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Aug 12th, 2014
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  1. "Every Westerner is a racist" – Complete translation of the “Der Spiegel”-conversation with Dugin.
  3. [Remarks: 1. The more radical parts of the Russian political sphere always were alien to me. That made me read the books of Russian radicals like Dugin, to get a glimpse of how these people are wired. For me, Dugin is not Putin’s master- or forward thinker – he is just marking one of the radical cornerstones of the area in which Putin and the Russian politics are moving. Sadly, we see the Russian politics currently moving closer to that alien and dangerous corner. In the last years and even more this year, we saw many moderated ideas of Dugin’s ideology emerging in Russia’s internal and foreign politics. To understand Russia’s stance in the current conflict, it’s important to understand this alien aspect of Russian politics, but one shouldn’t confuse it with the Russian politics itself. When I read this interview, I was impressed how many of Dugin’s and his intellectual friends’ ideas can be found in this ‘short’ text. The text also shows how difficult it is for a Westerner just to get a conversation going with people like Dugin. 2. I am not a native speaker and it’s difficult for me to translate direct speech, that doesn’t always follow the rules of grammar – so the translation for sure contains errors, or may sound odder than the German original.]
  5. Spiegel-Conversation: The Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin is deemed to be the Putin forward thinker. Europe is his bogeyman: it's decadent, deviant and ethnocentric at the same time.
  7. A new, but unflashy office building in the west of Moscow. No nameplate, no sign points out, that the "Eurasian Movement" has its main office here. The office is sober; a full-bearded man welcomes us, Professor Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin, 52. The principal of the sociological faculty of the Lommonosov State University disbanded him from his professorship just days ago. Allegedly there was a list with 10'000 subscribers demanding Dugin's dismissal, because he mixed up his scientific work too much with his politics: Dugin had energetically demanded the invasion of eastern Ukraine by Russian troops. Some call him "Putin's Master-Ideologist", some glorify him as leader of the Eurasian Movement, others call him a political chameleon and creator of a new ideology, who, according to the American historian Walter Laqueur, even has elements of neo-fascism. He doesn’t know Putin in person, tells Dugin. Nevertheless, he is a counselor of the State Duma speaker [Sergei Naryshkin] and has high-ranking friends in the presidential administration. Since months, the philosopher is more and more often allowed to appear on the state controlled television. It's Dugin's hour, the hour of a man, who is representing the idea of a new Eurasia for years, and who condemns the Western culture.
  9. Dugin, son of a general, was a radical anti-communist back in the 80s, later a member of the National Bolshevik Party, before he got a Putin proponent. The polyglot philosopher's scope was mostly the theoretician of the "conservative revolution", he admires Friedrich Nietzsche and German thinkers like Karl Haushofer, who translated the biological term "Lebensraum" [english: habitat or literally "living space"] to the political sphere, and the disputed expert in state law Carl Schmitt. Dugin has published dozens of book, amongst them his most important work: "Foundations of Geopolitics", which is used in Russia as a textbook for emerging general staff officers. For many Russian politicians and creative artists Dugin's doctrine of the Eurasianism became their new ideological home, in Ukraine he was declared a persona non grata. Dugin is relentlessly travelling through Europe, to recruit new supporters of his doctrine; he just comes back from a journey to Romania.
  11. SPIEGEL [Christian Neef] : Aleksandr Gelyevich, you are often seen on protests and in the Russian TV this days, and everywhere you warn of a "nationalistic fascist dictatorship" in Ukraine. What evidences do you have to verify that fascism is ruling in Ukraine?
  13. Dugin: What we see in Ukraine, is a radical expression of racism and intolerance with chauvinism. Not only the Freedom Party [Svoboda] and the Right Sector, but also the moderate and liberal Ukrainian politicians are speaking about a dominance of the western Ukrainian identity. A racist russophobia has been an integral part of the actions of the Maidan from the beginning, with the slogan: ‘Who doesn't jump now, is a Moskal’.
  15. SPIEGEL: In Ukrainian "Moskal" is a derogative term for "Russian".
  17. Dugin: That sounds like: Who doesn't raise his hands, is a gypsy. Such a party would've been banned immediately in Germany. Or "Moskal to the branch!" – this means - kill the Russian. I can't think of a country in the European Union, in which the people are allowed to go on the street and yell: "Kill the French, kill the Belgians". That's fascism. America and Europe use this fascism for their geopolitical objectives, this fascism ripened in Kyiv since the 90s, with the support of Western foundations. Who stands with America, is good. Who opposes America is regarded a fascist.
  19. SPIEGEL: That's a generous use of the term fascism. Furthermore, I have seen russophobia in Kyiv, but no fascism.
  21. Dugin: Yeah. You as a Western journalist are bred, only to see what you should see. That's a cultural code, a projection. You can't work in your publishing house, if you would tell, there's fascism in Kyiv.
  23. SPIEGEL: You told publicly, this Ukrainians should be "killed, killed, killed", your statement was very disputed, also in Russia.
  25. Dugin: Stop, stop. After the people of the Right Sector and of the National Guard burned humans in the Trade Union House in Odessa, I said: People that commit such monstrous crimes, must be killed, killed, killed. I was referring to the people, who commit such crimes.
  27. SPIEGEL: The incidences of the 2. May in Odessa were not as black and white as you are suggesting. They started with the pro-Russian activists attacking Ukrainians.
  29. Dugin: Where there dead people or not? No? You allow only two views: Either there were no dead people or we Russians killed that people! I fully support that: We have killed that people and brought them into the Trade Union Building. One must kill us Russians!
  31. SPIEGEL: There were at least 38 fatalities, but how it happened is remaining unclear.
  33. Dugin: Yes? Yes, certainly we've done it! You are correct!
  35. SPIEGEL: I asked you, why you demanded the death of the Ukrainians.
  37. Dugin: Yes, yes, I proposed to kill all Ukrainians. You have to view it like that; eventually you are working for a magazine that is on the right side.
  39. SPIEGEL: Are the Ukrainians actually only peasants in a geopolitical game of chess, in that "Great War of the continents", of which you like to speak?
  41. Dugin: No, all of them are capital fellows, who built a free state, who stabilized democracy and territorial integrity, who dismissed their corrupt president Yanukovich and installed democratic leaders. They wanted into the EU and we damned Russians hampered them. We are the evil ones, they are the good ones.
  43. SPIEGEL: With irony and sarcasm we don't get further now.
  45. Dugin: I can't do it else. There is no dialogue emerging between us.
  47. SPIEGEL: Ok. Let's try it different: In your works, you write, that after the end of the Soviet Union, the "Epoch of Geopolitics" started. The border between the continents, you meant the border between the West and the East, which you call "Eurasia“, is going across states. So it's a cultural border?
  49. Dugin: Yes, a border between civilizations, between distinct cultures.
  51. SPIEGEL: And this border also cuts through Ukraine?
  53. Dugin: Wait, that's a serious topic. Is there one civilization or multiple ones? Are there values which are characteristic of the entire mankind?
  55. SPIEGEL: There are different civilizations and cultures, but also values, which should be common to all of them.
  57. Dugin: So, yet only one universal civilization? I differ here, and that's our dissent. I refer to cultural theoreticians like Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee and Nikolai Danilewski.
  59. SPIEGEL: Danilewski was a leading pan-slavist of the 19th century.
  61. Dugin: Different societies have different values. There are no universal values. The ones, which are taken as these, are a projection of Western values. The Western civilization is a racist, ethnocentric civilization. Every Westerner is a racist, not a biological racist, like Hitler, but a cultural one. That's why he thinks there is only one civilization or barbarianism. And he claims, this civilization is based on democracy, progress, human rights, free markets and individual identity. But the barbarism negates all of that, out of some religious reasons. That's how the Westerners think, and that's why they are cultural racists.
  63. SPIEGEL: That's absurd.
  65. Dugin: Again: There's not the single civilization, but many different forms. Two possibilities: Either you respect, that I speak a different language and we try to find as many as possible common terms. Or you believe, that you are in possession of the absolute truth, which also means, that we Russians don't know what human rights, liberalism, freedom are, and that you think you have the right, to defend human rights in Africa, Russia and China.
  67. SPIEGEL: From Russia we hear, that the Eastern civilization is superior to the Western one, Europe is sinking deeply into decadence.
  69. Dugin: I never said that. But my opinion is: the civilizations of the West and the East are completely different. The Eastern one is superior in respect to defending herself against the Western racism. The Westerner comes here, and tells: Progress, technology and security are absolute natural rights for the Russians.
  71. SPIEGEL: You doubt that?
  73. Dugin: Don't you also? Obviously, Europe knows everything; it speaks to others like to idiots.
  75. SPIEGEL: We are just trying to comprehend the other. What do you blame the decadent West for?
  77. Dugin: That it wants to press us into its schemes. You've gay parades, ok, then march. You think that it's a violation of the human rights, that we have none. And we reply: Go away! Or you like to explain to the Islam, what feminism is and who Femen is and why women should be treated equal to men. That's colonization. I am an Orthodox Christ, you are not. I accept you, but you don't accept me.
  79. SPIEGEL: How it comes, that you think that I don't accept you?
  81. Dugin: If you come to the proxy of another culture, you should ask him about his views. And don't make false claims like in the case of Odessa.
  83. SPIEGEL: I asked a question. I am interested which roots the patriotic, nearly isolationistic mood in Russia has and why there are so few debates about the heading of the government. Is it possible, that you value the right of the collective higher than the individual human rights, on which the West insists?
  85. Dugin: In the West, the human rights are valued above the rights of the collective, in the Islamic world, the rights of the religion are above the rights of the individual, in Russia it's the rights of collective, collective rights. With all post-modernism, with all tolerance: You in the West can't handle the problem of "the other". For you, the other is always something negative, or the same as you are. You simply don't find the key to the philosophical problem "des Anderen" (said it in German) [english: "the other"] You try to lecture us, how this problem must be solved, without having it solved yourself. It was always like that: in the colonial period, in the period of the great geographical discoveries, in the epoch of the European nationalism, in the period of the Westphalian peace, in the epoch of the British colonial conquests, under Hitler and in the times of liberalism. The Western European ethnocentrism is a constant, Edmund Husserl, ...
  87. SPIEGEL: ... one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century...
  89. Dugin: ... wrote about the "europäische Menschheit" (said it in German) [English: "European mankind"]. Who talks like that, creates the foundation for ethnocentrism, because for him, the "Europäische" [English: "european"] and the "Menschliche" [English: "human"] are the same. Europe as the destiny of mankind. Regarding this nobody has to wonder about concentration camps. I love Husserl, he is my favorite philosopher, a humanist. But also a racist. All European philosophers are racists. Stop, there are exceptions: for example the ethnologist Leo Frobenuis and strictly speaking also the cultural philosopher Gottfried Herder.
  91. SPIEGEL: Herder is considered, with his renunciation of the universalism of the Enlightenment, as one of the forward thinkers of the conservative, nationalistic cultural theory.
  93. Dugin: I love the roots of German culture. But they are not anymore. Germany is now something like an Anti-Germany.
  95. SPIEGEL: Really?
  97. Dugin: You don't read your own authors anymore. You don't understand them anymore and don't discuss them anymore. I am often in Germany and when I look, what’s offered in your bookstores, I see: the German culture has no future anymore. You live in a degrading civilization. Where is the great German spirit gone? Where the heights of the French philosophy? Where the deepness of the Italian art? What we see today arouses disgust.
  99. SPIEGEL: The critique against Western values is nothing new in Russia. Fyodor Dostoyevsky saw a new idea about the world in slavdom. He also thought that the West is decadent.
  101. Dugin: Dostoyevsky, Konstandin Leontyew, but in particular Nikolai Danilevski and the Eurasians correctly said, that the influence of the Western civilization must be contained. They said, we have our own values, we have a better way. For Dostoyevsky and the slavophiles Russia is a distinct form of civilization - not a European, not an Asian, but an Orthodox one; with its own beliefs about moral, ethics, religion, power and politics.
  103. SPIEGEL: Danilevsky spoke as early as 150 years ago about the struggle of civilizations. Why do the slavophiles deem a confrontation with the West unavoidable?
  105. Dugin: The conflict of civilizations is unavoidable.
  107. SPIEGEL: The philosopher Ivan Kireyevsky wrote in the 19th century: “Everything, what is opposing the full development of the Orthodoxy, is hampering the development of the Russian people and its wellbeing; it hurts the soul of Russia, it destroys her moral, social and political sanity.” Would you sign that?
  109. Dugin: Yes.
  111. SPIEGEL: Doesn’t that lead to intolerance against other ideas, to exactly the intolerance you blame the West for?
  113. Dugin: No, the Orthodox spirit isn’t exclusive. In distinction to Catholicism the Orthodoxy is more flexible. We Russians are no nationalists, we never were a nation. When we speak of the “Ours”, it isn’t meant ethnic. The Chechen or the Uzbek are also included. We have said to the Turkish or Mongolian people: You are now part of the Orthodox culture, but we won’t persecute you. You’ll have your mosques; you’ll be able to pray. When we speak of an Orthodox people’s spirit, it doesn’t mean, that we declare war against other cultures.
  115. SPIEGEL: End of June, Orthodox activists hampered a concert of the American rock-musician Marylin Manson in Moscow.
  117. Dugin: For what do we need him here?
  119. SPIEGEL: He also has fans in Russia.
  121. Dugin: So they should save money and go where Manson lives.
  123. SPIEGEL: Russians invited him.
  125. Dugin: And one must deal with that. But this is just the beginning of a cultural struggle. The Russians are feeling that their identity is threatened, and they defend themselves against that. It’s good that they told their opinion.
  127. SPIEGEL: There was a bomb-threat and the police had cancelled the concert. There are invocations in Russia to boycott chains like McDonald’s, to break the Western hegemony. But in reality you everywhere see Western smartphones, TV-sets, cars. Duma members send their children to Western universities, hide their money in western banks, buy properties in the West and go to holiday on the Côte d’Azur. How does that fit?
  129. Dugin: It doesn’t fit well. Russia wants to break free from the West, but the political elites are closely connected with the West. The society is archaic, the elite modernizes. I call that archeomodernism. The elite wants to modernize the masses, wants to westernize them, but the masses want to russificate the elites. That’s a struggle, which started in the 19th century. The question is open until now, there’s only a painful compromise. Our society doesn’t want McDonald’s and iPhone. I am ready to waive all of that.
  131. SPIEGEL: Materialistic desires are repelling you?
  133. Dugin: Technological progress goes hand in hand with spiritual regression. I am for spiritual progress. SPIEGEL: You compared Russia to a boozer, who lost everything in the pub: family, children, home and land. After getting sober, he tries to get back, what he lost. How should he do that? Like in the case of Crimea?
  135. Dugin: We have lost ourselves in the 90s, first the breakdown of the Soviet Union, then the total influence of the Western culture. For me it’s not about territorial changes, but Crimea is part of our history, and we have to find our Russian roots again, and with these our historical identity.
  137. SPIEGEL: On rallies you demand from Putin that he should also show strength in eastern Ukraine: “Eastern Ukraine or death”. Are you really serious about that?
  139. Dugin: Absolute serious. If we lose eastern Ukraine, Kyiv will attack Crimea, and we’ll be forced into a war. If we defeat Crimea, there’ll be protests in Russia, which will lead to an overthrow of Putin and then we’ll have our own Euromaidan. I don’t know Putin; I have no influence on him. My appeal is directed to the nothing, but it’s my duty as a citizen.
  141. SPIEGEL: When Putin says, Russia must not only defend ethnic Russians everywhere, but anybody, who feels himself being a part of the Russian world, he is very close to you. He also repels American hegemony. On the other hand, you are saying, Putin doesn’t believe in an idea. Does he comply too much with the West?
  143. Dugin: Yes, of course. He is a split personality. There is the lunar and the solar Putin, that’s how I call him. The solar Putin is the Putin, how I like to see him. But the lunar Putin is viewing the world in a perspective of treaties, cooperation, gas-deliveries. That’s the pragmatist. There is a conflict between them. Putin is a deeply split person: First the annexation of Crimea, and afterwards step by step heading to the opposite direction. He worked at the secret service – maybe that’s the reason he is always telling the opposite of what he means.
  145. SPIEGEL: You differentiate between the fifth and the sixth column, which is working against Russia in Russia herself, and therefore must be fought. With the 5th column you mean the tens of thousands of protesters who marched to the Bolotnaya place after the Duma election in 2010. Are all of them enemies?
  147. Dugin: They are all enemies of Russia.
  149. SPIEGEL: All paid mercenaries?
  151. Dugin: Just the leaders. The fifth column – these are the liberals, who view Russia as a part of the Western world, works against Russia. But the sixth column has settled itself inside the circle of power: it works and lives together with Putin. The difference is: the fifth is against Putin, the sixth is for him. But they are all liberal Westerners.
  153. SPIEGEL: Clearly you think the sixth column is more dangerous.
  155. Dugin: It’s more dangerous because it’s not in sight. And because its proxies are telling they are pro-Putin.
  157. SPIEGEL: In your opinion, how should be dealt with the liberal opposition?
  159. Dugin: There are two views of democracy: as the rule of the majority and as the rule of the minority. The classical view, which is also my view, is the rule of the majority. But in the liberal, post-modern West, democracy today is viewed as the rule of the minority; because the majority is suspected to tend to populism, socialism or fascism. Therefore it’s the duty of the ruling minority to fight against the majority. A deviant logic.
  161. SPIEGEL: You say: “There are no critics of the Putinistic course anymore. And if there are critics, they are mentally ill, and they must be sent in the control of doctors. Putin is everything, Putin is indispensable. “. Is that really by you?
  163. Dugin: Yes.
  165. SPIEGEL: Mentally ill?
  167. Dugin: The ones, who are attacking Putin, are attacking the majority. That’s mentally abnormal, a deviation from the norm. Has one to endure deviations from the norm? Yes. Must one make abnormality the norm? No. Therefore the people, who don’t support Putin, are mentally abnormal. But mentally ill people have a right to be healed, to be supported.
  169. SPIEGEL: How do you imagine the Eurasia, which you propagate as an alternative to the Western democracy?
  171. Dugin: Eurasia has a global character; it’s a synonym for multi-polarity. I, myself have even supporters in Brasilia or China, everywhere, where people are against the American dominance. In this sense, even these people are Eurasians. To the narrower term: Eurasia – that’s Russia and her partners. Turkey, Iran, China, India. The post-Soviet space, which even includes Mongolia. And a part of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria or Serbia. How the Eurasian integration will happen in detail, will be seen.
  173. SPIEGEL: The relation of Europe to America has gotten more complex and it’s also not clear how to deal with Russia. You talk about the fight of the two Europes – the Atlantic and the Continental - against each other. You are travelling to Europe, often. Who are you talking with there?
  175. Dugin: With the European people. The elites don’t mirror the opinion of the majority. The European establishment doesn’t understand me, doesn’t like to understand Russia. But the ordinary people hear what I tell.
  177. SPIEGEL: And who of your philosopher colleagues hears?
  179. Dugin: There it’s exactly the same. Bernard-Herni Lévy criticizes my book “The fourth political theory”, but obviously hasn’t read it. Every European philosopher, who is part of the establishment, is part of the system. There’s nothing to be talked about with that part of the elite. A conversation with Habermas would also lead into the nothing. But these are few. I talk with taxi drivers, Bavarian famers, Romanian students, French chambermaids.
  181. SPIEGEL: Well, you don’t travel to Germany to talk to some random taxi driver?
  183. Dugin: I also talk with old school philosophers, who are chased away by supporters of the new “tolerance”; with people like Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, a Heidegger-scholar. Because of him, I went to Freiburg, he was suspended from lecturing there – by some Gender-Pussy-Riot-Femen structures.
  185. SPIEGEL: He had his regular emerition.
  187. Dugin: I am looking for people that represent the normal Europe. I am searching for Europe. I search its traces also in dissidents – in left or right ones. I find more traces of Europe in Russia than in Europe itself. In Russia, we care about German romanticists like Schelling and Hegel, like Heidegger and Schmitt, we don’t curse them.
  189. SPIEGEL: The historian Andrev Subov says, the idea of an independent Russian or Eurasian civilization is a deception. It’s nothing else than an artificial isolation of Russia from the rest of the world, and result of a cultural primitivism, because “we destroyed our leading European class decades ago: We lost everything that made our forefathers 100 or 200 years ago cosmopolitans.” Is Subov also “mentally ill”?
  191. Dugin: His stance is wrong, but he has the right to express it. The Eurasians have destroyed the European class? Between the forefathers of the liberals were also communist commissioners, who killed in the name of an universal development of mankind. Subov was dismissed from the institute for international relations, because he compared Putin’s annexation of Crimea with Hitler’s annexation of Austria. But he was allowed to come back. I am now dismissed from the State University – because of my demand to march into New-Russia.
  193. SPIEGEL: You are talking about the east of Ukraine?
  195. Dugin: I am not allowed to come back. They dismissed a patriot, me and a liberal. But only the liberal is allowed to come back. Interesting.
  197. SPIEGEL: Dostoyevsky, the anti-Westerner, was living in Germany for a long time. Isn’t that a contradiction?
  199. Dugin: Not at all. The longer a Russian is living abroad, the more Russian he gets. That’s why Russians living in Germany understand me so well. I can understand the European culture, I translate European poesy, I am just editing a Heidegger volume again. I love Europe, that’s why I am so scared by the present Europe. I see Europe dying. It’s not like Russia, we have a different answer to every challenge. All variety vanishes in Europe. But the Europeans not only lose Europe, they also want the Russians to abandon Russia. Search for your Europe or you will lose all of it, that’s your funeral. But leave us alone.
  201. SPIEGEL: Aleksandr Gelyevich, we thank you for this conversation.
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