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Close Encounters of the Third Rome Kind:
An Interview with the Author of Rising

2,012 words

Moscow and Peter’s grad, the city of Constantine,
these are the capitals of the Russian kingdom.
But where is their limit? And where are their frontiers
to the north, the east, the south and the setting sun?
The Fate will reveal this to future generations.
Seven inland seas and seven great rivers
from Nile to Neva, from Elbe to China,
from Volga to the Euphrates, from Ganges to Danube.
That’s the Russian kingdom, and let it be forever, 
Just as the spirit foretold and Daniel prophesied. — Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873)

Greg Johnson: What led you to write your second novel Rising?

Fenek Solère: I was working in St. Petersburg and my girlfriend, a student and part-time actress, was auditioning for the role of Traudl Junge in the 2004 movie Downfall (Der Untergang). A part that was eventually taken by Alexandra Maria Lara who went on to play Annik Honore, the Ian Curtis extra-marital love interest in Control (2007) and Petra Schelm in the Baader Meinhoff Complex (2008). I was mixing with the generation that had survived the economic crisis of the nineties, the more politically literate of whom were crowding into small venues like Club DADA to see Death in June and discussing the ideological merits and electoral and legal problems faced by various nationalist fringe groupings like The Movement Against Illegal Immigration, Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party, Dugin’s Eurasian Party, The Other Russia, and the Russian Imperial Movement.

It was the same demographic that had spawned Pussy Riot, thrill seeking roof-toppers like Kirill Vselensky, and Instagram celebrities like Nastasya Samburskaya. An egotistical and yet fragile generation of young people that had learned through bitter experience not to plan too far ahead. Voting for Putin because he represented stability in the face of lawlessness and economic well-being after the calamitous extravagance of the Yeltsin years. They were in effect the party-goers who had woken up with a decades-long hangover, only to discover their country had been asset-stripped of nickel, gold, and oil deposits by so-called gladiator capitalists, who were in-fact no more than ruthless, looting, self-dealing kleptomaniacs turned oligarchs like Roman Abramovich, Pyotr Aven, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Movers and shakers that wielded unimaginable power in the vacuous corridors of the pre-Putin Kremlin.

And although I had travelled widely and studied under an Emeritus Professor of Russian literature in London who had published extensively on Gogol and Dostoevsky and occasionally accompanied him to the Cathedral of the Dormition in Ennismore Gardens to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, nothing could have prepared me for the shabby sophistication of the museums, art galleries, and Italianate architecture of the Venice of the North, the granite-faced business mentality of Muscovites, or the burnt orange sunsets that gaped across the endless flat Steppe toward Omsk.

Rising attempts to capture some of the grandeur of that former Empire. It is a homage to St. Petersburg, a mist shrouded city of cobwebs that haunts you in much the same way as Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, once you have delved into its phantasmagoric underworld.

GJ: I can see it must have been a life-changing experience. Can you describe some of your activities and impressions of Russia?

FS: Russia is a land of incredible contrasts. Unimaginable wealth living side by side with extreme poverty; catastrophic rural depopulation juxtaposed with multi-billion urban construction projects like the glass towers and copper-colored shards of Moscow’s financial district; and overt commercial and governmental corruption set against acts of amazingly generous Christian piety. It is a truly exhilarating environment.

Some defining moments that I can readily recall are walking down Nevsky Prospekt and being completely overwhelmed by how homogenous the Slavic community still is in comparison to Western Europe and North America; being intellectually aware of Orthodox eschatology but still feeling surprised by the very real power and energy of resurgent religious practice; and if you will excuse my sexism, observing from a heterosexual red-blooded male perspective, the disproportionate number of attractive and slim women of child-bearing age, as they walked out of the underground stations in the cities or made their way from stall to stall in the market squares of the provincial towns and villages I occasionally visited.

Besides moshing to Arkona’s pagan riffs in concerts as far apart as Kiev and Lakewood, Ohio there were also moments of thoughtful reflection. I would stand by my friends as they filed in an orderly line to go into onion topped cathedrals, their smiling faces reflecting in the polished double-headed eagles hanging on the walls, congregating under the glistening chandeliers, crossing themselves when the chant of gospodi pomilui mixed with the crackle of wax candles and the tinkle of silver bells rose to the crescendo of ‘Vechnaia Pamiat,Vechnaia Pamiat!’ Placing flowers on the graves of the philosopher Ivan Alexandrovich Il’in and General Anton Denikin, head of the anti-Bolshevik White forces in Southern Russia during the Civil War, two figures representing the pen and sword of anti-Communism, now returned to their native soil after decades of exile. Honorable men who stood against Lenin’s doctrine of Mass Terror and the indiscriminate shooting by Cheka operatives of thousands of bourgeois hostages in the Petrograd and Kronstadt prisons; the containment of hundreds of thousands of dissidents in camps like that in Maykop, where women, children, and the elderly died of typhus, cholera, and starvation; the summary executions in Moscow, Tver, Nizhny-Novgorod, Vyatka, Perm, Tula, Odessa, Kharkov, and Kiev; the Decossakization of the Don and Kuban territories; the rounding-up of the Kulaks; and the plans to use asphyxiating gas against counter-revolutionaries in the forests around Tambov. People Lenin described as harmful insects, lice, vermin, and germs. Indicating the need to cleanse Russia of fleas, bugs, and parasites.

Inhuman crimes that continued well after the Civil War had petered out in 1921 and Lenin’s wax-like corpse lay embalmed in the Kremlin, climaxing in the extermination of the remnant of White sympathizers in the Crimea, the deliberate starving to death of at least four million Ukrainians in the Holdomor of 1932/33 under the direct supervision of Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich, and the construction of the Gulag system immortalized in the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In fact a body count that when you include the murderous activities of NKVD leaders like Nikolai Yezhov and Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda under the Stalin regime adds up to over 58,000,000 between 1922 and 1991. At least 100,000 of which were priests and nuns. Although still falling short of Mao Zedong’s estimated 73,000,000 victims, it makes an absolute mockery of fatuous claims by ‘court’ sponsored historians like Laurence Rees in his The Holocaust: A New History (2017) that the events in Central and Eastern Europe between 1939-45 were unprecedented and amount to the “most appalling atrocity in history.”

GJ: What are you trying to communicate about the Rightist Revolutionary demimonde?

FS: That it is we who hold the moral high ground, and we should continue to maintain that position against the lies, hypocrisy, and double-standards of the Left, liberals, and neoconservatives acting in the interests of the Robber-Baron globalist elites. It is we, not they, who are under constant attack by malign forces who are using every demographic, ethnic, financial, and politically correct artifice in their tool-box to first dispossess us of all that our civilization has accumulated over centuries and then eradicate us from our very homelands. Desperate attempts to deny individuals and groups advocating for whites and their constitutional and legal rights, efforts to disrupt funding streams to alternative media sites and the de-platforming of our spokespeople are symptomatic of the establishment’s anxiety and fear that our message is beginning to gain traction. Their response is reminiscent of the Soviet regime’s strategy to quell internal opposition in the dying days of communism. And if people think that is an exaggeration or an unfair comparison I would advise them to read Zhores Medvedev’s Ten Years After Ivan Denisovich (1973) and reflect on how different that is to the current situation in Russia. With Putin saying:

To forgive the terrorists is up to God. To send them to him is up to me!

And:

We see that many Euro-Atlantic states have taken the way where they deny or reject their own roots, including their Christian roots, which form the basis of Western Civilization. In these countries, the moral basis and any traditional identity is being denied. There, the politicians treat families with many children as equal to a homosexual partnership; faith in God as being equal to faith in Satan. The excesses and exaggerations of political correctness in these countries leads to serious consideration for the legitimization of parties that promote the propaganda of paedophilia.

And with the Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev adding:

The fact is, the Catholic Church in the West exists today under an information blockade, under a very hard diktat from secular society. In this case we are without question allies. We can search together for the answer to those challenges which threaten the very existence of Christianity. I call it a strategic alliance between Orthodoxy and Catholics, that is the understanding that if there are threats, then these are common threats and if there are challenges, they are also common.

Dare we speak such truths in the West, shackled as we are by political correctness? And what would the media make of such statements? President Trump was literally shouted down at a press conference for merely pointing out that the Left had behaved violently at the recent Charlottesville debacle. What a reversal of fortune between the freedom of expression in the East and West. But having said that please do not think I am naïve enough to envisage Taras Bulba’s Cossacks riding over the horizon to save White Civilization. There is far too much suspicion and misunderstanding between Slav and Saxon for that. Rather, I see Russia as part of a larger geopolitical jigsaw, playing its part to protect, preserve, and extend a global commonwealth of independent white ethno-states that also ensures the autonomy of Baltic countries like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as part of a broader Scandinavian confederation.

GJ: You comment extensively about Alexander Dugin’s philosophy in your interview with Daniel Macek on the New European Conservative website. Have you ever met Dugin and what are your current thoughts on his brand of Eurasianism?

FS: No, I have never met Dugin. I’m afraid I do not move in such exalted circles. Most of my Russian compatriots are devotees of his and have read his works like Putin vs Putin: Vladimir Putin Viewed From The Right (2014) in the original language. My Russian is too poor for that, so I am limited to the translated versions like those offered by Arktos. I see Dugin as very much part of a much longer tradition of thinkers and I would advise anyone coming to his works for the first time to familiarize themselves with L. N. Gumilev’s The Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom (The Legend of the Kingdom of Prester John) translated by R. E. F. Smith and published by Cambridge University Press (1987). A work in which the celebrated, if controversial historian, opens both the eyes and minds of the reader to the migrations and conflicts that have shaped Khazaria and the peoples and cultures living on the Eurasian steppe.

GJ: Do you in any way identify with the main character. Is the novel biographical?

FS: I think it is natural for a writer to draw to some extent on personal experience. I walked the streets, parks, and thoroughfares I write about in Rising, breathed the dry dusty air of the polluted backstreets, and drank shots of vodka in dimly lit bars listening to the dreams of young idealists. Remember what Joseph-Marie Comte de Maistre said “There is no man who desires as passionately as a Russian. If we could imprison Russian desire beneath a fortress, that fortress would explode.” I would agree. I loved every minute of it and would not change a thing. My head still spins with the excitement and hedonism, like fondly remembered moments of a misspent youth. Embracing Mokosh, the goddess of destiny and pumping my fists in the air when Masha the Scream sings “Rus Narodnyi!”

 

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16 Comments

  1. Proofreader
    Posted September 27, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    This is off-topic, but is Counter-Currents lining up anything for the centenary of the Judeo-Bolshevik Revolution?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted September 27, 2017 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      Yes

  2. Lemur
    Posted September 18, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    GJ, putting aside issues like the relative merits and downsides of Putinism against globalist forces, and the goings on in the Ukraine, do you see Russia as part of the European family aka Western world?

    If so, why?

    Do you agree Dugin’s thesis Russia is ‘Eurasian’ derives from invalid Soviet anthropology?

    What sort of relationship between Russia and the rest of Europe do you envisage in a nationalist world?

    • Ted
      Posted September 18, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      I would like to hear answers to these questions from reasonable Russian far-Rightists. By “reasonable” I mean genuine racial nationalists (e.g., people who would read this site – and/or mine- and agree with the bulk of it), not Duginistas, Putin fanboys, rabid petty nationalists fuming at the Ukraine, or warmed-over Cold Warriors focused on rivalry with America and the West.

      What do real Russian racial nationalists – or at least genuine and sane Russian/Slavic nationalists – see as the proper relationship of Russia and, say, the entire White world, Europe, the West?

      • BroncoColorado
        Posted September 19, 2017 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        I don’t know the answer to that question, but I suspect the average Russian looks at the West and turn his head away with a smug feeling of schadenfreude. More prescient Russians fear they will be next in the global make-over and China will be the chosen instrument.

      • 1rw
        Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        It seems like you have constrained what a “real” Russian nationalist can be. This implies you only want to hear someone with a particular position – yours.

        Russia is not a nation – it is an empire. Therefore Russian nationalists must be imperialists, very much infuriated by the situation in Ukraine, which is directly tied to the rivalry with the US

        • Lemur
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink

          It’s pretty clear Russia is based on an orthodox Eastern Slav backbone, equivalent to the WASP one Huntington talked about in America. Consider why Stalin moved ethnic Russians beyond the borders of the Russian Soviet – he wanted demographic blocs on the ground who would be loyal to Moscow. This undermines the notion ethnic Russians understand themselves as one of many groups comprising a multikulti coalition.

          Unlike the European peninsular, Russia borders non-white territory for thousands of miles. Thus, its probably inevitable the logic of power struggles lead to the inclusion of non-Russian groups in Russian controlled territory. As Catherine the Great said, ‘I have no way to defend my borders but to extend them’.

          Ukraine strikes me as a more violent expression of the reason Czechoslovakia split up.

          Russia is becoming more ethnically Russian btw: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-more-russian/

        • Ted
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 2:11 am | Permalink

          “This implies you only want to hear someone with a particular position – yours.”

          So, yes, I’m a racial nationalist and I want to know what Russian racial nationalists think. So what?

          The rest of it: that’s like saying a genuine American nationalist has to be like John McCain. Sorry, genuine racial nationalists don’t grovel to Central Asians and dream of “Eurasianism” to play empire games. A genuine Russian nationalist would worry more about Russia than the Ukraine. A genuine American nationalist would care more about what goes on in America than being infuriated if, say, the Philippines doesn’t want American military bases or some such thing.

          Granted, Ukraine is right next door to Russia, and there are deep historical connections. Russians certainly have a right not to want Ukraine to be a globalist puppet state. However, it seems that the petty nationalist faction in Russia simply do not believe that any sort of independent Ukrainian state – even a racial nationalist one – should exist at all. It should all be part of “empire” – presided over by multiculturalists with their Siberian defense ministers and growing Central Asian populations.

          • 1rw
            Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            Russia cannot ignore its borders, a Russian nationalist sees the Ukranian fiasco as a move by the US to bring NATO to its borders and cut Russia off of the Black Sea. This is an existential threat to Russians, nationalist or not. Russia can tolerate a neutral Ukraine, it cannot abide a Ukraine ensconced in an anti-Russian alliance. Likewise, Russia cannot ignore Central Asia, the various peoples living there must be bought off, conquered, enthralled – or else, Central Asia becomes a platform for attacks into Russia itself. This a historic fact.

            While the USA has Canada, Mexico, and two oceans as borders – that is weak passive countries and unoccupiable geografic features Russia has borders with China, various Islamic states, and the EU ( in the war of 1812 and the Great Patriotic war, Russia was invaded by what is now the EU). Russia must be an empire if it is to be at all.

            Disengaging with the beat abroad failed – when Russian Federation forces withdrew from Chechnya, the Chechens attacked neighboring Dagestan.

            While there is observable truth in the tendency of empire forming peoples getting reverse colonized, I counter that Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Italy are getting colonized as well, by the same people. These countries I list have not of late, if ever, possessed empires of note in Africa, Middle East, or South Asia. Meanwhile, Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union both managed to rule multitudes of non-white non-Christian peoples with no such outcome. I therefore blame Liberalism with its focus on individual rights and negation of responsibility to the family and nation on this phenomenon. I also blame Capitalism, the thing Liberalism was invented to justify on this. While Capitalists seek to snag qualified labor on the cheap from wherever it may come from, Soviet economic planners built factories in Central Asia and the Caucasus to keep vibrancy at home.

            The sooner Russia’s political elite is cleansed of the cancerous influence of Liberalism, the better.

          • Lemur
            Posted September 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            I agree the whole Dugin Eurasianism thing is objectionable, and Putin is way to willing to let central asians in.

        • Ted
          Posted September 20, 2017 at 3:47 am | Permalink

          “Russia is not a nation – it is an empire.”

          This is a bug, not a feature. If you look at history – or the current situation in the UK, France, the USA, and indeed Russia itself – you see a key problem with empire: the original founder nation becomes colonized by the subject peoples, and becomes damaged both demographically and culturally.

          The election of Trump was in part due to White Americans wanting a nation, not an empire, and wanting a stop to being dispossessed by the migratory influx of alien peoples from throughout America’s global empire. Unfortunately, Trump is a fraud, but the voters’ sentiment was healthy.

          Russian nationalists should want a nation of their own, not an empire reverse colonized by Central Asians, and NEC terrorists setting off bombs in Moscow subways.

          • 1rw
            Posted September 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            Curious, what would the borders be?

          • Ted
            Posted September 21, 2017 at 1:01 am | Permalink

            The borders would be much as they are now, excluding Muslim republics. Unlike the Silkers, I support Russia keeping its far east. Indigenous people can live on reservations, separate from Slavs. Central Asians types can be patriated to existing to existing Central Asian states (Kazahks, Uzbeks, etc) or live on reservations. None of these people should be allowed west of the urals. None of them should be in government!

          • 1rw
            Posted September 21, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Having Muslim republics on the border simply creates platforms for ISIS types to attack into Russia. As happened in 2000 when Chechens attacked Dagestan. Muslim Tatars live in the middle of Russia along the Volga river.

            Russia acquired these lands originally in order to control the banditism and slave raiding emanating from there. If Russia leaves, it will have to suffer from this again

          • Ted
            Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            The best way to prevent Muslin terror in Russia is not to have any Muslims living in Russia. These peoples do not have the capacity for long range strikes. They can commit terror because they live among you.

            You can in fact impose vassal states on bordering territories. You can make any “empire” arrangements you like, as long as the alien natives are not “Russian citizens” with the same rights as genuine ethnic Russians.

  3. BroncoColorado
    Posted September 18, 2017 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Many of us are familiar with the message allegedly sent by a Greek monk to the Duke of Moscow after the fall of Constantinople in 1452. It goes something like this:
    “Two Romes have fallen, a fourth there shall not be, thou art now true ruler of all faithful Christians.”
    The truth or otherwise of the message is not important, it has filtered into the collective consciousness of the Russian people and gave the Czars, and their communist successors, a mandate for dominion. The ‘Third Rome’ is quite an empowering idea, and perhaps one with some mileage left.

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