Alexander Dugin

Foreword to Foundations of Geopolitics

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Foreword to Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia (Arktogeya, Moscow: 2000) 

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Foreword

The history and fate of geopolitics as a science is paradoxical. On the one hand, the concept itself seems to have become customary and is actively used in modern politics. Geopolitical journals and institutes have multiplied, the texts of the founders of this discipline are being published, conferences and symposia are being organized, and geopolitical committees and commissions have been created.

Yet nevertheless, to this day geopolitics has still been unable to enter the category of conventionally recognized sciences. The first geopolitical works of the German Ratzel, the Swede Kjellen, and especially the Englishman Mackinder have been met with hostility by the scientific community. Classical science, fully inheriting the hyper-critical spirit of early positivism, has considered geopolitics to be an “over-generalization,” and consequently it is believed to be little more than a variety of “charlatanism.”

In a sense, the sad fate of geopolitics as a science has been associated with the political side of the problem. The opinion has been approved that the war crimes of the Third Reich’s expansion, the war, deportations, etc. were to a significant extent theoretically prepared by German geopoliticians who allegedly supplied Hitler’s regime with a pseudo-scientific basis (first and foremost, this refers to Karl Haushofer, the German geopolitician who at one time was quite close to the Fuhrer).

However, German geopolitics, on a theoretical level, is essentially no different from Anglo-Saxon geopolitics (Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman), French geopolitics (Vidal de La Blanche), or Russian “military geography” (Milyutin, Snesarev), etc. The difference lies not in the specific views of Haushofer, which were entirely logical and adequate for the discipline, but in the methods by which a number of his geopolitical positions were realized. Moreover, the specific foreign policies of Germany in the ’30’s and ’40’s in their most repulsive manifestations were diametrically opposed to the ideas of Haushofer himself. Instead of a “continental bloc” along the axis of Berlin-Moscow-Tokyo, there was the attack on the USSR; instead of an organic understanding of the doctrine of Lebensraum, or “living space” (in the spirit of Schmitt’s theory of “people’s rights”), there was vulgar nationalism and imperialism, etc. It should be noted that Haushofer’s school and his journal Zeitschrift fur Geopolitik were never official elements of the Nazi system. As with many intellectual groups of the so called “conservative revolutionaries” in the Third Reich, their ambiguous existence was simply tolerated, and this tolerance varied depending on political conditions at a given moment.

However, the main reason for the historical suppression of geopolitics is the fact that it too openly reveals the fundamental mechanisms of international politics which various regimes often prefer to hide behind vague rhetoric or abstract ideological schemes. In this sense, it is possible to cite the parallel with Marxism (at least in its, scientific, analytical aspect). Karl Marx more than cogently revealed the mechanics of relations of production and their connections with historical formations, just as geopolitics exposes the historical demagogy of foreign policy discourse and shows the real deep levers which influence international, inter-state, and inter-ethnic relations. But if Marxism is a global revision of classical economic history, then geopolitics is a revision of the history of international relations. The latter explains the ambivalent attitude of society towards geopolitical scholars. The scientific community stubbornly refuses to tolerate them in their midst and harshly criticizes them, often without even noticing that, on the contrary, authorities use geopolitical calculations to formulate international strategy. Such, for example, was the case with one of the first geopoliticians, the true founding father of the discipline, Sir Halford Mackinder. His ideas were not accepted in academic circles, but he himself directly participated in the formulation of English policies for the first half of the 20th century, laying the theoretical basis for the international strategy of England which was passed on to the US in the middle of the century and developed by Mackinder’s American (or, more broadly, Atlanticist) followers.

In our opinion, the parallel with Marxism is a successful one. A method may be adapted and utilized by different poles. The Marxist analysis is important for both the representatives of Capital and fighters for the emancipation of Labor. Geopolitics is important for both the representatives of large states (empires), as it instructs them how to best preserve territorial domination and carry out expansion, and their opponents for whom geopolitics presents the conceptual principles of the revolutionary theory of “national liberation.” For example, the Treaty of Versailles was the work of the hands of Mackinder’s geopolitical school which expressed the interests of the West and aimed at weakening the states of Central Europe and the suppression of Germany. The German student of Mackinder, Karl Haushofer, proceeding from the same assumptions, developed a directly opposing theory of “European liberation” which was a total negation of the logic of Versailles and which formed the basis of the nascent ideology of National-Socialism.

These considerations show that even though it has not been accepted into the commonwealth of classical sciences, geopolitics is extremely effective in practice and its value is superior in some aspects to many conventional disciplines.

Be that is at may, today geopolitics exists and little by little it is gaining official recognition and the corresponding status. However, not everything is going smoothly in this process. Very often we are faced with a confusion of the concept of “geopolitics,” whose increasing use is becoming common place among non-professionals. The focus is shifted from the complete and global picture, developed by the founding fathers, to limited regional points of geo-economic schemes. The original postulates of geopolitical dualism, competing strategies, civilizational differentiation, etc. are either ignored, hushed, or denied. It is difficult to imagine something similar in any other science. What would happen to classical physics if, operating with the concepts of “mass”, “energy”, “acceleration”, etc., scientists started to implicitly, gradually deny the law of gravity, forget about it, and simply recognize that Newton was “a mythological figure never having existed in reality” or a “dark religious fanatic?” But it is precisely this, mutatis mutandis, which is happening with geopolitics in our time.

The purpose of this book is to present the basics of geopolitics objectively and impartially beyond preconceived notions, ideological sympathies and antipathies. No matter how we treat this science, we can only have a definite opinion of it upon being acquainted with its principals, history, and methodology.

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

 

The Battle for History – Part X

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov

Zavtra no. 29 (922), 20 July 2011


Every year, at the beginning of July, my mental gaze turns again and again towards the Ipatyev basement [1]. Why? How could they have let this happen?

No, they knowingly made it happen. Not the Bolsheviks, who were but a blind tool, and not even the omnipresent masons or the British embassy – although, of course, the role and place of all these powers is known. We are speaking of that very same “Russia-that-we-lost” [2], which, or so it would seem, had been called to defend its Tsar and which, according to V. V. Rozanov, “faded away in two days. In three at most… It is striking that it disintegrated completely and all at once into fragments, into parts”. We will not discuss here the issue of whether the emperor’s “abdication” of the throne took place or not. Contemporary historians and researchers such as P. N. Multatuli, A. B. Razumov and others claim (and not without reason) that there was no abdication at all.

“I understood and understand the hatred which Guchkov, Kerensky and the others harbor towards us, but why are We so hated by persons like General Kornilov, who was shown so much kindness by Nicky [3]? You have known Me a long time and you know that I can keep myself under control, but at that moment, when General Kornilov came to see Me with a red bow next to the Order of Saint George that Nicky had given him, and said, ‘My dear citizen Aleksandra Feodorovna Romanova, please rise and listen to the decree of the Provisional Government’, something darkened in my eyes” – the martyr-tsarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna wrote in her diary. Later, one of those ensigns from the so-called “Kornilov Strike Battalion” composed a song in which the following words could be heard: “We do not pity the past, the Tsar is no idol to us!” Kornilov liked the song so much that he asked for the text to be copied. When a shell splinter struck down the general, his comrades found a scrap of paper with this song written on it on his bloody chest.

Or take Grand Prince Kirill Vladimirovich [4]: “Together with my beloved guard detachment I went to the State Duma, that popular temple… I dare to think that with the fall of the old regime, I, too, will finally be able to breathe freely in a free Russia… Before me I see only the shining stars of popular happiness.” And further: “Exceptional circumstances demand exceptional actions. This is why the arrest of Nicholas and his wife are justified by events…” Even M.V. Rodzyanko [5] said: “Red does not suit Your Highness’s face.”

But the most important, truly fateful landmark was the high clergy’s betrayal of the Tsar. “The will of God has come to pass. Russia has set out on the path of a new state life” – thus began the “Message of the Holy Synod to the Entire Flock of the Russian Church”, which appeared immediately after the Tsar’s “abdication”. Today, the phenomenon of the “clergy’s betrayal” is being studied in detail by the historian Mikhail Babkin, who has recently released the book The Clergy and the Monarchy. But even earlier as well, rediscovered (or simply hushed up) documents revealed the truth. Here are some words from the “Call to the Soldiers by Archbishop Agafangel (Preobrazhensky), the Priests and Adherents of the Orthodox Faith of the City of Yaroslavl” of March 19, 1917: “Valiant soldiers, glorious citizens of Great Russia! The hour of popular freedom has come… Soft rays of popular freedom, filled with light and strength, have started to shine everywhere: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association”.

On March 26, the archbishop of Novgorod, Arseniy (Stadnitsky) said at a gathering of priests in Novgorod: “On 2 March, an act on the abdication of the former emperor has been signed… The Orthodox Church has been enslaved for 200 years. It is now being granted freedom. My God, what vastness!”


“But the Church?”— asked V. V. Rozanov – “Earlier, there were the ’32 hierarchs”\’ who wished for a ‘free Church founded on the canons’. But there are now 33333… 2… 2… 2… 2 hierarchs and sub-hierarchs and super-hierarchs… they have begun to yell, speak, and invent that ‘the Church of Christ always has been essentially socialist’, and that it had never been monarchist, only Peter the Great ‘forced us to lie’” [6]. What is the problem here? Where did that “union” between the Tsar and the clergy that Soviet propaganda spoke about with one goal in mind, and anti-Soviet propaganda with another, disappear off to? It seems that it didn’t exist. What is more, in contrast with, for example, the military, the rejection of the Tsar from among the clergy was of a totally ideological character: it based itself mainly on the Old Testament with its clear preference for “kritarchy” over monarchy in ancient Israel [7]. There were other motives as well. The modern historian of theology N. K. Gavryushin says of the most famous arch-hierarch of the period, Metropolitan Antonius (Khrapovitsky): “Antonius’ battle for the restoration of the patriarchy was pregnant with invisible, papist ideals. His barefaced dream was a position of the Church in the state, under the auspices of which the patriarch could ‘eclipse the Tsar.’ In his ‘Report Memorandum’ to the Holy Synod on the patriarchy, he claimed that it was not worth ‘speaking about any kind of councils, renaissances of the spiritual school, or the rebirth of the parish until a patriarch is reinstated.’” Gavryushin speaks of “Nikonian papism.”

Everything ended in the basement of the Ipatyev House. This was the midnight of Russian history.

Today, when they force upon us the heirs of “emperor Kirill” or the idea of a so-called “strong Church” (not in the sense of spiritual strength, but in the numerical-material, organisational, and even financial dimensions – which is not an Orthodox or apostolic idea), we ask ourselves again and again: “On whose hands is all that blood?”

Translator’s notes:

[1]: The basement of the Ipatyev House in Yekaterinburg is the scene of the execution of Nicholas II, his family, and several of their attendants by members of the Ural Soviet. The house was demolished in 1977 and the site currently plays host to a chapel commemorating the murdered royals. It is interesting to note that the name of the house is identical to that of the monastery from which Mikhail Romanov came to the throne.

[2]: “The Russia that we lost” (Россия, которую мы потеряли) is a conservative slogan and meme in post-Soviet Russia. It is an idealization of life under the monarchist regime.

[3]: Aleksandr Ivanovich Guchkov (1862 – 1936) was a businessman and liberal politician of the Octobrist party. He became minister of war in the Provisional Government until his forced resignation. He later supported General Kornilov and, when the Russian Civil War broke out, gave financial and political support to the White Movement. Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky (1881 – 1970) was a lawyer, erstwhile revolutionary, politician, and freemason who played an instrumental role in the February Revolution. Kerensky’s Provisional Government attempted to continue fighting against Germany on the Eastern Front. However, due to internal disarray, a series of crises, and military fatigue, the Provisional Government lost control of the country and was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. Kerensky himself tried unsuccessfully to curry favour with the White Movement and was eventually forced to emigrate. General Lavr Georgiyevich Kornilov (1870 – 1918) was a military intelligence officer who is best remembered today for the 1917 Kornilov affair, an attempted military coup against Kerensky’s Provisional Government which ended in failure.

[4]: Grand prince Kirill Vladimirovich (1876 – 1938) was a cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. During the February Revolution, he was one of the first members of the royal family to betray the Tsar. Kirill supported the Provisional Government and later the White Moment. While in emigration in Paris, in 1924 the grand prince declared himself Emperor Kirill I of All Russias, a decision that was (and is) contested by the surviving members of the royal family.

[5]: Mikhail Vladimirovich Rodzyanko (1859 – 1924) was a liberal politician who played a key role in Nicholas II’s successful abdication. He later supported the White Movement and was forced to emigrate.

[6]: The “enslavement of the Russian Church” refers to the Synodal period of Russian ecclesiastical history. As part of his reforms, Tsar Peter the Great removed the office of the patriarch and placed the Church under the auspices of the Most Holy Governing Synod. This move effectively made the clergy into civil servants and gave the Tsar an almost caesoro-papist position in Russian society.

[7]: Kritarchy is a system of government in which judges hold supreme political power. A system of this kind was most famously in place in ancient Israel prior to the establishment of a unified monarchy. Modern kritarchies can be found in several Islamic countries.

The Battle for History – Part VIII

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov

 Zavtra no. 27 (920), 6 June 2011


Neither in Soviet times nor today has our government learned to “speak Russian” (and the origins of this event lie in the 17
th-18th centuries). This is the root cause of its deep inconsistencies with the elements of Russian life that have encompassed the entire history of the last few centuries. We will not mince words: when at the House of Soviets in 1993 General Makashov yelled “there will be neither mayors nor peers, nor…!”, he was very much right in essence, if not so much in form [1]. The problem is not with “Soviet” structures (as even seemed to be the case in 1993) but in the great difference between the thousand-year (and even older) paradigm of Russian statehood and the Euro-Atlantic political-legal system that was forced upon us after 1991.

The term “reception of law” is commonly used in historical legal science to name the adoption of Roman law and its separate postulates in medieval Europe, an event which led to the formation of modern European law. This was a natural and organic progress, seeing as Roman and European law (as well as the Western-European model of state) were formed under conditions in which property was considered to have primacy over the state. We also had a “reception of law” – an alien law. This process began roughly in 1987 and ended with the adoption of a European-style Constitution in 1993. However, immediately after this “reception”, a flagrant discrepancy between legal forms and “real life” was found, which led to “legal anarchy” on the one hand and “legal nihilism” on the other [2]. The discrepancy between the “law” and “concepts” is a clear marker of our lives. Turning the Russian man into a “law-abiding taxpayer” in the Western sense of the term is just as much a utopia as “communism” was.

A system of law springs forth from organic, popular experience [3]. The eminent Russian legal scholar N. N. Alekseev (1879 – 1964) pointed to an “internal, organic fusion of rights and duties.” Within it, the law is saturated, so to speak, with duty and duty with law. Whereever there is a law that is separate from duty and a duty that is separate from law, we see that what could best be described by the term “legal duty” [4]. Such a fusion was upheld by some representatives of the German organic school. In Russia, it was developed by the Slavophiles [5]. It was favoured by Dostoevsky and written about by P. I. Novgorodtsev, who was partial to the same line of thought [6]. This is what S. L. Frank implies when he says that “no human right has an immanent moral force” [7]. It is interesting that a lot was written about the “unity of law and duty” in Soviet times; however, Marxist scholasticism destroyed the beginnings of an organic philosophy of law.

The concept of “legal duty” by itself can also be used to found a theory of state and law, above all one of the Russian state. Had this road been taken during the process of the abandonment of communist dogma at the end of the ‘80s, we would have succeeded in avoiding many disturbances. Instead, we saw a recycling of the “division of powers”, the “Rechtsstaat [8]”, “civil society” etc., which have no correlation whatsoever to historical reality or even the classics of political-legal thought, including Aristotle, who said: “power is unified and monadic, it cannot be separated: power either is, or it is not.” If government (including local self-government) is divided, we must use this as our starting point, not something else. “Civil society” is purely “cosmopolitan”, “bourgeois”, it has no place for farmers, soldiers, or craftsmen. The “Rechtsstaat” is drivel, as law as such can only be confirmed by a state.

Property holds precedence in Europe. This is the European and later the American path. On the Russian developmental path of state and law, authority always holds precedence over property. It cannot be any other way on our vast expanses. Russia’s historical experiences attest to a practically unchanged system of state structure, a system that has only changed its “signs and leaders.” Short periods of chaos and collapse are capped off by the return of a strong, individually led government [9] that is supported by the military-draft estate; however, this government is successful only when it accounts for the demands of the worker estate over the head of a “bureaucratic mediastinum.” In the opposite case, Russian governmental structures begin to rot and lose their grip on power. A new time of troubles begins.

“In the Muscovite state, political order was founded on an apportionment of duties, not equal rights between all classes.” – N. N. Alekseev wrote. – “The theory of natural law is entirely alien to our history, as well as ideas about the state as a trading company founded on a multitude of independent and unrelated property owners… We did not develop in ourselves the Western technique of executing of negative and conditional duties, we have not been firm in our respect for property or in our execution of agreements; at the same time, however, we have not developed our own system of law in the direction of principles of legal duty and we have even lost much of what was established in the Muscovite era. We were supposed to turn into a society of property holders and our state into a system of rule based on free contracts. However, our people did not accept this program.”

Today, we must above all else engage in a “correction of names.” If we do not understand our state-legal “affinity” and if we do not give it a name, we will finally lose our statehood, and finally ourselves as a people with it.

 

Translator’s notes:

[1]: Albert Mihailovich Makashov (b.1938) is a former Soviet colonel general and opposition politician. He has been put forward multiple times as a candidate for the post of president of the Russian Federation. The event referred to here is the September 1993 political confrontation between then President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian parliament. Yeltsin attempted to rewrite the constitution to give himself more power, as well as dissolve the country’s legislative branch (then still called the Congress of People’s Deputies and the Supreme Soviet). Both institutions refused to acknowledge the president’s actions as legitimate and moved to impeach him, declaring then vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoy to be acting president. The situation deteriorated even further in October, and large-scale street fighting between supporters of the Soviet and police and military forces broke out. On October 4, Yeltsin ordered the Russian Army to storm the Russian parliament building and arrest the ringleaders of the resistance. All in all, at least 187 persons were killed during the fighting in Moscow. It is interesting to note that many future Eurasianists participated in the defence of the Russian parliament building (most notably Aleksandr Dugin) or the street fighting on the side of various opposition movements.

[2]: “Legal anarchy” refers to a climate of extremely loose legislation and heavy abuse of the law by all members and institutions of society. Russia lived through such a period during the 1990s and early 2000s. “Legal nihilism” refers to a climate of silent deference of weaker members of society to members holding power over them because of their legal dominion. Such a situation arguably developed during Putin’s second term and continues to this day.

[3]: The Russian word used here, pravo (право) can simultaneously mean “law”, “right”, or “legal system” and cannot be accurately translated in this context. I have substituted “system of law” as the word’s closest English-language analogue.   

[4]: The Russian word pravoobyazannost’ (правообязанность) does not have an analogue in English. A very direct translation would be “legal dutifulness”; however, to preserve the flow of the text, I have chosen to translate it here simply as “legal duty”.

[5]: The German organic school was a movement in legal philosophy that originated with the work of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781 – 1832), whose philosophy (later nicknamed “Krausism”) was largely overshadowed by Schelling and Hegel. The main takeaway of his teachings is that rights and the law must embrace the existence of nature, humanity, and reality. The Slavophiles were a movement of predominantly Russian social, political, economic, and cultural thinkers. One of the main points of their thought was sobornost’ (соборность), which posits that man can only become what he is through cooperation and in a community, as opposed to the Western view of man becoming what he is through developing his individuality.

[6]: Pavel Ivanovich Novgorodtsev (1866 – 1924) was a legal scholar, philosopher, and liberal politician. A long-time member of the constitutional democratic (Kadet) party, Novgorodtsev fought with the whites in the Russian Civil War and was eventually forced to leave the country. His main work is History of the Philosophy of Law, which has not been translated to English.

[7]: Semyon Lyudvigovich Frank (1877 – 1950) was a Russian Jewish philosopher who later in his life converted to Christianity. In his work, he mainly sought to synthesise rational and religious modes of thought. Several of his works have been translated into English. 

[8]: Rechtsstaat is a German concept that can best be translated as a “state founded upon law”; that is to say, a state that derives all its authority from the law and never abuses or oversteps any laws.

[9]: The Russian word used here (единоличный) only has the meaning of “individual” in a non-direct sense and does not imply that the state is somehow individual among other states; rather, it means that the state is ruled and led by a single person.


The Battle for History – Part IX

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov

Zavtra no. 28 (921), 13 July 2011


This year will see the 900th anniversary of the birthday of the faithful Prince Saint Andrei Bogolyubsky (1111-1174). He is honoured in the Church on July 17(4), which coincides with the veneration of the martyred royals.

Many consider precisely this grand prince to be the founder of the Russian autocracy. Lev Tikhomirov [1] thought so. Basing himself on historical-legal material, V. O. Klyuchevsky [2] states: “Andrei was the first to separate primogeniture from a fixed location: having extracted the title of Great Prince of All Russia, he did not leave his appanage of Suzdal and did not travel to Kiev to take the position his father and grandfather had once held. Thus, princely primogeniture, having separated itself from a fixed location, acquired a personal meaning, and it was as if the idea to accord it the authority of supreme power flared up.”

There is an element of truth in this. However, in actual fact, Saint Andrei did not establish the autocracy: he attempted to restore it. The situation was the following: freedom from being tied to a fixed city, plus inheritance from father to son, existed among the first Rurikovichi (before the introduction of the “rota system” [3] among the numerous offspring of saint Vladimir), just as it had among all ancient dynasties up to and including Troy and Babylon. It is not by chance that in the Book of Degrees (which has as its subject royal genealogy) of Saint Metropolitan Macharia and the blessed Tsar Ivan the Terrible, the establishment of the royal autocracy is attributed to Rurik himself, both Vladimirs, Yaroslav the Wise and, finally, Andrei Bogolyubsky [4]. 

Saint Andrei unified in his person the sacred blood of the Rurikovichi with that of the Polovtsy khans [5] from his maternal line. He thereby united Northern Europe and Eurasia, West and East, “wood” and “steppe”. He was actually the “first Eurasianist”, before and along with the Golden Horde at that. This is extremely important: our thirst for space is not something that was forced upon us (as the “modern nationalists” would have it), but something that was essential to Rus from its inception.

The capture of Kiev (1169), the campaign against Novgorod (1170), and the siege of Vyshgorod (1173) were but stages of Prince Andrei’s struggle, and not all of them were successful. Yes, these campaigns were fierce, at times brutal, and directed against his “free” [6] kin, but this was the modus operandi of all unifying monarchs, from Clovis to Ivan the Terrible. According to the sources that have come down to us, Saint Andrei did not enjoy combat, but rather perceived the art of war as a grave necessity, an obeisance.

In one of the Old Believer versions of the prince’s biography, the following is said of him: “For many years, he was in the Holy Land of the City of Jerusalem at the Sacred Tomb, fasting and praying, devoutly serving the Virgin Mary Theotokos truthfully and selflessly, increasing his wisdom greatly like King Solomon, and he also visited the Holiest of Holies, as his father Gyorgy had done before him.” The historian Dmitri Zenin has proposed the hypothesis that in the period between 1140 and 1150 (the Russian chronicles are silent on this period in the life of the prince) the young Andrei really was in Jerusalem, where he met many European monarchs, among whom were Manuel I Komeinon, Frederick II Barbarossa, Henry II Plantagenet, and Louis VII of France. All of them were in the Holy Land in the period 1147-1149 during the Second Crusade. Almost all of them were related to him by blood or kin; what is more, he was the cousin of Vladimir Monomakh and the great-cousin of Yaroslav the Wise, eldest not just in age, but also in genealogy. The Rurikovichi had deeper roots than the post-Carolingian European dynasties, who had only come to power thanks to the popes.

It is precisely at this moment that all of these monarchs (every one of them) began a decisive turn towards the centralization of their possessions, and Frederick Barbarossa challenged the Papal See itself. Is this a mere coincidence?

It seems that we are actually dealing with a general, continental, imperial plan founded, of course, on Christianity, but free from the idea that the “pope (and the episcopate in general) makes the kings”, a return to a truly free, pre-Carolingian Europe, stretching to Eurasia. Who would be its leader…?

Primordially, Rus was the united princely (royal) estate of all north-Aryan tribes.
Is it also mere coincidence that the lives of all these monarchs (except for the French Louis) ended tragically?

In 1155, Andrei decisively left Kiev and took with him the miraculous icon of the Mother of God which, according to tradition, was painted by Luke the Evangelist. On the place where (according to his Life) the Theotokos appeared to him, he built his “oprichny” [7] (separate) palace of Bogolyubovo, which he built following the example of the Heavenly City as described in the Revelations of John. In the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God at the Nerl’ river, the great prince stored images linked to pre-Christian antiquity, as well as the univocally dynastic (and simultaneously cosmogonic) image of “David the Bard” [8].

The circumstances of the great prince’s demise are well-known. Twenty conspirators, with the “zhidovin Efrem Mozich [9]” and the “yassin” (assassin?) “quartermaster Anbal” at their head broke into his chambers. The other members of the conspiracy were primarily the Kuchkovichi, representatives of the local nobility who did not wish to subordinate themselves to the Rurikovich; among them was the wife of saint Andrei, the “accursed w..re Ultika” as the chronicle calls her. They struck at the very heart of the Orthodox Kingdom, at the “golden heart of Russia”.

In much the same way (at the start of the 20th century) was autocratic Russia destroyed. The sacred royal martyrs were sacrificed on the very same day: 17 June. The tsar had known his entire life about the mysterious link between him and the sacred prince Andrei Bogolyubsky. And is this not the reason why none other than Bogolyubovo has become the banner of those rising up for “Sacred Rus and the Orthodox faith”?

Translator’s notes:

[1]: Lev Aleksandrovich Tikhomirov (1852 – 1923) was a Russian revolutionary, author, and historian. He was part of the radical Narodnaya Volya movement in his youth, but later became a convicted monarchist after having received a pardon from the tsar.

[2]: Vasily Osipovich Klyuchevsky (1841 – 1911) was a prolific Russian historian and academic.

[3]: The “rota system” (лествичное право) was an inheritance system that was used and developed in Kiev Rus until early Muscovy. An inheritance would pass from brother to brother until the fourth brother was reached. Then, the inheritance would pass on to the eldest son of the eldest brother who had held a possession. The creator of the system was grand prince Yaroslav the Wise. 

[4]: The two Vladimirs mentioned here are Vladimir the Great (+- 958 – 1015, who oversaw the christening of Kiev Rus) and Vladimir Monomakh (1053 – 1125, a reformer who instated a centralised government in Kiev). Yaroslav the Wise (+- 978 – 1054) was the son of Vladimir the Great and is now most famously known for the institution of Russian law (Русская Правда).

[5]: The Polovtsy were a confederation of Turkic tribes that inhabited the steppes of South-Western Russia. The princes of Kiev Rus were often at war with them, but also signed treaties with the tribes and married the daughters of their khans.

[6]: The Russian adjective used here (вольный) does not mean “free” in the sense of “liberated”, “able to do as one pleases”, but rather hints at a kind of independence. “Free” kinsmen were officially under the authority of the grand prince of Kievan Rus; however, they were practically autonomous in their own domain.

[7]: The word “oprichniy” (опричный) brings to mind the oprichnina of Ivan the Terrible, and the words stem from the same root. In Kievan Rus and Muscovy, something that was “oprichniy” was a special possession of a prince or lord separate from the others and one in which he was entirely autonomous. 

[8]: This is a reference to a figure found in Russian and Slavic folk culture, king David the Bard. This personage is a fusion of the biblical King David and a Slavic folk biography of the biblical figure. King David is depicted as a musician who knows the secret nature of the world, which is why Karpets refers to him as a cosmogonic figure.

[9]: “Zhidovin” (Жидовин) is a personage in Russian folk tales as well as an appellation for Jews. The folkloric character is a Jewish warlord who opposes the Russian bogatyrs (heroes) in their quest for justice and order.

The Battle for History – Part VII

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov

Zavtra no. 26 (919), 29 June 2011


Mikhail Zelenogorsky (Grinberg), a famous Israeli historian born and raised in the USSR, has recently published the second edition of his book The Life and Works of Archbishop Andrei (Prince Ukhtomsky) with the “Mosty kultury/ Gerashim” publishing house (Moscow-Jerusalem). The first, significantly less voluminous edition of this work was published in 1991. M. L. Grinberg describes himself as an “Orthodox Jew and historian of the Russian Old Believers.”

Orthodox asceticism and “force of personality” are two things that are difficult to put together. It is impossible to imagine the “force of personality” of Saint Sergius or Saint Serafim. But many Russian archpriests of the pre- and- post-revolutionary periods truly did wield “force of personality”, and one of the strongest of them was undoubtedly Father Andrei (Prince Ukhtomsky, 1873 – 1937). A direct descendant of Rurik [1], he distinguished himself among many other Church hierarchs through the “uncommon expression of his face/personality”: on the one hand, he was a partisan of the older clergy and union of the Synodal Church and the Old Believers, and on the other he was a political republican.

However, love for Church “antiquities” was a genetic trait of all the princes Ukhtomsky’s (Father Andrei’s brother, the academic Aleksei Alekseevich Ukhtomsky, was the elder of the Nikolsky Edinover Church in Saint-Petersburg). He didn’t come to the republican cause immediately, having been a convinced monarchist until the beginning of the ’90’s. Having visited the Sarov festivities, he wrote in July 1903 that “love for one’s Tsar and Divine anointed leader is an entirely fundamental, irreplaceable feeling of the Russian heart… Orthodox Rus is indivisible, just like the Tsar and the people; and the popular soul, the soul of the Russian people, is unthinkable without temperance and without love for God and Tsar.” In 1905, Archimandrite Andrei openly supported right-wing monarchist organisations. Sadly, there is not one word of this in the book.

M. Zelenogorsky pushes the reader to think that the reason for Father Andrei’s crossing over to the liberal camp was his desire to restore the Church to ancient, catholic [2] principles. This is not so. Father Andrei’s views began to “change” after his conflict with Grigori Rasputin. However, this was, of course, not the only factor. Here was a “princely frond” of many centuries, starting with Prince Andrei Kurbsky [3] and the “verkhovniki” [4] up to the Decembrists [5]. The Rurikovichi were initially higher than the Romanovs, but there were many of them, which led some of them to republicanism. But there was also the general sign of the times: a desire by part of the clergy (as is happening today) to move from the “people’s faith” to “biblical roots”, to “kerygma” [6].

Father Andrei himself also acknowledged this: “I have said that the Holy Scripture contains an entire, separate “Book of Judges” that describes the ideal republic. And when the ancient Jews wanted to have a king instead of those honourable judges, this summoned the wrath of God.” He went even further: he translated the word “liturgy” (common thing) as “republic”. But we are not dealing with the old rituals here, but with the ancient battle for the “kingdom” and the “priesthood”, under the auspices of which such views are closer to Nikonianism than to Old Orthodoxy. And when Father Andrei (in his post-revolutionary works of the ’20’s) calls Nikonianism “caesaro-papism”, he is in deep contradiction with himself: Nikonianism is “papo-caesarism”, “clericalism”. Another modern who has recently released another book (The Kingdom and the Clergy, Moscow 2011), the author Mikhail Babkin [7], beautifully describes this system in his work The Russian Clergy and the Downfall of the Monarchy in 1917 (Moscow, 2006). 

The legend of “Old Believer anti-monarchism” that is commonly evoked today (both with a “plus” and a “minus” appended to it) was actually created by the famous missionary and professor N. I. Subbotin in his work “The Raskol as a Tool of Parties Hostile to Russia” (1867) [8]. Nonetheless, as far back as 1863, the Belokrinits Metropolitan Cyril published a general missive in which the revolutionaries are called the “forerunners of the Antichrist” [9]. “Hereby I bequeath unto you prudence and reverence before your Tsar” – Father Cyril appeals. In the same vein we are confronted by the history of the tragic circumstances of the life of the “Februarist” Bishop Andrei after October 1917 as a struggle for the freedom of the Church from the government; in addition, the Soviet government appears to us as a direct continuation of the Russian Empire (sic!). However, as we know, the roots of the “tragedy of the Russian Church” lie in February, in the betrayal of the Synodal Oath of 1613, and not in the assumption that Soviet atheism is a continuation of “tsarist atheism” [10]. 

Sadly, we must also turn our attention to the far from perfect use which the author makes of the materials he publishes. For example, in his footnotes the author widely uses the comments of the famous historian A. V. Znatnov, while mentioning only his last name. Which comments are Znantov’s and which are the author’s is unclear to the reader. What is more, when publishing the later works of Father Andrei (“Ten Letters on the Old Rite”, the second notebook of “The History of my Old Faith”, fragments of the “Confession” from 1928) (1), the author does not point out their sources… As a result, the book does not explain the issues of Russian ecclesiastical history in the first half of the 20th century, but rather muddles them even more.

Footnotes: 

(1): It is exactly these works which, in general, contain the most controversial theses on the relation between Church and state, monarchy and republic, “Nikonianism” and “caesaro-papism”, etc.

Translator’s notes:

[1]: Rurik (9th century A.D.) was a Varangian warlord who gained control over a significant part of Eastern Europe. He would later lay the foundations of Kievan Rus and become the progenitor of the Rurikovichi, the royal dynasty that ended only in 1612 with the death of Vasily IV.

[2]: Catholic is meant here as “universal”, not in the sense of Roman Catholicism.

[3]: Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbsky (1528 – 1583) was first a strong ally and later political opponent of Tsar Ivan IV (“The Terrible”). He defected to Poland-Lithuania and thus gained the (somewhat dubious) honour of becoming the first Russian political émigré. The prince is now best remembered for his polemic against his former lord, which has not yet seen translation into English.

[4]: The Supreme Privy Council (Верховный Тайный Совет) was founded in 1726 under empress Catherine I as an advisory body. The Council soon outgrew its jurisdiction and attempted to force a constitutional monarchy on Russia. However, the new empress (Anna I) disbanded it through force and had its members sent into internal exile.

[5]: The Decembrists (Декабристы) were a group of liberal officers who attempted to lead a palace coup against tsar Nicholas I in 1825 over a brief succession crisis. The movement counted many freemasons among its members and was of a liberal, rationalist orientation. However, the would-be insurrection was broken up through force, and its ringleaders were either executed or exiled to Siberia.

[6]: In Christianity, kerygma (“preaching”) is a broad concept that can be defined as the totality of Christ’s message, directed both at the individual believer and the world. It also sees use as a category to fit the Gospel’s “literary style” in. The first meaning is used here.

[7]: Mikhail Anatolevich Babkin (1967) is a historian of the Russian Church. Both books mentioned by Karpets have not yet appeared in English.

[8]: Nikolai Ivanovich Subbotin (1827 – 1905) was a professor of ecclesiastical history and journalist who was mainly known for his vitriolic opposition to the Russian Old Believers.

[9]: The Belokrinits hierarchy was formed in 1846 in Northern Bukovina in Ukraine with metropolitan Ambrosius, who departed from the Patriarchate of Constantinople and formed an Old Believer Church. This church later split into three separate jurisdictions.

[10]: The Synodal Oath of 1613 was sworn by the Orthodox Church to the (future) tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov and sanctioned his accession to the Russian throne. The document has since become a cornerstone of Russian monarchism. However, it has also attracted strong criticism because of the Church’s apparent subordination to the wishes and power of the tsar. Karpets also jests by stating that the roots of the Orthodox Church’s enslavement to the government lie in February; however, not in February 1917 (when many churchmen tried to create an “Orthodox Republic”), but in February 1613.

The Battle for History – Part VI

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov 

Zavtra no. 25 (918), 22 June 2011

 

Speaking of the development of meta-history into history, professor B. A. Uspensky states: “The past is organised like a text that is being read in the perspective of the present.” Furthermore: “Seeing as the past is inaccessible to contemplation, the question about the existence of the past is, essentially, a question of faith: after all, faith is nothing else if not “confidence in the invisible” (Hebrews 11:1). This definition of faith provided by the Apostle is equally applicable to the reception of history as well as to the religious reception of the icon” (ibid.).

The foundations of the modern, Western, linear view of time are found as far back as the work of the Blessed Augustine, “The City of God”. During the ensuing secularisation, the “cutting away” of the otherworldliness of the Heavenly City from inevitability gives birth to an endless linear movement towards a slippery future. This is the West’s road from Augustine to Jacques Attali with his “slurry” of “new nomads” [1].

In its sacred aspect (mainly in its Eucharistic cult and liturgical order), Orthodoxy emanates from the ex- and- pre-temporal being of the Son of God – “Before all worlds”, that is to say, above and beyond any eternity, which is why time fundamentally cannot be ordered as a line. “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). The present predates the past. This is not even a cyclical image of time, but a supercyclical one. “Preordainment is the freezing of time” (“of water”, “of the dragon”). The Muscovite Tsar on horseback, which is based on the image of Saint George killing the dragon (the “rider”), is also the image of the taming of the ancient Kronos-Saturn.

It is precisely for this reason that the Church reforms of the 17th century became a catastrophe. The aim of such deformations of the liturgical order was the synchronisation of the history of Rus the Third Rome with the West, or the “sunset land.” The Greek text about the Kingdom of God of the Orthodox creed is literally translated as “it has no and there it will have no end.” In the ancient Russian reading of these words (and today’s Old Believer and edinoverets [2] pronunciation) is “His Kingdom has not an end.” During the reforms, “has not an end” was swapped out for “will not have.” The sacred dimension of time had been opened to an undetermined future condition; to be more precise, one that was similar to that of Romano-Catholicism; the “spiritual wolf” had been let off the leash. Russia irreversibly became part of the “global world.” It is for precisely this reason that the radical version of the Old Faith (“netovtsy”, “beguny” [3]) claimed that the “Church had gone away to heaven.” Everything, however, is far more complex. The raskol was launched exactly in order to complete linear time: “there should be time no longer”, as is said in Revelations. Both Nikonianism and Catholicism act in history, while Old Orthodoxy “emanates” from it, thereby keeping the ex- and- supra-historical senses of true Orthodoxy until the very end, as a transition beyond history…

This does not mean that the Old Believers were totally correct. The preservation of the Church mysteries and the rank of Tsar (Emperor) still meant that a total break with Holy Rus had not occurred. Apart from this, Emperor Paul instated Edinoveriye Old Ritualism within the ruling Church. Those Old Believer congregations that refused to pray for the Tsar and thereby turned into a “small people” become even less correct than the Nikonians had once been. We now have before us a “circle.” Its center is Old Orthodoxy, above all else Edinoveriye, which has invisibly continued the path of Old Orthodoxy. The “Old Rite” is a task for the future, or, to be more precise, for the eternal. The Greco-Russian Church and the “further periphery” (in a sacred sense), i.e. Romano-Catholicism, had been “turned towards history and into history”, and were thus, consequently, called to end it. Their fate was Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, as well as the deadlocked questions of Christian history, above all else the “Jewish question” [4]. 

Such a division opens the way towards the non-ecumenical and even anti-ecumenical interaction between Orthodoxy and Catholicism under the auspices of the Final Kingdom, the Empire of the End. When Emperor Paul offered the Roman Pope asylum in Polotsk, he did not have the “unification of the Churches” in mind, but rather a demonstration of the Imperial principle being above any and all divisions in the Church…The Empire has a nature different from that of the historical Church; however, it is secretly unified with the extemporal, eternal, and invisible heart of the Church. Thus, Emperor Paul received an icon of the Archangel Michael (the “Angel of the Awe-inspiring Commander”, as he is named in the canon of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich Grozny) from the Old Believers at his coronation, and in his private church at the Mikhailovsky castle, the old rite saw practice. 

At the 2008 Christmas Lectures of the unit “Old rite in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church”, Deacon Maksim Plyakin presented a paper titled “Russian sacredness after the raskol and the pre-Nikonian rite.” The paper convincingly proved that the “fourth domain of the Mother of God”, the Sarov-Diveevo Monastery [5], from the very beginning essentially belonged to the dogma of Edinoveriye. What is more, we are speaking about the holy Serafim of Sarov himself, the “saint of the end”, as a “crypto-Old Believer” [6]. It thus becomes clear why, after the Sarov festivities in 1903, there followed a Supreme Ukaz on the establishment of altars at the Rogozhsky Cemetery and the granting of freedom to the old clergy.

The Last Russian Kingdom is ultimately called to “impute” the “prince of time”, the prince of this age. This is what is secretly called the mission of Michael.

 

Translator’s notes: 

[1]: Jacques Attali is a French economist, high ranking civil servant (on both the French and EU levels), and author. What Karpets is referring to here is his last book, A Brief History of the Future (2009: Arcade Publishing), in which Attali states that nation states will become obsolete between 2035-2050 and the entire world will transform into a “revisited democracy” founded upon a hyperliberal capitalist system.

[2]: Edinoveriye (Единоверие; lit. united-faith) refers to a special system in the Russian Orthodox Church. It allows parishioners who wish to use the Old Believer rite and creed to pray in parishes with Old Believer clergy; however, these parishes fall under the jurisdiction of the Nikonian Orthodox Church, thus giving birth to a “united faith”.

[3]: The netovtsy (нетовцы) are an Old Believer community who hold that a person can only be saved through prayer. In addition, they believe that the Church has become entirely corrupted by the Antichrist. The beguny (бегуны, runaways) are a now practically extinct Old Believer denomination that rejected all ecclesiastical and worldly authority.

[4]: This is not a reference to the Jews living in any one country or other, but rather about the degree to which Christianity borrowed from/ can be considered an extension of Judaism.

[5]: The “four domains of the Mother of God” are, according to Orthodox tradition, four areas that are under the direct guard of the Holy Virgin. Apart from the Sarov-Diveevo Monastery, they are Iberia (modern Georgia), Mount Athos, and the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

[6]: Saint Serafim of Sarov (1754 – 1833) is one of the most popular saints in the Russian Orthodox Church. His teachings are concerned with extending the values of asceticism and monasticism to the lay believer. Karpets here refers to the rumours alleging that the saint descended from a family of “crypto-Old Believers” or that Saint Serafim himself was a secret Old Ritualist. These rumours are fed by the good relations which the saint enjoyed with the Old Believer community. However, practically all hagiographical and historical data show that Saint Serafim rejected the Old Rite and was a supporter of the Nikonian reforms.

The Battle for History – Part V

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov

Zavtra no.24 (917), 15 June 2011

 

In spring of this year, the wedding ceremony of the British Prince William and Kate Middleton was held. It was broadcasted by all the world’s electronic mass media, including, of course, Russian media. The ceremony was presented as the “event of the century.” 

According to the American researcher David Icke [1], “there is now only a single royal family, the others were either destroyed through coups and revolutions, or removed from true power for other reasons. The single royal family has, at the very least, different names. The House of Windsor is one of those lines.” In the era of the Napoleonic Wars, an extremely important unification in world history took place: that of the capital of the Rothschild clan and the autocratic power of the British court, which began when the Rothschilds started to pay for German mercenaries in British service. This developed especially strongly at the Battle at Waterloo of 18 June 1815. It was in this very moment that the heirs of the usurper dynasties united their worldwide ambitions with the Rothschild-created Order of the Bavarian Illuminati and nascent global financial capital.

This situation fundamentally persists to this day through the activities of organisations like the “Bilderburg Club”, the “Committee of 300”, and practically all multinational corporations and global financial organisations. It is important to note that until 1917 the dynasty carried the name of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. With the end of the First World War on 17 July 1917, George V and his family renounced all German titles as well as their family name, taking the surname of “Windsor”, after the name of Windsor Castle. This event marked a definitive break with continental Europe and a self-affirmation of the British monarchy as a fundamentally cosmopolitan force.

The idea of a global British Empire, however, was born far earlier. It was first formulated by the esotericist, “Elizabethan magus” and creator of the British intelligence services, John Dee (1527-1608). It is telling that he signed documents as “007”. “Dee openly juxtaposed the nascent British Empire with both the Christian ideal of the ‘mystical, universal city’ that was to unite the entire world as well as the ‘cosmopolitan government’ that was to rule it” – writes MGIMO professor O. N. Barabanov. In addition, it is telling that such an idea was contrasted with the Third Rome (personified by the Rurikovichi) of historical Orthodoxy, as well as Roman Catholicism and the House of Habsburg-Lothringia.

It was Muscovite Rus that became the first target of expansion. The so-called Moscow Trading Company tried to force an English protectorate upon Muscovy during the Time of Troubles, and, in 1612, it pushed forth a projected military expedition under the guise of “aid” to Moscow, a project that was flung aside by the Militia [2]. However, Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov was still presented with John Dee’s son Arthur (“Artemiy Ivanovich Diev”) as a personal physician. Any attempts to “break free” were punished by death. The murder of Paul the First, later that of Aleksandr the Second (the centre of preparations was in Moscow), the murder of the “Tsar’s Friend” Grigori Rasputin (which was accompanied by slander) and, finally, the Ekaterinburg Golgotha are all on the conscience of the global Windsor clan. The “headquarters” of February were led by the British diplomat G. Buchanan [3]. The British royal family disrupted all attempts to evacuate the family of Emperor Nicholas II, having not only refused to send a cruiser for a rescue mission, but also refusing to provide any asylum.

The policy of the Windsors is direct subordination to the British Crown. The coming to power of the Bolsheviks was, whoever might have organised it, objectively an impediment. Today, along with “Russian democracy”, the royal family is exulting in victory.

The following event is not random happenstance. In addition to members of the British House and the ruling monarchs of the world, representatives of dynasties that were overthrown in the XX century (including Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Yugoslavia) were invited to the ceremony on 29 April. However, there were no Romanovs among them; in addition, we are here only mentioning those who officially claim the Russian throne of the Hohenzollerns-Romanovs (Kirillovichi), as well as the members of the Romanov Family Association, who do not recognise the rights of the descendants of great prince Kirill Vladimirovich. At the same time, Runet saw a mass push in favour of inviting Prince William’s brother, Prince Harry, onto the Russian throne. In particular, the Daily Mail writes: “A leading former diplomat now thinks that Russia should offer her empty throne to the third in line of the British Monarchy, Prince Harry. Journalist and former diplomat Aleksandr Baunov says that the 26-year-old brother of Prince William should be crowned and made the first Russian tsar after the rule of Nicholas the Second.” Earlier, a similar campaign was held in favour of Prince Michael of Kent, who had less of a chance of being “accepted” on account of his advanced age, as well as his open loyalty to freemasonry. Actually, there are no fundamental differences here. The “lords of the world” are essentially demanding that Russia capitulate.

“Those who are now putting forward Prince Harry,” the Chairman of the Presidium of the Monarchist “Autocratic Russia” Party, Dmitri Merkulov, says,“have, as it were, forgotten Russian history. The Brits made a major contribution to the attempted modification of our autocracy into a so-called constitutional monarchy, as well as the creation of the revolutionary situation in 1917…To look for a man from there who will have an interest in the consolidation and strengthening of Russia is in the very least naïve.”

Yes, Russia has been sent a “black notice”: something along the lines of “you have lost a centuries-long (even millennia-long) battle.” However, he who laughs last, laughs best. 

 

Translator’s notes:

[1]: David Icke is actually of British origin.

[2]: The Militia (Ополчение) refers to a 17th-century national movement organised against the foreign invaders of Muscovite Rus (primarily the Poles and Swedes), which was successful in driving the main part of their armies away.

[3]: George Buchanan’s autobiography (My Mission to Russia and Other Diplomatic Memories) can be read here. The book was published after his death in 1923. It is assumed to have been significantly redacted by the author in order to preserve his good standing and position.

Deconstructing the “Contemporal Moment”: New Horizons in the History of Philosophy

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Noomakhia: Voiny Uma – Tri Logosa: Apollon, Dionis, Kibela (Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, Cybele) (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2014).

 

The contemporal moment: destruction/deconstruction

It is obvious that the history of philosophy must be studied by determining a starting point beforehand. It seems a matter of course that we would automatically take such to be the contemporal moment. The contemporal moment means the “here and now”, hic et nunc. This moment acts as our starting position, as our “observatory point” from which we can survey philosophy as the history of philosophy. The history of philosophy thus unfolds in our direction, towards us. This concerns both time and place: philosophy is historically situated between its “sources” (for example, the pre-Socratics) and the situation in the 21st century (in its philosophical self-reflection). As a rule, this temporal vector is more or less reflexive, hence why the main (axial) discipline in all sectors of philosophy is the history of philosophy. By virtue of fixating on this historico-philosophical vector, we acquire the possibility to be involved in this process, to consolidate our own position as that of a “philosopher” in a historico-philosophical structure. This is the nunc, the “now”, the temporal sector in which our thinking is placed, if it wants to be “philosophical.”

Hence follows the rather important conclusion that was fully drawn between Heideigger and his call for “phenomenological destruction” in Sein und Zeit [1], and Jacques Derrida who developed this thesis into the methodology of “deconstruction” [2]. The history of philosophy, according to Heidegger, is tethered in his case to ontology, to the question of being, and, thereby being an onto-history, Seynsgeshichtliche, is a continuity of stages at each of which the question of being is treated uniquely. As follows, the history of philosophy is a logical structure or a series of logical structures which can be more or less described in ontological terms which in turn determine the place and significance of a philosophy or philosophical school in the overall historico-philosophical process. Determining a philosopher or school’s place in this continuity, which has strict temporal and cultural frameworks (from the pre-Socratics to Nietzsche to Heidegger himself), is equivalent to correctly understanding their philosophy and, accordingly, allows for the meaning of such to be revealed. This is ontological destruction – the placement of a philosopher or philosophical tendency through the revelation of the fundamental paradigm of their ontological positions (often hidden, veiled, or implicit) in a strictly notional sequence: 

The First Beginning (pre-Socratics) -> The End of the First Beginning (Plato and Aristotle) -> the middle – the Middle Ages (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, etc.) -> The Beginning of the End – New Time (modernity – Descartes, Leibniz, and up to Kant) -> The End of the End (Hegel and Nietzsche).

Destruction is the placement of a philosopher into this sequence in order to reveal his place in the history of philosophy, and thus the meaning of his philosophizing.

For Jacques Derrida, the history of philosophy is a text, the structure of which is determined by the intersections of semantic lines. This is a view which more or less repeats, albeit in nuanced and detailed form, Heidegger’s axial construction. Thus, for both Heidegger and Derrida, it is important to place a philosopher in the context in which the semantics of his constructs are found to represent quotations, polemics, or the overturning or reproduction of the discourses that are at disposal before and around him in the “grammatological fabric.” In this case, deconstruction is the attentive inspection of this fabric’s patterns, in which any “authorship” is conceived as no more than a locus of quotations compiled in an ordered manner. Philosophy, thus, is one field of connotation, and its history comprises changes in the predominant connotative matrices and interpretive algorithms. Between Heidegger and Derrida, we can place Michel Foucault and his epistemology.

Of course, such hermeneutical models of the history of philosophy distinctly crystallized around the end of the 20th century. In the 21st century, and earlier, the “contemporal moment” was described in other terms. For Kant, it was paired with the revelation of the the structures of “transcendental reason”, for Hegel such was the “end of history” and the “objective spirit.” For Nietzsche, there was the maximization of the will to power in the figure of the Übermensch. In Marx, there was the horizon of the world proletarian revolution. In all cases, philosophy has been conceived exclusively as a teleological process – whether by those who have tried to give this teleology fixed forms, or those who, on the contrary, have understood history as the accumulation of a “quantity” of individual freedom (Stirner, Bergson or von Hayek/Popper).

For all of these teleologies – both the naive ones of the 19th century and those 20th century theories based on critical reflection, structuralism, and phenomenological corrections (as well as the philosophy of language and psychoanalysis) – the “contemporal moment” serves as an “observatory point”, and he who stands at this observatory point and has considered the content of the moment itself and its structures (no matter who this “someone” might be – the subject, Dasein, a rhizome, a deciphering system, a “body without organs”, a hermeneutic) is the key to the history of philosophy capable of interpreting it in relation to themselves. This is very important, since in such a perspective any preceding “contemporal moment” is conceived as a “preliminary”, “unfinished”, “incomplete” one compared to the current contemporal moment and, as follows, the nunc cannot be adequately described prius, as it does not convert into the past the “contemporality” of the present. In a certain sense, this is history as such, and the history of philosophy is the philosophical conceptualization of its structure.

The French philosopher Henry Corbin used the neologism historial in order to translate the meaning of Heidegger’s expression Seynsgeshichtliche (“onto-historical”) into French. The historial is the structure of the “contemporal moment” which predetermines its content as a teleological vector whose tip points to the nunc and presumes its beginning in the embryonic formation of the Logos.

In one way or another, any attempt to conceptualize the moments in the history of philosophy (of individual philosophers or their schools) beyond the historial, i.e., without deconstruction taking into account such explicit and convincing reflections (phenomenology, Heidegger, Post-Modernity), will look not simply naive, but ludicrous. In the context of the historial, any attempt to read Plato or Hegel outside of their notional sequence, which was in one way or another noted by philosophers in the last quarter of the 20th century, would mean falling into the self-deceit of unreflexive and unstructured quoting with a guaranteed loss of semantic links. If a reading of this or that philosopher does not flow in the context of this historico-philosophical grille de la lecture, i.e., without a thorough review of this observatory point where it is situated – or, in other words, on the other end of destruction/deconstruction operations – then nonsense is guaranteed. Not a single expression, not a single review, not a single intellectual procedure stands a chance at being correctly conceptualized, and instead of philosophy and the history of philosophy, we are left with the “white noise” of gloomy cognition, a simulacrum of thinking.

This is first and foremost the case with the nunc, the historial, or the temporal aspect of philosophy. The matter stands somewhat differently with the spatial aspect, the hic.

The topos of the present: the West as a spatial telos

The contemporal moment is situated not only in a temporal sequence, but also in space, on a scale of synchronic territory. If modern philosophy has devoted enormous, if not all of its attention to the first aspect of the contemporal moment, then spatiality has been left outside of the sphere of interests. Western philosophy is wholly and completely “tempo-centric.” Consequently, in it Sein is bound to Zeit, and this bondage is absolute, as a result of which Raum, or space, is studied merely as a residual principle, as an accident. Kant placed space closer to the object; Descartes altogether identified the object with “extense” (res extensa) in contrast to the subject (res cogens). In new European philosophy, thought is the property of the subject; consequently, time is the basis of philosophy and its context. Hence the historial as a measure.

It is telling that even critiques of the structuralists’ historico-philosophical understanding have by almost no means whatsoever addressed the fate of space in philosophy and philosophical self-reflection. The principle of “spatiality” has been integrated in the form of a synchronic topology intended to serve as a semantic scale for interpreting the content of time. In other words, structuralist topology only serves the historial in the spirit of the Heideggerian sequence or Derrida’s grammatological field.

But if we upset the habitual frameworks of new European philosophy and nevertheless pose the question of “where?” with regards to the observatory point, and if we fix the hic in the famous expression hic et nunc, then we have a specific civilizational concept of the West. The West in this case strictly fulfills the same teleological function as the “now.” The contemporal moment is situated in the West, and is the point towards which all the rays of possible thinking converge, thus achieving their epiphany in none other than the West. The West is the birthplace of the Logos; the Logos is itself in the “evening land”, Hesper, Abendland. This was more or less obvious for the cultural ethnocentrism of the Greeks. It was the core of the Romans’ legal and political self-consciousness, and it became the axis of ecumenism. Then it was incarnated in the concept of universal progress in modernity. It remains the main driving force of the processes of globalization.

Husserl spoke of “European humanity” as a philosophical quintessence of the human as such. Heidegger directly and explicitly equated philosophy with Europe.

The West is the telos of earthly space just as the present is the telos of the past. Thus, “modern” philosophy can only be Western philosophy, and just as the present is the essence of the past, so is the Western the essence of the non-Western. Between nunc and hic there is thus present a direct analogy: time (the historial, or Karl Jaspers’ axial time) convenes in the “now” and space in the “here”, interpreted as “here in the West.” And in precisely the same way that the past is conceived as the not-yet-present, so is the non-Western (for example, the eastern) thought of as the not-yet-Western.

This Western European, spatio-teleological character of the contemporal moment is conceptualized much less distinctly than the historial and the structures of the history of philosophy. Unlike the paramount discipline that is philosophy which deals with the deconstruction of time, spatial correctives and schematizations are the prerogative of the applied, secondary, and even barely institutionalized sciences with weakly developed philosophical apparatuses, such as geopolitics or international relations. On a more serious level, only the first attempts have been made at relativizing the Eurocentrism of modern philosophy as such, as with Edward Said’s introduction of the notion of “orientalism” or the more foundational but not so generalized studies of cultural, social, and structural anthropology.

It is none other than the West for which the absolutization of time and radical tempo-centrism are characteristic. In reducing the historial to a structure, something constructed, and departing from the present, we automatically produce a concentric model of civilizational space in which the West is situated in the center and all the rest of humanity is in the periphery.

Just as attempting to read this or that philosopher in isolation from the historial (without deconstruction and, consequently, beyond the contemporal grille de la lecture) is today philosophical nonsense, the same status is held by all those attempts at substantiating the relevance of non-Western forms of philosophy  – in the best cases, they can be examined as extravaganza, and in the worst as obtrusive attempts by ignoramuses to force themselves upon a scientific problem on equal terms with the opinion of a scholar. What can a not-yet-Logos tell a Logos that the Logos itself does not know?

Thus we have ascertained the structure of the contemporal moment as analyzed from a temporal and spatial point of view.

Post-Modernity and distance

In the structure of post-modern philosophy, the historial is subject to steadfast analysis, and at times this attention is so detailed that the spatial aspect and characteristic Eurocentrism of Western philosophy also come into view. Combined with an anthropological approach, this yields definite preconditions for not only recognizing the structure of the observatory point as such, but also establishing a certain distance from it. The intensive reflections of post-Heideggerian (post-modern) philosophy on the nature of time, and the first glimpses into conceptualizing the spatial situation of contemporality bring us to an entirely new horizon and radically deeper level of philosophical self-reflection. What if the very observatory point from which we survey the history of philosophy, and from departing which we engage in deconstruction, is in turn nothing more than a “philosophical construct?” In other words, to what extent is the very idea of the teleology of the present moment qualified, and as follows, is tempo-centrism justified? Is the historial that serves us as a reliable tool for interpreting philosophy in turn an ephemeral and non-historical paradigm projected into the present which is not cumulative-teleological (regarding content), but arbitrary or arranged in accordance with a mechanism different from the vector of “axial time?” Finally, is the West the “only place” of the Logos, the zone towards which converge the rays of consciousness, or is this only one of many spatial receptacles of thinking alongside others? Does this mean that Eurocentrism is justified at its heart, and does it not follow that we should look for other, uniquely fully-fledged and complete dialects of the Logos?

These suspicions, of course, are left in the periphery of the philosophy of Post-Modernity, in the shadow of more habitual, inertial trends which, although are enriched, detailed, and introspective procedures, perpetuate the “dogmatic” vector of classical Western rationalism. Post-Modernity usually justifies and substantiates itself with routine practices of the contemporal moment, but the post-modern attitude nevertheless makes such suspicions and conjectures wholly natural. This inspires among those most of all worried about the possibility of breaking with the traditions of Western Modernity rather natural concerns: will Post-Modernity not altogether lead to the liquidation of the fulcra of the Western European Logos as such? If distance from the contemporal moment itself might be, even if only theoretically, justifiable, then all the claims of Western European humanity to universality immediately crumble, and this means no more nor less than the collapse of the Logos. Heidegger clearly recognized this prospect and posited that, nonetheless, the West’s teleology and contemporal moment, exposed to nihilistic catastrophe, should and could be overcome only through this moment and only in the West. This proposal consisted not in retreating from the observatory point, but in deepening the bottomless of its fall in order to, in this dramatic collapse, discover the mystery of its meaning and soar up to thrust forth Another Beginning for philosophy. Heidegger deliberately interpreted the shadow unleashed by Post-Modernity as a refusal of the burden of the “difficult knowledge of nihilism.” The decline of Europe, according to Heidegger, is the decline of being itself, and it should be experienced as such.

In post-Heideggerian philosophy, Heidegger’s tragism and heroism were rather quickly adapted into the routine of the new methodology; the anti-technological call to recognize the bottomless nothingness of such in turn became a technology. But postmodernism, albeit vapid and dubious, perhaps even by virtue of its refusal to sink deeper into the dizzying passivity of desperate Heideggerian nihilism, and at the same time not being in any position to turn Dasein’s mode of existence into authenticity (denying the Decision, Entscheidung), nevertheless slightly opened up the possibility for a step in this direction. If the Logos of the West, as far as one can tell, did not accept the Heideggerian invitation to implode, to explode in its own night, then in the very least it dissipated into bits of postmodern miasma and prepared for the last figure of dissolution. The fixation of distance with regards to the moment of contemporality and the clear and intelligible understanding of its “arbitrariness” (in spatial and temporal senses) is already the fait accompli end of the West, its philosophical end. For those for whom the telos of the historial was the only permissible “lifeworld”, this meant the “end of everything.” But here is where the most significant aspect manifests itself: what if the historial, with its fundamental tempo-centrism and concomitant Eurocentrism, with the structure of its Logos and grating deconstruction/ontological destruction, is but one among numerous and equivalent possibilities for reasonably organizing the world? If this is so, then the finale experienced by Western philosophy is no more than an episode in a more complex and multipolar philosophical picture where there might be multiple observatory points and multiple understandings of time, space, and Logos.

Post-Modernity as a whole, of course, does not gravitate in this direction, remaining as it has under the wonted hypnosis of its Eurocentric contemporality, but the distance in question here becomes an open possibility with the dissipation of the European Logos. In Post-Modernity, the structures of this Logos become so blurred and scattered, so unintelligible and weak, that breaking with their suggestiveness turns out to be an extremely easy endeavor. That the strength of this Logos’ inertia is such that the clutch of its impact on the people of the West themselves does not let up even when the nature of rationality itself withers and dissipates in front of their very eyes – that is another matter altogether. The ends no longer come together and liberation from dogma leads to liberation from the process of liberation by virtue of which the subject itself evaporates – after all, Post-Modernity recognizes not only God, but man himself as an “apparatus of suppression”, a “repressive machine”, and thus the freedom of man transforms into freedom from man. This is the logical result. It is a paradox, but today higher humanism means dehumanization or transhumanization. Tragedy thus imperceptibly slips into farce.

Simply stepping away from the observatory point becomes a simple endeavor only for those capable of digressing from the residual hypnosis of the historial, which means that it is by no means simple. Nonetheless, the philosophical space for this has been prepared, and if the distance which we have been discussing is taken as the object of our heightened attention, then we can rather easily differentiate a spectrum of philosophical procedures with which we can feel out a different fulcrum or even a whole constellation of such fulcra in order to, departing from it/them, observe and subject the contemporal moment to deconstruction, thus demolishing the ponderability of temporal and spatial teleology, i.e., the Western Logos’ claims to exclusivity.

Hence the proposal to move in the direction of this new distance and new fulcra, and let the dead bury their dead.

The phenomenology of philosophy as a method

How can this distance be embodied in philosophical practice? Theoretically, the most principled manner is to escape the hypnosis of the contemporal moment, to calmly and with complete self-control refuse the pressure posed by both the historial (the trajectory of the history of philosophy towards the point at which we find ourselves on the scale of historical temporality) and Eurocentrism. To this end, philosophy can be seized through several strategies:

  • the phenomenological
  • the anthropological
  • the Traditionalist

Surely there are other ways by which to resolve this issue, but for now we limit ourselves to these three trajectories. Let us begin with phenomenology. The phenomenologist philosophers, setting before themselves the goal of clarifying the structure of the processes of logical thinking at the first stage, that preceding the engagement of properly logical (in the spirit of Aristotle) procedures of reasoning, transitioned from revealing the nature of intentionality (Brentano) to the concepts of noesis or noema and the “lifeworld” (Husserl). This line was picked up and developed in a particularly original manner by early Heidegger, as a result of which he arrived at Dasein. Phenomenology proposes that we focus our attention on studying the structures of thinking in their pre-logical phases, when consciousness “naively” and “uncritically” operates with its own “representations” (Vorstellungen), by substituting the objects themselves theoretically outside of the subject with the corresponding noema inhabiting consciousness. This logic is constructed upon ascertaining the obvious (evidential) ostensibility of the object, thus as a matter of course accomplishing the step of transcendentalizing. At the heart of this process lies phenomenality itself, on which consciousness usually does not fixate as it instantly flies above this level. However, in phenomenologists’ opinion, it is none other than this phenomenality which is the most authentic and evidential state, and all other procedures of consciousness, including rational logic, are built on top of such with a greater or lesser degree of self-reflection. Thus, in order to achieve a precise and scientifically credible tracing of the basic processes of gnosiology on which thinking, logic, philosophy and science are built, it is necessary to intentionally study the phenomenal level which affects all other stages, hiding under their complexity and thereby dimming clear representations of nature and basic trajectories of thought.

The phenomenological method has been borrowed by the most diverse humanitarian disciplines from sociology to anthropology and psychology. Everywhere where it has been employed, the point has been explaining the arrangement and mechanisms of those structures on a level lesser and more primordial than that of logical thinking. Heidegger constructed his existential analytics on this basis.

In the field of the history of religions, the phenomenological method was actively used by Henry Corbin, who argued that religious doctrines cannot be understood on the grounds of purely, rationally formulated theological dogma and doctrines or by ignoring the inner experience of religious life. It is precisely studying this experience, which may very well contradict our ideas about the structure of the real, possible, and actual, that only can and should construe more complex religious systems. If we ignore this “lifeworld” of the religious person, then our understanding of religious doctrine will be superficial and completely incorrect. After all, we would miss the main and most essential foundation, that upon which such doctrine is built and whose structures it produces (whether revealing or, on the contrary, veiling them). Therefore, Corbin, who studied Islamic mysticism and Iranian Shi’ism in particular, emphasized that in order to understand religion, one must learn to live it from within. Hence why, in some passages, Corbin, himself a Protestant, wrote “we, Shiites” and believed that without such methodological identification with the sphere under study, without such immersion into the phenomenology of religious experience, no reliable judgement concerning the religion under study is possible.

Franz Boas’ cultural anthropology and Claude Lévi-Strauss’ structural anthropology call for studying archaic societies in a similar manner. Archaic man lives in a phenomenal world qualitatively different from the one in which the man of European Modernity lives. They differ not only on the level of development of logical thinking (as the sociologist and ethnologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl tried to demonstrate), but in the profoundly different organization of the world of phenomena, including taxonomies, the allocation of basic entities, symmetries, and classifications. Lévi-Strauss argued that in archaic tribes and non-literate cultures we are dealing not with a pre-logical type of thinking, but with a different kind of logic that is no less developed than that of European people in Modernity, but is structured around different algorithms and thereby yields different results and gnosiological/ontological systems.

In sociology, an analogous method was employed by Husserl’s student, Alfred Schütz, who proposed to study society by abstracting oneself from the sum of our a priori knowledge of such and any notions of the purported “objectivity” of existing (non-existing) objects of the outside world and their autonomous significance. Different societies, in Schütz’s understanding, operate with different “lifeworld” structures; as follows, they construct different phenomenological systems which at the next stage determine their views of reality, whether internal, external, subjective, objective, etc. Analogous methods were applied by Harold Garfinkel, the founder of “ethnomethodology” who, like Schütz, focused his attention on the “horizons of everyday life” and “practices of everyday life.”

But here is what is interesting: phenomenology as such originally took shape as a philosophical current and was only later applied to other sciences – the phenomenological method was not applied to philosophy itself. Phenomenologist philosophers themselves based their theories on the contemporal moment and, moreover, considered phenomenology to be a more precise and reflective expression of contemporality itself. In its historical movement along the path of scientific process and with its increasing refinement of the methodology of its logical thinking, at one point “European humanity” (Husserl) began developing the sphere of philosophy not in breadth (extensively), but in depth (intensively). This was largely because the expansion of reason had reached its natural borders. This deeper plunge into reason itself is not a step back on the path of singular process in raising the general level of rationality, but a step forward allowing to make those spheres which had previously evaded the arranging and authority of logical procedures into objects of rational attention. Albeit with significant corrections, Heidegger’s philosophy was built in this vein. Philosophical phenomenology, thus, is not only not equivalent to the phenomenology of philosophy, but altogether does not imply the possibility of the latter.

Nevertheless, by making a reverse circle and moving through phenomenological sociology, anthropology, ethnology, and the phenomenology of religion, we can try to apply the phenomenological method to philosophy itself by employing a method opposite to that of deconstruction that reveals the structure of the historial. This is an invitation to perceive this or that philosophical system outside of the context of the history of philosophy, outside of the context of our knowledge about the structure of time, history, reality, the subject and object, and outside of ontology, which we have erected on the basis of the contemporal moment (whether consciously or by inertia). In other words, the phenomenology of philosophy offers the possibility of authentically experiencing the phenomenological basis at the hart of a concrete philosophical Logos, which is taken as a reliable contemporal moment only at a distance from the contemporal moment which constitutes the structure of our philosophical “I.” Thus, an anthropologist immerses himself in the life of an archaic tribe in order to understand its language, its senses, and beliefs from within this life itself, from the experience of being within the tribe, and not from the grounds of superficial comparison with terms, things, practices, meanings, and beliefs which he knows from his personal experience of belonging to modern Western civilization. Since Boas, and especially under the influence of Lévi-Strauss, only field studies grounded in the method of “participant observation”, empathy, and immersion in the phenomenology of the lifeworld of an archaic tribe are considered anthropologically credible. The phenomenology of philosophy should be constructed in a similar way: in order to understand how this or that philosopher thought, it is necessary to trace his thought from the lifeworld to the logical formulation of thought on the high level of logical expression. But this is possible only at a distance from the contemporal moment and its fundamental content, i.e., through the procedure of removing the philosophical identity of the phenomenologist of philosophy. In Heidegger we can see attempts at such a reading of the Greek philosophers and participative immersion into their lifeworld. But the historial in Heidegger supersedes this initiative in full measure, since assigning the pre-Socratics to the First Beginning, and Plato and Aristotle to the end of the First Beginning, forces one to place other relevant doctrines in consciously specified semantic contexts. Heidegger sees the “Greek” and “first beginning” elements in the pre-Socratics on the basis of his reconstruction of the history of philosophy, that is, through performing ontological destruction. Therefore, he also anxiously discarded everything among the Greeks that seemed to him to be “non-Greek” (eastern or oriental – which is clearly evident in his Greece travel journal). In the exact same way, he takes that which does not fall under the “first beginning” among the pre-Socratics (for example, some expressions from Anaximander’s fragments in the likes of the pair of terms γένεσις and φτορά) and attributes such to later contaminations [3]. Furthermore, everything in Platonism which does not fall under his understanding of “finiteness in the First Beginning” – which encompasses no more nor less than the whole scope of “open Platonism”, such as apophatism, the super-essence of the Good in the Republic and the One in Parmenides [4] – is subject to the same censuring. In any case, the level of Heidegger’s self-reflection was so high and transparent that his understanding of the contemporal moment is unprecedented in the profundity of his generalizations of the structure of this moment, which were the most penetrating and convincing (even if their formulation involved his resorting to a certain hermeneutical censorship), and his attempts to immerse himself in Ancient Greek thought were the most successful and authentic among all analogous initiatives.

The phenomenology of philosophy (unlike phenomenological philosophy) proposes that we completely opt out of hermeneutic procedures which presume some starting position (even as a basis for comparison). In clearly accounting for ourselves in the structure of the contemporal moment, in its modernist/postmodernist historial and its Eurocentrism, and in approaching a philosopher or philosophical school separated by time or space from this observatory point, we must effect a radical change in our phenomenological position; we must completely relocate ourselves to a new observatory point where the lifeworld of the person we are studying is situated and from which his ideas and contemplation came. If a philosopher says something about “eternity”, “heaven”, “immortality”, “God”, or “angels”, it follows that such should be understood not in terms of what we know about “time”, the “atmosphere”, the “vacuum”, the “death of God”, or the “naive ridiculousness of faith in angels”, but on the grounds of how this philosopher himself understood, lived, and perceived that of which he speaks. Any discourse on eternity from a human who credibly and absolutely knows (the contemporal moment) that there is no nor can there be any “eternity”, will be perceived either as an allegory, a hyper-exaggerated image, a metaphor, or as a sign without meaning, an empty set. In such a case, one lifeworld (the contemporal) is acting as a judge, prosecutor, and accuser (this is the original meaning of the Greek word διάβολος) of another lifeworld by denying it the right to defend its phenomenological grounds that are completely usurped by contemporaility. If we are capable of logically assessing the arbitrariness of such a loaded approach (explainable through the Nietzschean will to power or Heideggerian Gestell), then the distance from the contemporal moment will take shape on its own, and this means that we are breaking from it and acquiring the ability to embark on a genuine philosophical journey from one observatory point to another observatory point.

The anthropology of philosophy

The case of the anthropology of philosophy is almost the same as that of anthropology. The school of philosophical anthropology of Max Scheler, Arnold Gehlen, etc., took its roots from Kant’s remarks on the anthropological essence of thinking – which can be considered a new formulation of the sophist Protagoras’ maxim that “man is the measure of all things” – a standpoint which was embedded in the language of modernity. However, philosophical anthropology, as a typical product of the contemporal moment, has nothing in common with the anthropology of philosophy. The anthropology of philosophy proceeds from the plurality of human societies and the diversity of their structures as meaningful outside of any hierarchies or subordinations. Man is a plural phenomenon, anthropology (or at least new anthropology) argues, and the societies built by him reflect this essential plurality which can be studied by comparing them, but they cannot be categorically defined on a quantitative scale of primitive/superior, developed/underdeveloped, rational/irrational, savage/civilized, childishly naive/adultly serious and rigorous. A human belonging to a “primitive” (archaic) society and a human formed in a modern, highly-differentiated society (again, the contemporal moment) are both people in a full sense, and their differences are not amenable to hierarchization into greater/lesser, higher/lower, better/worse. It cannot be said that red is “better” than yellow or that savory is “tastier” than sweet, just as it is impossible to argue that larks are “more perfect” than foxes or whales “more perfect” than sharks. Anthropology draws attention to man as a matrix of the society he creates. Once the structure of a human is different, then societies will reflect these differences and repeatedly refract them in the play of reflections, shadows, and flares.

By applying this principle to philosophy – something which anthropologists and even philosophical anthropologists virtually never do – we acquire a myriad of contemporal moments containing historico-geographical (historico-cultural) positions proper to different philosophers, each of which moments should be studied in their internal logic, harmony, symmetry, and by placing the position of the scholar (and his contemporal moment) in brackets. This approach is the qualification of the anthropologist who studies different (archaic) societies and is obliged for the sake of such to operate with a maximally possible pure experience of understanding culture. At the same time, he must obviously, consciously forbid himself from permitting any projections of his own culture and any hierarchizations or hastily drawn systems of correspondences. But anthropologists deal mainly with cultures that are non-literate and have poorly developed systems of rational self-reflection (Lévy-Bruhl’s principle of “mystical complicity”). Myth, ritual, symbol, sacred rite, and initiation by definition deny transparent rationalization. Hence, the open (emphatic) position of anthropologists is considered here to be at once applicable and justified by the difficulty (or impossibility) of establishing precise correspondences between a rational set and set of para-rational (which does not mean “irrational” or “sub-rational” as were so convinced the 19th century evolutionist anthropologists before Boas and Lévy-Strauss). This principle has not been applied to philosophy insofar as it has been believed that transitioning to a rational system means leaving the sphere of the “para-rational” and the implicit (the mythological, symbolic, and mystical) and entering the sphere of universal self-reflection, where such anthropological operations become irrelevant. Thus, from an anthropological point of view, we are affirming a “measure of things” not simply of man, but of modern Western man, and we are assigning the philosophy which has guided this modern Western man the status of a universal algorithm allowing for the interpretation of all other philosophical systems, both non-modern and non-Western. In the study of archaic cultures, such anthropological suprematism (=cultural racism) was categorically rejected for humanistic, ethical, and scientific reasons. But in the sphere of philosophy, it has been implicitly preserved intact and not subjected to any critical reflection. The modern Western philosopher measures all philosophy (ancient and non-Western as well as modern Western) proceeding from the criteria of the absolute superiority of modern Western philosophy as the cumulative telos for all other systems. At the heart of this lies a mono-polar anthropology based in implicit racism.

At first glance, the impression might be had that applying anthropological methodology to philosophy takes us back to a state of naivety and contradicts the methodology of destruction/deconstruction. This is not so. Deconstruction might very well be an excellent propaedeutic for the anthropology of philosophy since it studies in detail the structure of the context in which this or that philosophical system was created or this or that philosopher thought. If we ignore deconstruction, we miss the most important point of language and the semantic structures of the grammatical field in which a particular philosophy is situated. But by including deconstruction as a method, we must simultaneously subject the contemporal moment itself to deconstruction, i.e., deconstruct that which produces deconstruction, which means once again standing at a distance from the observatory point. Deconstruction forbids naively reading a philosopher without indicating his context and semantic ties. This is the force and significance of deconstruction. But in establishing such context and such links, he who engages in deconstruction is in turn operating with the algorithm of the teleological historial which only allows one to order the field of a text. The historial itself is necessary for deconstruction, and the clearer it is realized, the more reliable the result of a deconstruction. But two positions are permissible to take with regards to the historial: one can be under its suggestive, interpretive influence, i.e., be under it, or one can take a certain distance in relation to it, and apply deconstructive reflection and a particular apperception to it. The second case is an invitation to stand above the historial or outside of it. By not curtailing deconstruction in favor of “new naivety”, and by in parallel with this deconstructing the one engaged in deconstructing, we reach the field of the anthropological method in philosophy. In exploring the philosophy of any philosopher and placing it in a well defined context (deconstruction), we should simultaneously perceive such as something open, excluding from our methodology everything that we know with regards to the future and the past vis-a-vis the observatory point in which the philosopher under study is situated. By knowing in advance the end of the play, we unwittingly apply this knowledge to its first acts. It is this which prevents us from genuinely enjoying the action and turns us from participants in the action into the audience or, in the best case, actors ourselves. What truly delights us is the acting of the actors who force us to forget about how the performance will end and who immerse us in the tension of the dramatic moment. Only in this moment, when we seriously begin to believe that the events in the spectacle might actually go quite differently from what we might know from having repeatedly read the script or seen the production, can we talk about any full effect accomplished. The theater becomes what it originally was – an action, a mystery, a transformative act. This is an open theater, a play whose outcome is known neither by the director, the actors, nor, of course, the viewers.

Applying this metaphor to philosophy, he who carries out deconstruction without deconstructing himself and his actions, can be likened to a person who knows the script well and, over the course of the spectacle, obsessively narrates to his neighbor what is happening and how it will end. Sometimes the skeptical and all-knowing expressions of the audience are enough to simply break the spell of theatrical magic. Such annoying companions are capable of nullifying all the drama of the production. Thus, the principle of the “open theater”, in which the content of the drama at its peak breaks away from the rigid frameworks of the script, can be applied to the open history of philosophy based on the anthropological method. If we knowingly rule out that a philosopher whom we are studying might mean something other than what we know of him in identifying his place in the paradigm of the historial, we render ourselves unfit for a real meeting with him. Yet for some reason we dare to describe this weakness of our own spirit as indicating superiority, greater universality of our position, or in accordance with the rules of ethnocentrism and cultural racism. In behaving so, we forbid ourselves from being surprised, and this means we make ourselves completely unfit for philosophy.

Conversely, in applying the anthropological principle to philosophy, we immediately find ourselves in a complex, saturated, and unpredictable world where surprise can seize us at every turn. This is the open philosophy of history, which a priori recognizes the anthropological dignity of all thinkers, none of whom are considered below us, our contemporal moment, or our observatory point regardless of whether it is modern and Western or non-modern and non-Western. The most consistent representatives of postmodern philosophy are moving in this direction as long as they do not stray from this path towards particularities, towards fascination with minor and obsessive details of liberation strategies which in one way or another retain an inertial connection to the arterial tendency of Modernity’s historial, that tendency which has exerted its teleological (anthropologically racist) influence on Post-Modernity in proposing liberation from the details, but remaining in slavery to the overall picture.

Untergang

Before moving on to Traditionalism as the third strategy for attaining distance from the contemporal moment, it is worth dwelling on how Martin Heidegger, the key figure in the clarification of the historial, understood the vector of time in its Seynsgeschichtliche dimension. Heidegger can be seen as a transitional element between those who recognized the indispensability of the contemporal moment in the spirit of Western European philosophy, and the Traditionalists who, on the contrary, as we will see a little later, offered their version of finding the desired distance. The fact is that Heidegger, recognizing the fatality of time confronting the present and the centrality of the West as the birthplace and place of development of the Logos, deciphered the trajectory of time as “descent”, Untergang, “decline”, “flight of the gods”, and as the “abandonment of being” (Seinsverlassenheit). Herein lies the fundamental difference between Heidegger and the majority of philosophers of Modernity and Post-Modernity who, on the contrary and as a rule, treated history as ascent, accumulation, discovery, and movement forwards and upwards. For Heidegger, the contemporal moment is the point of Midnight towards which we are heading from the evening. He decoded the history of philosophy as a process of descent, decline, concealment, immersion, and oblivion. Thus, his philosophy is profoundly tragic, and its eschatology is paradoxical, for at the moment of maximal darkness, Dasein is supposed to remember its Seyn-Being and decipher the pain of its absence as Gottesnacht, “the night of the gods”, as a call to realize Ereignis, “the Event.” Heidegger saw the telos in the moment of Midnight, in the very center of which the sacrament of Dasein switching its mode of existing from the inauthentic to the authentic must be accomplished.

Such a dualistic attitude towards the contemporal moment as a lower threshold, intended as the point from which begins (or should begin) the return, is, however, problematic, as such is not guaranteed. The return might not begin and, at any rate, such presupposes a perspective opposite to that of the historial which inspired Heidegger’s love for Greek thought and his striving to live and think it along with the very creators of the First Beginning of philosophy. Imagining himself as the one completing Seynsgeschichte, Heidegger felt a deep yearning for those who began such. Thus, distance from the contemporal moment was conquered in parallel to phenomenological destruction, without cancelling or replacing it.

The case of Heidegger is unique in many respects, but what interests us in this situation is that the Beginning of philosophy (from the first to the last phase with Plato and Aristotle) in his specific model of the historial is conceived as a philosophical chord followed by descent, Untergang, which leads to the present, and not vice versa as a “childish” and “long-overcome” phase of philosophy. In this regard, the Ancient Greeks and in particular the pre-Socratics are exalted to unattainable heights. As follows, comprehending them is possible only by degree of radically distancing ourselves from the present through the elevation, the “return”, the επιστροφή of the Neoplatonists.

Heidegger distinguishes the Untergang from those who realize themselves in it and see it for what it truly is – the Untergang. One can be simply fascinated by the flow of history, and one can clearly and penetratingly realize that the movement of the historial is a fall into the abyss. Those who recognize time as falling, Heidegger calls “the descending”, the Untergehende. They, unlike all others, descend consciously, clearly perceiving their endeavor without illusions or fears, although not without horror. For them, the Untergang is the Untergang; they see descent as descent, while all others, not being the “descending”, the Untergehenden, can feed themselves with illusions and methodically rise to the luring and guaranteed horizon of “progress.”

Such an interpretation of the historial as Untergang converges Heidegger with the Traditionalists, whose methods we will now examine.

Traditionalism

The philosophy of Traditionalism [5], otherwise termed Philosophia Perennis or “perennialism”, is of colossal significance to our topic. First established and formulated by René Guénon, this philosophy, as correctly noted by René Alleau, can be considered alongside Marxism the “most revolutionary trend in modern philosophy” [6]. If we approach Traditionalism with due scrutiny, we will soon realize that this comparison with Marxism, albeit paradoxical at first glance, is absolutely justified. The Traditionalists’ appraisal of values is, in a whole number of parameters, far more radical, revolutionary, and uncompromising than the ideas of Marx (as well as those of the other “philosophers of suspicion” among whom Nietzsche and Freud are usually numbered).

Of importance to us at the present moment is how Traditionalism helps establish distance with regards to the contemporal moment and, accordingly, why we have distinguished it as an independent strategy. The very structure of Traditionalist philosophy is in many respects close to that of Heidegger’s, insofar as historical time is understood as a downward movement, degradation, a path to the bottom. The Traditionalists extracted this from religious doctrines and myths (including even from the monotheistic religions), as well as from their analysis of the ontological transformations and changes in the state of the cosmos. However, unlike Heidegger, in Traditionalism the scale of degradation takes on a much more extensive scope and goes far beyond European philosophy. If for Heidegger history is the thread of the Logos stretched between the pre-Socratics and himself as an heir and eschatological figure of German classical philosophy, then for the Traditionalists this period is thought of as only one fragment of descent, of the Untergang, amidst more general and fundamental processes.

For Traditionalists, time itself is a fall, or more precisely, a downward spiral. It has ensnared not only the historical European societies known to us, but the entire destiny of mankind, including the societies of the East and those “mythical” epochs from which only the most hazy legends have remained with us (for example, the legends of Hyperborea and Atlantis). Thus, the contemporal moment is conceived by Traditionalists not as a peak or telos, but as a zone of extreme degradation, a lie, oblivion, and delusion. It is the end of the road to the abyss, the moment of reaching the bottom. Accordingly, the observatory point at which modern humanity (in the era of Modernity and Post-Modernity) stands is not the top of a mountain, but the bottom of the world pit from which nothing can be seen besides dark phantoms and unwieldy fantasies. We live in a world of philosophical hallucinations in which the worse we see, the more we flaunt our foresight. Guénon called this the “reign of quantity” and interpreted it as the critical low of spirit.

Accordingly, Traditionalism completely overturns all the proportions assimilated by default by the contemporal moment:

  1. The time in which we live is an era of total poverty and ignorance. If we base ourselves on its “credibility” and “evidences”, it is impossible to correctly decipher the present, let alone the past which was related to more perfect and authentic periods of history.
  2. The West is the cultural field of accelerated degeneration and decline which surpasses other (non-Western) cultures only in the speed of its fall into the abyss.

The distance in relation to the contemporal moment here is maximal: the West and Modernity are thought of as the worst, the sterile, useless, and false which cannot be taken as any kind of reference point for comprehending anything at all. Thus, modern Western philosophy and its axioms are the worst possible philosophy based on ignorance, a wrong decision in its very basic intellectual operations, and completely delusional with regards to nature, the structure of time, space, man, the world, the primordial, the logic of history, the structure of matter, etc. Modern philosophy is arrogant and lofty nonsense. The only way to break through to philosophy lies in absolutely transgressing the foundational paradigms of Modernity and completely overthrowing the dogmas of modern Western culture, science, values, and political and social systems. All of the West and Modernity’s claims to superiority over the past and non-Western societies are completely groundless and unfounded. The modern West is incapable of understanding even its own relatively recent history (the Middle Ages), not to mention Antiquity or the profound, genuine, authentic, and competent philosophies and systems of the East.

In this operation, the observatory point of modern “Western humanity” flies away, and something directly opposite to such is taken as the starting point: Antiquity and the East, which are genuine observatory points and not simulacra. We are proposed henceforth to think against the present and against the West. Thus unfolds a completely different philosophical map on which the vector of authenticity leads not to the contemporal moment, but away from it as if from a black hole, gathering all the more meaningful and enlightening rays the further it is removed from the “center of hell.” The less Western and modern, the more genuine and authentic, the Traditionalists argue. Insofar as degradation is not limited to the West, but has much larger scale boundaries, the distance from the “black point” of reference must be constantly increased. Everything that remotely resembles “modernity” and the West, even in distant periods of history or outside of the European context, must immediately be treated with suspicion. And if we encounter anything similar in philosophy, culture, politics, society, art, etc., then we should be especially careful, for we are likely dealing with things whose trajectory is sharp and rapid fall into the abyss. The West and modernity are the essence of evil, lies, a dead-end, darkness, madness, violence, suffering, and death. And everything that resembles this, even remotely, by virtue of this very fact is dubious, suspicious, and most likely dangerous.

If modernity denies eternity and invests being in the historial of becoming, this means that only eternity is and represents a reliable basis for understanding the nature of time. There is no vice versa. If modernity insists on space being isotropic, i.e., quantitative, then it is obvious that the truth should be the exact opposite, and the anisotropy and “natural places” of Aristotle determine the structures of “sacred geography” and the laws of climate and the elements. If modernity calls reason and corporeality the unquestionably and prime properties of man, then this is in itself sufficient reason to be sure that the body is insignificant and unbinding, nothing more than “leather garments”, and that reason is nothing more than an empty shadow that has accidentally fallen on the temporary surface from the rays of the true, divine, heavenly mind. If modernity proposes to correlate knowledge with experience, then experience as a measure of the authenticity of science should generally be excluded from consideration, for knowledge is realized through contemplation and based on intellectual intuition which grasps the eidetic essence of things rather than their dead shells and “husks.” And so on and so forth.

In other words, in Traditionalism we acquire an operational and fundamental weapon for realizing the most radical postmodernist strategy. No philosophy is capable of so fundamentally relativizing the contemporal moment and exploding the arrogant claims of Modernity and the West to universalism and the teleologicalness of their philosophy. For Traditionalists, the modern Western philosopher is a guaranteed ignoramus or senseless jester, if not a nihilist possessed by infracorporeal entities.

On the other hand, René Guénon’s follower, the Italian Traditionalist Julius Evola, upon developing this line in his book Ride the Tiger [7], came to a very interesting point: if we take eternity seriously, that is, as it was understood and experienced by the philosophers and thinkers of traditional society, then all the content of history should also, in some sense, exist forever and simultaneously. As follows in Evola’s development of this thought, “modernity” as we know it today, what we call the “contemporal moment”, i.e., “the West + Modernity”, should have been present at previous stages as well. In other words, the modern world and Tradition can be considered not in diachronic order, in which Modernity replaces Tradition over the course of degradation and descent, but synchronically, where they coexist with one another simultaneously, even in space. Thus, the forms of Tradition, the philosophy of Tradition, and the Logos of Tradition represent Heaven, and the forms of modernity the worlds of hell, the underworld, Hades, and Tartarus.

Man, as the cosmic mediator, is situated on the border between both worlds, between Tradition (above) and modernity (below). He is always straddling this border, eternally, in both the era of Tradition’s predominance, and in the periods in which modernity temporarily wins. In his eidetic, eternal dimension, man himself is this border, and the movement of his spirit, his thought, his ways and methods of philosophizing, outline the content of that which lies on either side. Through his choice of orientation, spiritual or corporeal, man constitutes the time, the epoch, the age in which he lives.

Thus, residing in the “dark age”, the Kali-Yuga, is neither a fatality, a punishment, nor something arbitrary, but the Night’s testing of the grain of eternity, of the divine center that comprises the essence of man. In other words, no matter how far away the Golden Age might be, a kernel of it remains within man as hope, as opportunity, as a fulcrum, which can always be found in refusing to unconditionally and fatalistically (or unconsciously) accept the conditions of the Iron Age. Time is an illusion. The historial is no more than a sign, a metaphor that can be deciphered in different ways and appealed to freely. We ourselves choose the time in which we live. And if man is born in the modern world and in the West’s zone of influence, this means that he is included in the profound plans of eternity, and this reflects his mission and fate. Modernity is in Tradition, and Tradition is in modernity. But in different sections of the vertical world, their proportions adjust to being polar: in Heaven (Tradition) there is only a drop of hell (the Biblical serpent that first appeared in paradise), and in hell there is a drop of Heaven. But this is enough to stretch a semantic thread of sacred history, or hiérohistoire (in Henry Corbin’s formulation) between these drops.

Thus, Traditionalism offers such a radical revolution in relation to the contemporal moment, which opens up not only the possibility of establishing the desired distance in one direction, but makes available a whole world of mountain peaks consisting of possible observatory points to be sought in Antiquity and in the East, in traditional society and in religious teachings, everywhere and among all, except the modern West and its philosophers. It bears admission that such an open and substantial philosophical perspective cannot but inspire. It proposes to discover what we ourselves have closed, to dive without skepticism and distrust of religion into ancient philosophy, mythology, traditions and beliefs, both those close (European) and distant (Asian). It is tantamount to a proposal to tear off the blindfold covering our eyes which, contrary to the assurances of false doctors, are fully capable of seeing the light and contemplating a world imbued with eidetic, sagacious rays.

We have thus prepared the basis for our further study into the structures and versions of the Logos. We have outlined what in our vision is the field upon which the main strategies of Noomachy, the wars of the mind, should take place. We have relativized the contemporal moment while leaving the possibility for periodically referencing it with the aim of clarifying its ontological content, its place in the overall construct of the different Logos worlds which we will explore along different axes – both vertical and horizontal, moving freely through times (eons) and spaces (layers of being).

In accord with Tradition, the primordial source, the quintessence, the center of all that is the Mind, the νοὖς of the Neoplatonists, the boddhi of the Buddhists, the Mind is eternal and contains everything at once. This means that it also contains us who think of it, and the world that has unfolded before It (before us) in the process of thinking about it. The world exists to the extent that it is conceived by the Mind. But the Mind, containing everything in itself, also encompasses contradictions, conflicts, falls, and descent. It contains modernity as well. Therefore, upon having rejected and undermined modernity at the very outset of our study, we must also find the latter’s rightful place in it. Truth can truly judge not only truth, but also lies, as well as that which lies between truth and lie: the opinion (δὸξα). Thus, the roots of war, tragedy, catastrophe, and problems must be sought within the Mind. In the Mind must be sought the meaning of the night of the gods and the secret of their flight that comprises the essence of modernity. But it is impossible to participate in the Mind and not be involved in the wars which It wages, which are waged within it. We cannot move towards the Logos and remain indifferent to its internal tensions, its splits and its amalgamations.

Philosophy is a mobilization to the front of the spirit. Resolute and irrevocable. We will devote ourselves and one another to such over the course of the unfolding of our book’s subject matter.

Footnotes:

[1] See paragraph six, “Die Aufgabe einer Destruktion der Geschichte der Ontologie”, in Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2006), p. 19.

[2] Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1967).

[3] Martin Heidegger, Holzwege (Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1972), p. 296.

[4] See Aleksandr Dugin, V poiskakh temnogo Logosa (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2013).

[5] See Aleksandr Dugin, Filosofiia traditsionalizma (Moscow: Arktogeya-tsentr, 2002).

[6] René Alleau, De Marx a Guénon: d’une critique «radicale» à une critique «principielle» de sociétés modernes in Les Dossiers H. René Guénon (Paris: L’Âge d’Homme), p. 193. 

[7] Julius Evola, Cavalcare la tigre: Orientamenti esistenziali per un’epoca di dissoluzione (Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee, 2008).

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The Pole of the Russian Circle: Moscow’s Place in the Sacred Geography of Russia

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Yulian Orlov

Chapter 2 of Part II of Book 2 of Osnovy geopolitiki [Foundations of Geopolitics] (Moscow: Arktogeya, 2000).

 

Contours of the country in “depth psychology”

Questions of geography are very tightly linked to psychological archetypes. Every people, every civilization, every culture sees and understands space in its own unique way. There always exists a kind of code that serves as a distinctive trait of the national territorial myth.

Reconstructions made by modern historians of religions, sociologists, and anthropologists allow us to speak of an entire science (sacred geography) that predetermined our ancestors’ perception of the surrounding world in its spatial dimension. The norms of this sacred geography formed the foundations of epics, biographies, legends, traditions, myths, and fairy tales.

As the rational aspects of life developed, this sacred geography became part of the unconscious, thus determining deep psychic archetypes, rudimentary reactions, and the typology of slips and dreams. Having disappeared from the ancient stage, the geography of the myth passed into the sphere of subconscious reactions; however, this does not mean that it lost its hypnotic power.

There are peoples who visualize their homeland, their country, as an island. Others see it as a plain hemmed in by mountains. Still others see it as a space between two or more great rivers, or as an uninterrupted mountain range, or as a coastline, and so on and so forth. It is on the basis of this sacred geography of the homeland that an idea of the entire cosmos is formed.

As ordinary (non-sacred) geography develops, these ideas become things of the past; however, as the studies of Gustav Jung’s “depth psychology” school have shown, these ideas have kept their influence on the structure of the human soul. And even in modern society, which is founded on exact knowledge and technological rationalism, old ideas make their presence known in full force.

The Russian harp of the Kiev period

The sacred geography of Rus has three fundamental formulae which correspond to the three stages in the development of Russian political thought. The oldest model of sacred geography, that of Kievan Rus, saw the Russian space as a circle, a gigantic plain, surrounded on all sides by a ring of mountains. There were legends about one of the Russian heroes (Ilya Muromets, etc.) completing a heroic feat by cleaning the Russian plain of rocky avalanches, forests and men of different faiths by moving all of them to the edge of the world. This ordered and cleansed the space, beyond the edges of which were situated dark, evil forces and landscapes which had an enormous influence on the national psychology of the Russian people, defining the fundamental traits of the Russian popular character and finding manifestation in folklore, culture, and civilizational, social, and political clichés. The Russian Circle is, on this basic level, seen as a field, that is, etymologically as a harmonious void (the word “поле” [“field”] comes from “полый”, “пустой” [“empty”]).

Kievan Rus was not strongly centralized. Several poles, several capitals existed within it in parallel: Kiev, Novgorod, Chernigov, Vladimir, etc. In legends and tales, these poles of the Russian Circle are likened to the strings of a harp or other stringed instrument with roads drawn between the strings. All of Rus stands like a harp played by the will of the people and through which the harmonic quivers of national history are sung.

This entire territory is collectively opposed to the worlds of the periphery, and internally there is a difference similar to that between the modes and chords of the same instrument. Peace and quiet meant harmonic melody. Hostility and bloodshed were a cacophony, a disorderly racket.

The sacred geography of Kievan Rus was distinguished by its polycentricity and the parallel nature of its lines of power, which often correspond to the flow of the great Russian rivers. The fundamental spatial “string” is drawn between the North (Novgorod) and South (Kiev).

This model of sacred geography developed from the very beginning of Rus’ history as a state, from the period when the predominantly Slavic tribes of the Russian Plain became cognizant of their cultural and social unity.

The Moscow wheel 

With the Tatar-Mongol advance, this picture begins to transform. The unity of the Russian Circle was disrupted from the inside (internal strife), which gave the successful conquerors the opportunity to embed Rus in the context of another territorial construct. In a certain sense, it is possible to say that during the period in which the Mongols were present, the Russian people acknowledged the historical inadequacy of the polycentric, parallel structure of the Russian space, a structure that had been too plastic to resist a fierce and centralized enemy.

Influenced by what they saw of the Tatars’ social institutions, Russians gradually reached the conclusion that a new configuration of sacred geography was necessary. The Russian Circle should have a hard core. It was necessary to transition from parallel “strings” to a wheel model. This is the contraction of space towards a centre, and this strong link forms the second and most important archetype of the national territorial formula: the Tsardom of Muscovy.

A new point rises between the North (Novgorod) and South (Kiev) in Vladimir, which is later followed by Moscow. This is a totally new element: a united axis, a sole pole.

This new configuration of Holy Rus is historically bound to our Russian “Reconquista” with the recapture of independence and reverse wave of Russians moving to Tatar lands: toward the East and the South, to the steppes and Siberia.

The inadequacy of the old circle without a center was rectified. Muscovite Rus is a circle with a center. A new Rus. A Great Rus that entered the apogee of its civilizational flourishing. 

It is in the period of the Tsardom of Muscovy that the Great Russians definitively developed into an independent ethnos of a totally different quality and with a different nationalist psychology. Much had been drawn from the Tatars, the imperial ideal of Byzantium shone with a new strength, and Slavic genius flourished in the continental Eurasian Empire of the Third Rome.

The ethnopsychology of the Russian people reached its final forms precisely in this period, and, strictly speaking, it is the Tsardom of Muscovy that must be called “Holy Rus”.

The sacred geography of this period is a circle with a center. The pole is Moscow the Third Rome, from which rays shoot out in all directions.

All roads lead to the Third Rome. Together with the dominant ethnos (the Great Russians, proper “Russians”), a new worldview develops.

Russian national psychology is deeply Muscovite, or Moscow-centric. It is by this factor that the cultural type of the man we call “Russian” is conditioned.

The “Russian Babylon” of the Romanovs

The Moscow model of sacred geography came into crisis during the raskol and the subsequent rule of Peter the Great.

The balance of Moscow as the absolute pole of Holy Rus and the axis of Orthodoxy was disturbed in favor of its Western element. The wheel of the Russian Circle broke off of its providential axis. The clarity and harmony of the Great Russian flourishing ended. Cultural-religious life broke apart and became decentralized. The rigid orthodox followers of the Muscovite idea, the Old Believers, took the great formula of Holy Rus with them through escape and immolation. It was not a passionate exposer of the new order who was burnt in Pustozersk, but a great symbol of loyalty to the optimal image of sacred geography [1].

The Old Believers developed the concept of the “Russian Babylon”, the Russia of Peter and the Western monarchs who had substituted the Tsar’s power and ecclesiastical mysteries with agents of heretical, Western influence. They are fully correct in their diagnosis: a change of paradigm of sacred geography was taking place and the Moscow-centric structure of national psychology was destroyed.

From this point forward, the center was moved to Saint Petersburg. But this is not a new pole. Rather, it is a passive gravitation towards the West, a demonstration of the center not being located within, but without, beyond Russia’s western borders. Romanov Russia saw itself as a province of the West. The aristocracy adopted the manners of a colonial administration. The Russian people, their national psychology, their legends, and their deep ideas of sacred geography were now seen by the higher estates as “savage preconceptions.” In negative cases, this idea manifested itself in open loathing and Russophobia among the Westernized nobility. But even the “Russophiles” saw the “common people” as butterfly collectors see their specimens. “The people are but a child”, they said, “they must be taught and educated.” Indeed, the deep psychological layers of popular life and the mythology of ideas are not seriously examined by anyone.

The Petersburg period did not yield any kind of new image of sacred geography. Among the aristocracy the center moved to Europe, i.e. the truly Russian space lost its symbolic independence.  At the level of the common people, who were either drawn to open Old Ritualism en masse or plainly loyal to the commandments of the past in a more general sense, life continued and the ancient beliefs and old images of Russian sacred geography continued to be passed down. Holy Rus was the great Russian Circle, with Moscow as its holy center.

Moscow became a secret capital, a kind of Kitezh [2], the refuge of those estates and layers of the Russian people that continued to safeguard their loyalty to ancient ideas, who transmitted the secrets of the national tradition and the sacred formula of the Russian space down through the generations.

The Bolshevik restoration of sacred geography

Paradoxical as it may be, it is with the Revolution that a return to the Moscow-centric model took place. It would seem that the Bolsheviks, who were raised on Western authorities, would have to continue even further along the Petersburg path of the essentially Russophobic, faux folkish Romanovs. In practice, however, the popular layers of the elite carried with them the sleeping forces of Russian national geography. When hopes for the Revolution’s quick victory in Europe were dashed, the construction of “socialism in one country” awoke the old forces of the Russian soul. The capital was not only moved to Moscow, but the unconscious structuralization of psychological space was reborn on a new level. As in the times of the Muscovite Tsars, in the new Bolshevik Russia, the role of the political, spiritual, psychological, and social center was concentrated in a single, ancient pole. The Third Rome became the capital of the Third Internationale, and the idea of general salvation through the true Faith, which remained unspoiled only within the boundaries of Holy Rus, was replaced with the mission of building communism for the entire world with the unique historical experience of the Russian socialist government as its starting point.

The seemingly even more rationalist and “progressive” communist government actually awoke sleeping archetypes. On the level of the collective unconscious, Soviet Russia resembled the ancient Russian Circle with its center in Moscow far more than an eastern, semi-colonial appendage of Europe, as it had been in the Romanov era. Muscovite Rus’ hatred of the Latin heresy and the papacy and categorical rejection of the religious, cultural, and civilizational apostasy of the West appeared in the Russian communists’ rejection of the capitalist world and bourgeois system of values. Once more as it had been in ancient times, the enormous wheel with its center in Moscow began to be seen as a stronghold of harmony and order, as a chosen ark surrounded by the forces of darkness, chaos, and evil.

The myth of the Bolshevik Revolution, of the socialist Fatherland, and the new communist order, was perfectly superimposed on the ancient layers of the collective unconscious.

In this context, Soviet Moscow, Red Moscow was a symbol, the most important, central element of a strong, forceful, active myth.

The anti-Muscovite character of the reforms

We are currently living through a very serious crisis. The deep archetypes of national psychology are once again subjected to breakage. As is always the case in critical moments of history, images of sacred geography and ancient figures that predetermine the structure of our national and cultural type rise up from the depths of the collective unconscious.

Under these conditions, Moscow cannot be seen merely as an administrative centre, as a capital in the prosaic, utilitarian-technical sense. Her role, her importance, her symbolic content go far beyond the boundaries of pragmatics.

Rus is once again faced with a choice. Which model of sacred geography must we choose? What historical period must we take as our point of departure? To what orientation must we adhere? What model must we strive for? 

At the beginning of the reforms, the choice seemed simple. Moscow-centrism looked explicitly evil. Socialist as well as national tendencies were decried as “red-brown”, “forces of reaction” etc. “Westernism” became the dominant ideology, and every debate was only about with what speed the country should be embedded in the liberal-democratic world.

What is more, the reformers were divided into openly radical Russophobes, who openly acknowledged their hatred for everything Russian (history, statehood, culture) and proposed to throw away everything in favor of the uncritical copying universal, average Western examples, and the moderate Westernisers who had a positive evaluation of the Romanov period and were tolerant of the idea of an “enlightened monarchy.” In principle, both types of reformers acted under the auspices of the same special paradigm, one that equally rejected Moscow-centrism.

In other words, on the level of sacred geography and depth psychology, we can say that Perestroika and the first stage of liberal reforms bore an openly anti-Muscovite character.

Moscow today: a negative image on three levels

Currently, Moscow’s functions in the collective unconscious are divided into three different realities. On the one hand, Moscow is the federal centre. This means that it is the focal point of the administrative, political, and strategic life of our entire country. Such a “federal Moscow” is an abstract category, its main characteristic being its location as the base of the Russian bureaucratic leadership. As the general social and cultural climate in the country is negative and critical, the other regions directly identify “federal Moscow” as a negative institution, the fiefdom of corrupt, egoist bureaucrats who are responsible for all the country’s disasters and misfortunes. 

The negativity of this image of “federal Moscow” is equally present in the minds of those who do not accept the liberal reforms, as well as those who show solidarity with them. Opponents of the reforms from the provinces see in the “federal centre” that institution, which, for the sake of abstract liberal principles, is destroying the organized economic system on the ground and, what is more, is plundering the regions, blocking up the budget and limiting the regional economy in all kinds of ways. In other words, in the eyes of the “conservatives”, “federal Moscow” is fulfilling a function that is contrary to the one “patriotic Moscow” should be fulfilling. Enmity towards such a Moscow is in a certain way parallels the Old Believers’ idea of Moscow’s transformation into Babylon. In this situation, the young reformers are fulfilling the functions of “papist agents” (the historical Arsenius the Greek, Paisios Ligarides, and other activists for the Nikonian reforms) and the president as the apostate Tsar who has fallen under the influence of the “servants of the antichrist.” The main right-wing claim against “federal Moscow” is that such a Moscow is insufficiently Moscow.

On the contrary, the reformers themselves think that Moscow is still too Muscovite and that the current administration is still under the influence of old, centralist methods. In the provinces, this position is most often expressed through demands for economic independence and the drive to establish direct contacts with foreign partners, bypassing the center’s control.

We must acknowledge that in both cases, the image of a “federal Moscow” is entirely negative, and it is on this idea that the processes of Russia’s territorial collapse will be contingent, as they must be based on specific psychological archetypes as well as socio-economic and political causes. 

The second level is political Moscow, Moscow as Russia. Here, we are not speaking about the internal, but about the external image of our capital. In general, we see a repeat of the same unattractive image that we saw in the latter case. Countries, regimes, groups and movements that traditionally held a Eurasian orientation and considered Moscow the leader of a coalition of all anti-Western, anti-Atlanticist forces see Moscow’s modern line as liquidationist and traitorous, as a refusal to fulfill its planetary-scale mission. Moscow is insufficiently Moscow.

The traditional opponents of the Eurasian project (as well as the Russian liberals), however, refuse to believe the “seriousness and irreversibility of the democratic transformations” and are every now and then waiting for tricks from their traditional enemy and competitor, a competitor that has recently made a full transition to the ranks of the West’s allies. Moscow is still too Muscovite. And its “hand” must still be feared.

Finally, the third Moscow. Regional Moscow, Moscow as one of the regions of Russia. This “Muscovite regionalism” is most often associated with the personality of Moscow’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. His idea views the city as a small country, examining it from the position of a region. Such an approach, combined with brilliant economic execution of his outlined plan, gives the mayor enormous dividends and unites people from the most difficult social and political orientations around him. “Luzhkov’s Moscow” to a certain extent opposes “federal Moscow”, and on this question, the mayor’s position draws closer to the position of the other regions. However, “Muscovite regionalism” cannot serve as a universal model for the development of the other regions, as the status of the capital and federal center plays an enormous role in the “Luzhkov miracle”, a status that the mayor is trying to maximally exploit for the strengthening of his regional position and its populace. Therefore, from a purely regional point of view, the Moscow experiment is seen as not fully objective and pure, but as a kind of egoistical exploitation of the energy and resources of the entire country by one privileged region. Against this backdrop, in a regional sense, all achievements of the Moscow economy change their character to a directly contrary one and only deepen the negative image of “federal Moscow”.

In other words, a large-scale crisis of the Moscow-centric model of Russian spatial organization is at hand, and this is a most serious threat to the territorial integrity of the entire country. What is more, the situation is worsened by the absence of any model of  conceptual-symbolic organization of the Russian space, even of the Petersburg example, which envisioned Russia as a secular empire, as a continuation of Europe in the East.

A conflict between social landscapes

From the point of view of sacred geography, the firmest and most operative construction is full-fledged and complete Moscow-centrism, the idea of Russia as a wheel turning around a center. Concentric psychology is deeply rooted in our people. In this case, Russia is the total opposite of the US, the mythological geography of which was from the very beginning fragmented and individualized. There is no qualitative difference between the center and the periphery. One-story America is America as such. The fragmentation of States, multipolarity, and the equal importance of every concrete locale in the US is the total opposite of the sacred geographical model of Rus. The space of North America has been totally demythologized and robbed of any quality. This also has an historical explanation: the US appeared as an artificial cultural, civilizational, and governmental formation, as an application of European rationalism and pragmatism to life itself. The US has no sacred prehistory and the autochthonous inhabitants of the continent became the first victims of the rationalist colonizers. In the US, the desacralization of space is far deeper than in Europe, where the process of decentralization also actively developed but, due to the presence of traditions and a mythological prehistory, did not attain the same results as in the New World.

In this sense, Russia is far more archaic than Europe, not to mention the US. If the space of the States is extremely homogeneous, then the space of Russia is extremely hierarchized. If there is an equality of States in America, then the Russian Circle is always measured by the degree of separation from the center. This is a particularity of our cultures, our history, and our special and sometimes contradictory development.

Russia will always continue to naturally gravitate towards Moscow-centrism, towards a circular, polar structure. If we set before ourselves the special task of moving Russia to the European or American ideal of spatial organization, we will have to spend enormous amounts of effort and will obtain a highly unstable construction. Perhaps the most “rational” way of reaching this goal would be to condemn the Russian people to the same fate as the North American Indians. In that case, however, the reformers will have to consciously recourse to genocide.

Who will restore the Sacred Circle?

Moscow is located in the center of our Homeland, our history, our culture. It is the heart of Russia, her secret nerve.

Moscow’s mission is beyond “federal Moscow”, “political Moscow”, or “regional Moscow.” It is a sacred and planetary mission with a spiritual meaning. From the point of view of sacred geography, Moscow is the center of the Sacred Circle, of the Circle of Salvation.

Who will become the harbinger of the idea of Moscow in its full amplitude?

Who will be brave enough to say a radical “YES” to the sacred space of Russia, to acknowledge and defend the uniqueness and secret meaning of its national geography in its spiritual, historical, and concretely pragmatic dimension?

Translator’s notes:

[1]: This is a reference to a group of prominent Old Believers who were martyred in Pustozersk by way of immolation. The group included protopriest Avvakum and priest Lazarus.

[2]: Kitezh is a location in Russian folklore. According to the legends, the town was founded somewhere in the early 13th century. When the Mongols came to sack it, the townsfolk prayed for salvation, which came in the form of the town being swallowed by the neighbouring Lake Svetloyar. Although the town may have been destroyed, the sounds of prayer and bells ringing can allegedly still be heard coming from the lake. In addition, the especially faithful can find a hidden trail to reach the city.

Moscow as an Idea

Author: Alexander Dugin
Translators: Yulian Orlov and Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Part II of Book 2 of Osnovy geopolitiki [Foundations of Geopolitics] (Moscow: Arktogeya, 2000).

The religious meaning of Moscow

Moscow is not just a great city, not just a great capital, not just the symbol of a gigantic Empire. Moscow is a basic concept of theology and geopolitics.

Moscow has been called the “Third Rome” not merely as a metaphor or self-indulgent manifestation of purely national pride. Everything goes much, much deeper. Orthodoxy knows the special teaching of the “three Romes.” The first was imperial Rome before Christ, the same state on whose territory the Son of God set foot on earth. This Rome was a universal reality that united enormous spaces and manifold peoples and cultures in civilizational unity.

The Second Rome, the New Rome, was Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, which had accepted the blessing of holy christening. From that point forward, the Roman Empire acquired a strictly ecclesiastical, deeply Christian meaning. The Orthodox Emperor (Basileus), as head of the Empire, was identified with the mysterious person from the Apostle Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians: the “withholder”, “katechon”, who in the end times is fated to prevent the “coming of the son of perdition.”

The coming of Christ is a central event in world history. Everything that preceded it was a presage. What followed it was the universalization of the Gospel. And, in the Orthodox conception of the world, the center of history in the Christian era was Rome, the New Rome, Constantinople and its ruler, the Orthodox Basileus.

In other words, after Constantine, the New Rome (Second Rome) was the true subject of history, a lever for the mysterious house-building of Salvation and the Deification of the ecumene.

The heretical West, with its Germanic usurper kings and laified Catholic clergy at its head, fell away from Rome, which means that it became apostate. The Vatican was the anti-Rome, it rejected the Orthodox meaning of the “katechon” Basileus and illegally asserted the totality of papal power.

After the schism that split the Churches into Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) hemispheres, the New Rome, Byzantium, remained the one guardian of true Christianity while the Catholics fell into the void of apostasy. “Katechon” was taken from them.

But the Second Rome, too, was fated to fall. When its faith wavered and it tried to turn to the West for military aid against the Turks, it accepted even the price of a rejection of Orthodox truth and the acceptance of the Union of Florence. But this did not save it; on the contrary, it might have been the final blow.

And then, it seems, there was no longer a place for “katechon”, the “withholder”, and the doors for the coming of the “son of perdition” were open.

But in a northern kingdom, in snowy and wild lands populated by a strange, pensive, contemplative people immersed in the fury of their secret mission, everything remained the same, as if that terrible event (“the removal of the withholder”) had not taken place. Just as heaven was spared the decadence of the Fall of Man that had touched all other earthly locales, so did Rus become the one country where the teachings and norms of true Christianity remained extant.

Thus, the eternal city moved to the North, to Moscow. Henceforth, Moscow took upon itself the baton of being the subject of history. Later, a Patriarchy was established in Rus, and the “symphony of powers” was fully affirmed. Moscow became a synonym for Orthodoxy in the post-Byzantine era.

It became the last refuge of Salvation, the ark of truth, the New Israel.

Moscow is the seal of the God-bearing mission of the Russian people.

This city was the last to enter spiritual history – the Third Rome, “and there shall be no fourth.”

The last became first, which means that Moscow was the most divinely chosen point on earth. And as it is that our Savior chose precisely our human earth as the place of his Incarnation, this place must be central in the entire Universe.

Moscow is truth, life, the way, the good. Moscow is the absolute.

The shadow of the antichrist also tried to break this last fortress of the Gospel. Two hundred years of Petersburg, Romanov Russia was the period of the “abomination of desolation.” There was no Patriarch, no true symphonic monarchy, Moscow was not the capital. Everything converges.

And only in 1917 did strange, offbeat, possessed persons (the Bolsheviks) put everything in order in a truly paradoxical manner, as if completing an odd soteriological riddle. In this period, despite open anti-ecclesiastical persecution, the Russian Patriarchy was re-established, the traitor dynasty was abolished, and, what is most important, Moscow was the capital again, the Third Rome again.

At the same time, the “Derzhavnaya” icon was miraculously found in the residence of the Muscovite (!) tsars. It depicts the Queen of Heaven on a throne, as Tsarina of Russia, as autocrat of the Third Rome, of the sacred city of Moscow, of which there was, is, and will be none more beautiful and more tragic in the Universe.

Moscow’s geopolitical mission

Being the center of Christian theological doctrine, being linked with the mystery of humanity’s fate and the mystery of Salvation, Moscow is also the axis of a more mundane, purely geopolitical reality.

If at the heart of the Christian vision of history lies the battle between the Christian faithful and the Church of Christ against the world of apostasy and the reality of the antichrist or the “son of perdition”, then in geopolitics the main drama culminates in the conflict between two camps: these are Land and Sea, tellurocracy and thalassocracy [1].

The world of Sea, beginning with Carthage and ending with the modern US, embodies the pole of the merchant regime, the “market civilization.” This is the path of the West, the path of technological development, of individualism and liberalism. It is dominated by dynamism and mobility, which bodes well for modernization and progress in the material sphere. The civilization of Sea has over the past few centuries acquired the name of “Atlanticism”, seeing as how bit by bit its main stronghold has moved in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean, up to and including the ascension of the US. The modern North-Atlantic Alliance is a strategic expression of this civilizational model.

It is opposed by the world of Land, the world of Tradition. This is the “heroic civilization”, the reality of loyalty to ancient ways. Here, progress is not so much material as it is spiritual; the moral dominates the physical, honour dominates benefit. From Ancient Rome through Byzantium, the geopolitical history of Land inches towards the Eastern Bloc, which opposed the west during the “Cold War.” At the center of this Eurasian space is Russia, which the greatest British theoretician of geopolitics and one of the founding fathers of the discipline, termed Heartland. And once again, the centre of Russia is Moscow, as an encapsulation of all terrestrial spaces, as a synonym of the civilization of Land.

Mackinder wrote: “He who controls Eurasia, controls the entire world.” This is what the long-term geopolitical “anaconda strategy” is based on, which the Anglo-Saxons and Atlanticists have been using for centuries against inner-continental spaces. This is the continuous “battle for Moscow.”

Moscow is the capital of the civilization of Land. Located in the depth of the continent, far away from ports and seas, it is a continental capital, uniting within itself the spatial masses of the Eurasian East and the technological dynamism of the European West.

It is towards here that the Atlanticists have rushed from the West, under different flags and in different times: from the Poles and Napoleon to Hitler. And every time the Western occupiers were thrown back by continental might to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Moscow is the axis of the Eurasian block, the heart of the “medullar land.”

The Tsardom of Muscovy

Different historical schools define the source of Russian statehood in different ways. The majority are prone to the idea that the central period of our state history is the Tsardom of Muscovy or the so-called “Moscow period”, which lasted from the 15th to the 18th century, i.e. from the casting off of the Tatar Yoke until Peter the Great. It is precisely in this time that the fundamental traits of the Great Russian people and its governmental and social institutions formed. The great Russian scholar Lev Gumilev showed this process in a more detailed and in-depth way; he (as well as the Russian Eurasianists) emphasized the radical uniqueness of Muscovite Rus in the ethical, ethnic and socio-cultural spheres compared to the other Slavic states as well as Kievan Rus, which was a normal Eastern-European state without any special Eurasian geopolitical traits.

Truly, Rus, as a unique Eurasian formation that took upon itself the geographical and political mission of Genghis Khan and was called to unite the continental lands (and cultures) of West and East under its control, took shape precisely in the Muscovite period, when the princes of Moscow and later the Tsars recognized their responsibility for the special historical-cultural path that had been entrusted to the Russian people. On the religious level, this manifested itself in the Russian acceptance of the ideology of Byzantinism; in practice, however, this lofty idea was superimposed on the model of the harsh, centralized administrative-economic system of the Tatar empire. Such a fusion made a provincial state into the cradle of a world empire and turned a strange, paradoxical people lost in the snow and forests into an ethnos overshadowed by a universal mission.

The Muscovite idea, the concept of the “Third Rome” (by elder Filofei) became the incarnation of the highest aspiration of national will. The pre-Muscovite period was a prelude to the Muscovite period.

The Petersburg period, when the Romanovs, beginning with Peter, anathematized the “old order” and “old faith”, turned to the West, refused to carry out the uniquely Eurasian mission, and condemned the people to a veiled, but no less weighty “Romano-German yoke” (to use the expression of prince N. S. Trubetzkoy), still despite all of this carried within itself the tendencies that had been established in Moscow. Although on another level, the ties to the cradle of national statehood were never broken. If Saint-Petersburg was the incarnation of Russian “Westernism”, then Moscow remained the symbol of the Eurasian, traditional beginning, manifesting the heroic, sacred past and loyalty to roots, to the pure source of state history.

Everything “modernist” in Russia is linked to Saint-Petersburg. Everything traditional is linked to Moscow.

The three historical capitals of Russia at once symbolize the three geopolitical orientations and three types of statehood.

Kiev represents the ethnic, East-Slavic line of thinking pushed to the limit. It demonstrated a tendency towards becoming a cultural-political province of Europe. By virtue of being orthodox, Kiev Rus was part of the Orthodox world, but was not and could not have been a powerful, independent, Orthodox state with a special national idea and with a specific social order.

Moscow is the Eurasian capital, the symbol of Russians becoming themselves and their acquisition of the meaning of their historical existence and a special, unique style in conjunction with the makings of a universal missing in the cultural, political, religious, and socio-ethical senses. Moscow is independence and completeness, the acquisition of ourselves.

Saint Petersburg is the secular, post-Muscovite capital that is linked to the desacralization of Russian existence and the denial of Russia’s historic spiritual mission, of the unique and simultaneously universal Russian way. It is a line of thought that has been alienated from its own roots and spiritual-historical traditions. It is clear that synodal, “Petersburg” Orthodoxy has little in common with true Byzantinism on the principles of which the Russian Church was built in the Muscovite period with the Orthodox Tsar and Orthodox Patriarch at its head. In 18th century Saint Petersburg, entry into the city was barred to those wearing simple Russian clothing. What kind of “narodnost” [2] can be spoken of here?

Soviet Moscow

The transfer of the Bolshevik capital to Moscow is extremely telling. From a geopolitical, historical and, in some sense, spiritual standpoint, this was a move that was oriented towards a return to a Eurasian orientation. It is hard to say whether the communist leaders realized what the results of this move were. In logical terms, however, it was entirely justified. Under the Soviet regime, Russia once again opposed itself to the West (although now purely on the basis of ideological grounds), opened itself to Asia again, and once more set out on the path of cultural, social, and economic autarky. We can argue as long as we want about the “all too heavy price” that was paid, but alas, everything in history is done with a great deal of blood.

However this may have happened, it was under the Bolsheviks that the Eurasian camp attained its maximal spatial dimension, and the USSR remains the most impressive example of a massive continental empire. Different continental territories, Eurasian ethnoi, and cultures were integrated into a single bloc. The Soviet period was an attempt to find a new, relevant, modern, but still very same recognizable messianic idea of the Third Rome.

Red Moscow became the capital of the Third Internationale. The Third Kingdom is the Empire of the Holy Spirit. This theory goes back to the Christian mystic Joachim of Fiore and, even further, to the ancient Charismatic preacher Montanus who was, incidentally, the first to begin building the New Jerusalem, an earthly prototype of the Heavenly City, long before the anabaptists and patriarch Nikon.

Albeit in a heretical and extreme form, the Bolsheviks too clearly felt the secret breath of Eurasian thought and the Muscovite Idea in its universal meaning. The people and Church were replaced by the “proletariat”, “Satan” by capital, and the “civilization of the Sea” by international imperialism and colonialism.

Language changes, terms change, ideologies change… But the essence remains the same: Moscow, the capital of Land, of Spirit, of Labour, against the oceanic strategies of the material and mercantile technologies.

Rome stands against Carthage again, and the ideal of hierarchy and service against the values of profit, entrepreneurship, and “rational egoism.”

This time, Moscow became the “proletarian Rome.” However, she remained Rome, the hope of the oppressed, the destitute, the robbed and the humiliated of the whole world… The capital of a new empire, an empire that was conceived as the beginning of an era of global happiness and good…

The price that was paid for this ideal was too large. But this does not discredit the ideal itself, only the ways by which it was realized. Those who honestly and in a self-sacrificing way strove towards a miracle are not guilty of that miracle not materializing; rather, it is those who turned out to be too earthly and common for a great dream who are truly at fault.

To be or not to be…

The history of Moscow is the history of an idea. This idea is not just part of the past; it also reaches into the future.

Today, we are undoubtedly living through a deep crisis of statehood and the national idea, and cannot find the correct proportions for our understanding of the past. This is what our bewilderment in the present stems from. Our society is spasmodically trying to acquire some kind of good reference point, a consistent, broad, capacious concept of our national path.

There is a certain social group which (like the American political scientist Fukuyama) thinks that “history has ended”, that nations, states, religions, and cultures are doomed to die out in a unified world with a planetary market. These are the extreme Russian liberals, who consider their main task to be writing down a financial period into national history, to making Russia a “tabula rasa”, and transforming her into a quantitative segment indistinguishable from its neighbors in the global community.

However, it is entirely clear that such an extremist approach can hardly suit all of us. It is unlikely that we will quietly accept a future of historical disappearance and mute dissolution in an anonymous world. It is unlikely that we will so easily surrender our religious, geopolitical, social, and cultural identity, as the technocrats of the “new world order” would like.

Our national alternative has a name, a flag, and a banner: Moscow – in the entire meaning of this most complex concept, in the entire depth and paradoxical nature of this complete and self-sufficient theory.

Hamlet’s question of “to be or not to be?” is today (in the nationwide, historical sense) formulated for us thusly: “is Moscow to be or not to be?”, “is the Muscovite Idea to be or not to be?”

It is on this point, in this focus, that all economic and administrative problems, political interests and philosophical queries, historical theories and modern ideologies, and economic ties and social crises all intertwine.

On all levels, in all areas, and at all stages of this most complex subject, we must clearly remember those semantic depths which stand behind every concrete question, behind every decision taken, and behind every approved or rejected draft and decree.

 

Translators’ notes:

[1]: For more on the subject of thalassocracy and tellurocracy in Russian history, see Alexander Dugin, Last War of the World-Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary Russia (Arktos, 2015).

[2]: “narodnost” (народность, lit. people-ness, folk-ness) is a term that serves both as a synonym for the term “nation”, “ethnos” and a name for part of late-Tsarist official ideology. Under Nicholas the First, narodnost (together with Orthodoxy and autocracy) formed an ideological triad and meant “encouragement and pride of the Russian spirit and Russian people” as well as promoting traditional Russian culture and values. As Dugin rightly notes, however, these efforts were usually lopsided and ended up imposing alien, Western values on the Russian common people.

The Battle for History – Part IV

Author: Vladimir Karpets

Translator: Yulian Orlov


Zavtra no. 23 (916), 8 June 2011


The most important place in the “Battle for History” is occupied by the explanation of the circumstances surrounding the fall of the Russian Autocracy as well as the fate of not just the Martyr Tsar, but also those who were close to him and his family. Not the least among them was a peasant; some called him a Man of God, while others called him a messenger of doom: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin-Novy (or Novykh, 1869-1916).

In Soviet times, propaganda entirely “unleashed” the image of Rasputin as a symbol of the “rotten essence of Tsarism”… At times, this was a kind of cipher of a neo-Marxist (as in the Elem Klimov film “Agony” [1]) or pseudo-patriotic (as in Valentin Pikul’s novel “At the Limit” [2]) union of the intelligentsia against the “government in general.” However, this whole Soviet or (crypto-anti-Soviet) “Rasputiniad” had, in any case, a most direct link to the myth about Nicholas II as a “weak despot.” On the other hand, it was a key component of Western-cultivated Russophobia, in this case with a slightly “sweetened” taste as in the famous song by the pop group Boney M (the group’s soloist, Bobby Farrell, died in Saint-Petersburg on the night of 30 December 2010: the anniversary of Rasputin’s murder).

With the beginning of Perestroika, on the one hand, the beginning of the veneration of the Royal Family and the rebirth of Russian monarchism led to a special veneration of “starets Grigory”, while on the other, it also led to the resurrection of the cultivation of the most disgusting rumours, then clothed in the books of one of the “nightingales of Perestroika”, E. Radzinsky [3], then in the repulsive fantasies that were generated along with the “acquisition of the Empress’s letters” by the musical conductor Rostropovich between 1991 and 1993 [4]. Sadly, the Russian Orthodox Church’s episcopate (with the exception of individual hierarchs) has always leaned towards the second position; the “Rasputin subject” has long been used as an impediment against the veneration of the Royal Family, and later, like in the February days, all monarchists came to be called “admirers of Rasputin” (of course, with a negative tint). On the other hand, many Orthodox faithful (and not just political monarchists) truly, honestly venerate Grigori Rasputin, being as they are convinced of his absolute purity, and they attribute all dirty rumours to the slander of the anti-Russian press, liberals, and revolutionaries, who were for all intents and purposes aided by the police as well. Among the Orthodox people there exists a strong opinion about his sanctity. This opinion is shared by many parish priests and claustral monks.

After Richard Cullen’s television movie “Who Killed Rasputin (2004)” [5] and Stanislav Libin’s broadcast “The Conspiracy” (2007), in which the main role in the killing of the Siberian peasant is accorded to the British intelligence services (the “Windsors against the last of the Romanovs” line [6]), there was a clear, definite shift in broader public opinion: many have begun to understand the geopolitical context of not just the murder itself, but of the global scale and slander surrounding this event and those that followed. This was a definite shift. 

The next (entirely natural) shift is taking place before our very eyes. We are speaking of A. N. Bokhanov’s book “The Truth about Rasputin” [7] and the attached pamphlet of the same name, which were published by the Russian Publishing Centre. It is important that the author is not a journalist, but an academic scholar, a professor of history, and an author of university textbooks. Professor Bokhanov points out that “a vast portion of the “Rasputiniad” is based on material that is apocryphal or, in other words, entirely false – police documents, letters by individual persons, and diaries were all fabricated <…> These [pieces of “evidence”] are interesting because of two factors: the exquisiteness of the technology used in their production as well as the character of the social ideas that successfully absorbed the faked material.” The “tradition” that was founded by the liberal press of the 1910’s and which was continued with the fabrication of the “Vyrubova Diaries” by the “red count” A. N. Tolstoy [8] is still alive and well in our days. We are speaking in particular about Rasputin’s daughter Matryona’s memoirs, which, as Bokhanov shows and proves, she physically could not have written. What is more, the memoirs of people who were close to Rasputin like Maria Evgenyevna (Munya) Golovina, Yulia (Lily) Den and several others, are consciously being ignored. The Russian Publishing Centre intends to continue to introduce these materials to a wider audience.

The author gives a detailed account of the development of the “Rasputin legends” – such as his extraordinary influence on the Royal Family, his degeneracy, his “work for the Germans”, his membership of the “Khlysty” [9] etc. The higher aristocracy (including members of the House of Romanov), the Duma liberals, the “hierocratically” minded episcopate, the revolutionaries, and, finally, the intelligentsia of the Silver Age – all of these groups turned out to be strikingly unified against the Tsar, Tsaritsa, and the peasant…

As far as Grigory Yefimovich himself is concerned, Bokhanov presents a very interesting fact. When answering a question posed by the investigator N. K. Muravyov on how Rasputin saw himself, Anna Vyrubova answered thus: “He always said that he was one of the spiritual wanderers.” “This formulation,” Bokhanov explains, “meant nothing to the ‘lawyer’ and ‘socialist’ Muravyov.” It carries no meaning for our blinded contemporaries as well, be they liberal or socialist.

One more very important thing receives special attention in the book. “Rasputin” (to be more precise, “Rosputin” [10]) and “Novykh” are Grigori Yefimovich’s surnames from different lines. But it is the Tsar that commanded him to write his surname as “Novy.” This is the Name that was granted by the Tsar.

 

Translator’s notes:

[1]: Agony (Агония, 1974) more specifically deals with the conspiracy against and the preparation for the murder of Rasputin. It initially depicted Grigori Yefimovich and the royal family in a more sympathetic light, but with the US release of Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) the Soviet government pushed for a more hard-line, anti-Tsarist script. Rasputin is thus depicted as a degenerate hooligan, the Royal Family as superstitious and incompetent, and Rasputin’s killers as heroes. The final scene is a somewhat clumsy shot of Rasputin’s coffin being lowered into a hole filled with stagnant water.

[2]: In Extremis (До последней черты (1979, originally written and published as Нечистая сила (Forces of Darkness)) is a historical novel by Russian popular historian and writer Valentin Pikul’ (1928 – 1990). The title bears a resemblance to a quote from Lenin, which reads: “… [the first revolution] pushed it [the monarchy] to its extreme limit [cursive mine-transl.] and exposed all the decay and cynicism… with the monstrous Rasputin at its head…” Incidentally, this same quote appears at the very beginning of Klimov’s Agony.

[3]: Edvard Stanislavovich Radzinsky (1936 – ) is a Russian playwright, novelist, and prolific popular historian. He has written several books on Rasputin’s life and death.

[4]: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich (1927 – 2007) was a Soviet and Russian pianist, cellist, and composer who, among many other prizes, can lay claim to five Grammy Awards and two Russian State Prizes. What Karpets is referring to here is the transfer of Rostropovich’s archive to the Russian Ministry of Culture, where it was found to contain (among others) several letters by Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.

[5]: The documentary can be viewed here.

[6]: Karpest would go on to write another series of blog posts developing this idea called “The British Crown against Rus’” (Британская корона против Руси)

[7]: Боханов, А. Н. Правда о Григории Распутине [The Truth about Grigori Rasputin]. Moscow, 2011. 

[7]: Anna Aleksandrova Vyrubova (1884 – 1964) was a Russian lady-in-waiting and the closest confidante of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. After Rasputin’s murder, she was one of his fiercest defenders. Count Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1883 – 1945), nicknamed the “Red Count” for his Soviet sympathies, was a scion of the famous Tolstoy family and also a noted science fiction author.

[8]: The Khlysty (Хлысты) were a Russian peasant sect formed in the late 17th century. Their central ideology revolved around asceticism with bouts of ecstatic communal worship. Rasputin was (without any significant proof) and still is frequently accused of having belonged to the sect.

[9]: A reference to the older spelling of his name, which would be “Роспутинъ”. The current spelling implies a connection to the word “распутница”, which refers to a time of year when Russian roads turn into slurry; this was extended by analogy to be indicative of Rasputin’s alleged destructive or chaotic influence in government.