder of his daughter Daria in the explosion of his 4 × 4 Land Cruiser Prado, Saturday August 20, earned him belated recognition. Vladimir Putin, with whom he had claimed for years to maintain a “mystical connection”, pronounced for the first time on Tuesday, publicly, his surname. By condemning the attack “odious and cruel” against Daria Dugin, to whom he posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Courage.

The tragic episode takes this radical ideologue out of a curious situation. Vaguely embarrassing for the Russian political elite, who preferred to ignore him, he claimed on the contrary to exert an occult influence on power. Observing the Kremlin following the trajectory he has been advocating for thirty years, namely territorial expansion and rejection of the West, Alexander Dougin claims that his ideas “have triumphed. All ». The son of a Soviet military intelligence official, the thinker claims to have been advising a member of Putin’s inner circle for years, whom he does not name, and he assures that the army would use a geopolitical manual of which he is the author.

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But what is it in reality? Alexander Dougin has never held an official position. Appointed in 2014 as director of the department of sociology of international relations at the prestigious Moscow State University, he was sacked after a few months, following statements inciting the murder of Ukrainians. This suggests the absence of support at the top of the executive.

Civilizational Rivalry

Alexandre Douguine struggled for a long time to join the political seraglio, because of the seal of radicalism with which he was marked. Adopting, from the 1990s, a Slavophile posture hostile to the West, he developed a current of thought “neo-eurasian”, contrary to the desire for integration then displayed by the Kremlin. His eurasism borrows a lot from the theory of the Briton Halford John Mackinder (founding father of geopolitics), which opposes the maritime (“thalassocracy”) and continental (“tellurocracy”) powers. The ideologue adds a dimension of civilizational rivalry, by affirming the superiority of Eurasia (of which Russia constitutes the heart), over the Anglo-Saxon whole. The scholarly and essentialist jargon makes it possible above all to bring up to date the old Russian imperialist project aimed at the domination of the entire Eurasian continent, by military means, if necessary. Starting of course with Ukraine, culturally and politically closest. In this sense, Alexander Dugin actually preceded the head of the Kremlin by two decades.

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