Sunday, January 18, 2015

If Ivan Ilyin and his anticommunism is in Putin's heart and mind ... (A continuation of the argument)

Gordon Hahn's article on Putin's political ideology allows to validate few things. One is Putin's apparent anticommunism, of which Western lefties were in denial, and, which, as Hahn suggests, should make Putin conditionally more likeable and moderate for the West.

Hahn also says, what Alexander Mercouris finds especially outstanding and helpful, that, with his anticommunism, Putin is not as anti-Western or imperial as the West makes him appear to be. What Mercouris does not seem to have noticed or to have any issue with, is that Hahn then declares Putin's ideology ("moderate nationalism" based on a mixture of conservatism and political mysticism) is "dubious" in its very foundation because it fails short of the West's liberalism or of what the West preaches. The very "dubious" is in the lexicon close to the meaning of the words "fishy" and "shady."

Does then Mercouris agree with Hahn, "one of the best" articles on the subject and also one that is "outstanding," that Putin's ideology, however, moderate, is also dubious and, not only dubious, but dubious in its very foundation, as Hahn sees it?

Since I do think that Putin's anticommunism, and the more so one based on Ilyin, is not only dubious, but also a major liability and problem, my use of the word "dubious" is used for reasons very different from Hahn's Western liberal perspective, the liberalism of which is now used as a way in which a Western liberal is trying, so it seems, to save and protect Putin and his political thought from the slander of other Western liberals.

Moreover, Mercouris also seems to overlook the fact that, for the West and Western liberalism, anything dubbed "nationalism," which the West does not like or approve of, is, by definition, not only a problem and threat, but also anti-Western. Hahn just does not spell it to the cruising readers.

Nina Kouprianova standing by Dugin, who receives in Hahn's article the now prevailing treatment from Western commentators, does make several valid points: "This is one of the WORST articles republished by the Russia Insider because it masquerades as moderate, not to mention several factual errors. Indeed, Dugin does not have the influence on the Kremlin many of us wish he did; the likes of Glenn Beck are, well, total idiots. And, Putin has been a lot more geopolitically accommodating than we thought he'd be in this past year, whether due to personal (i.e., a little too pragmatic, tactical, and liberalized rather strategic and traditionalist) ideology or political "6th-column" constraints (or both). At the same time, falsely branding Dugin a "neo-fascist" with an extremist ideology--rather than a thinker with entirely justifiable and reasonable geopolitical goals--plays right into Russia's enemies' hands. And then there are facts: for instance, that shrill old man, Kurginyan, is not a "colleague," nor was he on the same page in regard to Novorossia in the spring; indeed, he was a sellout, and, as of recent, he sued Dugin. So, with friends like this, or, rather, 'positive' articles like this, who needs enemies?"

This brings me to a proposition. For some reasons, Western liberals (not to mention the US-censored wikipedia when it comes to sensitive political issues, including this one), but also Putin and his political circle, have been trying to rehabilitate (and whitewash) Ivan Ilyin and to present him much as "the mind and the heart" of Putin and thus also basically the one political philosopher for Russia. The most general and thus not much informative label under which Ilyin is presented is "conservatism." But conservatism is also the general characterization of Alexander Dugin's thought.

In this regard, Hahn paints Ilyin as an opponent of Nazism and totalitarianism and as an otherwise moderate conservative thinker. But, like others, Hahn calls Dugin a neo-Nazi or verbatim "the neo-fascist Eurasianist geopolitical philosopher Alexander Dugin."

However, I would say that, like Putin, Dugin too might very well share a good deal with Ivan Ilyin and that the conservatism of both or all three (if we include Putin) might not that different or apart. In this regard, it would be certainly great if Alexander Dugin himself gives us his view or commentary 1) on Hahn's article and 2) on the agreements or differences between him and Ilyin.

A key question, which needs to be addressed before a further progress can be made and better clarity achieved, is then this one: Why is Ilyin's "dubious" conservatism for the West apparently more acceptable and even quite "moderate" as opposed to Dugin's anticommunist conservatism? One obvious reason might be that Ilyin is dead, hence, in some way, safe and secure. However, the reason has to be, I would say, deeper than that. Is it perhaps because, geopolitically, Dugin is much more realistic and strategic and thus, in a way, deeper than Ilyin ever was?

1 comment:

  1. A quick review of what Ilyin is said to have thought seems in many respects quite parallel to Dugin's view's as expressed in "The Fourth Political Theory".