Western media's favorite Russian philosopher: Who is Aleksandr Dugin, whose daughter was killed in a Moscow car bombing?
Aleksandr Dugin is in the curious position of being better known abroad than in Russia. But that's less a case of a prophet not being recognized in his own land than the result of the Western media using him for its own propaganda and narrative management.
Dugin has been dubbed ‘Putin’s brain’ and ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ by the anglophone press for his supposed influence on the worldview of President Vladimir Putin and the country’s ruling elite. Foreign Policy magazine included him in its 2014 ‘Global Thinkers’ list “for masterminding Russia’s expansionist ideology.”
However, the reality is that he's not influential in the Kremlin. Nor is he even a mainstream figure in Moscow. Instead, he's become a totem for ultra-nationalist campaigners, most of whom believe President Vladimir Putin is too moderate in his foreign policy.
Thus, Dugin has become a curious anomaly: famous in the West, but a fringe figure at home. Following the murder of his daughter, Darya Dugina, some are speculating that the very fame itself may have been a reason for Ukrainian operatives to make him a target.
The anti-Western writer was reportedly admitted to a hospital after visiting the site of a car bombing which took her life, on Saturday night.
This was announced on social media by fellow pundit Sergey Markov.
Dugina, a 29-year-old journalist and a commentator in her own right, was killed while returning from a conservative family festival outside Moscow, which she attended with her father.
Andrey Krasnov, an acquaintance, told TASS that the SUV she was driving belonged to her father.
According to unconfirmed reports, Dugin planned to leave the event in the same car as his daughter, but at the last moment decided to take a separate car.
From conservative firebrand to ‘Putin’s brain’
He rose to popularity as a prolific conservative writer in the 1990s when Russia was going through a crippling economic crisis and an ideological void left after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Known for his fiery rhetoric and hawkish anti-Western stance, Dugin envisioned Russia as a powerful, ever-expanding continental empire whose mission is to serve “as a serious bulwark against the ubiquitous spread of the Western liberal model on the planet.”
Moscow’s Ukraine hawk
In his seminal work, ‘The Foundation of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia’, published in 1997, Dugin predicted the bloodshed in Ukraine.
“The sovereignty of Ukraine is such a negative factor for Russian geopolitics that, in principle, it can easily trigger an armed conflict,” he wrote. Dugin argued that, while retaining a certain degree of autonomy, Ukraine should be integrated into the Russian state, as it had been in tsarist and Soviet times.
The author passionately supported Moscow’s decision to reabsorb Crimea, after the peninsula voted in a referendum to leave Ukraine in the wake of the 2014 coup in Kiev. He was subsequently blacklisted by the US and Canada. In 2014, he left Moscow State University, where he had led the department of sociology of international relations for five years.
Fighter against the West
Dugin similarly backed the military operation that Moscow launched against the neighboring state in late February of this year. He argued that, since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the US-led West has been fueling the conflict by supporting nationalists and other anti-Russian forces in Kiev, and continues to do so by sending weapons to Ukraine.
From the start, the project of an independent Ukraine has been directed against Russia and overseen by the Anglo-Saxons.
“The battle for Ukraine and against Russia is the historical constant of the West’s geopolitical strategy,” Dugin wrote in an op-ed for conservative media group Tsargrad TV in March. He also argued that Ukraine’s present borders were artificially drawn when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine has no history of statehood whatsoever, while its current territories are historically accidental and a result of the administrative design of the Bolsheviks. When Putin, as he was justifying the military operation in Ukraine, said ‘Ukraine was created by Lenin,’ he was absolutely correct.
“The Russian army is currently fighting the sovereign states that are imposing a unipolar world. We can’t lose this war. Otherwise, the whole world will go up in flames,” Dugin told Turkish newspaper Turkiye Gazetesi in April.
Following in her father’s footsteps
Like her father, Dugina supported the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, a country she described as “a failed state.”
Appearing on the ‘Solovyov LIVE’ podcast just hours before her death, she accused the West of trying to impose its will on others. “The special military operation [in Ukraine] is the last nail in the coffin of the world hegemon [the West],” she said.
Britain blacklisted Dugina this month as “a frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine.”
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak denied Kiev’s involvement in the bombing. “I want to stress that Ukraine, obviously, has nothing to do with it,” he told Ukrainian media on Sunday.