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Putin’s grand vision and echoes of ‘1984’
ft.com ^ | October 5, 2011 | Charles Clover

Posted on 10/05/2011 9:10:30 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

The prospect of uniting with Kazakhstan and Belarus is unlikely to fill most Russians with a sense of grand imperial destiny. But for a small group of committed “Eurasianists”, the announcement by Vladimir Putin of a “Eurasian Union” between the three countries marks the epitome of their ambitions, the pay-off for a lifetime spent in the political wilderness.

“We have waited for 25 years for these words to be uttered in public by our leadership,” the leader of the Eurasianist Movement, Alexander Dugin, said in Moscow on Tuesday. For two decades he has worked to make dictatorship hip. Bearded and deep voiced, he veers effortlessly in conversation from the heroism of Muammer Gaddafi to the US conspiracy to destroy Russia.

In his hardline vision, the motherland is threatened by a western conspiracy known as “Atlanticism” to which it must create a bastion of “Eurasian” power.

In Mr Dugin’s vision, a reborn Russia is a slightly retooled version of the Soviet Union with dystopian echoes of George Orwell’s 1984, where Eurasia was one of three continent-sized super states (Oceania and Eastasia being the other two) in perpetual war.

A former dissident in the 1980s who joined the nationalist opposition to Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, Mr Dugin has since gone full circle. With the arrival of Mr Putin at the Kremlin in 2000, Mr Dugin made an effortless transformation from hardline opposition ideologue to pro-establishment public pundit.

The opposition politician Eduard Limonov, one of Mr Dugin’s early political collaborators, and now an implacable enemy, quipped that Mr Dugin is the “Cyril and Methodius of fascism”, named after the monks who introduced the Cyrillic alphabet to Russia in the ninth century.

Today, few, least of all Mr Dugin, try to hide the fact he has a close relationship to the Kremlin and has worked on many Kremlin-inspired political projects, such as the nationalist Rodina party and the Eurasian Youth Union.

On Tuesday, he even took some credit for Mr Putin’s article “Eurasia: the future which is being born today” published in the Izvestia newspaper. “We did help in the preparation, but, unfortunately, they softened our formulas,” he told a small conference at the University of Moscow, before introducing the next speaker – Iran’s ambassador to Russia. Indeed, the event was timed for the day the Russian prime minister’s article came out.

Distilled frenzy

Eurasianism was originally a movement of White Russian émigrés, fleeing the Bolshevik revolution, in the cities of interwar Europe. The heirs of Russia’s “silver age” and symbolist movement, they took to heart the poetry of Alexander Blok, who wrote of Russia’s Mongol ancestry: “Yes, we are Asians, with slanted and greedy eyes!”

They theorised that the territory of the former Russian empire formed a natural geopolitical and cultural unit that was destined to remain whole.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the literature enjoyed a renaissance. Mr Putin, however, has seemingly taken a passing interest in the theory and has made occasional pronouncements on it, going so far as to create the Eurasian Economic Community in 2000 and now, it seems, the Eurasian Union.

One is reminded of a 1936 quote by John Maynard Keynes: “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

Financial chop

In the days of the Soviet Union, censorship came in many forms. Most chillingly, it was in the careful airbrushing of photos to remove the faces of political prisoners or other betrayers of the motherland.

It seems the old ways are making a comeback, measured by the speed with which Alexei Kudrin went from being hero to zero after the former finance minister challenged the president, Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia’s state television edited a September 26 speech in which the president fired Mr Kudrin. Neither Mr Kudrin’s face nor his response to Mr Medvedev’s suggestion that he resign (“I’ll have to check with the prime minister [Vladimir Putin]”) has been broadcast, though the footage has gone viral on YouTube.

Since then, Mr Kudrin has dropped from sight. But most experts give the man a decent chance of making a comeback, either as central bank governor or adviser to Mr Putin.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: 1984; eurasianism; putin

1 posted on 10/05/2011 9:10:38 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Putin is still as dangerous as he ever was. The fact that some still refuse to see that is amazing.


2 posted on 10/05/2011 9:16:12 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Putin’s “grand vision” is to be Stalin. He’s a dangerous little freak. There were a couple of mob bosses on “The Sopranos” that reminded me of Putin. The other mob bosses had them whacked for the good of the mob.


3 posted on 10/05/2011 9:24:57 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: ozzymandus
There were a couple of mob bosses on “The Sopranos” that reminded me of Putin. The other mob bosses had them whacked for the good of the mob.

A) life isn't like on Television. If you own a television, you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

B)Whacking Putin is much easier said than done. He is young enough, healthy enough, and still has assets in the KGB. He looks a lot more like a whacker than a whackee.

And the only other power on the planet (that could) won't mess with him. Mossad has bigger fish to fry.

/johnny

4 posted on 10/05/2011 9:47:19 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Golly gee, sorry to offent you by owning a TV. I’m sure your hero Putin is safe for now, so calm down, comrade.


5 posted on 10/05/2011 10:03:14 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: ozzymandus
Anyone that owns, watches or pays attention to television is a spokesperson for the left.

You speak what you hear. And if you let the TV into your world, you speak liberal.

No television here for over 10 years. I'm not a communist. Tovarich.

But I am sick of TV watching Americans comparing real life to what they see on television.

It's pretty disgusting.

/johnny

6 posted on 10/05/2011 10:08:36 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (gone Galt)
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To: ozzymandus
The other mob bosses had them whacked for the good of the mob.

That scene was written by leftists in Hollywood.

/johnny

7 posted on 10/05/2011 10:09:58 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

So everybody in the world who owns a television is a “spokesman for the left”? It must get pretty lonely in that cave.


8 posted on 10/05/2011 10:29:03 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: ozzymandus
I'm not the one quoting something written by hollywood leftists like it has any relevance to the real world.

Mr. Soprano's guy.

It's a lot less lonely in the real world instead of mindlessly staring into a boob-tube. I interacted with real humans today.

/johnny

9 posted on 10/05/2011 10:36:46 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I am so totally right there with you on Item A. The propaganda audio-visual-emotional wizardry is incessant and as someone who doesn’t watch (own TV’s hooked up to DVD & VCR for movies; no cable/Dish/whatever though), it’s so clear to me how TV influences our culture in vocabulary, ideology, mythology (from much of the “news” and “reporting” viewers are subjected to), and outright propaganda.


10 posted on 10/06/2011 12:48:39 AM PDT by MonicaG (God bless our military! Praying and thanking God for you every day. Thank you!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The White Russian background is interesting. Anti-Communist emigres were opposed to Stalin’s project of carving up Russia to contain it. They distrusted the West which did nothing to do to keep the Bolsheiviks from taking power. Many in Russia think the country should focus on the Near Abroad rather the West. Russia’s natural influence is the post-Soviet space through the market economy and a common outlook. Its not a reversion to the Soviet Union. Those who want to rebuild it have no brain.


11 posted on 10/06/2011 4:10:29 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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