Putin and the myth of Eurasia: Ukrainians blame the desire to westernize
How did the concept of “Eurasia” , dear to Vladimir Putin and the philosopher and political scientist very close to him, Aleksandr Dugin, come about? For many it may be surprising to learn that we owe it to Karl Haushofer, a German general and historian who, among other things, also invented the concept of Lebensraum (“living space”). As is well known, Adolf Hitler used it extensively to justify the expansion of Nazi Germany into Eastern Europe.
In Haushofer's geopolitical thinking, the continental bloc formed by Europe and Asia is a geostrategic perspective opposed to the “Anglo-American thalassocracy”. Therefore, the comparison, moved in antiquity, between the terrestrial power of Sparta (equivalent to Russia) and the maritime power of Athens (comparable, instead, to the United States) is inevitable. Apart from the German context, it should also not be forgotten that for a long time there has been a cultural and political trend that looks to the East, underlining the common Eurasian root. This tendency is also present in Russia and in Panturco “Turanism”, the latter dear to Erdogan.
The Eurasia project is proposed as a geopolitical space of civilizations, traditions, religions, which coexist and are realized in defense of identities and the common destiny, in opposition to what its supporters define the "totalitarian process of westernization". For Aleksandr Dugin, for example, liberalism and Atlanticism are completely incompatible with the Russian identity. His thought refers to the teaching of philosophers and intellectuals ranging from Oswald Spengler to Carl Schmitt, from Julius Evola to René Guénon, from Nicolai Alexeiev to Piotr Savitsky. Without neglecting Halford Mackinder, one of the fathers of modern geopolitics, who defined Eurasia as the geopolitical and geostrategic heart of the world, an organic unity born of the close relationship between the Russian and Turkish-Muslim worlds.
One may naturally wonder to what extent Putin takes these theoretical elaborations seriously. Well, in the long off-the-cuff speech he made shortly before launching the invasion of Ukraine, many of these ideas were present. Since the American challenge is a global challenge, the answer must be too. It should not be forgotten that Russia, both Tsarist and Soviet, has always considered itself the bearer of a universal mission that goes far beyond its borders. The idea of Putin, and of many other Russians, is that Eurasia is a telluric continental power (Earth), an alternative to the Thalassocratic one (Sea).
In his opinion, American power and Anglo-Saxon Atlanticism are trying to penetrate the heartland , the geostrategic and geopolitical heart of the world, which is precisely Eurasia. The invasion of Ukraine can be explained not only – but also – with this key. According to the above theses, Europe does not really belong to the Eurasian space. Instead, it is a distinct, free and independent civilization, which adopts Atlanticism and relies on high finance, globalism, linguistic standardization and models of life. For Putin's circle it is a specifically Anglo-American “system to kill peoples”.
It should be noted that, during the aforementioned speech, the Moscow Tsar explicitly invited the Russians to return to the park and sober lifestyle of the past, obviously referring to the Soviet one. One of the main faults of the Ukrainians would be precisely that of wanting to conform to Western civilization, thus betraying Eurasia. However, the Kremlin leader must also have noticed the Westernizing tendencies of young Russians who, as is well known, are very fond of fast food such as McDonald's , rock music and other phenomena that Putin (and Dugin) consider symptoms of decadence along with the battle over human rights.
While it is not yet clear how the invasion of Ukraine, where the Russian army is taking very heavy losses, will turn out, the ideological framework above must also be borne in mind. In the mind of the former KGB official it replaced the previous Marxist-Leninist formation. For him it is a battle to the death against liberal democracy, and an attempt to return to a past that obviously does not pass.
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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL https://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/putin-e-il-mito-delleurasia-colpa-degli-ucraini-il-desiderio-di-occidentalizzarsi/ on Sat, 02 Apr 2022 03:46:00 +0000.