Julius Evola and Russian Traditionalism By Alexandre Douguine 1) The Discovery of Evola in Russia Julius Evola’s works were

discovered in the 1960s by the very esoteric group of anti-communist intellectual thinkers known as “the dissidents of the right.” They were a small circle of people who had conscientiously refused to participate in the “cultural life” of the USSR and who had instead chosen an underground existence for themselves. The disparity between the presented Soviet culture and the actual Soviet reality was almost entirely what made them seek out the fundamental principles that could explain the origins of that evil, absolutist idea. It was through their refusal of communism that they discovered certain works by anti-modernist and traditionalist authors: above all, the books by Rene Guenon and by Julius Evola. Two central personalities animated this group – the Islamic philosopher Geidar Djemal and the nonconformist poet Eugene Golovine. Thanks to them, these “dissidents of the right” knew the names and the ideas of the two greatest traditionalists of our century. In the 1970s, one of the first translations of an Evola work (The Hermetic Tradition) appeared and it was distributed within the group according to the methods of Samizdat [note: Samizdat was the system in the former USSR through which officially “impermissible” books made their way around the country; generally these were copies of copies and not well-produced, but they tended to get their point across.]. However, the original translations were particularly bad in quality because they were made by incompetent amateurs far removed from the group of authentic intellectual traditionalists. In 1981, a translation of Heidnische Imperialismus appeared in a similar manner as the only book of its type available from the Library of Lenin in Moscow. This time around, the distribution through Samizdat had become much larger and the quality of the translation was much better. Little by little, they moved the true current of traditionalism away from anti-communism and towards anti-modernism by extending their complete refusal of Soviet existence to a rejection of the modern world, very much in accordance with the integral traditionalist vision. It should be noted, though, that the ideas of the traditionalists in question at this particular point in time were very far-removed from the other “dissidents of the right” who were generally orthodox Christians, monarchists, and nationalists. Evola, then, was more popular among those who were interested in spiritualism in a broader sense: yoga, theosophy [note: a religious/philosophical school of thought founded by Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky], psychism [note: a theosophic concept relating to all mental phenomena; C.G. Jung discussed it occasionally as well], and so forth. Throughout Perestroika, all forms of anticommunist dissidence manifested themselves and from the “dissidents of the right” came the current political and cultural ideologies of the Right – nationalist, nostalgic, anti-liberal, and anti-Western. In this context and after the development of strict traditionalist ideas as a result of Glasnost, the names of Guenon and Evola were introduced into Russia’s cultural ensemble. The first works of Evola’s appeared in the 1990s in widely-read parts of the press known to be “patriotic” or “conservative” and the subject of traditionalism became the theme among virulent polemics and was a very big issue in the Russian Right as a whole. Papers like Elementy, Nach Sovremennik, Mily Anguel, Den, etc., began to publish fragments of Evola’s writings or articles inspired by him or ones in which his name and quotes were referenced. Little by little, the “conservative” camp came to have an ideological structure that produced a separation between the old, nostalgic, monarchist Right and the other more open, non-conformist, and less-orthodox Right – sometimes referred to as the “novye pravye” in Russian, one may be inclined to draw parallels to the “nouvelle droite,” but it was a quite separate and altogether different phenomenon from the European ND. One could categorize this second group of “patriots” as being part of the “Third Way” or “national

and thus Evola’s criticism of the West is totally in-step with and acceptable to the party line of Russian conservatism. the distinct notion that the internal spirit world is organically separated from the immediate modern realities of perversion and deviance. one can see that Evola’s criticisms are more closely related to the Russian mentality rather than the broader European one – the same type of generalization. or even rejected in these circumstances? This requires a brief analysis comparing and contrasting the sacred traditionalism of Evola and the strictly Russian political phenomenon. he only made a few insignificant comments. Merejkovsky (whom he personally knew) and several other Russian authors. Aksakov. one can also see the same diagnoses for the sickness of the modern world – profane Freemasonry. the frequent references he makes to Malynsky and Leon de Poncins partially carry on the counter-revolutionary tradition so typical of being European. Gogol. the Russian conservative tradition of contemporarily explaining historical events in a mythological sense is somewhat obligatory. the deification of “reason” – in Evola and the “conservative” Russian culture. and in fact he was not even particularly interested in it owing to his antichristian idiosyncrasy. In general. as in the idea of the “Conservative Revolution” and the “Revolt Against the Modern World. More often than not. A propos of the Orthodox tradition. one can see that Russia’s discovery of Evola has taken place on a rather broad scale. At the same time.” Recently. Kirievsky. 2) Against the Modern West From the very beginning. historical.revolutionaries” and so forth. The appeal of the supernatural/irrational level here is in perfect step with the Russian mindset that renders rational explanation the exception rather than the rule.000 copies published. Yet the similarity between his position towards the crisis of the modern world and the anti-modernism of the Russian authors is due largely to the community of organic reactions – Great Men and ‘individuals’ in the case of Evola and heroes in the case of the Russians. Thus. But it is clear that Evola wrote his books and formulated his ideas in a very different temporal. it is obvious that the rejection of the profane and venal modern world that manifested itself in Western Civilization in the last few centuries is common to both Evola and the entirety of the intellectual tradition of Russian slavophilia. it’s clear that Evola knew relatively little about the Russian conservative milieu. the reactionary tendency here is shared. and ethnic context. One can see that they all had the same hate for the rule of the mob – that is to say. He who once constituted the hypermarginal intellectual nucleus of Russia before Perestroika has now become a significant political and ideological phenomenon. A television show devoted to Evola has even been made for a popular channel. Similarly. the modern democratic system – and that they regarded it as spiritual degradation and total profanity. and Merejkovsky among novelists criticized the Western world in almost the exact same language as did Evola. cultural. Leontiev. which Evola reedited in Italy. improved. One can also cite his references to Serge Nilus. the first book – Heidnische Imperialismus – had 50. he often cites Dostoevsky. poses a problem: what parts of Evola’s philosophy are relevant to modern Russia and what parts need to be reworked. the advancement of the plebeian. the frequent evocation of mythological and mystical goals. deviant Judaism. the . One may also note the influence that Russian conservatives exercised on Evola: in his works. therefore. the compiler of the famous Protocols of the Elders Of Zion. Russian authors like Homyakov. On the other hand. Obviously. The breaking point came exactly over the acceptance or rejection of Evola’s ideas or perhaps more appropriately over parts of Evola’s ideas that could not be considered “conservative” or “reactionary” in nature. and Danilevsky among philosophers as well as Dostoevsky. But thanks to this spontaneity of anti-modern convergences. This.

For traditional orthodoxy.gravity of Evola’s deviation is made all the more interesting and all the more critical. But a similar line of thought is seemingly naturally felt by the Russians.his job owing to the opposition from the bureaucracy of his own employer (whom he never meets in-person and only through a proxy or a proxy of a proxy) and who is further frustrated by the fact that the Count's huge. Evola’s theories are very much accepted in modern Russia. the capital of the Christian Empire. but who is unable to begin -." There is one other important detail that bears mentioning here. organic sanctity whose integrity and continuity had been shattered by the Kafkaesque "castle" of the Catholic Vatican Guelph. implicitly dualist and Phariseean." Artur Mьller van den Bruck." or rather "Ghibelline imperialism. because the second Rome (or the "new Rome") was Constantinople. oppressive castle is always visible from any part of the town but that he can never actually go there to begin his task. Rome against the Vatican.much less complete -. In this regard. the clear spiritual exaltation of Imperium in Evola's books is of inestimable value to the Russians in terms of what they view as their true and traditional identity. Guelph refers to a German/Italian coalition of the Middle Ages that supported the royal house of Guelph against the Imperial German Ghibelline dynasty that was hostile to the Pope and to Catholicism. And still again. [NOTE: For those not familiar with Kafka's work. Obviously this is a metaphorical indictment against the overall judeo-christian system and how it relates to seemingly unattainable salvation. the catholic separation between the King and the Pope is simply unimaginable and close to blasphemy. The "symphonic imperialism" of the Orthodox Russians easily brings to mind Julius Evola's concept of "pagan imperialism. more radically."Moscow: the Third Rome. this interpretation of Evola’s ideas fits perfectly within the framework of the modern “novye pravye” ideology to the extent that the latter actually brings more to his vision of the degradation of modernity by sometimes applying his ideas more globally. for .] His Ghibelline train of thought was clear: Imperium against Church.” Again. 3) Rome and Third Rome One particular layer of Evola's thoughts is felt by the Russians to be of imminent and extreme importance: his praise for the Imperial Ideal. This notion was dogmatically rooted in the Orthodox Concept of staret [NOTE: the starets were spiritual advisers. this is a reference to his book entitled "the Castle. was deeply influenced by the writings of Feodor Dostoevsky. but not priests: Rasputin could be considered one of these] philosophy . and this very concept is actually called the “Latin heresy. where antiWesternism is an extremely potent ideological and political factor. This sacred living power which had manifested itself all across the Empire was to Evola the very essence of the West's traditional heritage. one can see the perfect convergence between Evola's dogma and the commonplace mindset of Russian conservative thought. whose historical destiny has always been profoundly tied to that of Imperium. Similarly. Rome represents the focal point of Evola's worldview. the immenent and organic sacrality against the devotational and sentimental abstractions of faith. and more deeply. but rather Imperial Rome. Thus the same idea of "Rome" held by the Orthodox Russians corresponds to the understanding of sacrality like the importance of that which is Sacred and such as the necessary and inseparable “symphony” between the spiritual authority and the temporal realm. the ruins of Nero's palace and of Roman buildings were like a direct testament to a physical. At any rate." It should be noted that the "first Rome" in this cyclic orthodox interpretation was not Christian Rome. It's known that the "author of the Third Reich." which is about a man who takes what should be a relatively simple job in a distant place surveying the land of a local noble. To Evola.

"].anus.adapted the concept of the Third Rome from the Russian Orthodox tradition and applied it to Germany. One can see van den Bruck's same eschatological vision of "the Final Empire.once remarked that if the First Reich had been Catholic [NOTE: ie. i.com/ultimatebb. and is quite rarely Imperialist. It's now easy to see another way in which the Russian conservative mindset is linked to Evola's theories." which itself was a continuation of the "Juniklub"founded by van den Bruck) where similary subjects were discussed in a very lively manner. Van den Bruck -. the ones who believe in personal divine revelation and speaking in tongues] and the prophecies of Joachim de Flora [NOTE: de Flora was the abbot of Corazzo who authored a very prescient essay about the "age of reason" around the year 1200 in which he wrote "in the new day. the Third Reich would have to be exactly Orthodox! But Evola himself participated largely in the intellectual debates of German conservative-revolutionary circles (he was a member of von Gleichen's "Herrenklub. Obviously. which is by and large contemporarily Catholic and Nationalist.. it's not possible to say their ideas on these particular issues were identical. man would not have to rely on faith. a German nationalist of the same era] -. the protegй of Nikisch [NOTE: Ernst Nikisch.whom the concept of "the Third Rome" was vitally significant.who was greatly inspired by van den Bruck -. One interesting fact is that Erich Mueller.whose ideas were sometimes cited by Evola -. http://bbs.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=9&t=000017 . where its views are far less "extravagant" than those belonging of traditional conservative Europe.e. the Second Reich Protestant [NOTE: ie. where it was subsequently elaborated upon spiritually and socially by the National Socialists. for everything would be founded on knowledge and reason. Prussia under Friedrich the Great]. but at the same time. the Holy Roman Empire]. there are extraordinary connections between the two that help to explain the assimilation of Evola's ideas into Russia's mindset." born from a metaphorical convergence between the ideas of the paracletic montanists [NOTE: montanists were the ancient forerunners of the contemporary pentecostal sects.

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