Fashioned by Russian political theorist Alexander Dugin, Neo-Eurasianism is a rabidly anti-liberal geostrategic ideology that seeks to turn Russia into a hegemon of the new multipolar world. So just how much influence does it wield in the Kremlin?
The short answer, lots.
What is Neo-Eurasianism?
Eurasianism first came to prominence in the 1920s. As a political theory, Eurasianism posits that the Eurasian civilisation is unique from both Western European and Eastern Asian cultures, with each civilisation unique and incompatible – influenced by centuries of linguistic idiosyncrasy, geography, history, and interaction of peoples.
At the time, the theory contended that the Bolshevik Revolution was a response to the Westernisation of Imperial Russia and the Tsardom, with many proponents of the theory syncretising support for the newly formed Soviet government with previous imperial ambition to advocate for a greater Russia. This support among early Eurasianist thinkers such as Nikolai Trubetzkoy later washed away as the Soviets dismantled historical elements of Russian tradition and culture such as the Russian Orthodox Church.
Though, the ideology continued during the USSR through Lev Gumilev who fostered a narrative shift among proponents of Eurasianism and Russian nationalism. According to Tristan Kenderdine’s review essay Lev Gumilev’s Eurasianism and ethnonationalist misappropriation of historical geography, the anthropologist “changed the shape of the historical geography of Russia. His work forced a paradigm shift from the orthodox historiography of Russian survival of the Mongol invasions, to a view of Russian history that better reflected the institutional interactions between Russia and Turkic and Mongol peoples on the Eurasian landmass”.
As such, under Gumilev’s academic leadership, the narrative of Russian nationalism shifted from ethno-centric Russianism through to the broader concept that Eurasia has been shaped by interaction of a number of local ethnographies.