Russian Nationalist Alexander Dugin wrote a letter to the American people to explain Russia's position on the Ukraine crisis. A "mystic", an extreme right-winger, and a Russian nationalist, Dugin has nothing in common with most people here. Nonetheless, he heavily influences President Vladimir Putin's thinking. To predict Putin's behavior and to understand where he is coming from, it is necessary to be familiar with Dugin and his writings, many of which are deeply disturbing. He is similar to Rasputin, a mystic who had the ear of Czar Nicholas.
Dugin is an authoritarian who rejects liberal values, pluralism, or inclusion. He believes that Ukraine is an artificial creation of history, one that has no historical significance. He says that Kyiv was where Russia was really founded and that the land had always belonged to Russia. He is an anti-semite, which explains why the Jewish communities in Ukraine did not bite when Russia accused Ukraine of having Neo-Nazi connections. This is ironic given that Dugin himself has associated with Neo-Nazis to form an international alliance.
But in diplomacy, dealing with unpleasant people and extremists are a fact of life. This is a conflict that requires a diplomatic solution just like Iran and Northern Ireland. Dugin, in his letter, starts:
1. We distinguish between two different things: the American people and the American political elite. We sincerely love the first and we profoundly hate the second.
2. The American people has its own traditions, habits, values, ideals, options and beliefs that are their own. These grant to everybody the right to be different, to choose freely, to be what one wants to be and can be or become. It is wonderful feature. It gives strength and pride, self-esteem and assurance. We Russians admire that.
3. But the American political elite, above all on an international level, are and act quite contrary to these values. They insist on conformity and regard the American way of life as something universal and obligatory. They deny other people the right to difference, they impose on everybody the standards of so called “democracy”, “liberalism”, “human rights” and so on that have in many cases nothing to do with the set of values shared by the non-Western or simply not North-American society. It is an obvious contradiction with inner ideals and standards of America. Nationally the right to difference is assured, internationally it is denied. So we think that something is wrong with the American political elite and their double standards. Where habits became the norms and contradictions are taken for logic. We cannot understand it, nor can we accept it: it seems that the American political elite is not American at all.
He proceeds with a history lesson, claiming that Ukraine has always been part of Russia and that Russia was founded in Kiev.
Russians consider Ukraine as being part of the Greater Russia. That was historically so – not by the conquest, but by the genesis of Russian Statehood that started precisely in Kiev. Around Kiev our people and our State were constructed in the IX century. It is our center, our first beloved capital. Later in the XII-XIII centuries different parts of Kievian Russia were more or less independent with two main rivals – the Western principalities Galitsia and Wolyn and the Eastern principality of Vladimir (which later became Moscow) existing. All of these areas were populated by the same nation, Eastern Slavs, all of whom were Orthodox Christian. But the princes of the West were more engaged in European politics and they had more direct contact with Western Christianity and relatively less with the Eastern branches. The title of Great Princes was held in the East by royalty who were considered the masters of the whole of Russia (not always de facto but de jure). In the Mongol period the West as well as the East of our Russian principalities were held under the Golden Horde. Eastern Russia was more or less solid and its power grew around the new capital Moscow. After the fall of the Tartars the rule of the Moscow principality affirmed itself as a regional hegemon that was confirmed by the fall of Byzantine Empire. Hence the doctrine of Moscow as the Third Rome.
China used this argument as a pretext to invade and annex Tibet in the 1950's. Dugin argues that Russia is the Third Rome while America and her allies are the "New Carthage." In other writings, he has argued that this is a struggle that will not end unless one or the other is destroyed. Here, he demands that the US give up NATO and focus on the Monroe Doctrine, where it protects its hemisphere. This brand of Eurasian nationalism was devised by monarchists following the Revolution of 1917 and subsequent exile of the defeated Czarists. It was then forgotten until the collapse of Communism. Putin has called this the greatest catastrophe in Russian history, exceeding even that of World War II. The collapse of Communism created an ideological vacuum, one which Dugin and his followers in military and political circles have been filling ever since.
Dugin goes on to argue that Ukraine was an artificial creation, that the East and West have two mutually exclusive sets of values, and that none of Ukraine's leaders have succeeded in reconciling the mutually exclusive demands of the two different areas.
1. The contradiction of Ukraine consists in the multiplicity of identities. Just after the declaration of the new state – the modern Ukraine in 1991 – the question of pan-Ukrainian identity arose. Such a State and nation never existed in history. So the nation had to be constructed. But the three main identities were very different. Crimea populated by Greater Russians along with most parts of Novorossia which were clearly attracted to the Russian Federation. The Western Russians claimed to be the core of a very specific “Ukrainian nation” that they imagined in order to serve their cause. The Western Russians who partly supported Hitler in WWII (Bandera, Shukhevich) possessed and still possess strong ethnic identity where the hatred toward Great Russians (as well as toward Poles to a lesser scale) plays a central role in this identity. This can be traced to the past rivalry of the two Russian feudal principalities projected onto imperial times and followed by Stalin’s purges. These purges were directed against all ethnic groups, but Western Russians read it as the revenge of the Great Russians on them (Stalin was Georgian and the Bolsheviks were internationalists). So the chosen identity of the newly created State of Ukraine was exclusively Western Russian (purely Galitsia / Wolyn style) with no place for a Novorossia and Great Russian identity.
2. This particularity was expressed in two opposite geopolitical options: Western or Eastern, Europe or Russia. The Western lands of Ukraine were in favor of European integration, the Eastern and Crimea in favor of strengthening relations with Russia. The men from Galtsya were dominant in the political elite presenting a Ukraine with only one identity – a Western one – and denying any attempt of the South and East to express their own vision. In the Western Ukraine anti-sovietism was deeply rooted as well as certain complaisance with the ideas of Bandera and Shukhevich who were considered as national heroes of a new Ukraine. The hatred toward Great Russians was dominant and all anti-Russian xenophobic rhetoric hailed.
Yanukovych, in Dugin's view, was the wrong sort of person to lead Ukraine.
Yanukovych led the politics of balance. He was not really pro-Russian but didn’t respond to all demands of the West either. He was not very lucky and effective, trying to trick Putin and Obama, disappointing both as well as Ukrainians of any side. He was an opportunist without a real integral strategy, which was almost impossible to develop in a society with a split personality and a split identity. He reacted more than acted.
Ultimately, he committed an act of high treason against his country when he called in Russia to take over Crimea. He admitted to this in an interview with the Associated Press. Dugin then recounts the standard Russian propaganda narrative regarding the Euromaidan Revolution. His assertion that the snipers were part of the American plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government is simply not true; even Russia Today did not claim that. RT claimed, without sufficient factual basis, that the sniper attacks were a false flag operation carried out by the protestors to make Yanukovych look bad. Both assertions were debunked by the Daily Beast.
He says that Russia's seizure of Crimea was based in part on the belief that the new government would no longer allow Russia to maintain its naval base there. Here is the entire list of justifications:
* declaration of wishing entrance into NATO
* attacks on the use of the Russian language
* a plea to be accepted in the EU
* a refusal for Russia to continue to have a Navy base in Sebastopol (Crimea)
* the appointment of corrupted tycoons as governors in the East and South Ukraine.
Dugin believes that the endgame for Ukraine will be a partition between the two halves of Ukraine.
1. Where will this lead? Logically Ukraine as it was during the 23 years of its history has ceased to exist. It is irreversible. Russia has integrated Crimea and declared herself the guarantor of the liberty of the freedom of choice of the East and South of Ukraine (Novorossia).
2. So in the near future there will be the creation of two (at least) independent political entities corresponding to the two identities mentioned earlier. The Western Ukraine with their pro-NATO position and at the same time a ultra-nationalist ideology and Novorossia with a pro-Russian (and pro-Eurasian) orientation (apparently without any ideology, just like Russia herself). The West of Ukraine will protest trying to keep hold over the East and South. It is impossible by democratic means so the nationalists will try to use violence. After a certain time the resistance of the East and South will grow and / or Russia will intervene.
3. The USA and NATO countries will support by all means the Westerns and the Kiev junta. But in reality this strategy will only worsen the situation. The essence of the problem lays here: if Russia intervenes in the affairs of the State whose population (the majority) regard this intervention as illegitimate, the position of the USA and NATO States would be natural and well founded. But in this situation the population of the East and South of Ukraine welcomes Russia, waits for it, pleads for Russia to come. There is a kind of civil war in Ukraine now. Russia openly supports the East and South. The USA and NATO back the West. The Westerns are trying to get all Ukraine to affirm that not all the population of the East and South is happy with Russia. This is quite true. Also true is that not all of the population of the West is happy with Right Sector, Bandera, Shukhevich and the rule of tycoons. So if Russia would invade the Western parts of Ukraine or Kiev that could be considered as a kind of illegitimate aggression. But the same aggression is in present circumstances the position of the USA that strives to help the Kiev junta take the control of the East and South. It is perceived as an illegitimate act of aggression and it will provoke fierce resistance.
1. Now here is what I would say to the American people. The American political elite has tried in this situation as well as in many others to make the Russians hate Americans. But it has failed. We hate the American political elite that brings death, terror, lies and bloodshed everywhere – in Serbia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria – and now in Ukraine. We hate the global oligarchy that has usurped America and uses her as its tool. We hate the double standard of their politics where they call “fascist” innocent citizens without any feature resembling fascist ideology and in the same breath deny the open Hitlerists and Bandera admirers the qualification of “Nazi” in the Ukraine. All that the American political elite speaks or creates (with small exceptions) is one big lie. And we hate that lie because the victims of this lie are not only ourselves, but also you the American people. You believe them, you vote for them. You have confidence in them. But they deceive and betray you.
2. We have no thoughts of or desire to hurt America. We are far from you. America is for Americans as President Monroe used to say. For Americans interests and not for others. Not for Russians. Yes, this is quite reasonable. You want to be free. You and all others deserve it. But what the hell you are doing in the capital of ancient Russia, Victoria Nuland? Why do you intervene in our domestic affairs? We follow law and logic, lines of history and respect identities, differences. It is not an American affair. Is it?
3. I am sure that the separation line between Americans and the American political elite is very deep. Any honest American calmly studying the case will arrive to the conclusion: “let them decide for themselves. We are not similar to these strange and wild Russians, but let them go their own way. And we are going to go our own way.” But the American political elite has another agenda: to provoke wars, to mix in regional conflicts, to incite the hatred of different ethnic groups. The American political elites sacrifice American people to causes that are far from you, vague, uncertain and finally very very bad.
4. The American people should not choose to be with Ukrainians (Western Russians – Galitsya,Wolyn) or with Russians (Great Russians). That is not the case. Be with America, with real America, with your values and your people. Help yourselves and let us be what we are. But the American political elite makes the decisions instead of You. It lies to you, it dis-informs you. It shows faked pictures and falsely stages events with completely imagined explanations and idiotic commentary. They lie about us. And they lie about you. They give you a distorted image of yourself. The American political elite has stolen, perverted and counterfeited the American identity. And they make us hate you and they make you hate us.
5. This is my idea and suggestion: let us hate the American political elite together. Let us fight them for our identities – you for the American, us for the Russian, but the enemy is in both cases the same – the global oligarchy who rules the word using you and smashing us. Let us revolt. Let us resist. Together. Russians and Americans. We are the people. We are not their puppets.
These remarks explain why RT always seems to have a ton of libertarians, anti-war activists, LaRouchies, and other people who would otherwise not have a platform. RT is one of the most watched channels on YouTube, with over a billion viewers including many Americans. Dugin demands that we revert to our isolationist ways. But I would respond that the whole purpose of the UN was to facilitate dialogue so that we could prevent a third world war. The problem is that it has too often been used to facilitate American aggression instead of building a more just world.
Not all people within Putin's circles share Dugin's views; a few days ago, Interpreter discussed an op-ed by Dugin in the Russian press in which he referred to "sixth columnists." Allegedly, these, according to him, are people who don't buy into the program and are undermining it in some way.
There has been much speculation about where Russia might strike next in light of Dugin's stated imperialistic, expansionist views. Estonia has been mentioned as a possible candidate given that Russia has recently done tit for tat helicopter exercises in response to NATO's show of force there. Also, Russia has complained in the past about what it sees as Estonia's mistreatment of Russian minorities. Furthermore, Obama set a red line on Syria's use of chemical weapons only to back away from that. If Putin does to Estonia what he is doing to Ukraine and Estonia invokes Article 5, one of two things will happen -- NATO will respond despite the risk of World War III and a nuclear conflict. The other possibility is that they won't respond and they will cease to exist as a relevant entity. The Constitution states that the US is bound by the treaties that it signs. Therefore, they would be bound by treaty to come to Estonia's defense, unlike what happened in Syria.