Alexander Dugin and his 4th Political Theory

Valeria Sokolova

Russia, in its turn, has never openly refused to take this course, and programmatically borrowed certain values and technologies. This is what Dugin defines as “exogenic modernisation”.


“Harsh outside but tender inside” was the motto of the national-Bolshevik party (NBP) established by Eduard Limonov and Alexander Dugin in early May of 1993 in Russia. It has never become legal since the NBP was rejected multiple times in their claim to be registered as a political party. Moreover, in 2007, the NBP was designated as an extremist organisation, and its activity was banned by the court on the territory of the Russian Federation according to the law ‘On Combating Extremist Activity’. 

The National-Bolshevist government was viewed as the one supporting social justice and imperial domination in the global arena, maintaining civil and political freedoms in domestic politics. This was the agenda behind the motto – ‘harsh‘ in terms of external enemies and ‘tender‘ for its own residents. 

In 1998, Dugin resigned from NBP. Soon after, he joined the International Eurasian Movement in Russia. The former leader of the extremist NBP organisation and the current head of the KATECHON (ὁ κατέχω gr. “the one who withholds”: biblical historical God’s agent that by tempering the eschatological enthusiasm restores order in the midst of crisis and chaos [1]) centre, organisation of leading contemporary thinkers, social and political activists, historians, philosophers and economists that are, as they themselves claim, strong advocates of the Conservative Turn and Imperial Renaissance of Russia.[2] This name was chosen obviously for a reason, for the reconstruction of orthodox Christianity lies at the heart of the Eurasian theory. The Russian Orthodox Christian Church shall be given the central role in the end battle between the demonic evil (liberalism with its reliance on capitalism) and the ultimate divine hand (the Russian-Eurasian Empire). 

According to Dugin, there happens to be no room for Russia in the global arena in the form we know it today. While the world of capital is devouring itself with geometrical progression, Dugin attempts to reclaim the governmental system of the former Russian Empire for today’s Russia. In his book, published in 2017, The fourth political theory, the thinker insists on restoring orthodox Christianity on the governmental level in the form of the “symphony of powers”.

Proclaiming the adherents of Eurasianism as conservators, Dugin explains time as not linear, but rather permanent, and opposes the diachronic model of history to the synchronic one. Arguing that time is permanent, he denies progress as such and believes that Conservatives should not look at the past but rather at the eternal (spirit) that shines in the human being. Russian conservatism is based on Orthodox Christianity, which has a strong eschatology and teaches about eternity as the main focus. In Christianity, a human being is regarded as a new man whose whole being is illuminated with the eternal light of God’s Incarnation, Resurrection and Ascension.[3]

From here results Dugin’s understanding of Russia as an imperial state and an independent civilization-world. As he puts it himself, a Conservative does never take the side of the “little man”, but the one of the “big man” (homo maximum). This kind of a Conservative admires greatness and “size” in everything they come to deal with. The same is in politics: they aim at big, eternal, endless and great things, meaning empire as a state form. p. 200 Empire is seen as a maximum form of society, the maximum possible magnitude of a state. Thus, the empire is the proper state form for Russia, which radically contradicts the concept of the global government (aspiration of the USA). Subsequently, imperial Russia would speak against westernisation and modernisation as the ideology spread by the European Union and the USA. Dugin thinks of himself as a radical opponent of liberalism both of the present and of the past. At the same time, he makes a stand against communism and fascism as political alternatives that are not capable of resisting or taking over liberalism. 

Modernism and postmodernism are stumbling stones that are sought to be overstepped by the Eurasian theory. Modernisation and westernisation, according to Dugin, are synonyms. And since the 17th-18th centuries, the term ‘west’ has been associated with “modernisation”, “progress”, and social, industrial, economical and technological development, the whole world was meant to follow and adopt the path of the West. In other words, this course of events was defined as the best and, therefore, universal for all other countries and nations. 

Russia, in its turn, has never openly refused to take this course, and programmatically borrowed certain values and technologies. This is what Dugin defines as “exogenic modernisation”. By integrating the values of western civilization, Russia combined them with its own original and traditional ones. In his opinion, China, India, Brazil, Japan and some Islamic countries have taken the same path. 

The anticipation of the extension of the West and the “end of history” (replacement of politics with economics and the planet’s transformation into one homogeneous market acc. to Francis Fukuyama) allows Dugin to present Russia as a unique civilization with its glorious traditional and cultural foundations. He talks about the so-called “slave-orthodox civilization”. In this case, Russia is to be compared not just to one of the European countries, but to the whole of Europe, to the Islamic world, to Indian and Chinese civilizations. 

From this point, Russia-Eurasia is regarded as the one of a diverse nature from both the West and the East, for it is not a mixture of them both, but rather something radically different and extraordinarily distinct. It is a state-civilization in itself and differs from all the other civilizations in its values. Neo-Eurasianism sees the vector of Russian history in upholding its otherness and defending its moral, religious and cultural values. The imperial idea of Chingishan and the centralised statehood of the Mongol Hordes are regarded as very influential on the political and social arrangements of Russia-Eurasia.

After the fall of the USSR in the 1990s, Russia tried to follow the path of modernisation blindly, by partially copying the West. It was gradually transforming into “a colony with an exogenic fragmental implantation of postmodernism, insensibly losing its sovereignty”. The post-Soviet Russian government built itself around the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) that today, together with the Trilateral, is considered to be the embryo of the “World State”’. A large group of the Russian elite was part of those organisations. According to Dugin, Vladimir Putin, current president of Russia, was one of those who tried to resist the West in a very careful way by claiming Russia a European country and integrating some elements of modernisation. But, in fact, by resorting to “Westernisation”, Russia took a course on defending itself by effective confrontation with the West. 

There is and has always been no room for the West in the Eurasian theory. Yet, Russian Tzars of the Moscow period regarded the West as “evil, as Hegelian antithesis, as something that would be eliminated in a long-run perspective. Russian orthodox-Slav Eurasian civilization is supposed to give the last and decisive battle with Western civilization. The main points of this strategy are: the historical experience of European civilization is not universal, the European course is not the arterial course of humankind’s development, the whole structure of modernism has to be challenged and Enlightenment has to be rejected. 

Russia-Eurasia, as a civilization, has to give up on the course of Westernisation with its materialism, atheism and utilitarianism in favour of elaborating a new national ideology based on Russia’s internal logic dictated by its religion (orthodox Christianity), historic mission and original culture. 

Next follows a chain of practical actions: setting up solid relationships with the countries that are in opposition to Western politics and globalisation, modernism and postmodernism; splitting the West by consolidating its connections with continental Europe and seeking the collapse of the USA; creating a filter that enables rough selection of the “globalisation gifts” as values, cultural heritage, technology, and accepts only those that do not put Russia’s integrity in jeopardy. 

Dugin sees only two outcomes for the future of Russia: either Eurasianism becomes a single point of view of the Russian elite, or Russia surrenders to the West and becomes occupied by it. Also, he mentions that there are other potential “big spaces” (using the theory of big spaces by Karl Schmidt) and other nations that are interested in the “resurrection” of Russian Eurasianism. Neo-Eurasianism stands for “big spaces” against universalism, “empires” against imperialism, and “rights of the nation” against the rights of a single nation. That is why it is important to maintain contact with the Islamic world, continental Europe, China, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

In order to go beyond the confines of the multipolar world, Russia has to recreate its influence on the former Soviet-Union space and integrate the CIS countries. And, at the same time, it has to form a united front for all those that have an alternative to the American Empire. 

[3] Dugin, Alexander: The Fourth Political Theory. Arktos, London 2012

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