Member of “Arminia” Academic Corporation. He holds master degree in Germanic philology and extra master degree in history of globalization processes. Lives in Belgium.
When I was asked to write this contribution, I had just come back from a trip to mythical, but nevertheless vibrating Moscow, a city, much more than Rome or other capitals of tired and seemingly off-course Europe, in fact the only city that deserves the epithet “Eternal City” nowadays.
The “Third Rome” of earlier generations of political exponents is still today a truly imperial city, radiating out of every fibre the ambition of the regained centre of the Eurasian space. Not that the excessive gaudiness of the endless storefronts and their ditto visitors were not an unenviable side of the case, but we shall not tackle that subject in this essay.
Throughout the discussions about the historical role of Vladimir Putin and the development opportunities of the Eurasian Union, we again and again came upon the question of the identity of Russia.
The age-old debate: European or Asian? Eurasian space or large solitary white power centre auf verlorenem Posten in North Asia?
These are questions which, as I wrote above, are not new and, in my humble opinion, never will be settled for good.
Maybe that is the hybrid nature of what the soul-forgotten West calls rather lazy-romanticizing “the Russian soul”: the soul of an originally East Slavic-Finno-Ugric-Scandinavian state, which was vigorously overrun in its full medieval development and culturally imbued by the descendants of the great Khan, to dedicate itself from the 16th century onwards to its historic mission, which is the integration of the countries of the Great Steppe and adjacent areas into a continuous whole, culminating in the ambition to lift this Empire one step higher to a world power with an unprecedented appeal to the rest of the world, suffering under the yoke of the big money. Or at least parts of this world.
In those parts, which – politically, militarily, economically – mattered and still, albeit to a lesser extent than they did half a century ago, matter, this appeal was much smaller: the so-called West – read: the U.S. and the rest of the Anglosphere, supplemented by the losers of the two World Wars, Europe and Japan.
You read that right: the losers of the two World Wars, certainly not only Germany, Japan and their occasional allies. The “winners” France and the United Kingdom, and the dozen smaller European states and ministates.
And the Soviet Union, yes, the Soviet Union paid a very huge price, and certainly has seen its steep ascent after the Second World War crippled, to the large, clandestine satisfaction of its competitors across the Atlantic.
Or was it all as planned? Did the financiers of Wall Street actually play a decisive role in the implosion and revolutionizing of the Russian Empire, and of the other empires of Old Europe?
Conspiracy theories are always popular with the susceptible parts of the population, but not with those who take themselves seriously. Ahem.
Whatever they are, such slaughters still have consequences generations after they happened.
See that in the bigger picture of the European civil war between 1914 and 1945 – some call it the Second Thirty Years’ War – and the human and cultural cost is still terrible.
Russian history of this era shows a particularly wretched image: after the slaughter in the trenches of the First World War, with an army full of ostentatious officers and soldiers who were sometimes only armed with wooden sticks, there were the atrocities of the Civil War between Whites and Reds, catchily described in the still haunting memoirs of the former German prisoner of war and subsequent national-revolutionary Edwin Erich Dwinger, Zwischen Rot und Wei?. Eine russische Tragodie 1919-1920.
After a period of renewed courage and revolutionary experiments it is Stalin’s turn to thoroughly disrupt what still remains of the old structures and put the much vaunted Russian soul to the test. Almost every family in the former Soviet Union can testify about that period from its own experience.
Though we do not want to view every act of the Father of the Peoples in a negative way. His mobilization of all forces in Soviet society after an initial phase of despair after the German invasion, continues to force respect. His buildup of Soviet power into a geopolitical and military giant equally does.
There are many aspects about the former Soviet generallissimus that are often too little discussed in the West.
But guess what?
Despite the atrocities that were committed by the forces of Nazi Germany, despite the revenge taken by Soviet soldiers on the population of, among others, East Prussia and Berlin, despite the frequent, deep-seated wounds, the Germans remain the people which, of all European nations, are best capable of translating, interpreting and re-formulating the Russian soul to a skeptical, individualistic Western European audience.
I must confess that my image of Russia was primarily influenced by the German image of Russia. Or, rather, by the positive image of Russia, that of many of those Germans and Austrians who, whether or not interspersed with personal experiences of war and other times, have described that magical world of mystery and infinity in the sweetest possible terms.
Not the image of Russia belonging to those other Germans, the Germans from the atlanticist tradition – Hitler first of them all – for whom the Russian space is a despotically ruled alien planet. Or worse.
That Germany is unfortunately still existant, and I would dare say that even in the year 2013, albeit in a “sanitized”, non-racist version, it is still a significant part of the German elite.
That official Germany, from the Atlantik-Brucke to the journalistic violence of the Springerpresse, with few exceptions to the unfortunate rule.
It prefers to see Germany itself as the best European apprentice in the service of the grand masters of international capital, than being the heart of a self-conscious and tradition-oriented Europe.
Back to our image of Russia.
The question is what that positive image exactly describes: an image of Russia as a national state of the Russians or an image of the Eurasian space, roughly the former Russian Empire or the Soviet Union, that mysterious area of steppe, taiga, tundra and deserts, that Vielvolkerreich, to the words of Andreas Kappeler, that, more than a nation state in the (Western) European sense of the word, has been a model of a state-bearing people – the Russians, or see the briefly outlined genealogy above – which, surfing on its own erupting passionarity – dixit Lev Gumilev – transcends itself as a multicolored butterfly emerging as an Empire people integrating its constituent national peoples by unity in diversity to a new identity layer, the Eurasian from the Eurasianists’ political discourse.
All this without losing its own national Russian identity, or questioning that of the other constituent peoples. Or more or less.
And even more than the sum of its constituent parts, and more than a strong geopolitical reality, Eurasia, based on its rich cultural traditions, is the Empire of the Geist, a realm of the Earth, of Quality, which opposes the Empire of the Sea, of fluidity, mass and quantity. The Empire of Order against that of chaos. The Empire of St George against the realm of the dragon, the devil.
The Russian double-headed eagle with its arms speaks volumes in this regard and it is incredibly significant that the Russian State has restored this emblem to its full honour.
It fully summarizes its ambition.
It is in the Russian soul, which, through historical experience and intercultural exchange with mostly Turco-Mongol peoples, became man in the Eurasian, that we as Western Europeans have a glimpse of what man in his ties with the world should once again become: a man bound in Tradition, in Order.
But: merely a glimpse is not enough for the Europeans: there must be an alternative to the current situation. An alternative that takes into account the fact that the civilisational subject of the Eurasian cannot simply be transposed to individualistic Western and Central Europe, with its own cultural and historical experiences.
It is a beautiful example, but Europeans should find their own interpretation of the return to Tradition.
Only a return to that Tradition, and, consequently, an aversion to matter, to modernity in all its forms, to liberalism in all its manifestations, can do to lay the foundations for a political and economic partnership with the rest of Eurasia, and with the Russian space in particular.
An economic or even political unification, is only the culmination of something much more fundamental than everyday economics or politics.
A free trade area from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and from Reykjavik to Delhi is only the logical consequence of a mental, even metaphysical unification based on the rejection of (post-) modernity.
This way, and that is clear, will not lead on a bed of roses.
There is one huge problem – alongside other, more mundane issues such as geopolitical and economic self-interest of nation states.
To reach the right starting point, Europeans must break with what remains of greatness in their own history, they must, in other words, undergo an almost ritual purification.
Because, let’s be honest, it’s all nice that the rest of the world chastens the West, and Europe in particular, because of its colonial past and all following cultural phenomena – not least the Eurocentric view of the sciences. That does not eliminate the fact that the, in the eyes of the rest of the world despicable, history is also part of European identity and how it is experienced.
In other words, if Alexander Dugin correctly argues, in his Fourth Political Theory, for an alliance of all anti-modern forces in the world, including Europe, he must realize that, apart from some political edge cases – “identitarians” and other politclowns, who are manipulated by Western intelligence services – he will never get in touch with what the masses in Europe feel and how they want to evolve in these uncertain times into something like a bright future for the Europeans.
Dugin’s analysis of modernity is correct and commendable, but it is tailored to Russians, Chinese, Latin Americans, etc., but much less tailored to the Europeans themselves, because Dugin’s analysis is, in the case of Europeans, simultaneously a kind of diagnosis where the healing in many eyes is tantamount to euthanasia.
Europeans must get a real alternative before there is a real chance to convince them of the need to change their course and avoid the neoliberal abyss threatening itself and the rest of the world.
That alternative should take into account the cultural identity of the Europeans, and must not make the mistake to be founded on a cultural-historical humiliation and uprooting of Europeans. Modernity itself has already done its “best” in European societies for that matter.
This alternative should also take into account the fact that the relationship between an Orthodox Russian and a Muslim Tatar has grown differently than that between an uprooted, secularized European and an uprooted, but still Muslim North African from the mass migration. To name but one example.
Let us be honest: alliances with African and Latin American partners are all very well and commendable, that doesn’t even touch hyperpower America’s small toe. And even less that of the international financial groups behind uncle sam. A couple of drones or a few targeted attacks, and the problem is off.
It is only when Europeans join the global alliance against the forces of modernity, that this alliance has a chance of enduring success.
And who says Europe says in the first place – let us be frank – Germany.
It is precisely that country, that not so long ago was described by its own Finance Minister Schauble as a country which had not been sovereign since the capitulation of the Wehrmacht in 1945, that, more than other European countries, is to be freed from the atlanticist neoliberal clique which is about to push the country and its people back into the abyss, with their Europe-wide blind austerity and 1 euro jobs.
We refer to the growing anti-German mood, not only in the European Union.
It is precisely Germany that can build the bridge with the Eurasian space, more so than France with its many descendants of Russian emigrants and its russophile Gaullism, more than Italy with its many anti-capitalist sympathizers of the Eurasian case, more than sober Sweden with its geographical and mental proximity, and even more than the Slavic brothers in the west, which all too often make common cause with the geopolitical interests of the U.S. out of short-sightedness and unresolved historical trauma.
The officer-adventurer Oskar von Niedermayer and his ideological mentor, Ernst Niekisch, protagonist of the German National-Bolsheviks, were right: it is the Prussian aspect in Germany – which was officially abolished in its state form by the Allies in 1947 – the spirit of Tauroggen that incorporates the true mental bridge between Europe as a whole and the Eurasian space.
Pity the GDR did not sufficiently meet the expectations during the Cold War in that respect!
Just as the Austrian element can build the bridge between Western Europe and the Turkish space and the Middle East.
Both former Germanic powers – in the words of the Austrian general and geopolitician Heinrich Jordis von Lohausen – once were the cornerstones of the European order – now only surviving in a limited form in certain state traditions of their successor states – and are essential for the psychological linkage which I mentioned.
Both elements are essential to the rest of Europe to lead the way to a Eurasia, and, by extension, a world where postmodernism and post-liberalism cannot continue to evolve into the sole human condition, which is then no longer considered as an ideology but perceived as “natural”, God-given.
How should the Eurasian future actually look like, after the victory over the forces of modernity, that want to make out of the Eurasian continent – not only out of Russia but also out of Europe, China and India – a huge colony of raw and human resources?
In this Great Eurasia as a wholesale space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, as volkerrechtliche Gro?raumordnung mit Interventionsverbot fur raumfremde Machte, to use the words of the legendary Carl Schmitt, the central position – in all respects – is to be occupied by the Russian Federation as the core of the former Soviet space – the space of the former Soviet Union or Eurasia in the sense of the evrazii and as a bridge between Europe and Asia proper – with on its flanks strong and reliable allies such as Germany, Sweden, Italy and France in the west – whether or not in a reformed European Union – and Iran, India, Turkey and China in the south and east. Regarding the Turkish world and the Chinese world, crystallized around Turkey and China respectively, the future will show what their place in the whole will be.
The Turkic peoples in the Russian Federation and the highway of the Great Steppe offer of course a direct link with Turkey via the Eurasianist ideology – we refer to the pioneering work of the above mentioned brilliant historian and ethnologist Lev Gumilev – but history shows us that the (Anatolian) Turks often, even always have been geopolitical enemies of Europe and Russia. Moreover, on a geocivilisationnal level, Turan always stands in opposition to Iran, the Turco-Mongol tradition throughout history, despite intercultural interaction, stands in opposition to the Indo-European tradition. But it is still possible to reach a settlement.
Especially as a promising country like Kazakhstan, the pearl of the Eurasian Steppe, should take the lead.
The same goes for China. It seems to me that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is primarily an alliance serving in the first place the interests of China and gives it the necessary breathing space in the global struggle against American hegemony.
We are curious to see to what extent China will push its population surplus in the future only to the distant lands of the south – Australia in the first place -, and will not want to take the vast country north of the Amur. I think this is a danger over which most evrazii pass too lightly, and upon which – maybe for once – our look in the West is more sober. But time will tell. A long-term strategic settelment with China is not out of the question either.
However, the strategy in which we must work together with all these and many other actors from Asia, Latin America and Africa, is in our rejection of postmodernity, of neoliberalism, of the clash of civilizations rhetoric and of the break with Tradition, and in our shared commitment to a multi-polar world, which puts forward the complementarity of cultures that have respect for each other’s individuality and for the Tradition that connects us all.