This interview was conducted in November 2020, and for reasons beyond our control did not see the light until the 12th issue of the magazine La Emboscadura. In the course of the interview, Dr. Alexander Dugin explains in a clear and diaphanous way what the discipline of ethnosociology consists of, and how it affects the current geopolitical evolution. Although the current events in the Ukrainian war had not yet begun, Dr. Dugin analyzes the structural elements pointing to the possibility of an open conflict between Russia and NATO, between Eurasia and the West.
Thank you very much for accepting our request for an interview. You are a clear reference to what is called global political dissidence, which is normal after having challenged the lines of thought imposed by the political powers in the last decades. I must say that it has been almost impossible to synthesize your knowledge and experience in a few questions.
One of the main problems in understanding your work lies in the concept of ethnosociology, as it tends to be confused with biological concepts. How can this concept be explained to an audience that intermingles many other variables that are alien to the concept itself?
First of all, thank you very much for inviting me to this interview. About the concept of ethnosociology, I have written a book about it, and I have been the one who introduced this discipline into the educational system in Russia. That is why it is an institutionalized discipline in Russian universities. My work is used as a reference for the study of the concept of Russian ethnosociology today, there is no other book that serves as an apprenticeship for students. That is why I can speak not only as the author but also as the scientist who has introduced this field of study, as well as other forms of studying geopolitics in Russia. Neither ethnosociology nor geopolitics existed as disciplines of study neither in the USSR nor in Russia.
In the ethnosociology book, I explain that this concept deals with the forms of society. From my point of view, human society has nothing to do with biology. It is radically the domain of the subject, the cultural, social, and spiritual subject. In no dimension I do speak on biological. The human being is very similar to animals, but in the end, he lacks similarities with the animal. That is why man must be studied, and must be explained, within the context that is proper to man. When we speak of the human, of man, we speak of something very specific that we cannot separate from the mind, from his capacity to think. It is precisely this thinking that is at the center of society, or of the community. That is why ethnosociology never speaks of the biological aspects of blood; only of social symbols and concepts within a sociological prism. It is a part of sociology that presents man as a social being, exclusively. Therefore, all forms, and identities, of social organization can be chosen. Nothing is fixed by destiny. For man everything is freedom. For this reason, even in the most closed societies, there are mechanisms to change social destiny, to readapt identities, to be reborn again, as reflected in some ancient, traditional rites. It is the way to be reborn again as a member of that community. Even atavistic societies are not radically closed; there are always entry mechanisms... or exit mechanisms, such as ostracism, which is the way to exclude men from society. It is the way to kill them socially.
Ethnosociology is concerned with the study of these diverse forms of social being. The simplest, most primordial form of social organization is ethnos. It is precisely like an archaic society, without hierarchies, stratifications, castes, and without established powers or classes..... Without anything; equality and community. Ethnos is the form of the human organization without hierarchy, without stratification... simplest.
What comes later is a catastrophic separation of the ethnos, when the inner divisions appear, and hierarchies appear. This is the transition from ethnos to people or Laos. Laos is no longer ethnos because there is already a hierarchy. There are dominant classes, and there are subordinates, but Laos exists as a sociological concept. It exists in the conditions of the traditional society; with the ritual with the castes, with the hierarchies, with the religion... very much linked to the sacred In fact, the sacred is at the center of this organization. The ethnos is also based on the sacred, but the difference with Laos is that in this last human formation we already find the priestly caste that is in charge of managing the sacred.
For its part, Laos can manifest itself in three forms, namely religion, state, or civilization. It can do so in a coordinated and simultaneous manner, or it can do so with each element separately. India, for example, is a civilization with its hierarchies and castes, but not necessarily with a state. Sometimes you can find traditional states, sometimes, as in the almost Jewish, you find a people organized by religion. The three forms of human social existence may coincide, or they may be found separately. They are ways in which peoples exist in the age of tradition. It is a stage of premodernity, of which it is sometimes said that the barbarians became with the Laos traditional, leaving behind the savagery of the ethnos.
Then, with modernity comes the nation, which is another form of administration of society, but based on individual identity. In Laos, the identity is of castes or classes, and in ethnos the identity is shared, it is the community itself. Thus, evolution is the identity of the community, the identity of the hierarchies, and the individual identity of which the nation is composed. Citizens are the center of this artificial organization that is the nation. The nation is an artificial construction, of bourgeois origin, which has been built on the destruction of traditional society.
The last complication in the development of society is the civil society that denies this artificial construction that is the nation. In this new stage, society declares itself cosmopolitan and citizens become citizens of the world. This civil society has no form of collective identity; neither archaic, nor traditional, nor artificial. This is the prevailing form of social composition today, and after this could only come the form of a postmodern society. In this new form, individuals will lose any kind of previous individuality that may have existed in the ethnos, Laos, or the nation. After the individuals there will remain the dividual. These will be beings composed of parts, such as cyborgs, mutants, or as a result of genetic engineering. It is a form of posthumanism that will arrive tomorrow.
All these forms of collective and individual identity represent together the forms of radically different societies. Each one with its values, its principles, its models of organization of public, political, social, cultural life... All these forms are the result of man's free decision. It is not destiny or mechanical necessity that provokes these changes. That is why there are today ethnos societies, societies such as Islam, which are more traditional than modern, nations, even the first examples of post-society. All these models of social composition are the object of study of ethnosociology. That is why it is called ethnosociology, because the simplest, most primitive form of the cultural organization of human society is in a sense the ethnos. It is from this community organization that the epochs of transformations begin.
So, we have ethnos as organic communities, as authentic communities. Would Laos already be an artificial community? What variables would make it artificial, like the national one?
Laos is the historical product of the conquest of one ethnos by another. This is very well explained by Luis Gumplowicz in his book "The Struggle of the Races", but by races Gumplowicz understood the concept of ethnos that we have been explaining. According to the author, all forms of hierarchical societies were the product of the victory of one ethnos over another. For this reason, the people, Laos, is necessarily heterogeneous. Taking France as an example, the origin, the denomination, is French (Germanic), the language comes from Latin, and the population, or ethnic substance, is of Celtic origin. France was not a nation, it was a people, Laos, French. The Franks subdued the Celts and the latter were already using the language inherited from Latin. Analyzing all the cases, from the Russians, to the Indians, or the Arabs, we can always discover the bases of some ethnicities over the elites of another.
The people is complex, and it is so because the hierarchies usually represent a more warlike, more aggressive culture, differentiated in some way from the subordinates, which are composed of other ethnic substrates. That is why in the end the organic form of ethnos is relegated to a historical or cultural organization of the people. There is a unity in the people, but more by the histories and myths, by the culture, than by the organic bonds proper to the ethnos. The people, Laos, requires a common representation, while the ethnos has a representation in itself. The ethnos does not need to have a representation of itself in front of it, while the people does need a projection of itself where it can be identified. The village is a cultural and historical form of human organization, it requires elements that make up the unity, it is not as artificial as the nation, but it has lost the organic element of the ethnos.
What is totally artificial is the national community, which is already completely imagined, composed of multiple elements without real history. Nations are bourgeois creations, technical, based on imagined myths. These myths are the degradation of the sacred myths inherited from the ancestors, they are imagined myths, false in this aspect. On this point, I agree with Benedict Anderson in his vision of imagined communities, or with authors such as Ernest Gellner who have criticized the modern and bourgeois roots of the myths of the nation. When analyzing human social organizations, we find ethnic, historical, or cultural organizations such as peoples or Laos, nations exist as an artificial creation. The nation is the beginning of modernity, where individuals free themselves from the artificial form to embrace globalism or liberalism today. Civil society is the end of modernity. Then postmodernity begins.
We have today a conflict about what were the organic communities and what can be the national communities, and even the global ones. In an organic society, it is assumed that social reality is shaped by the direct experience of interaction between individuals. But nowadays social reality is created by the media, the experience of human beings with reality is mediatic, projected as you have remarked about the national society. How can an organic society be confronted with a false representation of society?
From my point of view, in contrast to the assumptions of the moderns, the most archaic forms of social organization, of self-consciousness, such as villages, societies, communities, do not disappear with time. These forms are hidden, they are not clearly visible, but they always exist in a latent way. That is why it is important to remember that although we live in a liberal world, with a single individual identity, there are still nation-states. In this situation our identity is divided into two parts; on the one hand, we are liberal cosmopolitans as part of our existential politics. On the other hand, we have a part of the identity of the national identity. And underneath the national, there are the vestiges of the identity of the organization of the people, and underneath the people, we continue to find ethnical vestiges. All these levels of social or individual self-consciousness in postmodernity are mixed and confused. That is why my idea serves to organize these remnants of the sunken continents of identities in history. These vestiges surviving together are the tools that can be used to destroy the current social organizations. There are those who, in order to impose their interests, evoke the identities of small peoples to destroy the nations, which are currently the ones that represent the problems for the globalists. Thus, the Catalan conscience is used against Spain, or the Chechen conscience against Russia. In the case of the Chechens, you can find village organizations, Laos, but also many ethnic groups. Chechens are very little differentiated, stratified. The globalists could oppose the diverse forms of social organization remaining in history, such as the Kurds against the modern Turkish nation-state, or against Syria. This is only possible if the remnants of previous forms of organization exist in people's consciousness. From my point of view, this is a form of manipulation or instrumentalization of aspects of identities that are latent in societies to defend the specific interests of those who control the media. These groups could organize, even create, the illusions of these identities and push them into a "war of liberation", "for justice", or "against totalitarian repression". Those who organize these political campaigns against their political enemies understand very well the laws of ethnosociology. For me, this field of study was very interesting to discover the truth of the origins and evolution of the social organization, to be able to analyze the aspects of the coexistence and synchronization of the various identities that are hidden in each other, but always present. First of all, I had a scientific interest, but I can see perfectly well how some political institutions that control the media instrumentalize these identities, and could even contradict their arguments defending in one side the minorities while in another they do it with the majorities, in some cases, they defend the unity of the nation while in others they defend the individual identity. It depends on how it serves their interests.
The game of concepts is part of the manipulation. The important thing is not to finish specifying the concept, with its correct and concrete meaning, within the political or geopolitical discourse. It is a form of epistemological manipulation. One of my objectives was to help people get rid of this manipulation, to choose in a conscious way, in a freeway, to be able to choose identities, and to analyze the concrete case. Ethnosociology is key to the interpretation of many political processes taking place in the world.
That is very interesting because the whole latent, traditional, symbolic world is under attack by many political groups. Throughout the world, we see what the condemnation to oblivion, damnatio memorae is. Statues are being torn down, churches are being burned, and the whole symbolism of both Laos and the nation is being re-signified. It seems to be a unilateral war in which only one side is attacked. How should a society, both organic and artificial, behave in order to defend its existential sense?
It is a trend that manifested itself radically with the beginning of modernity, at the time of colonialism, with the discovery of the world outside Europe. It was the moment of the beginning of modernity, a key moment for the development of humanity. It is the dictatorship of time, of history, which was established as if it were an absolute law. This law affirms that time is linear, that time is progress, and that these changes from simple societies to more complex societies such as the national one, is an irreversible process. It is like a mechanical process, destiny. Progress is destiny, and its direction is clear; it is the liberation of all forms of collective identity, organic or artificial. Gradually, after defining this idea that progress is liberation, that progress is a diachronic, not a synchronic form, we cannot choose to be ethnos or peoples or nation. We are all for the mechanical laws of progress destined to develop in this direction. It only remains for us to follow this course, or to remain static in our positions with conservative or archaic postures, always being surpassed by those who march in the direction of the future.
That mechanical advance into the future was the basis of liberal progressive consciousness. It is very important to know that liberalism is a political ideology that puts the individual at the center, which is supposed to be the overcoming of all previous forms of collective consciousness. That is why the victory of liberalism in the 20th century over its two main enemies, also modern enemies, not organic, also artificial, such as communism and fascism, was the moment of total victory, the end of history, as Fukuyama called it. This end of history was the end of the link of the individual with previous forms of collective consciousness. For convinced liberals, it may be an absolute truth, or dogma, that this is so. They think that we are all destined to go down the same path, from organized society to artificial society to liberal society. That is why they attack all the symbolism of traditional society. They attack all those archaic vestiges referring to religion, history, or other aspects of previous collective consciousness.
Behind these pretensions, the most cynical and dangerous liberals understand that this is not so. They know that vestiges of these consciousnesses remain, and they instrumentalize these same vestiges, which they deny at the same time. They claim at the same time that these vestiges do not exist, but they use these levels of the hidden deep consciousness to reach more developed forms of their progress. They use the consciousness of small peoples against large nations. They use religions, such as stirring up Islam against the remnants of Christianity, and vice versa. They create controversies between the Catholic Church, Orthodox, and Islam without believing in any creed, but to manipulate these consciences and destroy all these tendencies of the traditional world.
It is necessary to understand this logic, not only defending the nation, the people, or the religion, but understanding the origin of everything that is happening today. Everything comes from the almost religious faith in progress in a linear time in the absence of eternity, and precisely from the destruction of the sacred. In the face of this, it is assumed that we can save neither the nation, nor the family, nor even man as such. We cannot face this attack of postmodernity without going back to our roots, to our previous collective identity, to religion, to traditional society, to sacred values, and even to some ethnic values. These ethnic or archaic groups have an explanation for many of the identities that exist within ourselves. It is necessary to study archaic societies more than traditionalist ones because in these ethnos we find elements closer to sacredness. This had been previously studied by Mircea Eliade and Ioan Culianu. Ethnosociology is the indispensable tool for true traditionalists who want to oppose this modernity and its consequent postmodernity. It is an indispensable tool for those scholars who want to save culture, society, and man from the destructive mechanical negative destiny of progress, which is represented by the liberals today.
Here we seem to be at a disadvantage; the liberals, globalists, or however we want to define them, know all the elements that make up a society. There are many institutions creating a new mythology, a new symbolism, a new system of rites for the new world they are creating. How can the concept of the posthuman be conceived from a traditional, religious vision?
In my opinion, I believe that it is somehow an antichrist. Trying to recreate an artificial sacredness after destroying all organic sacredness, to do away with the superhuman only from the human. It is like a great parody, Rene Guenon explains it in an excellent way in his book The Kingdom of Quantity, at the end of the book when he speaks of the end of the era of materialism, of the destruction of cynicism and secularism, the time will come for the creation of the new symbology, of the new rites, and of the new non-human. Tradition was also rooted in the non-human over the human, in the divine elements, properly speaking. After destroying all allusions to this divine element, the progressives themselves want to create an inverse form of the sacred, totally artificial constructed by them. It is a great travesty with its rites and its artificial sacred elements, it is an anti-church. The church of the antichrist that comes to us with false miracles, and new perversions in the form of cults or sects that radically pervert traditional values. We live in the stage of postmodernity, which is the transition from the materialistic stage to the inversion of the sacred. It is like a test of God. How can a person who has turned away from the divine face the return to a false sacredness? It is a worse stage than the pure nihilism of modern materialism. This is the phase that is beginning, we are in this phase of cyclical development.
In your work, and in your articles, you always link postmodernity, the concept of the posthuman with liberalism, mainly with Western institutions or with the United States. However, China is the country that is doing the most research on creating a posthuman society. How can you link in a real way the concept of posthumanity with real institutions that are working in this sense on society?
In this sense, I always thought that China was a very postmodern society, but after living in the country for some time I have discovered that China imitates the West on the surface, but its center is a much more traditional society than Russia or some Islamic societies. It is the Confucianist society that was hidden under Maoism or liberalism before communism. But it is always the Chinese society. Being Chinese is much more important to the Chinese than all other superficial identities. The Chinese can be said to want to transform poison into medicine. In a clear way they hate liberalism from its root, but they use some economic and technological aspects to defend themselves from the liberalism of globalization. They use these tools of globalization for the benefit of China, for the benefit of the greatness of their civilization. But the Chinese do not let that poison into their society. This is the reason why they don't allow YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to enter their territory. They create their own platforms that are technically similar in some aspects, but ideologically and culturally different. It is very important their strategy, the whole mentality of China works on getting to maintain the independence and sovereignty of the country using the elements that they take from the West. China is not postmodern, it is a traditional society that wants to use postmodernity for its own interests.
Liberalism, unlike China, is the last stage in the development of Western modernity. It is a nihilism that threatens the individual himself. The liberation of all forms of collective identity, as represented today by gender politics, implies that female or male identity is destroyed as a collective. This is the goal of gender politics; to liberate the human being from the identity of female or male sex. The only remaining step forward in this direction is to free individuals from human identity. Posthumanism is ready, we already have sketches of a future that is beginning to emerge. Posthumanism opens the way to do away with humanity, it openly does so. It does not hide that it wants to cede the governance of posthumans to Artificial Intelligence, to machines.
In this sense China is not liberal, it uses the elements of postmodernity for the benefit of its traditional society. This is why I believe that the greatest danger to mankind is not China, but the modern West. Since the beginning of the entry into modernity, it had already prepared with its materialism, individualism, and nominalism of scholasticism, the end of the cycle that arrives today.
In this sense, I am convinced that liberalism is much more incompatible with the human being. Liberalism is a form of radical dehumanization. We can imagine that if the West resists this process of dehumanization, the focus of liberalism could change its place. For example with Trump, and with the outbreak of civil war that has happened, one can suppose that the center of the globalists, of the architects of the Great Parody, could be located elsewhere, not necessarily in the West. It could even move to Russia, China, Africa, or Antarctica. Anything could be. But it is the modern history of the West that has brought us this result. This result is not the natural development of Russian or Chinese culture, it is the result of the nihilistic nature of modern Western society. For China, this is something that lurks outside, for the West it is something that arises from within.
In today's world, it is evident that there is an alliance between Russia and China, there are many people who wonder if it is an alliance between Holy Russia and Confucian China, or if it is an alliance between the USSR and the CPC. In what terms is this alliance being made and with what real objectives, beyond the economic ones?
I believe that neither Russian communism nor Chinese communism were what we had in mind, what they seemed to be. According to Marx, the communist, socialist, Bolshevik revolution could take place only in industrialized countries, which were Western capitalist countries. Contrary to this precept of Marx we see that the revolutions took place in totally opposite conditions, as were agricultural countries without capitalism or industry, as were Czarist Russia or China. Precisely for this reason, the populations of these countries have retained aspects of previous social identities, such as those reflected in the study of ethnosociology. This turned Russian and Chinese communisms into communisms with traditional features. With this, it could be understood that the alliance of these two communisms were not only ideological, but the alliance of two anti-Western civilizations. It could be seen as two barbarian civilizations against the modern progressive civilization.
Today it is important to note that the alliance of Putin's Russia and Xi Jinping's China is based on the idea of multipolarity. Against the unipolar world, Russia and China oppose the multipolar world. This is the general strategic idea of both countries. At the same time, both countries reject the globalist liberalist model, thus opposing not only to unipolarity but also to the ideology on which it is based. Russia is more conservative, and China is more social-confucianist. So, for two different reasons both countries want to preserve their sovereignty in front of the West. It is a strategy that goes beyond economic relations, there are many more elements that link both countries and make them allies. Both countries have a vision of a common alternative future.
In his geopolitical work, you talk a lot about the axes that Russia has to have, such as the axis that it has to have with Tehran, and other parts of the world. Recently we have seen a new axis which is Moscow-Ankara. In historical terms there was always a certain conflict with Turkey, how are you approaching these relations for the future?
We have always had many conflicts with Turkey, we Russians have always considered that this country was the reason that did not allow us to have free access to the Mediterranean. But many things have changed since then. Turkey, in recent years, has understood that Turkish identity is not compatible with Western identity and that it has nothing to do with liberalism. The Turkish people are nationalists or traditionalists. It is the traditional people in the form of the nation, but social relations such as stratification, cults, and the sacred, are more important for the Turks than the nation. It is a form of modern nationalism closely linked with the traditional identity, they are two societies in the same system. Turks are discovering more and more their Eurasian identity, incompatible with the West, but more compatible with the Russian Eurasian identity. That is the reason why today they see their place within the multipolar world as a whole. The sovereign Islamic Turkish people feel more comfortable not only with Russia, but also with the West, being it Europe and the United States. This is why Turkey is gradually becoming Russia's ally. It is not that the Turks have become Russophiles or vice versa, it is simply that they are aware of the changes in the geopolitical situation. Turkish generals in their military academies almost all study the books I authored. Even the first editions which were quite critical to Turkey, but they have been able to put those aspects aside to look at the essence of the geopolitical content. And they have seen that there are two geopolitical aspects, not only the Western Atlanticist one but another continental geopolitical alternative. This vision of land power corresponds much more to Turkey's strategic interests than the civilization of the sea. This vision changed the Turkish strategic mentality before the arrival of Erdogan. In fact, Erdogan was at the beginning much more Islamist, Westernist, Atlanticist, but a large part of his members of the general staff have become strategically Eurasianist, which led Erdogan to put many of these generals in prison, as they were anti-nato, anti-Atlantist. Eventually, Erdogan's vision changed, and the generals were released from prison. Erdogan has turned his geopolitical vision towards the Eurasian vision of a multipolar world. Only in this context could Turkey assert its sovereignty and identity. It was at this moment that the Atlanticists wanted to carry out a coup d'état against him. It was precisely at this time that I myself was in Ankara.
Speaking of the Atlanticist axis and NATO, it is worth remembering that Turkey is one of the most powerful armies of this military alliance. Today, as a member of NATO, it is taking political positions totally opposed to Atlanticist interests. What is the future precision of the Atlanticist axis in these circumstances?
It is possible that the Atlanticist axis will cease to exist in the future because it does not correspond to any reality. I even think it would be possible for Turkey to leave NATO. Turkey's relations with NATO member countries, such as France, are getting worse every day. NATO no longer corresponds to reality. Neither Europe nor the USA have the same objectives, they are very different. Among NATO countries, conflicts are increasing, not only between Greece, France, or Turkey but also between France and Italy, for example. Eastern Europe is also increasingly denying this form of "left-wing" liberalism which, on the contrary, is growing in Western Europe. In all respects, NATO is breaking down, and sooner or later this bloc will dismember. While Brexit is signifying the end of the EU, Turkey's exit from NATO would mean that we are already entering a multipolar world. I believe that the moment when multipolarity is accepted is very near.
Dr. Dugin, thank you very much for your attention. It has been a real lesson and an honor to listen to your entire presentation. I hope we can repeat this conversation in the future.
Interview by Nuño Rodríguez, political scientist and analyst.