(Intersection Project) Why Ivan Ilyin is not Putin’s Ideological Guru – Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000 and began reasserting Russia’s influence on the international scene, Western pundits have tried to discern the Russian president’s “brain” or “guru”, convinced that they would be able to identify some shadowy Svengali-like character who would inspire him. Unfortunately, this quest is a lost cause: Putin has had several “gray cardinals”—Vladislav Surkov being probably the most famous—who have helped over the years to shape Russia’s master narrative and the president’s personal image, but there is no single ideological source to be found. On the contrary, the Russian presidential administration cultivates a plural doctrinal market with a flock of advisors offering several mixed ideological products for public consumption.
The person most often identified as Putin’s guru has been so far Alexander Dugin, the Eurasianist and fascist geopolitician. Western experts have mistakenly overstated Dugin’s influence because of his role in popularizing the Eurasianist terminology and neo-imperial projects. However, there is no direct link between Dugin’s neo-Eurasianism and Putin’s Eurasian Union project. Dugin’s ideological repertoire is drawn from the German Conservative Revolution and the French and Italian New Right far more than from the Eurasianist founding fathers of the interwar period. High-ranking Russian officials in charge of the Eurasian Economic Union institutions take their inspiration from Jean Monet and other advocates of a united Europe or from Beijing’s rhetoric of Chinese-style harmonious development, but not from classical Eurasianism. […]
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