zondag 12 juli 2015
Against Western decadence - The concept of Eurasia
Today the term 'Eurasia' seems to arise again. Although the movement has been familiar with this concept for a longer period of time, and has propagated it here and there, it was recently used by the Russian president Putin. Deservedly?
An exploration through the past of this idea will make clear what this concept means and to what degree national-revolutionaries can benefit from it.
The origin of the 'Eurasian' idea
Russia always had trouble being recognized as a European country by the West. In his time Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725) already fought for a place for Russia in Europe. However, time after time the West judged that Russia in basis would be 'Asian' and therefore could not be a part of Europe. The term 'Eurasia' would arise much later, around 1921.
When the October revolution of 1917 eradicated old feudal Russia, dozens of petit-bourgeois intellectuals (ethnologists, linguists, historians, theologians, philosophers, jurists, etc.) went in exile to foreign countries as a part of the Eurasian movement. (Their theoretical enchiridion was bundled under the title “Der Aufbruch nach Osten”). To understand the concept of Eurasia we first need to look to one of the pioneers of this movement. Nikolaj Trubetzkoj, a linguist born in 1890, was one of its founders (read his many times cited work "Europa und die Menschheit").
If we pick up the links of the West to Peter the Great and his recognition of Russia, we grasp the spirit of the Eurasian idea. In his East-orientation, Trubetzkoj suggests it was not the Kyev-Russian which founded the Russian empire, but the Mongol empire of Dzjengis Khan, and the preceding period the Tartars ruled. It was they who defined the meaning of 'Russia'. Primal-father Khan would have realized the territorial unity for the sovereign territory "Eurasia".
The "civilized' West that considered itself superior and tried to dominate non-European peoples, had to be fought with its own developed cultural aspects, the own conscious backwardness had to develop itself forward. East and West needed to measure themselves to each other.
The future of Russia was not meant as world leader, but that of a vanguard against Europe. This was only possible if Russia hooked on to the liberation movements of the colonial peoples, thus disconnecting itself from the European oppressor, with which Russia had nothing in common.
The conservative author Konstantin Leontjew (1831-1891) can be considered another founder of the Eurasian idea with his position in regard of the Slavs, who's Russian culture needed to be protected against Europe by a clear border (a real wall) between East and West.
The most important difference between the Eurasian ideas and those of Leontjew, is that the latter didn't really reject European culture, but merely its bourgeoisation and democratization, which followed after the French revolution. For Leontjew the old feudal aristocratic Europe was still the greatest example.
The later Eurasian movement saw the civil war, the revolution and the fall of the Tsar as positive developments. They did not entirely reject the Bolshevists, nor the ideas of the uprising Italian fascism. Both were seen as positive developments because of the anti-parliamentary and anti-democratic thoughts.
However, an important obstruction for the Eurasian movement remained the glorification of the own nation under fascism and the imitation of the Western bourgeois culture in the shape of the proletarian culture amongst the Bolshevists. Therefore the "Eurasianists" always wanted to exterminate the ruling Bolshevik Party in the Soviet Union; the hegemony of Marxism had to be replaced by that of Eurasia.
The dead of Trubetzkoj in 1938 led to the disintegration of the Eurasian movement. (He died after a fatal interrogatory by the Gestapo because of the putative criticism on the racial laws of the Nazi’s after the 'Anschluss' of Austria).
The development of the contemporary Eurasian idea
It would take more than 50 years before the Eurasian idea experienced a renaissance. The collapse of the Soviet Union during the Gorbatsjov-era heralded a new phase in the search for a new Russian identity. This identity was formulated by Alexander Dugin (born in 1962), a renewed Eurasian idea. These far right ideas seem to miss the mark with their 'Third Way' concept.
The most important difference between the original concept and that of Dugin is once more a disagreement about the defining of East and West.
Where the original Eurasianists held an isolationist approach, the new Eurasianists have an expansionist agenda. Between West- and East-Europa "only hostility, hatred, ruthless struggle with or without rules, the struggle for the destruction until the last drop of blood, exists. Between them lie mountains of corpses... Who will have the last word? .... This the war will decide, the 'Father of all things', says Elementy, a magazine associated with Dugin.
The difference between the old and the new idea is that Dugin wants to start an offensive of conquest from the East towards the West, whereas the classic Eurasian idea wanted to liberate itself from the West to live independently next to it.
Today also Putin speaks of Eurasia, be it with an even bigger emphasis on the Great-Russian thought. Putin´s concept of Eurasia is a Russian nationalist idea, a greater Russia. It’s not about a united Asia of peoples and its shared (and Dugins) worldview. It’s only about a reaction of might, not a heterogeneous Eastern block against the EU and USA.
Although we national-revolutionaries don't feel much relationship with the new Eurasian concept, we certainly must see the classical concept of Eurasia as an ally. This because:
1) It represents an anti-parliamentary and anti-Tsarist ideology;
2) It defends isolationism against the bourgeois West and wants to unite the peoples of Asia;
3) (Again) it supports Russia in a liberation struggle against European oppression
4) It wants a revolution which is not specifically party-bolshevist nor specifically fascist;
5) Of course next to this, the chauvinist ideas of Dugin and Putin in regard of a Russian imperia need to be rejected.
So if such a Eurasian movement is developing in Russia or abroad, it would do well by searching a close cooperation with the workers movement, to rid itself of its (petit-) bourgeois roots in order to become truly revolutionary.
Then the national-revolutionaries will join them in the Eastern camp and help them against the bourgeois democracy and the imperialist West as its brothers of arms!