One term you may encounter within either discussions of Russia or fascism is “Duginism.” However, this can be a slightly complex subject to understand for newcomers to the concept. In the simplest of terms, Duginism is the political theory of a Russian fascist, Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin.
Duginist concepts can be broken down into two categories: geopolitical and ideological. This distinction is important for a key reason. The former is largely about the aspirations of Russia as a weakened imperial force, whereas the latter provides a blueprint for global society. Together, they seek to construct a new “multi-polar” network of ultra-nationalist, traditionalist empires, with Moscow holding a place as first among equals.
The geopolitical aspects of the ideology are detailed in Dugin’s 1997 text, Foundations of Geopolitics. The book advocates a number of actions that have defined Russian foreign policy in recent years: mass disinformation campaigns through outlets like RT, manipulating political movements in the United States, pushing the United Kingdom out of the European Union, and annexation of areas like South Ossetia and Donbass.
Russia does not seek to rule the world, but by expanding back into Eastern Europe and Central Asia, they wish to rebuild the so-called “Eurasian empire” that defined both the Russian Empire and the USSR. This is in contrast to the “Atlanticist empire” of Europe and North America. In the words of Dugin himself in Foundations of Geopolitics:
“The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilisational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union.”
Though Foundations primarily focuses on the geopolitical defeat of the liberal order, it is Dugin’s later book, 2009’s The Fourth Political Theory, that fully explores how such a “political and strategic union” may be constructed. The work positions itself as an alternative to three other political ideologies: liberalism, Marxism, and fascism. The reality, however, is it is little different than fascism, only rejecting its most racist components, blaming that for the excesses of the Axis powers.
Those who have encountered National Bolsheviks or “NazBols” have seen this ideology by another name — Dugin himself was even the co-founder of the National Bolshevik Party of Russia and asserts that Fourth Political Theory is an extension of these ideas. National Bolshevism romanticizes the USSR as the last time Russia was a great world power though seeks to build “socialism without materialism, atheism, progressivism, and modernism.”
This so-called “socialism” is also inherently regressive in nature, as Dugin accuses post-modernism of “breaking” gender via “feminism, homosexuality, sex-change operations, and transhumanity,” which he seeks to reverse.
Given their opposition to liberalism and the established world order, Dugin asserts they can build “a conscious cooperation of the radical Left-wingers and the New Right, as well as with religious and other anti-modern movements, such as the ecologists and Green theorists, for example.” Such strategies of fascism using leftists to their advantage far predate Dugin and are known as red-brownism.
Both the geopolitical and ideological aspirations of Duginism should concern anyone with a desire to not just make the world a better place to live — but to preserve what good is in it now. Neither a reborn Russian Empire nor other parts of the world slipping further into fascism can be allowed to happen.