It was April 2013. I was finishing my Master’s in foreign policy at the Central European University. I discovered the concept of Eurasianism there and decided to explore this ideology in my thesis. I went to Moscow to take interviews from key political scientists in Russia. Of course, Alexander Dugin was one of the main people to be interviewed on Eurasianism.

I signed up to attend his lecture, the contents of which could be summed up as follows:

“Instead of staying on the right side of history, Ukraine has become the representation of a disintegrating rotten West. Ukraine must be returned to its original Russian orbit or obliterated.”

The same hatred was clearly visible towards all states who used to be in the Soviet bloc, but managed to leave and do much better, like the Baltic States and Poland. The latter was a signatory to the Warsaw Pact.

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During the whole lecture I had only two thoughts in my brain:

  • Does he actually believe what he is saying?
  • Why is no one questioning this?

The entire class at Moscow State University was noting this fascist nonsense, without voicing any concerns whatsoever. Later I approached Dugin for an interview. It was clear he wasn’t into debates or discussions which involve anything apart from people who devotedly listen to his “ideology”. Equally, he wasn’t very happy with my Ukrainian accent.

“Are you from Rostov?” he asked

“Of course, I’m from Rostov”, I said, trying to play it cool after an hour-long lecture on how my nation should be exterminated.

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After the lecture he seemed relieved that he no longer had to “put on a performance”. Still, I did not understand whether he believed in what he preached or simply thought it’s a great way to become irreplaceable. Honestly, even today I cannot understand if those people on Russian state TV, or even Putin himself, believe in the mantra on Russia’s divine mission that they are feeding to its people.

I don’t think we will ever know. What I do know is that nothing of these things matter or justify someone advocating genocide. Dugin’s preaching on the necessity of murder backfired on him when his own daughter was assassinated a few days ago.  Whoever was the actual target this weekend, father or daughter, it looks like everyone is replaceable after all.

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A fringe philosopher or the key ideologist of Russian Imperialism? Dugin’s teachings are instrumental in understanding the essence of the “Russian World” and its motivations. In my thesis Eurasianism: A Russian Monroe Doctrine? I argued that Russia will try to restore the Soviet Union as the only way to preserve its imperialist essence; however, as most post-Soviet states have new interests and agenda, almost none will be interested in joining the reincarnation of the USSR, and so Russia would have to do so by force.

Less than a year later Russia had annexed Crimea and started the hybrid war in Ukraine’s industrial heartland, Donbas. Today, Russia is waging the biggest and bloodiest war on the European continent since WWII, murdering thousands of Ukrainians on the basis of their ethnicity.

Six months after the full-blown invasion of Ukraine, just like in 2013, when I was writing my thesis, and ever since its inception, Russia cannot be stopped in its imperialist ambitions. It will keep destroying life wherever it goes, as it cannot survive in any other way, apart from sucking the life out of others.

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Neither Ukraine, nor Poland, nor any state, neighbouring the Russian Federation, will be safe while Russia exists in its current form. An empire whose identity is built on the self-reinforcing pillars of suffering glorification, the cult of leader and serf society, cannot and will not stop its expansion unless forced to.

This phenomenon is not unique to Russia. Regardless of essence and level of development, any empire exists only as long as it can keep expanding. And in the history of any empire there comes a time when it has overestimated its potential: Alexander the Great, the British Empire, Nazi Germany – they all ceased to exist when their ambitions had outweighed their abilities.

Russia desperately needs to subjugate Ukraine in order to survive and maintain its insatiable Imperialist nature. Increasingly, however, it looks like Russia has committed the same mistake countless empires have: its life-destroying Imperial nature has stumbled on an entity, whose desire for life is stronger than the empire’s need for self-preservation.

Ukraine must become the choking bone on which the Russian Empire suffocates. Otherwise, the people of Ukraine, Russia, and all other states instrumental to Russian imperialism will remain nothing but enslaved bolts in its insatiable imperialist machine.

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Kyiv Post.

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