Russian fascism has a long and distinguished history, almost coextensive with Mussolini’s and Hitler’s.
After the revolution, some two million Russians ended up in Europe, mostly in Germany, France and Czechoslovakia. Just about every political movement found its adherents within that group, and fascism was among the most prominent – especially in Germany.
In 1922 the Russian fascists Sergey Taboritsky and Pyotr Shabelsky-Bork murdered the exiled liberal politician Vladimir Nabokov, the writer’s father. But the inspiration behind them came from Gen. Vasily Biskupsky.
Biskupsky was a rich man in his own right, but – if persistent rumours are to be believed – he also had access to a chunk of the Romanovs’ money, which he channelled into the war chests of various German extremists. One of the grateful recipients was the party later known as the NSDAP – the Nazis.
In addition to helping finance Hitler’s rise to power, Biskupsky founded and ran the Aufbau (Economic-Political Society for Aid to the East), where one of his employees was Alfred Rosenberg, a bilingual Balt educated in Petersburg.
(A funny digression if I may. Back in 1973 I was tangentially involved with Radio Liberty in New York, where I met a sixtyish Russian who during the war had been a lieutenant in the Abwehr.
Shortly after publishing his sinewy pamphlet Der Untermensch, where the Slavs were described as the eponymous subhumans, Rosenberg came to inspect the Abwehr headquarters. My acquaintance asked him, in German, “Am I subhuman too?”
“No,” replied Rosenberg. “You can’t be subhuman because you are wearing the uniform of a German officer. “How about my wife?” Rosenberg thought for a second and switched to Russian: “Idite na khui” – go fuck yourself. I told you he was fully bilingual.)
The principal theoreticians of Russian fascism were émigré writers Ivan Shmelyov and Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s favourite philosopher. Through his more hands-on disciples in Germany and their capable friends like Rosenberg he influenced German Nazism, not just the Russian variety.
But of course cultural, historical and philosophical inputs into Nazism were many, which is the case with all successful ideologies. Marx, for example, identified his major influences as French utopian socialism (such as Saint-Simon’s and Fourier’s), Hegel’s dialectics and the classical economics of Smith and Ricardo.
The Nazi river was also fed by many tributaries, and Dugin has followed that fine tradition. His ‘philosophy’ is a mishmash of Orthodox Third Rome messianism, Russian fascism of the 1920s-1940s and the Eurasian movement of the same period.
The latter deserves a special mention because it was one of the prongs of the GPU (KGB’s precursor) op to divide and destabilise the Russian émigré community, which at the time was still seen by the Soviets as a serious threat. Another prong was the Changing of Signposts movement, whose proponents tried to convince the émigrés that Bolshevism shouldn’t be resisted because it embodied the Russian national idea.
The Changing of Signposts was created and tightly controlled by the GPU, but the pre-existent Eurasian movement was something they merely piggybacked. As a result, it became another conduit for Soviet propaganda that eventually succeeded in emasculating the emigration as a viable force.
Dugin created his ideological synthesis by adding to the elements I mentioned above a sort of mysticism based on the death cult. Observing death, he wrote, is a key formative experience for one’s personality and soul.
That should have provided a silver lining to the cloud of watching his daughter’s car explode before his own eyes. Dugin is doubtless bereaved, but his soul has emerged so much the better developed.
Our papers didn’t cover the response to the assassination on Russia’s official TV channels, which is a pity. I’ll try to fill in that gap, not to deprive you of the entertainment value.
“If some scum in Russia is gloating, he should be sent down!” screamed Vladimir Solovyov, affectionately nicknamed ‘Putin’s Goebbels’, the host of a talk show that’s on eight hours every day.
He then added, somewhat incongruously, I’d even say incomprehensibly, that the fitting response would be to “create sharashki”. These were GULAG setups, where imprisoned scientists and engineers were made to toil for the Soviets. Solzhenitsyn described one such in his First Circle. Both Tupolev, of the Tu planes fame, and Korolyov, the driving force behind the Soviet space programme, used to be inmates.
Then Solovyov and his guests turned their attention to Britain, which had incurred their displeasure. “Britain,” explained one of the guests, “plays the role of a European ISIS”.
“If the US wants to talk to us,” he continued, “the entry ticket must be the reining in of Britain. Denuclearisation. Outside administration. The aim should be a total obliteration of this ugly hotbed of perversion, paedophilia, drug addiction and other filth.”
Britain isn’t the only country slated for obliteration, for the Ukraine is still kicking. Thus, another guest suggested that Darya Dugina ought to be commemorated by naming one of Kiev streets after her – after the Ukraine has been brought to heel.
“After the murder of Darya Platonova [Dugina], it’s our duty to annihilate that instrument of evil, to annihilate the Ukraine as a terrorist state. We can’t coexist with the Ukraine on the same earth. It’s impossible to coexist with infernal evil.”
That strategy was neatly, if somewhat illogically, summed up by another guest: “Whoever is behind the murder of Darya Dugina, the Ukraine must be eradicated.”
This last phrase is repeated on Russian TV so often that the Roman senator Cato (d. 46 BC) must feel envious, wherever he is. He only repeated “Deletando est Carthago” (Carthage must be destroyed) a few times, not hundreds of times every day.
You see what you are missing by your inability to follow primary sources? Our own talk shows sound positively insipid by comparison. Where’s the passion, the fervour, the unrestrained vocabulary, the calls to genocide?
Verily I say unto you, if you want to be properly entertained, learn Russian. It may not be the only language for verbal fun, but Chinese would be harder to pick up.