Prof. Dugin, the Western mainstream media and established politicians describe the recent situation in Ukraine as a conflict between a pro-European, democratic, and liberal oppositional alliance on the one side and an authoritarian regime with a dictator as president on the other side. Do you agree?
Dugin: I know those stories and I consider this type of analysis totally wrong. We cannot divide the world today in the Cold War style. There is no “democratic world” which stands against an “antidemocratic world,” as many Western media report.
Your country, Russia, is one of the cores of this so called “antidemocratic world” when we believe our mainstream media. And Russia with president Vladimir Putin tries to intervene in Ukrainian domestic politics, we read . . .
Dugin: That’s completely wrong. Russia is a liberal democracy. Take a look at the Russian constitution: We have a democratic electoral system, a functioning parliament, a free market system. The constitution is based on Western pattern. Our president Vladimir Putin rules the country in a democratic way. We are a not a monarchy, we are not a dictatorship, we are not a soviet communist regime.
Our politicians in Germany call Putin a “dictator”!
Because of his LGBT-laws, his support for Syria, the law suits against Michail Chodorchowski and “Pussy Riot”…
Dugin: So they call him “dictator” because they don’t like the Russian mentality. Every point you mentioned is completely democratically legitimate. There is not just one single “authoritarian” element. So we shouldn’t mix that: Even if you don’t like Russia’s politics you can’t deny that Russia is a liberal democracy. President Vladimir Putin accepts the democratic rules of our system and respects them. He never violated one single law. So Russia is part of the liberal democratic camp and the Cold War pattern doesn’t work to explain the Ukrainian crisis.
So how can we describe this violent and bloody conflict?
Dugin: We need a very clear geopolitical and civilizational analysis. And we have to accept historical facts, even if they are in these days not en vogue!
What do you mean?
Dugin: Today’s Ukraine is a state which never existed in history. It is a newly created entity. This entity has at least two completely different parts. These two parts have a different identity and culture. There is Western Ukraine which is united in its Eastern European identity. The vast majority of the people living in Western Ukraine consider themselves as Eastern Europeans. And this identity is based on the complete rejection of any pan-Slavic idea together with Russia. Russians are regarded as existential enemies. We can say it like that: They hate Russians, Russian culture, and of course Russian politics. This makes an important part of their identity.
You are not upset about this as a Russian?
Dugin: (laughs) Not at all! It is a part of identity. It doesn’t necessarily mean they want to go on war against us, but they don’t like us. We should respect this. Look, the Americans are hated by much more people and they accept it also. So when the Western Ukrainians hate us, it is neither bad nor good – it is a fact. Let’s simply accept this. Not everybody has to love us!
But the Eastern Ukrainians like you Russians more!
Dugin: Not so fast! The majority of people living in the Eastern part of Ukraine share a common identity with Russian people – historical, civilizational, and geopolitical. Eastern Ukraine is an absolute Russian and Eurasian country. So there are two Ukraines. We see this very clear at the elections. The population is split in any important political question. And especially when it comes to the relations with Russia, we witness how dramatic this problem becomes: One part is absolute anti-Russian, the other Part absolute pro-Russian. Two different societies, two different countries and two different national, historical identities live in one entity.
So the question is which society dominates the other?
Dugin: That’s an important part of Ukrainian politics. We have the two parts, and we have the capital Kiev. But in Kiev we have both identities. It is neither the capital of Western Ukraine nor Eastern Ukraine. The capital of the Western part is Lviv, the capital of the Eastern part is Kharkiv. Kiev is the capital of an artificial entity. These are all important facts to understand this conflict.
Western Media as well as Ukrainian “nationalists” would strongly disagree with the term “artificial” for the Ukrainian state.
Dugin: The facts are clear. The creation of the state of Ukraine within the borders of today wasn’t the result of a historical development. It was a bureaucratic and administrative decision by the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union from its inception in 1922 to its end in 1991. Throughout this 72-year history, the republic’s borders changed many times, with a significant part of what is now Western Ukraine being annexed by the Red Army in 1939 and the addition of formerly Russian Crimea in 1954.
Some politicians and analysts say that the easiest solution would be the partition of Ukraine to an Eastern and a Western state.
Dugin: It is not as easy as it might sound because we would get problems with national minorities. In the Western part of Ukraine many people who consider themselves as Russians live today. In the Eastern part lives a part of the population that considers itself as Western Ukrainian. You see: A simple partition of the state wouldn’t really solve the problem but even create a new one. We can imagine the Crimean separation, because that part of Ukraine is purely Russian populated territory.
Why does it seem that the European Union is so much interested in “importing” all those problems to its sphere?
Dugin: It is not in the interest of any European alliance, it is in the interest of the US. It is a political campaign which is led against Russia. The invitation of Brussels to Ukraine to join the West brought immediately the conflict with Moscow and the inner conflict of Ukraine. This is not surprising at all of anybody who knows about the Ukrainian society and history.
Some German politicians said that they were surprised by the civil war scenes in Kiev…
Dugin: This says more about the standards of political and historical education of your politicians than about the crisis in Ukraine…
But the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych refused the invitation of the West.
Dugin: Of course he did. He was elected by the pro-Russian East and not by the West. Yanukovych can’t act against the interest and the will of his personal electoral base. If he would accept the Western-EU-invitation he would be immediately a traitor in the eyes of his voters. Yanukovych’s supporters want integration with Russia. To say it clearly: Yanukovych simply did what was very logical for him to do. No surprise, no miracle. Simply logical politics.
There is now a very pluralistic and political colorful oppositional alliance against Yanukovych: This alliance includes typical liberals, anarchists, communists, gay right groups and also nationalist and even neo-Nazi groups and hooligans. What keeps these different groups and ideologies together?
Dugin: They are united by their pure hatred against Russia. Yanukovych is in their eyes the proxy of Russia, the friend of Putin, the man of the East. They hate everything what has to do with Russia. This hate keeps them together; this is a block of hatred. To say it clearly: Hate is their political ideology. They don’t love the EU or Brussels.
What are the main groups? Who is dominating the oppositional actions?
Dugin: These are clearly the most violent neo-Nazi groups on the so called Euro-Maidan. They push for violence and provoke a civil war situation in Kiev.
Western Mainstream media claims that the role of those extremist groups is dramatized by the pro-Russian media to defame the whole oppositional alliance.
Dugin: Of course they do. How do they want to justify that the EU and the European governments support extremist, racist, neo-Nazis outside the EU-borders while they do inside the EU melodramatic and expensive actions even against the most moderate right wing groups?
But how can for example the gay right groups and the left wing liberal groups fight alongside the neo-Nazis who are well known to be not really very gay friendly?
Dugin: First of all, all these groups hate Russia and the Russian president. This hate makes them comrades. And the left wing liberal groups are not less extremist than the neo-Nazi groups. We tend to think that they are liberal, but this is horribly wrong. We find especially in Eastern Europe and Russia very often that the Homosexual-Lobby and the ultranationalist and neo-Nazi groups are allies. Also the Homosexual lobby has very extremist ideas about how to deform, re-educate and influence the society. We shouldn´t forget this. The gay and lesbian lobby is not less dangerous for any society than neo-Nazis.
We know such an alliance also from Moscow. The liberal blogger and candidate for the mayoral position in Moscow Alexej Nawalny was supported by such an alliance of gay rights organizations and neo-Nazi groups.
Dugin: Exactly. And this Nawalny-coalition was also supported by the West. The point is, it is not at all about the ideological content of those groups. This is not interesting for the West.
What do you mean?
Dugin: What would happen if a neo-Nazi organization supported Putin in Russia or Yanukovych in Ukraine?
The EU would start a political campaign; all huge western mainstream media would cover this and scandalize that.
Dugin: Exactly that´s the case. So it is only about on which side such a group stands. If the group is against Putin, against Yanukovych, against Russia, the ideology of that group is not a problem. If that group supports Putin, Russia or Yanukovych, the ideology immediately becomes a huge problem. It is all about the geopolitical side the group takes. It is nothing but geopolitics. It is a very good lesson what is going on in Ukraine. The lesson tells us: Geopolitics is dominating those conflicts and nothing else. We witness this also with other conflicts for example in Syria, Libya, Egypt, in Caucasian region, Iraq, Iran . . .
Any group taking side in favor of the West is a “good” group with no respect if it is extremist?
Dugin: Yes and any group taking side against the West – even if this group is secular and moderate – will be called “extremist” by the Western propaganda. This approach exactly dominates the geopolitical battlefields today. You can be the most radical and brutal Salafi fighter, you can hate Jews and eat human organs in front of a camera, as long as you fight for the Western interest against the Syrian government you are a respected and supported ally of the West. When you defend a multi-religious, secular and moderate society, all ideals of the West by the way, but you take position against the Western interest like the Syrian government, you are the enemy. Nobody is interested in what you believe in, it is only about the geopolitical side you chose if you are right or wrong in the eyes of the Western hegemon.
Prof. Dugin, especially Ukrainian opposition groups calling themselves “nationalists” would strongly disagree with you. They claim: “We are against Russia and against the EU, we take a third position!” The same thing ironically also the salafi fighter in Syria would say: “We hate Americans as much as the Syrian government!” Is there something like a possible third position in this geopolitical war of today?
Dugin: The idea to take a third and independent position between the two dominating blocks is very common. I had some interesting interviews and talks with a leading figure of the Chechen separatist guerrilla. He confessed to me that he really believed in the possibility of an independent and free Islamic Chechnya. But later he understood that there is no “third position,” no possibility of that. He understood that he fights against Russia on the side of the West. He was a geopolitical instrument of the West, a NATO proxy on the Caucasian battlefield. The same ugly truth hits the Ukrainian “nationalist” and the Arab salafi fighter: They are Western proxies. It is hard to accept for them because nobody likes the idea to be the useful idiot of Washington.
To say it clearly: The “third position” is absolutely impossible?
Dugin: No way for that today. There is land power and sea power in geopolitics. Land power is represented today by Russia, sea power by Washington. During World War II Germany tried to impose a third position. This attempt was based precisely on those political errors we talk about right now. Germany went on war against the sea power represented by the British Empire, and against the land power represented by Russia. Berlin fought against the main global forces and lost that war. The end was the complete destruction of Germany. So when even the strong and powerful Germany of that time wasn’t strong enough to impose the third position how the much smaller and weaker groups want to do this today? It is impossible, it is a ridiculous illusion.
Anybody who claims today to fight for an independent “third position” is in reality a proxy of the West?
Dugin: In most of the cases, yes.
Moscow seems to be very passive. Russia doesn’t support any proxies for example in the EU countries. Why?
Dugin: Russia doesn’t have an imperialist agenda. Moscow respects sovereignty and wouldn’t interfere in the domestic politics of any other country. And it is an honest and good politics. We witness this even in Ukraine. We see much more EU-politicians and even US-politicians and diplomats travelling to Kiev to support the opposition than we see Russian politicians supporting Yanukovych in Ukraine. We shouldn’t forget that Russia doesn’t have any hegemonial interests in Europe, but the Americans have. Frankly speaking, the European Union is not a genuine European entity – it is an imperialist transatlantic project. It doesn’t serve the interests of the Europeans but the interests of the Washington administration. The “European Union” is in reality anti-European. And the “Euro-Maidan” is in reality “anti-Euro-Maidan.” The violent neo-Nazis in Ukraine are neither “nationalist” nor “patriotic” nor “European” — they are purely American proxies. The same for the homosexual rights groups and organizations like FEMEN or left wing liberal protest groups.