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What ideologies are standing behind Putin’s decisions?

Summary of the 'Eurasianism as a Response to Global Crisis: Dugin's political ideology in historical and contemporary context'

How does Vladimir Putin think and what thought system is behind his decisions? Dr. Brittany Pheiffer-Noble, American intellectual historian with expertise on Russia emphasized in her talk on the 7th of March at the Danube Institute, the knowledge about various Russian political thinkers, like Alexander Dugin, is inevitable for answering this question. The former scholar of Columbia University discussed the defining political ideologies of Russia with Anton Bendarzsevszkij, expert on the post-Soviet bloc, and David Martin Jones, director of research at the Danube Institute.

The American expert explained, that Alexander Dugin’s contemporary ideology which is well-known for its theories related to Eurasianism, is maintaining an intellectual tradition, that dates back to the 1820s. Historical Eurasianism relates to the grounds stretching from Moscow to Mongolia as an organic cultural-historical unity. According to this thought the Eurasian region has a different development from that of the surrounding cultures, because the specific attributes of the region, its peoples, and this process cannot be artificially modified. According to Dugin cultures must follow different political developmental paths due to their dissimilar historical evolution. His earlier notions stated that Europe must be included in the “Eurasia” concept, but later he characterized Western Europe as an “artificial” culture influenced by the Americans. Dugin was critical with Putin at first, but then became one of his strongest supporters. According to the expert, he now accentuates such criticism that shows he wants to be “more Putinist that Putin himself”. Notwithstanding this, the Western notion that Dugin has a meaningful influence on the Russian president is false. Since it is easier to come across Dugin’s ideology in English than other languages, he is well-known in the Western world, but it would be a mistake to think that his ideology is the most defining one in the country. Vladimir Putin only quoted Eurasianist thoughts a few times in his speeches, and neither were from Dugin.

Anton Bendarzsevszkij agreed that the notion of the influence of Dugin should be taken with a grain of salt. He thinks that more Russian ideological streaks should be considered. These are, for example, pan-Slavism and the thought of “Brother Nations” by which Russia has a right to intervene in affairs of Russian minorities and other Slavic nations. In summary, while there is not a single defining ideological line that would guide Putin’s thinking, there are several Monarchist and ultranational ideologies influencing the Russian public, painting the West in a bad light.