Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
“Neo-Eurasianism” and Perennial Philosophy
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV AND ANDREAS UMLAND “Frankly, I hate traditionalists—no matter whether they are of domestic or Western origin. They are rabble. Good people do real work or wage wars, even if they have little chance of success. All over the world.” Aleksandr Dugin, February 24, 2000
ow relevant is Integral Traditionalism or Philosophia Perennis to an adequate assessment of the multifaceted phenomenon of post-Soviet Russian “neo-Eurasianism,” as a whole, and to the eclectic social doctrine of Aleksandr Dugin (b. 1962), in particular?1 A final answer to this question would be only possible if Dugin’s International Eurasian Movement (Mezhdunarodnoe “Evraziiskoe dvizhenie”)—or another organization principally inspired by him—were to rise to power and through its policies clarify which aspects of his vague ideology are most significant.2 Nevertheless, in this article we shall evaluate the significance of Integral Traditionalism for Dugin’s ideological constructs. Such an attempt is motivated in part by Dugin’s repeated self-identification—despite the epigraph—as a “Traditionalist” and his numerous references to the classics of Integral Traditionalism.
The authors would like to thank Olena Sivuda for her help in the preparation of this text for publication. 1 We have raised selected issues dealt with in this article earlier in Andreas Umland, “Der ‘Neoeurasismus’ des Aleksandr Dugin: Zur Rolle des integralen Traditionalismus und der Orthodoxie für die russische ‘Neue Rechte,’” in Macht – Religion – Politik: Zur Renaissance religiöser Praktiken und Mentalitäten, ed. Margarete Jäger and Jürgen Link (Münster, 2006): 141–57; and Anton Shekhovtsov, “The Palingenetic Thrust of Russian Neo-Eurasianism: Ideas of Rebirth in Aleksandr Dugin’s Worldview,” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 9:4 (2008): 491–506. The term “Philosophia Perennis” as it is used in modern intellectual history carries a meaning different from Aldous Huxley’s philosophical concept of the same name. See Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (London, 1946). For yet another connotation of the term see Nikolaus Lobkovits [Lobkowicz], Vechnaia filosofiia i sovremennye razmyshleniia o nei (Moscow, 2007). 2 Alexander Höllwerth, Das sakrale eurasische Imperium des Aleksandr Dugin: Eine Diskursanalyse zum postsowjetischen russischen Rechtsextremismus (Stuttgart/Hannover, 2007); Andreas Umland, “Kontseptualnye i kontekstualnye problemy interpretatsii sovremennogo russkogo ul'tranatsionalizma,” Voprosy filosofii, 2006, no. 12:75–77; idem, “Tri raznovidnosti postsovetskogo fashizma,” in Russkii natsionalizm: Ideologiia i nastroenie, ed. Aleksandr Verkhovskii (Moscow, 2006), 223–62 (also available at www1.ku-eichstaett.de/ The Russian Review 68 (October 2009): 662–78 Copyright 2009 The Russian Review
idem. 3:289–304.und Zeitgeschichte 10:1 (2006): 115–47. Dugin’s gradual entry into the Russian intellectual élite and Moscow’s political establishment during the last fifteen years has been already described in some detail. “(Neo)evraziitsy i politika: ‘Vkhozhdenie’ v gosstruktury i bezrazlichie k obshchestvennomu mneniiu?” Vestnik Evrazii – Acta Eurasica 1(31) (2006): 30–43.html).wilsoncenter. idem.” Ab Imperio.edu/node/589.” Russian Politics and Law 47:1 (2009): 47–75. Vladimir Ivanov. 2002. idem.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 25:1–2 (2001): 91–127. Victor Yasmann. all web sites referenced were last accessed on November 24. “The NationalBolshevik Party and Arctogaia: Two Neo-fascist Groupuscules in the Post-Soviet Political Space. ideologicheskii posrednik.” Druzhba narodov. Alexander Dugin und die rechtsextremen Netzwerke: Fakten und Hypothesen zu den internationalen Verflechtungen der russischen Neuen Rechten (Stuttgart/Hannover.” Osteuropa 52:7 (2002): 885–900.jyu.” Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Working Paper Series 3 (2002) (available at www.” Patterns of Prejudice 36:3 (2003): 62–76. Markus Mathyl. “Toward an Uncivil Society? Contextualizing the Recent Decline of Parties of the Extreme Right Wing in Russia. for example.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
A second reason for this investigation is the appearance of various journalistic and academic studies that have classified Dugin as a “Traditionalist.” The Eurasian Politician 4 (2001): 1 (also available at www.” Die Neue Gesellschaft: Frankfurter Hefte 42:10 (1995): 916–21. Dangers. Prospects. 2006. 2005).harvard. John B.fi/~aphamala/pe/issue4/ yasmann. Andreas Umland. and Valerii Senderov. 3 See. ed.pdf).cc. 4 See.” Forum für osteuropäische Ideen.4 In view of this literature. Mikhail Sokolov.
.” Ab Imperio. no. “Aleksandr Dugin.” in Tsena nenavisti: Natsionalizm v Rossii i protivodeistvie rasistskim prestupleniiam.ru/druzhba/2002/6/fr. idem.russ. 2008]). 226–53.. 1989– 2001 gg. 3:321–55.” Russian Politics and Law 46:4 (2008): 6–30. idem. “Die Sprachrohre des russischen Revanchismus. “(Neo-)Eurasianists and Politics: ‘Penetration’ of State Structures and Indifference to Public Opinion?” Russian Politics and Law 47:1 (2009): 90–101. “New Right-Wing Intellectuals: Strategies of Legitimization. idem. we will refrain here from demonstrating Dugin’s relative importance. and idem. Charles Clover.org/ news/docs/OP294. THE INTEGRAL TRADITIONALIST WORLDVIEW The foundations of Integral Traditionalism as a systematic religious teaching were laid down in the first half of the twentieth century by the French-born Muslim René Guénon
ZIMOS/forum/docs/Umland6.”3 The growing interest among political scientists and other observers in Dugin and his activities is the result of his recent evolution from a little-known marginal radical rightwinger to a notable and seemingly influential figure within Russia’s mainstream. idem. idem.” Kennan Institute Occasional Papers 294 (2006) (also available at www. Aleksandr Verkhovskii (Moscow.” Foreign Affairs 78:2 (1999): 9–13. as well as from justifying our attempt to analyze more thoroughly how his ideology relates conceptually to Integral Traditionalism. Marlen Lariuel’ [Marlène Laruelle]. “Aleksandr Dugin. and also published in Demokratizatsiia 10:3 (2002): 362–91). 2007). “Neo-Eurasianism: Realities.wcfia. 2002. “The Rise of the Eurasians. no. no. “Kulturhegemoniale Strategien der russischen extremen Rechten: Die Verbindung von faschistischer Ideologie und gramscistischer Taktik im ‘Neoeurasismus’ des Aleksandr Dugin. “Dreams of the Eurasian Heartland: The Re-emergence of Geopolitics. Konstantin Frumkin. “Postsowjetische Gegeneliten und ihr wachsender Einfluss auf Jugendkultur und Intellektuellendiskurs in Russland: Der Fall Aleksandr Dugin 1991–2004.pdf [unless otherwise noted.htm). for example. “Novye Pravye intellektualy v Rossii: Strategii legitimatsii. “Der ‘unaufhaltsame Aufstieg’ des Aleksandr Dugin: NeoNationalbolschewismus und Neue Rechte in Russland. Dunlop. “Aleksandr Dugin’s ‘Neo-Eurasian’ Textbook and Dmitrii Trenin’s Ambivalent Response. “Traditsionalisty: Portret na fone tekstov. A Russian Version of the European Radical Right?.” Russian Politics and Law 47:1 (2009): 24–46. 6 (available at http://magazines.” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 33:4 (2004): 437–54. “Conceptual and Contextual Problems in the Interpretation of Contemporary Russian Ultranationalism. Marlène Laruelle. “Formirovanie fashistskogo ‘neoevraziiskogo’ dvizheniia v Rossii: Put' Aleksandra Dugina ot marginal'nogo ekstremista do ideologa postsovetskoi akademicheskoi i politicheskoi elity.
that is. Coomaraswamy (Bloomington. With this brief sketch of the Traditionalist school. In our current age—the so-called Era of Vice (Kali Yuga)—the ancient cultural foundations of human existence have degenerated completely: only traces of the “primordial Tradition” remain. Traditionalists believe that a “perennial wisdom” or “primordial Tradition” was revealed to humanity during a “Golden Age” (the Hindu Satya Yuga). and “perennial wisdom. 1991. journals. Xavier Accart. In Russia. 1987). 4:31–42. a single “perennial wisdom” lies at the heart of different religions. and they survive only in certain world religions that Traditionalists understood to be dialects of the lost single “spiritual language. no. “Rene Genon i filosofiia traditsionalizma. the teachings of Integral Traditionalists have only recently become wellknown. 6 For thorough overviews of the philosophical school see. and websites.
. William W.” Voprosy filosofii. 3. Coomaraswamy and R. At the same time.5 Integral Traditionalists repudiate all achievements of modernity and. and the number of Traditionalist websites is high. 2004).” One characteristic of Integral Traditionalism. Jr.7 The next few years witnessed an avalanche of articles. 2001). The Simple Life of René Guénon (New York. Dugin repeatedly claimed Guénon as his teacher. Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy (Colombo. Guénon. The Russian academic journal Voprosy filosofii first introduced Soviet readers to Perennial Philosophy in a 1991 article on René Guénon and Traditionalism that was written by the philosopher and translator Iurii Stefanov.” Thus. René Guénon and the Future of the West: The Life and Writings of a 20th-Century Metaphysician (Wellingborough. 2005). then. 7 Iurii Stefanov. Vol. we can now turn to a comparison of Perennial Philosophy with Dugin’s so-called “neo-Eurasianism. the world slid into decadence. For a comprehensive study of Coomaraswamy see Roger Lipsey. subscribe to a mythologized and idealized interpretation of humanity’s past. instead. ed.664
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(1886–1951) and the metaphysician of Anglo-Ceylonese origin Ananda Coomaraswamy (1877–1974). and at one time he dreamt of naming Rostov State University. 2000). Guénon.” in The Essential Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. The Only Tradition (Albany. K. On Guénon see Paul Chacornac. Integral Traditionalism refutes any possibility of improving or altering the allegedly degraded state of the contemporary world through political engagement—itself a profoundly “modern” and foolish human activity. after the French
5 Marco Pallis. and Harry Oldmeadow. an absolute confidence in the doomed nature of modern decadent society. Quinn. and a primary objective of Traditionalists is to find and preserve those religious teachings that retain remnants of the “primordial Tradition. Rama P. ou. according to Integral Traditionalists. essays and translations of different quality published in magazines. to which he has some relation. 1977). first and foremost.6 Publishing houses such as Sophia Perennis or World Wisdom specialize in Integral Traditionalist themes. 7–20. Waterfield.” gradually disappeared from people’s life.” FROM GUÉNON VIA EVOLA TO DUGIN? Throughout the 1990s.. Much has been published—in different languages—on the origins and development of Perennial Philosophy. 1997). And some of the first essays to appear were published in Dugin’s periodicals Milyi Angel and Elementy. His Life and Work (Princeton. Coomaraswamy. is a comprehensive pessimism. Le renversement des clartés: Influence d’un métaphysicien sur la vie littéraire et intellectuelle française (1920–1970) (Paris. and Robin E. “A Fateful Meeting of Minds: A.” as a single “spiritual language. As subsequent ages (Yugas) superseded each other.
“Review of: Shenfield. 61–89. that has been used in many texts written by Russian New Rightists inspired by Dugin’s initial elaborations on Traditionalism. and the ideology of the German interwar “Conservative Revolution.de/ZIMOS/forum/docs/3Umland06. no. the ideas of the “Conservative Revolution” recently have made a surprising comeback among Russian intellectuals. 1989). 248 (2001) (also available at www. “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the ‘Interregnum. Ernst Jünger. ed.ku-eichstaett. idem.9 As a result. “Eurasien aus neototalitärer Sicht – Zur Renaissance einer Ideologie im heutigen Rußland. the ideologists of the “Conservative Revolution”—Carl Schmitt. (Stuttgart/Hannover.8 But it was less Guénon or Coomaraswamy than the Italian mystic. Aleksandr Dugin (Moscow. 459–99. 114–34.com/2001/art2744. idem. ed. “Grey Cats. many of Dugin’s works are an amalgamation of Traditionalist concepts.lebed.12 As is well known. “Julius Evola and the Ideological Origins of the Radical Right in Contemporary Italy. Oswald Spengler.pdf. See also A. not least because of Dugin’s continuous propagation of their ideas in hundreds of articles and dozens of
8 Boris Rezhabek.
. “Merzlaia zemlia evraziitsa Dugina.11 At their core. 2004).” in Fascism Past and Present. idem. no. 411–58. no. Peter Merkl (Berkeley.” in Political Violence and Terror: Motifs and Motivations.” Forum für osteuropäische Ideen. The Revolutionary Mystique and Terrorism in Contemporary Italy (Bloomington. “Myth and Violence: The Fascism of Julius Evola and Alain de Benoist. Evola’s theories. and SS sympathizer Baron Julius Evola (1896/98–1974) who exerted a crucial influence on the young Dugin. West and East. Vol. and others—became passive accomplices of the Nazi movement during the Weimar Republic by helping to undermine the legitimacy of Germany’s first democracy among the reading public. Richard Drake.’ ili nazad v Tretii Reikh?” Voprosy filosofii. 11 On Evola’s fascism see Thomas Sheehan. Evola’s journalistic and philosophical legacy constitutes a deep revision. Blue Cows. 339–40. idem. ed. 2006. Iazycheskii imperializm. Evola’s pamphlet Pagan Imperialism probably had a formative impact on Dugin.und Zeitgeschichte 6:1 (2002): 43–58. reprinted in Russkii natsionalizm v politicheskom prostranstve [Issledovaniia po natsionalizmu v Rossii]. 12 Leonid Liuks [Luks]. 5:33–44. it is Evola’s peculiar (re-)interpretation of Traditionalism. 10 On Evola’s importance for the development of Dugin’s doctrine see the discussion by A.10 And. 1. Roger Griffin. and idem. 9 Iulius Evola.’” Modern and Contemporary France 8:1 (2000): 35–53. former Dadaist. See also Andreas Umland. Roger Griffin and Matthew Feldman (London. idem. “‘Konservativnaia revoliutsiia’: Imia sobstvennoe ili rodovoe poniatie?” Voprosy filosofii. 2006).” Slavic Review 60 (Winter 2001): 868–69. 2002). 2000. “The Problem. rather than Guénon’s original version of the doctrine.” Lebed'. of Guénon’s Integral Traditionalism.” Social Research 48:1 (1981): 45–73. 2:116–26 (available at www1. idem. who translated the text from German into Russian when he was still a young man. ed. as we see below.” Totalitarismus und Demokratie 1:1 (2004): 63–76. rather than consistent extrapolation. in the late Soviet period. “Zum ‘geopolitischen’ Programm Aleksandr Dugins und der Zeitschrift Ëlementy – eine manichäische Versuchung. 2007]. 1986). Despite their role in the rise of history’s most murderous anti-Slavic movement. and Wide Awake Groundhogs: Notes towards the Development of a ‘Deliberative Ethos’ in Fascist Studies. James Gregor and Andreas Umland in Fascism Past and Present. 1994). Roger Griffin et al.” in Fascism. The Nature of Fascism.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
esoteric. James Gregor. “A ‘Third Way’ – or Back to the Third Reich?” Russian Politics and Law 47:1 (2009): 7–23. trans. Russian Fascism. Germanii i Zapade (Moscow. 54–74). Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Marlène Laruelle [Moscow.htm [last accessed April 4. West and East: An International Debate on Concepts and Cases in the Comparative Study of the Extreme Right. 2009]). Tretii Rim? Tretii Reikh? Tretii put'? Istoricheskie ocherki o Rossii. “‘Tretii put'.” The latter was congenial to Evola’s sociopolitical teachings and has been rightly identified by Leonid Luks as an important source of Dugin’s doctrine. geopolitical ideas.
“Plus ça change! The Fascist Pedigree of the Nouvelle Droite. and Sheehan. and the disciples of “neo-Eurasianism. no. Troy Southgate. heavy traces of the influence of the so-called European New Right (ENR)— for example. But for the ENR. This new form of ascription perverts the liberal ideal of the right to be different. and London.” Voprosy filosofii. or that they are at best skewed reinterpretations of Integral Traditionalism. 2007).” Russian Politics and Law 47:1 (2009): 76–89. “Pathological Tendencies in Russian ‘NeoEurasianism’: The Significance of the Rise of Aleksandr Dugin for the Interpretation of Public Life in Contemporary Russia. Alain de Benoist and other ENR thinkers. and democratic model of society on the one hand. The universalist core of the deist worldview of classical Traditionalism—to some extent reminiscent of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Ringparabel in the play Nathan the Wise—is lost in the outlooks of Evola. “Konservativnaia revoliutsiia v poslesovetskom izvode: Kratkii ocherk osnovnykh idei. Paris. including Dugin. 1993). the ENR substituted biologistic fundamentalism with radical cultural particularism with regard to both ethnic groups and world civilizations. however. inter alia. 1890–1995.” Dugin plainly rejects the “transcendent unity of religions”—a central concept of Integral Traditionalism. monistic. Alain de Benoist. “The New Right: Ethno-regionalism.” Religion Compass: Political Religions (forthcoming). no.
. idem. “Aleksandr Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism: The New Right à la Russe. reprint ed. 2007.”14 Dugin personally met several ENR thinkers in Moscow. Jean Thiriart.666
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books. “Plus ça Change! The Fascist Pedigree of the Nouvelle Droite. and Oldmeadow. Giperboreiskaia teoriia (1990. 1:117–51. 2000).15 The ENR too is indebted to the legacies of Evola and some “conservative revolutionary” authors—perhaps. as a wellspring of original-sounding notions and ideas. and a closed. 15 On the New Right see Tamir Bar-On. held more or less biologically informed prejudices of the “old right’s” racism. Filosofiia traditsionalizma (Moscow. instead. Andreas Umland. Robert Steuckers. 14 See Anton Shekhovtsov. To be sure. 42–43. we believe. De l’unité transcendante des religions (Paris. the ENR. this juxtaposition by itself is fundamental to Integral Traditionalist postulates as well. 10:3–18. “Myth and Violence. Griffin.13 Finally.” Aleksandr Dugin. Frithjof Schuon. Alberto Spektorowski. is that they are not. pluralistic. including Dugin.17 As it evolved. the primary value of which lies in their usefulness for conceptually disconnecting postwar right-wing extremism from the discredited terminology and outlook of German Nazism. 217–52.” Novyi mir. 2002). While its consequences are less aggressive than ordinary biological racism. Guénon’s and his initial followers’ ideas appear as rhetorical devices for creating an insurmountable opposition between an open. Antwerp. “The Transcendent Unity of Religions. Where Have All the Fascists Gone? (Aldershot. and hierarchic model on the other. “Krizis sovremennogo konservatizma. Ethno-pluralism and the Emergence of a Neofascist ‘Third Way. Edward Arnold (London. 2007. “Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia”. Moscow.” in The Development of the Radical Right in France. On the importance of the “transcendent unity of religions” for Integral Traditionalism see. idem. Traditionalism does not serve as a source of genuine intellectual inspiration but. among others—are evident in “neo-Eurasianism.’” Journal of Political Ideologies 8:1 (2003): 111–30. 1948). Dugin’s case raises a question also applicable to the assessment of Evola’s and the ENR’s interpretation of Integral Traditionalism: are Evola’s theories and the ENR’s ideology legitimate successors of Guénon’s teaching? The answer.” 16 Aleksandr Dugin.16 Within the framework of ENR reinterpretations. Initially. ed. most of all to Carl Schmitt—and ENR authors occasionally refer favorably to Guénon’s works.” in his Traditionalism. 100–101. 17 Griffin. the ENR’s cultural differentialism leads to comparable political
13 Valerii Senderov.
22 Roger Griffin. 2004). 20 Quinn. Harry Oldmeadow. Nicholas GoodrickClarke. It asserts that different cultural entities and their representatives are deeply incompatible. Esoteric Nazism. Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (London. including the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Oswald Spengler.. it seems doubtful whether a consistent negation of the modern world—a central idea of Integral Traditionalism—can be easily ascribed to the Italian avant-garde artist. 55.” where Evola is mentioned as a “‘disciple’ of René Guénon” using ironic quotation marks.religioperennis. 2007).”24
Oldmeadow. 39. does not mention Evola in his influential Traditionalism. and the Politics of Identity (New York. “in the field of ideas. 13 (emphasis added). but who .19 Another specialist on Integral Traditionalism.” and because of this “deviated from the core of Perennialist teaching on far too many points to be considered as part of Guénon’s legacy. 23 Renaud Fabbri. (Evola translated the latter’s The Decline of the West into Italian.
.22 Renaud Fabbri. In reaction to the instrumentalization of Guénon’s ideas.pdf). Black Sun: Aryan Cults.” his synthesis of “transcendent” and Kshatriya principles “became the foundation of defining .. Harry Oldmeadow.” www.”23 Evola himself admitted that. 39–41. 368. Quinn. 21 Göran Dahl. mentions Evola in a passage of The Only Tradition devoted to thinkers associated with the Traditionalist school. 24 Julius Evola. For example. 132. students of Integral Traditionalism.. global de-integration. has argued that Evola “was influenced by racist theories and the philosophy of Nietzsche. Radical Conservatism and the Future of Politics (London. which explores Western thinkers who have addressed Eastern religious and philosophical themes. The Only Tradition.18 He does consider Evola’s works in Journeys East. Evola’s books do reflect the ideas of Guénon to a considerable degree. were not part of the central core of the Traditional school per se. But the thinkers he focuses on at this point are those “who were to varying degrees affected by the thought of Guénon and Coomaraswamy.’ in opposition to its more intellectualist and Eastern-centric interpretation that characterized the movement led by René Guénon. But he does so in the chapter “Orientalism. long before reading Guénon. Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Bloomington. the concept of ‘traditionalism.”20 To be sure. an expert on Perennial Philosophy. non-Traditionalist sources. 1972). and it elevates civilizational values or traditions—rather than genetic or phenotypic traits—to characteristics that set human beings fundamentally apart from each other.. Racial Theory and the Allure of Fascism. have explicitly or implicitly cast doubt on whether Evola’s ideas can be included in the Traditionalist school of thought. forced deportation. as well as Traditionalists themselves.org/documents/Fabbri/ Perennialism. William W. the editor of the Traditionalist journal Vincit Omnia Veritas. and international isolation.21) As a result. 1999). 2002). “Introduction to the Perennialist School. But Evola’s “anti-Modernism”—if that term is at all appropriate for Italy’s famous Dadaist— which some authors tend to trace directly to Guénon. Traditionalism.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
programs of ethnic screening. also has other. Il Cammino del Cinabro (Milan.
31 Sergei Kliuchnikov. Tamas. 32 Accart. Tamas. 15. 1960). the differences between Guénon’s and Evola’s approaches to initiation. and M. this activism is related less to classical Integral Traditionalism than to so-called “actual idealism”—an idea developed by Giovanni Gentile. Like the latter.” in René Guénon. a Canadian expert on Integral Traditionalism notes. were able to set up a sort of irregular and incomplete tradition. then. Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism (New Brunswick. Evola “was a Westerner and could not accept the truth about the Occident and its lack of initiatory ways. The Social Philosophy of Giovanni Gentile (Urbana.29 Evola and Dugin. for Guénon. 2004). Dugin took Evola’s side when describing. In its attitude to objective reality.” Volshebnaia gora 9 (2006) (available at www. 2004). For this reason he had to reject Guénon’s teachings and consider a sort of ‘auto-initiation’ (which would connect the neophyte directly to the Most High. a founding father and major theorist of Italian Fascism.” 36). Perspectives on Initiation (Hillsdale. pointed out that the French metaphysician himself warned against a confusion of his ideas with Evola’s. are the differences between Evola’s doctrine and Integral Traditionalism? A crucial discrepancy concerns the issue of “initiation” as a spiritual rite of passage. The Crisis of the Modern World (Hillsdale. 29 René Guénon. a historian of French thought and student of comparative literature. 2004). was synonymous with the anti-traditional West. in which he criticizes Evola. For Guénon. See also Guénon’s letters to Guido De Giorgio.28 “Contemplation versus action” was one of the most fundamental antitheses for Guénon.
. in contrast.ru/?page=17&article=12). Viktoriia Vaniushkina.’” in Rene Genon.31 Xavier Accart. 2004). while the latter “called upon the defense of the ‘Mediterranean tradition’ against the threat from the East” (Stefanov.” and action itself an “anti-traditional” one. On Gentile as a Fascist philosopher see A. priority of the “royal” initiation was the result of a rebellion of the Kshatriyas who “strove to reverse the normal relationships and who. trans. the “neo-Eurasianist” Dugin subordinated reflection and knowledge (the “sacerdotal. Iurii Stefanov also notes that one of the reasons of the discord between Guénon and Evola was the former’s apology for the East. and Claudio Fogu. 251.htm. James Gregor.or auto-initiation. As Mircea A. who reviled any political product of the hated modern world.25 Evola inverted this hierarchy and even suggested the possibility of self. in certain cases. 27 Guénon. Moss. Simvoly sviashchennoi nauki (Moscow. and had condemned Europe’s fascist regimes well before World War II.” Brahmanic principle) to action (the “royal. The Wrath of Gods: Esoteric and Occult in the Modern World (Toronto. Le renversement des clartés.” Kshatriya principle). without the need of a regular initiation or an initiatory organization).”26 This dissimilarity is critical: For Guénon.30 Evola’s sympathies for Fascism and his temporary collaboration with Benito Mussolini helped to estrange him from Guénon. “Actualism and the Fascist Historic Imaginary. Perspectives on Initiation. “sacerdotal initiation” (to “greater mysteries”) is superior to “royal initiation” (to “lesser mysteries”).org/vvv/guenon-degiorgio. 33–36.phg.” History and Theory 42:2 (2003): 196–221. including Fascism. Filosofiia traditsionalizma. Guénon. “Iulius Evola: Liudi i ruiny. 403–58. 30 On Giovanni Gentile’s actual idealism see Henry S. in his Filosofiia traditsionalizma. “Rene Genon. 2001).”27 Importantly. subordinated the Eastern idea of spiritual meditation to activism—a concept that. 150. See also Rustem Vakhitov. E.32
See “Sacerdotal and Royal Initiation. Mircea A. ou. 2004). at http://nationalism. “Simvolika i nasledie ‘kairskogo otshel'nika. Harris.668
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What. 28 Dugin. Mussolini’s Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered (New York. who considered contemplation or cognition an expression of the “traditional spirit.
Martin Lings. Lord Northbourne. fascist ideology constitutes an urge toward an “alternative modernity” and the creation of a “new fascist man.”37
Chacornac. Aleksandr Dugin. Titus Burckhardt. Guénon. Guénon and Coomaraswamy. Huntington. no.” Zavtra. 35 Quinn. sympathized less with the organization as such. 1996). But not for Dugin. As his publisher and biographer Paul Chacornac clarified. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. particularly Léon Daudet. idem. According to Chacornac.” Modern Italy 31:1 (1998): 5–23. 37 Roger Griffin. at least partially. as a notable publicist and social activist he has from the very beginning departed not only from the political passivity of Traditionalism’s founders but also from a significant part of their literary and philosophical heritage. and others. The Only Tradition. his point of view. The Crisis of the Modern World. the nationalism of Action Française was the main reason for Guénon’s aversion to Maurras. 98. “all nationalism [is] essentially opposed to the traditional outlook. specifically devoted to the hierarchical subordination of action to knowledge.”34 Coomaraswamy’s involvement in politics.” if applied to the “neo-Eurasianists” and ENR. he eventually (resorting to Huntingtonian terminology) promotes “modernization without Westernization. 70–71. “there must have been far less sympathy between Guénon and [Action Française leader] Charles Maurras. “Modernizatsiia bez vesternizatsii.35 Neither Evola’s worldview nor the doctrines of the ENR and Dugin constitute the unequivocal rejection of Modernity that Integral Traditionalism explicitly demands. than with some of its members. According to the French Traditionalist. 37 (250) (1997): 6. however. 10. “The Sacred Synthesis: The Ideological Cohesion of Fascist Cultural Politics. and Dugin— is not anti-modern. The Simple Life of René Guénon. the ENR. Rather.” Guénon. Despite his repeated claims that he is a Traditionalist.” Guénon’s 1929 book Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power. Guénon took sides with the latter. Frithjof Schuon. and of accepting. and “his resistance to. in turn. demanded and practiced became a bon ton for their followers.” due to their difference regarding the nature of “traditional society. Some critics wrongly spoke of Guénon’s “sympathies” for the French ultranationalist organization Action Française. who “of all the leaders of Action Française was the most capable of understanding Guénon.” His status as a conscientious objector eventually prompted his emigration to the United States in 1917.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
The political inactivity and indifference that the founders of the Traditionalist school. Modernism and Fascism. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York. who had condemned Action Française as “a danger to faith and morals as well as to the Catholic education of youth. is misleading. Guénon did sympathize to “some degree” with certain leaders of the organization. was confined to temporary participation in the Indian independence movement swadeshi.”36 This formula indicates that the term “anti-modernism. Roger Griffin argues that the objective of all varieties of fascism—including the ideas of Evola.”33 Apparently. Although Dugin radically repudiates some manifestations of Western Modernity. the British conscription established to provide troops for the battlefields of World War I. was partly a response to the conflict between Action Française and Pope Pius XI. as well as his active protest against. in general.
. 36 Samuel P.
it expresses itself over practical matters as well. Aleister Crowley und die Versuchung der Politik (Graz. in other ways too. 2006).. he wrote. The Crisis of the Modern World. Concerning the relationship between Crowley and Reghini. had called Crowley a “black magician” and “charlatan.670
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DUGIN AS AN ANTI-TRADITIONALIST When Dugin in 1997 proposed “modernization without Westernization.. The idea of the “pagan imperialism” originally belonged to Reghini. 40 Aleksandr Dugin. and tried to sue him on that ground. “Uchenie Zveria. one year after the publication of his Imperialismo pagano. See Hans Thomas Hakl. and specifically to the fact that they had a common friend—the Italian Freemason Arturo Reghini. in which the leader of “neo-Eurasianism” positively assesses the legacy of the British occult writer and Satanist Aleister Crowley. 102. “Chelovek s sokolinym kliuvom. particularly in “Uchenie Zveria” and “Chelovek s sokolinym kliuvom.org.” Their aim. Reghini and Evola became acquainted after World War I and established the esoteric Gruppo di Ur. Reghini exerted a profound influence on the development of Evola’s worldview (Black Sun.” in Aleksandr Dugin.” and argued that many of the organizations founded by Crowley were “counter-initiatory”—that is.arcto. The rupture between the two thinkers was embarrassing: In 1929.ru/3/ crowley. Evola accused his former “friend” of being a member of a Masonic lodge (Mussolini had banned freemasonry in Italy in 1925). 2004). Evola published his book of the same name fourteen years later and borrowed heavily from Reghini’s essay. 39 Guénon.”39 Another of Dugin’s conceptual conflicts with Guénon is highlighted by certain essays. theoretical level. “Einige zusätzliche Bemerkungen zum Fragenkomplex Julius Evola und Aleister Crowley.ru/modules. in the West] for the sake of their own civilizations.40 Guénon. “The Neverendingly Told Story: Recent Biographies of Aleister Crowley. a Masonic organization headed by Crowley from 1922 until 1947.” in Marco Pasi. 3 (available at http://angel. 1996.org/modules. “return to their roots and take advantage of the technological models [that they studied. idem. which has been made to conform to the theories that have been instilled in them in Europe and America. as we can see in Dugin’s and Guénon’s contradictory assessment of concrete social affairs. the latter was an Italian representative of the Ordo Templi Orientis.php?name=News&file= article&sid=91). Guénon’s negative attitude toward Crowley makes it difficult to consider the latter an Integral Traditionalist. As one Russian observer commented on
38 “Tekhnicheskii progress kak faktor politiki: Aleksandr Dugin v programme ‘Ishchem vykhod’ na radiostantsii ‘Ekho Moskvy. One may add that the relationship between Evola and Crowley was not as unambiguous as Dugin implied. 55–56). when going back to their home countries.” he eventually collided openly with Guénon’s teaching.” Milyi Angel. 169–76 (available at www. Studies in Freemasonry and the Compagnonnage (Hillsdale. was “to exhibit to the West their modernized East.” Dugin tries to legitimize placing Crowley within the larger context of Traditionalism by referring to the link between Crowley and Evola.” Aries 3:2 (2003): 243.html). According to Goodrick-Clarke. 277–96. Tampliery proletariata: Natsionalbol'shevizm i initsiatsiia (Moscow. This disagreement not only exists on an abstract. of the most baneful of all forms of Western propaganda.”38 Guénon. antiTraditionalist. 197. “neoEurasianists” view favorably the training that students from Eastern countries receive at Western universities. See Marco Pasi.’” www. 245. 1997). argued that such students were “Eastern Westerners” and “avowed agents . no.41 Just by itself. in contrast.
. Dugin believes that such students.php?name= News&file=article&sid=2608. who published the essay “Imperialismo pagano” in the journal Salamandra in 1914. by contrast. For instance. 41 Réne Guénon.evrazia.
For most of his life Crowley was an agent for MI-6. 2008). 47 Aleksandr Dugin. British Intelligence and the Occult (Los Angeles. http://forum.” 44 Ibid. Adriana Berger.”42 Dugin’s appreciation for Crowley stems from the latter’s nonconformism. Insofar as his support for Irish nationalism is concerned. Mircea Eliade. Mircea Eliade. 1999). 2006.html. 1914–1918.”44 In fact. Khristianskii fashizm Mirchi Eliade. Spence. political radicalism. leader of the French radical right-wing organization Nouvelle Résistance.ru/modules. 1994). Dugin
42 Sergei Stroev. What attracts Dugin is not the authenticity of an author’s Traditionalist worldview. “Mircea Eliade: Romanian Fascism and the History of Religions in the United States. idem. 51–74.46 In an essay interpreting Eliade’s academic works through the lenses of the scholar’s participation in the interwar Legion of Archangel Michael—a Romanian fascist organization better known as the Iron Guard—Dugin called the famous scholar a “prominent traditionalist.” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13:3 (2000): 359–71. “Uchenie Zveria. “Revoliutsiia dukha.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
this and related revisions by Dugin. ed. 1999).” http://arcto. during the interwar period lived mostly in Romania. Crowley’s separatist guise actually helped him to win the trust of German secret service agents during World War I. along with his disregard of such acknowledged Traditionalists as Schuon or Nasr. 71 (2006): 3–9. Crowley’s true political views remain unclear. Steven M.”43 Referring to Christian Bouchet.php?name= News&file=article&sid=1103.” Vestnik SevGTU. any sympathy with counterinitiation would mean the same as Christians’ sympathy with Satanism. or actual idealism. as exponents of Perennial Philosophy.” Otkrytaia elektronnaia gazeta Forum. Wasserstrom.ru/material/politic/7368.msk.
. On the concept of “Conservative Revolution” see Umland. if not paradoxical appraisal of the Romanian-born U.S. and Henry Corbin at Eranos (Princeton. “in terms of Guénonism. Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley.” Nezavisimaia gazeta: Religii. anarchism and extreme liberation nationalism (especially the Irish one). historian of religion.ng. “Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley and British Intelligence in America. Nancy Harrowitz (Philadelphia. Dugin calls Crowley a “Conservative Revolutionary. Viacheslav Likhachev. and Anton Shekhovtsov.” in Tainted Greatness: Antisemitism and Cultural Heroes.45 Dugin’s attempt to present Crowley. 46 Mircea Eliade. no. “Opyt ‘Arktogei’: Sval'nyi grekh bludomysliia. as well as other thinkers with little relation to Integral Traditionalism.ru. Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem. “‘Konservativnaia revoliutsiia. who. suggests that the leader of “neoEurasianism” is interested in only those authors and thinkers whose legacy can be utilized for the formulation of his own doctrine. See Zigu Ornea.html). Nazism.ru/history/2004-03-03/6_eliade.’” 45 Richard B. 2004 (available at http://religion.”47 But in a different text that did not mention Eliade’s fascist past. 43 Dugin. “Kontseptsiia ‘novogo cheloveka’ Mirchi Eliade kak forma politicheskoi oppozitsii. was one of several scholars who tried to provide the ideology of the Legion of Archangel Michael with a Christian-mysticist legitimacy. constitutes an “Atlanticist”—and thus antiRussian—organization. Dugin wrote that Crowley supported all “‘subversive’ trends in politics—Communism. The Romanian Extreme Right: The Nineteen Thirties (Boulder. February 5. as well as from what Dugin conceives to have been the British Satanist’s political position. but rather his cultural nonconformism. A further illustration of Dugin’s peculiar use of the term “Traditionalism” is his contradictory. March 3.msk. “Mircha Eliade – vechnoe vozvrashchenie. in Dugin’s terms. the British counterintelligence service that.
According to Artur Medvedev. But he has done so less by thinking or writing than by being an industrious publisher.arcto. The resulting conceptual confusion has contributed to the terminological jumble surrounding usage of the term “Traditionalism” in Russia. in terms of propagating Traditionalism. Thus. Jean-François Thiriart.50 The high circulation of his journals and his extensive use of the Internet allowed Dugin to contribute significantly to the mass dissemination of Traditionalist ideas in Russia. MARK SEDGWICK’S INTERPRETATION OF TRADITIONALISM AND DUGINISM Any assessment of the relationship between Traditionalism and Dugin’s ideas cannot ignore the research of Mark Sedgwick. David Barney.ru. an influential specialist on Integral Traditionalism and
Dugin. featuring three of Guénon’s articles. had a circulation of twenty thousand.com/CapitolHill/6824/. Articles and essays by Alain de Benoist. 30. and others do occasionally use Traditionalist terminology.”48 In fact. when asked about the prospects of publishing other Guénon books.672
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argued that the scholar belonged among those “authors who can be hardly termed ‘traditionalists’ in the Guénonian sense. While Dugin thus did make a significant contribution to Russian Traditionalism. Dugin’s publishing house Arktogeia issued one of Guénon’s key works.49 In 1991.arctogaia. See. para-. Dugin began to post articles from Milyi Angel and Elementy to his web sites.org. angel. Krizis sovremennogo mira (Moscow. are ambiguous too.ru. The Crisis of the Modern World. As Internet access started spreading in Russia. www. 50 Rene Genon [Réne Guénon]. along interviews with representatives of European Traditionalist schools and other material. Ange Sampieru. and www. Robert Steuckers. The inaugural 1991 issue of his miscellany Milyi Angel. yet their ideological constructs conflict with the basic principles of Perennial Philosophy. www. rv. pseudo. the editor of the Russian Traditionalist journal Volshebnaia gora. As mentioned.evrazia. all of which helped to propagate Integral Traditionalism. categorizing him as such would be possible only if we turned a blind eye to his flirtation with the Iron Guard. the above-indicated caveat should be borne in mind: most of the texts published in Elementy and Milyi Angel are ENR instrumentalizations of Traditionalism.or anti-Traditionalist texts often does more to obscure the nature of Integral Traditionalism. Christian Bouchet. Iurii Stefanov first “popularized” Integral Traditionalism among educated Russian readers. It was Dugin who first engaged in large-scale dissemination of Traditionalist ideas. replied:
. rather than reveal it. the results of Dugin’s publishing activities. in particular. Perennial Philosophy was a fairly unknown body of thought in Russia during the early 1990s.org. The arbitrary mixture in Dugin’s journals and web sites of unanalyzed but genuinely Traditionalist texts with non-. 1991). There is no doubt that Dugin has contributed to the development of Russian Traditionalism. Claudio Mutti. Dugin.evrazia.geocities. the opposite argument would be logical: it is precisely Eliade’s link to Romanian fascism that undermines the validity of classifying his outlook as a permutation of Integral Traditionalism. drawing attention from a limited readership attracted to forbidden philosophical conceptions.com. This book was the first and last of Guénon’s works published by Arktogeia. Filosofiia traditsionalizma. but the audience for his translations and own writings was small. nu.org.
“Review of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick.ru/phorum/ viewtopic. The most fundamental attack on Sedgwick’s book—expressed particularly by critics sympathetic to Guénon’s ideas—concerns the author’s allegedly insufficient characterization and unclear delineation of the nature of Integral Traditionalism. who apparently is himself a Traditionalist.” Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting. though only some of them can be indisputably considered full-fledged varieties of Integral Traditionalism. 102.”54 According to this critique.religioperennis.” and that “readers seeking a discussion of Traditionalist thought” would be “disappointed.
. xiii. DC.” Aries 6:1 (2006): 98–105. 53 Arthur Versluis.phg. and Xavier Accart. 56 Fitzgerald. and even political ideologies.” Despite its impressive breadth.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
author of the seminal monograph Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth History (2004). 51 Mark Sedgwick.” He also used the term “Traditionalist” to characterize a number of worldviews. 2006. superior style. and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. 2004). Sedgwick not only failed to clearly define the subject of his research but also introduced the oxymoronic term “political Traditionalism. and Aleksandr Dugin. not least by many Traditionalists themselves who may feel threatened by Sedgwick’s revelations. For example. “Review of Against the Modern World.” See www.”53 Michael Fitzgerald. while Sedgwick’s list of “the seven most important Traditionalists” features such acknowledged representatives of Traditionalism as Coomaraswamy. Colin Beech. “Review of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick. idem.” Journal of World History 17:4 (2006): 237.52 Reviewers have accused Sedgwick of conceptual errors and unconfirmed assumptions. November 18–21. 55 Sedgwick. 54 Fitzgerald.” Vincit Omnia Veritas 1:2 (2005): 90–104 (available at www. 52 See.” Esoterica. no. philosophical schools. “Review of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick.” 98.55 Fitzgerald notes that.”56 Xavier Accart
“We will not publish Guénon—he is a poor seller. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York. Frithjof Schuon. accused Sedgwick of ignoring existing scholarship that contradicts his conclusions and relying instead on informants. that was essentially apolitical” and that “Evola’s analysis of modernity is recognizably a variation on the established Traditionalist philosophy. Sedgwick’s fascinating book has received restrained or negative reviews in a number of journals specializing in Traditionalism and esotericism.” Sedgwick attempts to demonstrate the Traditionalist nature of Dugin’s doctrine and to interpret him as a “political Traditionalist. Michael Fitzgerald. My books are selling better. Washington. Even some of the favorable reviews have maintained that there is “relatively little space” in the book “devoted to the signal ideas or broad doctrines held by various schools of Traditionalism. it also includes Julius Evola.” 91. “many of whom openly acknowledge their personal animosity toward one or another Perennialist writer. Sedgwick himself acknowledged that “Evola made the most dramatic modifications to a Guénonian Traditionalism . 2006. in the case of Evola. and factual richness. for example.php?p= 1555&sid=083b0b878f6220322a40aa3f615243f3#1555.org/documents/Fitzgerald/Sedgwick.pdf). Mircea Eliade. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. “Review of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick. Guénon. “Review of Against the Modern World. 8:185. Against the Modern World..51 In a chapter dedicated to “neoEurasianism..
. in Sedgwick’s mind. This concerns above all Sedgwick’s treatment of Dugin.57 Notwithstanding such criticisms. has Traditionalist roots. Marlène Laruelle has reproduced some of Sedgwick’s conclusions with regard to “Dugin’s Traditionalism” in her otherwise perceptive paper “Aleksandr Dugin: A Russian Version of the European Radical Right?” 9–12.” 28. 65 Ibid.”62 A similarly ambivalent approach toward identifying the nature of “neo-Eurasianism” can be found in Sedgwick’s assessment of the role of Perennial Philosophy in classifying Dugin’s doctrine. Sedgwick’s book was the first extensive scholarly attempt to analyze Duginism through the lens of Integral Traditionalism.”60 These “modifications” were so profound. 230. and this explains why his conclusions have been reproduced in subsequent scholarly studies of Dugin and “neo-Eurasianism. must be approached with caution. although “Dugin’s apocalypticism . is that “both Guénon and the
Accart. he claims. “Nature and Ethnicity in East European Paganism: An Environmental Ethic of the Religious Right?” The Pomegranate 7:2 (2005): 194–225.” 17. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. Sedgwick calls Dugin’s NeoEurasianism “an unusual variety of Traditionalism” (Against the Modern World.”58 Moreover. To be sure. 60 Sedgwick. 221).” 12. and that only one of them is the “Traditionalism that Dugin used to add a moral and existential element to Mackinder and Haushofer..”59 This combination of “Traditionalist” and geopolitical ideas is one of “the modifications Dugin made to the Traditionalist philosophy. See also Adrian Ivakhiv.” 102. 13–14. such as those by the Traditionalists mentioned above. 226.674
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also disputes the notion of Dugin as a Traditionalist.”65 Sedgwick links Integral Traditionalism not only to Dugin’s “neo-Eurasianism” but also to classical Eurasianism of the 1920s. 59 Sedgwick. and geopolitical analysis”—Sedgwick asserts that “the first two of these elements are clearly of Traditionalist origin. 61 Ibid.”63 But he then goes on to add that.”64 Sedgwick admits that many of Dugin’s books “cannot be explained in Traditionalist terms. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. for they sometimes seem to be driven by nonacademic motives.”61 Notwithstanding this admission. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. possibly biased.”66 The link between the two systems of thought. 63 Sedgwick. 225–26. however. some of the criticism levelled at Sedgwick. 64 Ibid. we consider here Sedgwick’s work and its significance for the study of post-Soviet “neo-Eurasianism” in some detail. Yet some of the issues raised even by these. he still considers Dugin’s “neo-Eurasianism” to be “a form of Traditionalism. since most Traditionalists place much less emphasis on the imminence of the apocalypse. Sedgwick notes that “neo-Eurasianism” has four main sources. Elsewhere. which he identifies with “Geopolitics. “Review of Against the Modern World..
. Having distinguished three main elements of the Russian’s doctrine— “apocalypticism... basing his critique. reviewers are worth further discussion. 66 Sedgwick. that Sedgwick himself acknowledged that “neo-Eurasianism is not specifically or overtly Traditionalist. on established definitions of Traditionalism. Sedgwick’s book is currently being translated and prepared for publication in Russia by Moscow’s renowned publishing house Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie. 10. 62 Sedgwick. Against the Modern World. critique of liberal democracy. For example.” it cannot be “explained by Traditionalism alone. For these reasons. Against the Modern World.
sfb580. Andreas Umland. had Dugin followed Guénon’s example and become a Muslim.”70 Such a strategy gives Dugin the opportunity to take part in political life of the Russian Federation—an activity that would have been more difficult. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. “Eurasianism in Its Time: A Bibliography.pdf). Markus Kaiser (Bielefeld. 69 Sedgwick. Ilya Vinkovetsky and Charles Schlacks (Idyllwild. 21–46 (available at www. “Postsowjetische Gegeneliten und ihr wachsender Einfluss auf Jugendkultur und Intellektuellendiskurs in Russland: Der Fall Aleksandr Dugin (1990–2004)..uni-jena..” 16. Dugin’s activities can be characterized as Traditionalist because “his spiritual practice may be explained in terms of Guénon. “Kulturhegemoniale Strategien der russischen extremen Rechten”. There is little reason to consider Dugin.” That is why. An Affirmation of the Eurasians. ed. Evola.” The same goes for a passage in a paper devoted to Dugin that Sedgwick presented in 2006. of the Russian émigré movement of the 1920s and 1930s. “Eurasianism” has allowed Dugin to disguise his more important non-Russian—in particular. 72 Ibid. 1996).Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
Eurasianists were formulating their ideas in the same period. ed.. “Alexander Dugin’s Apocalyptic Traditionalism. have argued that Dugin primarily used the terminology. 9–10.” in Generationen in den Umbrüchen postkommunistischer Gesellschaften: Erfahrungstransfers und Differenzen vor dem Generationenwechsel in Russland und Ostdeutschland.71 To be sure. 25–138. and so were subject to some of the same general influences.de/ typo3/uploads/tx_publicationlist/Heft20. He notes that Dugin belongs to the Edinoverie section of the Old Believers—a Church that recognizes the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. an adherent of Philosophia Perennis.. In Sedgwick’s words.” the ENR.” 16.” in Auf der Suche nach Eurasien: Politik. cannot be explained purely in religious terms.. or perhaps in terms of Nietzsche and existentialism. Sedgwick recognizes that “Dugin’s personal religious practice . but makes a lot of sense in Russian terms.”67 We and others. possible links between Integral Traditionalism and classical Eurasianism—however doubtful they might be—seem of only limited relevance to the discussion of the significance of Traditionalism to “neo-Eurasianism.
. Because it was created by some highly educated and regarded Russian émigrés. 2004). and his political activity may be explained in terms of Evola. Stefan Wiederkehr. 10. idem. ed.”69 However. in this and other analyses of Dugin’s ideology.” in Exodus to the East: Forebodings and Events.68 Therefore.” Instead of seeking an authentic source for his constructs. 70 Ibid. while formulating his new version of “Eurasianism. Religion und Alltagskultur zwischen Russland und Europa. if not impossible. on this basis. Western European—ideological roots: the “Conservative Revolution. 71 Ibid.”72
Sedgwick. we have been placing quotation marks around the term “neo-Eurasianism. and so on. 9. Equally ambivalent are Sedgwick’s observations on the allegedly Traditionalist character of Dugin’s religious activities and spiritual life. 2006). Tanja Bürgel (Jena. “‘Kontinent Evrasija’ – Klassischer Eurasismus und Geopolitik in der Lesart Alexander Dugins. “this detail makes no sense in Guénonian or Traditionalist terms. including Ilya Vinkovetsky and Stefan Wiederkehr. Ilya Vinkovetsky. 143– 74. since it allows Dugin to have excellent relations with the mainstream Orthodox Church. the Russian neo-fascist may have embraced classical Eurasianism for more prosaic purposes. Integral Traditionalism has little in common with Nietzsche or existentialism. According to Sedgwick. rather than ideology.
From this perspective.. Modernism and Fascism. Sedgwick maintains that Dugin’s activities can be explained in Traditionalist terms. Adapting one’s spiritual practice to reigning political correctness.html (last accessed April 4. this extensive treatment of Dugin’s clearly awkward historical and theoretical mixtures? His articles and books could be of intellectual interest only to those Russian readers who do not know foreign languages well enough to read. 2009). 76 One could add that challenges to the classical model of the development of advanced industrial states by ecological. As Versluis puts it. and esoteric themes for constructing a syncretic palingenetic myth at the core of “neo-Eurasianism” (“The Palingenetic Thrust of Russian Neo-Eurasianism”). “Review of Against the Modern World. We are going into such detail when criticizing Sedgwick’s otherwise excellent study not simply because its Russian translation may acquire significance as a seminal treatment of “neo-Eurasianism” in Russia.
Ibid.” 186. as his “spiritual practice may be explained in terms of Guénon. the New Right’s radical repudiation of the Western development path is not that peculiar. Guénon would have not “recognize[d] himself at all in Dugin’s violent exhortations. These phenomena can be considered as being inherent to the project of Modernity. It could have a political impact as well. seeks to apply a corrective to the startling seriousness with which prominent politicians. communitarian. and cultural figures treat Dugin’s inept narratives.”77 Why. cultural.676
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Still. But Dugin’s numerous publications and frequent TV appearances have become part and parcel of the daily political and intellectual life of contemporary Russia. fascist—agenda underlying his publishing activities.
. or do not care to get access to. neospiritualist. Dugin’s form of “Traditionalism”—if one chooses to use this term—has little relation to the philosophical school created by Guénon and Coomaraswamy. 2008.ru/translation/245520. www. it is doubtful that Guénon would have regarded adherence to a society’s dominant religious principles as an expression of Traditionalism.ru. November 20. 12.”73 However. and other movements is characteristic of everyday political life of contemporary Western liberal democracies. 75 Versluis. This article. or to those seeking ideological indulgence to feed their anti-Western—particularly anti-American—ressentiment.inosmi.”75 “NeoEurasianism” is the result of a syncretic combination—bordering on random compilation— of pseudo-archaic conceptions with modernist and postmodernist postulates. scholars. is inimical to the spirit of Integral Traditionalism. 77 Shekhovtsov considers in detail the issue of Dugin’s determined amalgamation of sociopolitical. providing Dugin with a pseudo-conservative veil that obscures the revolutionary-ultranationalist—that is. the relevant European literature.76 Perennial Philosophy serves Dugin as an arsenal of unconventional terms and offbeat notions—freely reaggregated in Dugin’s worldview—rather than as an organic precursor or ideational foundation of “neo-Eurasianism. In recent years Dugin has been trying to establish himself as a mainstream pundit by presenting his ideology as “conservative. then.”74 An authoritative Western classification as a “Traditionalist” could prove useful for him in this endeavor. “Pravoradikal'nyi ideolog stanovitsia professorom vedushchego VUZa Rossii. Andreas Umland. journalists. in the putative Traditionalist’s home country.” inoSMI. See Griffin. then.
Word combinations like “traditionalist modernization” or “modernizing traditionalism” should be rejected as classificatory terms for much the same reasons we earlier rejected the notion of “conservative revolution” as a generic concept for scholarly analyses. then why not proclaim Jerry Falwell. Social Science Concepts: A User’s Guide (Princeton. If. and could be considered mere novitism. primary “right” to the term “Traditionalism. it seems contradictory to use the word “tradition” in order to describe an ideology that is aimed.78 First. in turn (the above-mentioned discrepancies notwithstanding). Dugin’s specific interpretation of Traditionalism could be declared seminal. and Gary Goertz. Fred Riggs. in particular. Mahon. extension. Yet. See. we face another problem: How would we classify those philosophers who previously were considered Integral Traditionalists? If Guénon is not a Traditionalist. bestknown professor of Moscow State University his “right” to that term? Such a semantic revision would be permissible. so proposing a neologism for a relatively old referent that already has been defined and popularized through a particular term would be difficult. the other pragmatic. as Sedgwick puts it. This observation leads to a second. Social Science Methodology: A Criterial Framework (Cambridge. Rejecting Dugin’s
78 The following argument is based on methodological considerations developed in modern comparative political science. 79 Umland.. Why should we deny Russia’s major exponent of “neo-Eurasianism” and. If Evola or Dugin are Traditionalists to the same degree as Guénon or Coomaraswamy. we would have to coin a new term to designate his teaching.” American Political Science Review 64 (1970): 1033–53. “Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics.. The Tower of Babel: On the Definition and Analysis of Concepts in the Social Sciences (Pittsburgh.’”
. John Gerring.” American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 845–55. introducing neologisms is a tricky business: their primary function is to conceptualize new phenomena. “Traditionalism” is just a word. who or what is he? Apparently. Benito Mussolini. if not for two issues. England. one etymological. ed. according to Dugin himself. perhaps. we deprive the term of its heuristic and communicative value. “Dugin’s Traditionalism”? In the final analysis. pragmatic reason for refusing to identify Dugin as an Integral Traditionalist. 1975). “‘Konservativnaia revoliutsiia. Because.” while admitting the relevance of the differences between Duginism and Guénonism. 1984). Jr.79 Such oxymorons can be utilized in academic communication as proper names for singular phenomena. Giovanni Sartori. “Conceptual ‘Stretching’ Revisited: Adapting Categories in Comparative Analysis. and Henry Teune. Giovanni Sartori. or Plato to be “Traditionalists” as well? By stretching the notion of Traditionalism to include Duginism. David Collier and James E. as we have tried to demonstrate. The reason behind our refusal to consider Aleksandr Dugin a contemporary representative of Perennial Philosophy is not ideological or political. applying the term “Traditionalism” to both worldviews would render the notion’s properties. Giovanni Sartori. 2001). rather than Guénon’s or Coomaraswamy’s. Why not agree with the notion of. Duginism and Guénonism are not just somewhat distinct. But within generic concepts such combinations of antonyms serve only to undermine the semantic field that constitutes the foundation of our communication. 2006). at modernization (although not at Westernization). but fundamentally different. Social Science Concepts: A Systematic Analysis (Beverly Hills. we acknowledge Dugin’s. and referents—its connotation and denotation—meaningless.Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist?
In view of his massive “presence” in Russia. Such innovation collides with established traditions (sic) of communication.
we need to classify the ideology of Dugin and his followers with a different generic term. or other established Integral Traditionalists played in Evola’s or Dugin’s intellectual evolution could still be of interest. it would be anything but a treatment of Evola and Dugin as legitimate contemporary exponents of Philosophia Perennis. in order to preserve the collective fruits of scholarly research and maintain the efficacy of our communication. To be sure. to an analysis of how they misused the thesaurus of “Traditionalism” and employed its themes to effect a fundamental revision of this philosophical school. But either way.
. ridicule them for their efforts. Done properly. But such research would amount. if you will. determining the exact role that Guénon. or.678
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classification as Traditionalist is simply less problematic than the alternatives—redefining the term. Let Dugin and his followers have their pretensions to membership in the world-wide club of Traditionalists. Coomaraswamy. as we have demonstrated. or stretching it far enough to encompass Duginism.