"The Gorbachev years (1985-1991) represent, in the eyes of the author of Foundations of Geopolitics [Aleksandr Dugin, a prominent Russian political analyst], one of the most wrenching geopolitical defeats in the millennial history of Russia- Eurasia-USSR. Beginning in 1989, it became clear that “no-one in the Soviet leadership was capable of explaining the logic of traditional [Soviet] foreign policy and, as a result, there took place the lightning-fast destruction of the gigantic Eurasian organism...” (p. 95).47 Unexpectedly, the USSR “found itself in almost the same situation as postwar Germany – its world influence reduced to nothing, its territory sharply diminished, its economy and social sphere reduced to ruins” (p. 96).
The Soviet disaster of 1989-1991, like the earlier German one, resulted, Dugin contends, from a failure of the country’s leaders to heed the counsel of its geopoliticians. Hitler disregarded the advice of Karl Haushofer and other specialists when he decided to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. In similar fashion, a “certain secret department of the GRU” and other voices had long been advocating a “Eurasian” course for the USSR, but their advice went unheeded (p. 103).
As Dugin sees it, the “project” which Westernizing Russian reformers attempted to implement during the Gorbachev and Yeltsin years has by now been fully discredited: “This project denies such values as the people, the nation, history, geopolitical interests, social justice, the religious factor, etc. In it, everything is constructed on the principle of maximal economic effectiveness, on the primacy of the individual, on consumerism and the ‘free market’” (p. 179).
The Atlanticists (and, especially, the United States), Dugin believes, consciously plotted the downfall of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR. “The Heartland therefore is required to pay back Sea Power in the same coin” (p. 367). The goal, as Dugin sees it, is to resuscitate and reinvigorate Eurasia/Russia after the near-fatal geopolitical blows it absorbed in 1989-1991.
The current Russian Federation, which appeared in 1991 from under the rubble of the USSR, is, Dugin emphasizes, not a full-fledged state but rather “a transitional formation in the broad and dynamic global geopolitical process” (p. 183). The new states which have come into existence on the space of the former Soviet Union also do not, with the sole exception of Armenia, possess any markings of authentic statehood (p. 187). Rather they represent artificial, ephemeral political constructs.
The ethnic Russian people, in contrast, are seen as “the bearers of a unique civilization.”48 Russians are a messianic people, who possess “universal, pan-human significance” (p. 189). The Russian people, Dugin insists, can only serve as the core ethnos of a vast empire: “[T]he Russian people never made its goal the creation of a mono- ethnic, racially uniform state” (p. 190). Such a distorted view represents “the Atlanticist line masking itself as ‘Russian nationalism’” (p. 213).
“A repudiation of the empire-building function,” Dugin warns sternly, “would signify the end of the Russian people as a historical reality, as a civilizational phenomenon. Such a repudiation would be tantamount to national suicide” (p. 197). Deprived of an empire, Russians will “disappear as a nation” (p. 251). The sole viable course, therefore, in Dugin’s view, is for Russians to rebound from the debacle of 1989-1991 by recreating a great “supra-national empire,” one in which ethnic Russians would occupy “a privileged position” (pp. 251-252). The result of such a rebuilding effort would be “a giant continental state in the administration of which they [Russians] will play the central role” (p. 253). This ethnic model, Dugin notes, is quite similar to that of the former Soviet Union.
In order to facilitate the recreation of a vast Russia-dominated continental empire, Dugin advocates the unleashing of Russian nationalist sentiment, but of a specific type. “This [Russian] nationalism,” he writes, “should not employ state but, rather, cultural-ethnic terminology, with a special emphasis on such categories as ‘Narodnost’’ and ‘Russian Orthodoxy’” (p. 255). Religious sentiment, Dugin urges, should be placed front and center: “Russians should realize that they are Orthodox in the first place; [ethnic] Russians in the second place; and only in the third place, people” (p. 255). There is a need, Dugin goes on to insist, for the “total churchification” of Russians, for the Russian nation to come to be viewed simply as “the Church” (pp. 255-256). Such an emphasis, he believes, should – together with a persistent focus on the glorious past and bright future of the Russian nation – help serve to bring about the “demographic upsurge” so desperately needed by Russians today. Economic incentives by themselves will prove insufficient to promote such an upsurge (pp. 256-257). One “radical” slogan, Dugin concludes, must be consistently put forward: “The nation is everything; the individual is nothing” (p. 257). This slogan encapsulates one of Dugin’s most cherished beliefs."