Aired on the Russian Channel One, April 21, 2014
Transcribed by Michael M.
VP: Our guest today is the philosopher Alexander Dugin. Hello, Alexander Gelyevich.
AD: Hello. Christ is Risen!
VP: Well, maybe. You know that I have a somewhat different opinion about these things. I wanted to ask you – I introduced you as a philosopher. Would you add anything to that?
AD: I think that that is a precise description.
VP: Okay, excellent.
AD: Laconic and –
AD: and precise.
VP: Excellent. You know, we are little acquainted with one another, but for a long time, for that matter. I remember many years ago, I don’t remember exactly when, but it seems to me certainly more than ten years, and maybe even fifteen years ago you came to my home.
AD: Yes, I remember.
VP: You remember, yes? We spoke, it seems to me, for about an hour and a half, and then you left, and I still ask myself why you came. Why did you want to talk to me? We maintain rather different views. What interested you?
AD: It seems to me that despite all the different perspectives in Russia of symbolic, bright people to whom social opinion pays attention, a rationally-based, argumentative dialogue is very important, is necessary. I left you, if you remember, a whole stack of books, which has doubled over the last eleven or twelve years. In any case, I just think that in our society there can be different positions; our positions are polar opposites, on the majority of questions. But it seems to me that the argumentative quality of positions is right now much more important than what position we take. I think that you set forth the liberal position sufficiently convincingly and clearly, and it seems to me that people who possess argumentation, whatever their position, will relate to one another more than amateurs, even if they have opposite positions, than those people who, foaming at the mouth, set out to prove their rightness, often enough not even deeply convinced of them.
VP: Not even understanding very well what they’re talking about.
AD: That’s the problem. It is the disease of neophytes; when they come across some new teaching, they try to be holier than the Pope […]
VP: I remember our discussion concerning the battle between Water and Land –
VP: Atlanticism and all these things…and I remember that…how can I put it…I was a little scared by your opinion that conflict between them is inevitable, and that even war [between them] is inevitable. Taking into account, as one of my colleagues said in a patriotic tirade, that Russia can turn the US into nuclear ash, though of course he forgot to add that the reverse is true, that the US can turn Russia into nuclear ash, and precisely for this reason, probably, there has not been war yet, since both sides understood that. Do you still think that war between these two sides – let’s say, Russia and America, Land and Water – is inevitable?
AD: It is not that it is inevitable, it’s happening. It can have different forms. But this is the basis of geopolitics. This is not my own, personal opinion. There is a discipline of geopolitics, created by Anglo-Saxons – Halford Mackinder – then it was developed by Germans, like Karl Haushofer, then it was taken up by Russian Eurasianists – Pyotr Savitsky – and now it is taught in all countries. And it is all based on this conflictual schema, that there are two incommensurate civilizations, two fundamental types of human, say, the civilization of the sea, Atlantism, today represented by America, and the civilization of the sea, represented traditionally by Russia, or the Heartland, and between them there is a positional struggle. So, sometimes this struggle, which is simply going on all the time, reaches a hot phase, sometimes a cold phase, sometimes a certain softening of these contradictions…but it exists always.
VP: You don’t insist that armed conflict is inevitable.
AD: Absolutely not. Moreover, I think that the readier we will be and will recognize the character of this opposition – structural, systemic, not accidental, not connected with events, with some or another relative circumstances – the more chance there is to avoid a cold war, because –
VP: A hot war.
AD: Yes, sorry, a hot war. A cold war cannot be avoided. The nuclear program in the Soviet Union was connected with precisely this, since in the opposite case, in the opposition of the system, at that time the battle of land and sea in the Soviet Union took place under an ideological sign, before then it was a competition of empires, now it is the opposition of democratic governments, but nevertheless this significance of this opposition does not change. If we want to avoid a hot war, we must be ready for precisely what Kiselev is talking about, the destruction of America. It is ready to destroy us, and this mutual readiness removes, in my opinion, the risk and danger –
VP: That’s what they call “Mutually Assured Destruction” in America, when the destruction of each side is secured, and precisely this held both sides back-
AD: Absolutely, both us and them. But until a certain point, until there began in the 90s an imbalance, a substantial imbalance in their favour-
VP: A nuclear one?
AD: In armaments…they attained a very serious superiority over us, and in the 90s this asymmetry gave rise to the impression that Russia in one, two, ten years will fall so far behind the West that it will not be able to guarantee mutual destruction-
VP: That the West might not be able to restrain itself.
AD: And then, of course, the West no longer has a restraining power factor. We become undefended, and the entire 90s were a test of this weakness, because after the fall of the Soviet Union Chechnya began, where the separatists were supported by the West, then the battle for the post-Soviet space, but as became clear over the last fourteen years – or maybe this began a little earlier or a little later – we are ready to announce a geopolitical zone of responsibility; we are not attacking the US, we cannot advance our bases-
VP: But is that even possible without starting a third world war?
AD: I mean that we are not attacking positionally. We are not advancing our military bases closer to their territory-
VP: How could that be done? No one there would accept them. You understand, it is completely different situation…
AD: Venezuela, Cuba…
VP: We tried to do that once, and you remember what came of it.
AD: We tried, and it was a symmetrical system. I am not a supporter of such escalations of conflicts. But zones of responsibility, zones of civilization, of land-civilization and sea-civilization, are in general sufficiently organic and comprehensible. And precisely here things become unhealthy. If we try to strengthen our military presence in Cuba, this will be a challenge [to the US], simply a challenge. In precisely the same way, the overthrow in Kiev is an invasion…
VP: Let’s leave Kiev to the side for now. We’ll return to it. This weekend, this whole Christian world celebrated Easter, regardless of the branch of Christianity, as you know. And you of course know that Christ was, at least when you read the New Testament, very peaceful, and violence was to him deeply…I don’t even know how to say it, but unpleasant, unacceptable, and so on. You have spoken many times about your Orthodoxy and of course about your belief in Christ, but sometimes it seems to me that you yourself a rather blood-thirsty person. I’ll allow myself to remind you why I think that. Very recently you said the following: “for country, for Russia, for truth, for justice, for an idea, for the people, and for correct political convictions, one must shoot and kill”. You said that about a year ago, word for word. Shoot whom? Kill whom? What kind of idea is this?
AD: First, Christ was perfect man and perfect God. That’s the first thing. Second, Christ chased the money-changers out of the temple, and he said “I bring not peace, but the sword”. And “the kingdom of God is won by power”. Of course, Christianity is a peaceful religion. And nevertheless, over the entire two-thousand year course of Christianity, we see that Christian countries, almost always in the course of their history, waged wars. So in my opinion, to represent Christianity as only pacifism at any price is not entirely accurate. The second point: what do I mean by readiness to kill?
AD: Readiness, I would say. I mean – and by the way, as a rule I say that to kill and to die, or I would even say to die and to kill, this means-
VP: I cited you.
AD: It happens that people do not always convey my thoughts precisely-
VP: But this is your quotation. Trust me, I read carefully and didn’t even it tear it from the text.
AD: I don’t dispute the meaning of it. I will explain what I mean. I simply think that a person’s convictions, his belonging to a civilization, to a country, to a church, to religion, and even to a political ideology are commensurate with the value of his life, and only when the value of life is contained as a basis or pledge of our own ideas and opinions, then we are ready to defend our rightness, risking our lives-
VP: Or obligated?
AD: Or obligated. In some cases, when someone is an aggressor in relation to our faith, to our ideas sometimes, to our country, to patriotism, to our people, we must be ready to kill. Why? Because a man, in my opinion, is principally a soldier. Of course, he tries to avoid this – I am not saying to engage in terror, I am not saying to kill everyone-
VP: That’s good.
AD: Today we hear different people […] there are terroristic people, there are..-
VP: Of course.
AD: So, I think that human life is the payment for the depth and gravity of our convictions. And if we are not ready, for instance for our idea, political idea, for liberalism, for instance, in your case, and for patriotism, in mine, to sacrifice ourselves, in the extreme necessity, and if we when our opinions, our ideas, or country, our society, which we represent, is threatened by a serious, existential danger are not ready to enter into a battle for this, and a battle is after all [inaudible]
VP: You are talking about self-defence, essentially, to put it in simple terms.
AD: Yes, I mean self-defence. But, I also want to say that the line between defense and attack is very thin. There is no army that is ready only to defend itself. There are no ideological, political, sociology, or other teachings that only say “leave us alone, we will merely defend ourselves”. The problem is that war can never be oriented only around defence. War must take account of attack, as a preventative form of defence, and so on. But at the same time, I think that he is accountable who understands the value of life. He is accountable in relation to what he says, to his ideas, his opinions, his political, religious, philosophical, ideological positions, who understands that everything will have to be paid for. Everything. And this readiness, in my opinion, to pay with your life – and often it is even easier for people to bring themselves to sacrifice than to kill another person – but the life of an enemy, this is also very important, because an enemy should not be considered some kind of technical element. An enemy is a person, and readiness to kill a person is oftentimes more difficult, and readiness for this is oftentimes more complicated than the readiness to sacrifice oneself.
VP: You speak rather often of enemies, of enemies of Russia. You say that Atlanticism, globalism, oligarchic liberalism, and further you write that this enemy must be “annihilated without pity, otherwise he will annihilate us”. Again, a call to violence, in my opinion. I’ll finish. According to your definition, Atlanticism is the US, NATO, the European Union, liberalism, the global financial oligarchy, and consequently all of them, if we follow your logic, must be annihilated pitilessly. How do you imagine all of this?
AD: Look. Notice that all the objects of annihilation that you cited – those are my words – are collective conceptual notions. I do not say anywhere that we must annihilate liberals. I do not say that-
VP: You do. There is an article called “Liberals, Against the Wall!”.
AD: No. That, there is not.
VP: There is. I’ll bring it.
AD: The thing is that, look, I watch my expressions very carefully: to fight, to annihilate liberalism, Atlanticism, hegemony, oligarchy-
VP: The US-
AD: The US as the carrier of this hegemony, this is also very important. This vehemence is not directed against the government-
VP: How is this expressed?
AD: It is expressed through a war of ideas. How is a concept annihilated? How is a phenomenon annihilated? This is very serious.
VP: Through discourse?
AD: Somewhere, through discourse; somewhere, through strategy; somewhere, through rearing; somewhere, through education; somewhere, through diplomatic methods; somewhere, through increase in that military power, without which it is not possible to defend one’s point of view in today’s world. This is a complex.
VP: You understand, when you say that one must “annihilate”, for the majority of people this word has a certain meaning: to annihilate means to put an end to something physically.
AD: When we speak of people…look. There is a difference if I say “we must annihilate Atlanticists” and “we must annihilate liberals”.
AD: Americans, yes. If I were to say that-
VP: But you don’t?
AD: Not once. I speak of collective concepts. This is an ideological war. Today Americans can be carries of this Atlanticist hegemony; in another case, if they go the way of isolationism or like some right-wing politicians – Ron Paul, Buchanan – suggest, they will simply transform instantly into either our allies or at a minimum into a power indifferent to us. So, neither to America – the same thing about those liberals: while they impose their ideology, they are exceedingly dangerous-
VP: I just want it to be clear, because your position is extremely interesting to me. When you say “annihilation”, this should not be understood as violent annihilation, no?
AD: In no way. These are absolutely different things.
VP: Okay. Another enemy of Russia is the so-called Russian fifth column, about which you write as follows: “The danger of our fifth column does not lie in their strength – they are absolutely insignificant – but in the fact that they are hired by the biggest “godfather” in the world, the US. That is why they are effective. They work, they’re listened to, they’re never punished, because the world power stands behind them.” Would you be able, for me and for our viewers, to say who comprises this fifth column? Maybe give some names? Who are they, who are hired by the US?
AD: Look, in fact it is easier to talk about this today than five, six, ten, fifteen years ago.
VP: Thank God.
AD: Because this is a group of people, who dominated in the 90s, determining the ideology, politics, and main trends of our Russian politics, today, after Putin’s reforms, starting in 2000, become the core of the opposition, what’s more, of an opposition that criticizes the authorities, the government, and Putin exclusively for the patriotic orientation of this position. They say that it is necessary to get closer to the West, that Russian sovereignty must not be strengthened, that we must give up our position in Crimea our Ukraine, these are people who go out to marches-
VP: But many thousands march.
VP: And they’re all hired?
AD: Many people who come to protest against the authorities are of course not the fifth column. The fifth column is the intellectual staff, people who understand perfectly well-
VP: Can you name them?
AD: Navalny, Nemtsov, Kasyanov-
VP: These are hired people?
AD: Undoubtedly. They travel to the West. They meet with American professors. Their strategies here, their behavior here is fully included in those strategic interests that Atlanticists realize at the expense of Russia.
VP: In other words, you consider them traitors.
AD: I consider them traitors.
VP: Because they receive money there.
AD: That’s true. But, besides the fact that they receive money there, and much has been said about this, there was information, contacts with certain American intelligence agents, American, Georgian…but that’s not the most important thing. In my opinion, there are people who serve the US on principle, since they see in it the bastion of the liberal world, and they can act without receiving money, for instance Novodvorskaya.
VP: She does not receive money?
AD: I think not. I think that she built her whole life on the defence of liberal values-
VP: Is she fifth column?
AD: Yes, but this is another case. America stands behind her, too, because she advanced American interests. But this she does disinterestedly, from the perspective of her idealistic impulse, if you like. She is a convinced liberal. She despises our country, our country-
VP: She despises it?
AD: Despises it. She would like for it to be a different country, with a different history, with a different people, with different social ways, with a different anthropology, with a different philosophy, with a different society, and so on. And indeed there are such sincere people, undoubtedly, among the fifth column. And together they comprise – if we just take Russian society in itself, this would not be dangerous. This is a minority that has a different point of view. Moreover, I think that such a minority is necessary, so that there is a debate. I think that this minority is very useful to make sure that we don’t fall into self-love and self-glorification. But in the case when they act in this way with reliance on those who are after all stronger than us, that is, they act in the name of the US, in the name of the global liberal system, where behind them there stand actually powerful political institutions of a global scale, which repeatedly make a scandal for us, as in the case of Pussy Riot, on a global level, and secure for them meetings with high-ranking political actors, to convince Russian people, Russians, that this is accidental, that they just happen to love this punk group, is absolutely impossible. This is a systemic network war. People who consciously act as elements of this network war against Russia, against our government, against our values, against our history, against our identity, here, although Russia gave them everything, our entire history, they are indeed traitors and enemies of Russia.
VP: Let’s agree about this. If you think that they are useful, from the point of view that they provide some opposition, critique, the expression of another perspective, then they can in no way be called traitors. A traitor cannot be useful. Traitors are imprisoned or shot.
AD: I just said that if they did not have this global support from across the ocean, they would be useful; if they were simply a liberal opposition. But they are not simply a liberal opposition.
VP: So they, too, should be annihilated?
AD: I think that with traitors, by the laws of war-time, when we are now-
VP: And as there is now a war…
AD: War, thank God, so far-
VP: But there is a war of continents, the great war of continents…
AD: Look. In America, there are many ways of localizing people who think differently, of dealing with idea-enemies, that we do not know where this opposition is, where our Eurasian fifth-column is in the US. But it exists. What’s more, the West acts, America acts, very successfully in this. It does not repress directly. It controls discourse. It is absolutely impossible for people with alternative points of view to break through to the main journals, the media…they have no chance to appear on TV. And I am not saying that we need to physically repress them. That is absolutely unnecessary and occurs, moreover, from weakness. These people should be isolated from the media, ostracized, and-
VP: Can I ask you a question before the commercial break, since you touched upon this? You probably think that I, too, should be isolated from the media?
AD: You know-
VP: Yes or no?
AD: Yes, I do think so.
VP: Thank you. Now, a commercial. And you [viewers] can think about it, too.
VP: Alexander Gelyevich, I just used your expression “The Great War of Continents”, where every word is written with a capital letter, and you said that what is happening in Ukraine is another front in this same war. At the same time, you said the following: “We are now approaching a new, fundamentally important point: recognition or non-recognition of the junta. If we even indirectly recognize it, agree to talks, recognize the elections in May, we will significantly weaken our position”. You said that in April, that is, this month. So, the meetings in Geneva are a mistake?
AD: We did not recognize the junta.
VP: But we met with them, indirectly; that’s how it happened.
AD: Absolutely not, it seems to me. First, we met in the first place with the Americans, we met over the heads of the junta.
VP: There were four participants. There was the so-called junta, as you call it, the Americans, us, and the European Union. Four equal partners. So, volens nolens, indirectly, however you like, but we recognized them.
AD: No. There is no recognition. We speak of the necessity right now – it is a demonstration of our good will, a demonstration of the fact that Moscow recognizes the gravity of the breakup of Ukraine and is ready by all means not to allow a civil war, which has essentially begun between the West and the South-East. Accordingly, this is an extreme situation, but this does not at all mean that we are ready to open diplomatic relations with those who overthrew the government in Kiev, that we will in any way speak directly with them-
VP: You understand that we spoke directly with them in Geneva?
AD: We spoke through [inaudible]
VP: What, someone translated?
AD: Yes, exactly. Lavrov addresses Kerry, Kerry gives some order, to be quiet or not to be quiet […]
VP: To continue on the topic of Ukraine, I want to remind you of what you have said about the South-East of that country. You say the following: “I am certain that to hold Crimea, the South-East is necessary for us. And Crimea is necessary to retain Russia, to make it healthier, to straighten it out, to enliven it. So, today the question is the South-East or death”. Said beautifully, but can you clarify what you mean by “South-East or death”?
AD: The thing is that even in the 90s Zbigniew Brzezinski, with whom I met in 2005 in Washington, also a geopolitician, a classic Anglo-Saxon geopolitician, said that to really put an end to Russia’s competition with the United States, it is necessary to tear the Ukraine away from Russia. This was the meaning of Western policies towards Ukraine for twenty-three years, the culmination of which was the Kiev coup. Accordingly, in the long-term, if we recognize this coup as something that has happened, we get a hostile, Russophobic, Nazi Ukraine. Our steps in Crimea were connected with precisely this. But further, the second half of Ukraine, the South-East of Ukraine, is actually also a part of the Russian world, of Russian civilization, Novorossiya. And we would be ready to recognize the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it were at a minimum neutral, or even better friendly. But when in Kiev there have come to power illegally people who despise Russia and everything Russian, “Moskalyaku na gillaku”, what is that? That’s pure racism. It means to hang a Russian person on a branch. And if kids, as we see, sing in schools after the coming of the junta “Moskalyaku na gillaku”, that is, just announce the genocide of the Russian people in Ukraine, then if we take this, we have exposed twenty million to genocide, we agree on that, and we even-
VP: Twenty million?
AD: Twenty million is, I think, the general population of the South-East, approximately. About twenty million.
VP: They’re all Russians there?
AD: Russian-speaking, a majority of Russians, and people whose identity historically was formed-
VP: So “South-East or death” means, it seems, the following. If we do not take the South-East, then it is death to those who live there. Is that right?
AD: Precisely. But it’s not that we will “take” it. I wanted to say that we will secure the possibility that they decide their own fate, without the influence of the junta. The Geneva talks are connected with this, the disarming of the Kiev militants-
VP: But why do you say that this will help us retain Russia; to make it healthier; to straighten and enliven it? To enliven it, we need the South-East? Why?
AD: That is very important. Because right now there is beginning in the full sense of the word a Russian renaissance, a Russian spring. We are beginning to feel pride for our country. Russians are starting to recognize that they are in the world not only as passive objects, but as subjects of history. And the more we demonstrate our care for Russians and Russian-speakers beyond the borders of Russia, the more we strengthen our society, the more we move from a condition of passivity and slumber to, on the contrary, mobilization. There are many things when a person is passive…he cannot fight against injustices he sees…If he is strong…look what kind of people have come from Crimea. This is an absolutely different type of person.
VP: Than ordinary Russians?
AD: Than our bureaucrats. Or Ukrainian bureaucrats. These are people of a new generation, of a new call.
VP: And they will make our nation healthier?
AD: Yes. I think that having recognized that we are in a new historical condition, in the awakening of the Russian, of course we will turn around into another direction many processes that are depressing us here.
VP: You call the annexation of Crimea the start of the gathering of Russian lands, the establishment of a greater Russia. Question. What greater Moscow is, I understand, or greater London. But what is greater Russia? It is Russia plus what?
AD: Greater Russia is the Russian world, Russian civilization.
VP: Okay, but concretely?
AD: I think that the territory of greater Russia corresponds approximately, with some pluses and minuses, to the territory of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. These were not [ethnically] Great-Russian lands, not Great-Russian territories. These are territories that all ethnoses of our space created over the course of hundreds of years.
VP: Can I ask you, are the South Caucuses included? Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan?
AD: Absolutely, of course. That’s a part of greater Russia. But that does not mean that-
VP: Central Asia?
AD: Central Asia, of course. Undoubtedly.
VP: The Baltics?
AD: I think not. I think that the Baltics and Western Ukraine, maybe even in part on some level-
VP: Everything else is…
AD: Greater Russia. But look. Civilizations do not have such borders. Russian civilization, the Russian world, does not have state borders. State borders might extend further than civilizational ones, in which case we capture Poland or Finland, which are of course parts of another history, both Poland and Finland. That’s a different history, a different civilization. Even if they are for some time under our control, it’s not for long, it’s a historical accident. But there are natural, organic borders. Russia and Eurasia, as our Eurasianists called it, or Turanic civilization, different from both European and Asian civilization, altogether unique Turanic civilization, tending over various periods to integration, is Greater Russia.
VP: Can one speak of exceptionalism in this sense? After all, you speak often of this, in one way or another. “Russia’s identity consists in the fact that it does not relate to Western civilization, does not enter its circle, is its own civilization, what’s more, distinct and equally great as the whole West, not a single Western country.” This is some kind of exceptionalism, no?
AD: No. It says only that each civilization is exceptional. It says that the Western pretention that the Western world represents civilization as a whole and a universal values-
VP: Chinese also have such pretensions.
AD: China is also a unique civilization, but its pretensions to world domination and the assertion of Chinese values as universal are nowhere near as intrusive, as large-scale, as persistent as the pretensions of Western civilization. Russia in this case does not at all claim that it is an exceptional civilization among others. It says that it is simply a civilization, distinct, having its own system of values, its own philosophy, and that it should be compared not with France or Germany, which also differ from one another, but with all Europe, or with Asian culture.
VP: But there is no such civilization as “all Europe”.
AD: There is. European civilization; Western-European civilization. This European civilization is a completely precise, concrete collection of values, notions, ideas, methods, procedures, which have been imposed over the course of many centuries […] as universal. And this was at first imposed on Eastern Europe, Byzantine; then through colonialism on everyone else.
VP: Whom was it imposed on? What are you talking about? When there was the French Revolution, with its slogan of egalite, fraternite, liberte, this was not imposed on anyone. This is an idea of equality…
AD: Fontaine imposed it, opponents were destroyed-
VP: That was a civil war-
AD: Yes, a terrible one.
VP: Within France. But they didn’t impose that on anyone.
AD: Come now. This is colonization. It is a war- that same French Revolution occurs in the course of Western European colonization, when people, because other cultures-
AD: In the course of it. Colonization began in the 16th century-
VP: Of course. Portugal, Spain-
AD: And France-
VP: Only later, France, and then England…
AD: Of course, and Germany last, since it itself only because a state late in the 19th century. But indeed, the West undoubtedly projects its civilizational arrangements-
VP: Considering them the most valuable?
AD: They think that they are universal, all-human values.
VP: More and more people are saying apparently not, they’re starting to understand.
AD: Thank God. In that case, they are Eurasianists and we have no complaints against them whatsoever. If Western values are for the West, Western ideas for Western European humanity, there will be no complaints against the West.
VP: You said an incredible thing. I read that you thought for a long time about the national…the national idea-
AD: My whole life.
VP: And you made the following completely striking suggestion. I will read it, because I simply froze when I read it. “The idea is like this: we must seize Europe; conquer it, and annex it. Let’s say to them that with our protectorate, we will ensure their defence. Do you see how Pussy Riot are imprisoned here? We’ll imprison yours, too. You have Femen [we’ll quickly take care of them]. We’ll seize Europe, and all the high technology will be ours. There’s development, there’s modernization. If you wanted it, there’s the Europeanization of our society.” And further: “Russians mobilize for the sake of great goals. To annex Europe, that’s our great goal.” You were probably kidding.
AD: First, from the text, you’ve-
VP: A big piece.
AD: You understand to what extent each text has its own significance. Nevertheless, I want to say that of course there was a measure of irony here, but look, a similar idea was set forth in a different tonality by Nietzsche, Soloviev-
VP: Don’t tell me…that’s all clear. But still, are you serious?
AD: Of course not. But nevertheless, it’s an idea that – do you know what brought me to that thought? The idea I always insist upon is that there is a separate European civilization and a separate Eurasian one, and many of my European friends, conservatives, as a rule, say “We will not hold out alone. Save us! We want to come to Putin. We can’t take this anymore”-
VP: You understand that they are few.
AD: You know, there are more and more of them. When I was at the demonstrations in May in Paris against homosexual marriage-
VP: Same-sex marriage.
AD: Same-sex marriage, yes. I say there millions of people who were not conservatives, not Catholics, they were simple Frenchmen.
VP: All the same, France is a Catholic country, and of course the idea of same-sex marriage contradicts, without doubt-
AD: The people there are not ready yet for that, but the elites are pushing it.
VP: But why? Who cares? I understand that from the point of view of sin you judge that. But listen, if two adults want to live like that, leave them alone.
AD: No, look.
AD: No, that’s not the issue.
VP: But they’re not bothering you.
AD: You cannot legitimize a pathology-
VP: That’s not a pathology.
AD: It is a pathology.
VP: Well, that depends on who defines it.
AD: It’s a sin and a pathology.
VP: A sin, yes.
AD: Look, there’s a fundamental question here about the gender problematic. I teach courses on the sociology of gender. The liberal idea is built on the idea that the human is an individual, and it does not matter what kind of collective identity he has. It does not matter what nation, what religion. And today, they say: it does not matter what sex. Sex is an option, as free as the country of residence, as religious confession-
VP: That is, a person can change their sex.
VP: Yes, you know, they can.
AD: Absolutely. And this thought precisely puts an end to the traditional – even for European culture, Indo-European culture – notion of a person, whose sex is an inseparable characteristic of his personality. In precisely the same way, if we will understand what is now being destroyed as the last citadel of collective identity by liberalism in its last phase, we will understand that it was leading to this earlier, too, and all previous forms of liberalism reach their culmination in this same-sex marriage.
VP: I think that, as they say in some countries, you are making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Listen-
AD: This is a serious political question.
VP: The majority of people do not want to change their sex. That’s completely obvious. But okay, nevermind.
AD: They might not want to. But if we legalize this possibility as a norm-
VP: It’s not a norm. If you want to, then go ahead.
AD: That’s a norm. But in this way we essentially destroy the idea of sex, the idea of man and woman, the idea of personality, of a person’s social dimension. This is the most frightening thing. Liberalism is a totally anti-social phenomenon.
VP: I understand that you really do not like liberalism. This I know by now.
AD: In theory, not only in practice.
VP: Another passage. “Hatred towards Russians and Putin in Ukraine is the hatred of a group of schizophrenics towards a doctor, of a bunch of drunkards to the sheriff, and of a deeply sick person to a healthy one.” Of course, the image of Putin and Russians as a doctor, a sheriff, and a healthy person are rather curious.
AD: It depends what you compare them with. Compared to Ukraine, they definitely are.
VP: What about those who despise America or Obama, who despise liberals. Are they normal?
AD: It depends. I mean that those who say to hang Russians, who praise the heavenly hundred…these are absolutely sick people. If you think that people who say to hang Russians are healthy, in my opinion they are absolutely sick. Just sick.
VP: The number of racists, the number of anti-semites is great, and unfortunately they are normal, they’re just anti-semites or racists, who speak of black people accordingly, or are they all to a certain extent sick?
AD: I think that racism is a form of the pathological development of the person and I am categorically opposed to racism in all its forms, but there are many kinds of racism besides biological racism. Liberalism, incidentally, liberals, were the first to create, the English, the most thoroughgoing racist theories for the justification of their colonial domination.
VP: Naturally. It must be justified somehow.
VP: But then others took it and ran with it.
AD: Not everyone.
VP: Come now, Churchill, who was an absolute conservative, first and foremost.
AD: Racism as such is in my opinion one of the most revolting pathologies.
VP: You think so?
AD: Yes, absolutely. Franz Boas, Levi-Strauss, they showed wonderfully that human society cannot be measured by a single ruler, and that those who are called primitive tribes are in many senses more sound than contemporary Western society.
VP: I am such an anti-racist that you cannot even imagine. Another question about liberals, because this interests me. “The society that Russia needs should not be a representative democracy, should not me a market society, based on the monetary equivalence of all values, and should not be the idiotic, anti-natural, perverse ideology of human rights. Market, democracy, and human rights, get out of here”. You want to live in such a country?
AD: Absolutely, because these three models-
VP: So, human rights for you-
AD: Look. I want to say that human rights is a classic racist theory, because in this theory of human rights, the Western concept of the human is taken as a norm. And when people spread their notions of what a human is over all other cultures, they impose on them an absolutely anti-natural norm; from here we get what we call double-standards.
VP: How do they, what are human rights in the Western understanding?
AD: They are the rights of the individual, as opposed to the collective.
VP: That’s not said.
AD: It’s precisely that.
VP: How so? We consider these truths to be self-evident, that man is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Preamble to the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. What’s racist in that? Man has a right to live, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And you’re against that?
AD: I am against making of that American Declaration, connected with a Protestant model of theology, precisely a Protestant political system, based on particular theses, not applicable to Catholics, the Orthodox, or all the more so to other religions, to generalize them and to build on that basis-
VP: But what is unacceptable there? Explain it to me. Does a man have a right to life? Any man.
AD: Wait. What do we mean by “right”? A right is a juridical conception.
VP: You know, no one has a right to take them away.
AD: People were constantly killed, and now they’re killing Russians-
VP: That’s another matter. That is an infringement of his rights. He has a right, doesn’t he, to freedom, to the pursuit of happiness?
AD: Look, in order to spread these rights, they invade Libya, Afghanistan-
VP: Let’s not confuse politics with some messages that are value-based.
AD: Those values are not universal. Each society – this is the most important point – understands the human differently. Orthodoxy understands him one way, about which even Putin spoke.
VP: One society stones its criminals.
AD: Yes. In ancient Jewish society-
VP: For instance in Arab countries.
AD: Yes, and that’s right for them. That’s their tradition. When a person who bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes and says “you stoned someone, so we declare war on you”-
VP: Don’t confuse things.
AD: That’s how they are. These are double-standards.
VP: So, either a human is a human, he has blood, it flows in his veins, he dies the same, he loves, he hates-
AD: No. Each person lives, loves, and dies as a result of his culture.
VP: Homo sapiens.
AD: Not everyone, if you look around.
VP: Here I agree with you entirely. And since we don’t have much time left, I want to ask you this. When you say: “America is falling. America will soon collapse. We cannot imagine how bad things are in America.” Do you believe your own words?
AD: Absolutely. That’s for sure.
VP: But if you look at America’s GDP, then on the most conservative analysis it will increase this year by 2-2.5%. We’ll say that we’ll thank God if we have .5% growth this year, and we might get none. And by “we” I mean our specialists. So, they’re falling, and what about us? How should one understand this?
AD: Let’s listen to Schumpeter, the economist. He said that economic growth is one thing, economic development another. Growth is not the main sign of economy. That’s a certain liberal model of accounting. If we include other factors, which in fact-
VP: Like what?
AD: For instance, the factor of psychological comfort-
VP: That’s called “quality of life”.
AD: Quality of life, yes. Also, external debt, which is gigantic in America. In general, the system of how the American economy exists at the cost of strategic domination on a world scale, this paints a completely different picture. And if at least one player the size of say Russia or China would throw a challenge down to this system, then I think that American hegemony, including the American economy and its growth, would quickly show completely different numbers.
VP: I have serious doubts about Russia, but China, yes. I think that this century China will prove to be the major power. I’m afraid that it’s so. And I’m not sure that will be good for everyone. But that’s another question. Conclusion. Two people of whom you speak; Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. You tell the story that you used to think very poorly of him and even took your son to spit on his statue, which you later regretted. Recently, you wrote as follows: “Lenin it a tragic and mighty angel, one of the angels of the apocalypse […].” Well, poetically this is wonderful. But is this how you evaluate him in fact?
AD: I think that the Soviet period of our history should not be read in an ideological manner, but in a Russian one. This is not someone else’s history, it is not someone else’s crime, [it is not that] some people came here and made a revolution for us. Our ancestors did that. We ourselves did it. If it was blood, if it was horror, if it was a paradox, all of that cannot be looked at as someone else’s intrigues. We performed that drama. We must understand why, we must understand who, who must understand what we did, why we did it, and when we relate to Lenin and Stalin and in general to the Soviet period too lightly, either rejecting everything, as I did in my youth, or fully accepting it, we miss the most important thing, the paradoxical nature, the ambiguity, the existential trauma of that period.
VP: But that description of an angel-
AD: An angel can be an angel of evil.
VP: Yes, it can be. So he is…?
AD: I think this is an ambiguous angel. There are angels of light and angels of darkness. But there are also angels of which it still needs to be determined what kind they are, and this is not simple.
VP: You haven’t figured it out?
AD: It’s not an individual [I’m talking about]. It has to be an inner reconsideration of the Soviet period, understanding the spirits, distinguishing them.
VP: The second person: in 2007 […] you said the following [about Vladimir Putin]: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course, and if there are, they are psychologically sick and should be sent for regular checkups. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, Putin is irreplaceable”. That was seven years ago. Seven years have passed, there are opponents, not many in Russia. And you still hold to this formulation as before?
AD: Fully. […]. I think that now everyone knows this. Another matter is that I say what I think independently of whether I will be praised or punished for it. If I’m certain about something, I assert it, and I am ready to bear responsibility for it. So I endorse those words. Putin is like that, and that’s what attitudes towards him were like as soon as he appeared.
VP: Alright. Marcel Proust, my close friend, asked that I ask you a few questions. Do you have an idol?
AD: An idol, no.
VP: Is there an event in history that you set apart from all others?
AD: Yes, the birth of Christ.
VP: Is there a philosophical quote that is especially dear to you?
AD: Yes: man is something that should be overcome.
VP: If you caught a golden fish, what three wishes would you ask it to grant you?
AD: That it swim onward, just one wish. I don’t need anything that I don’t earn myself.
VP: Are you capable of shooting someone?
AD: An enemy?
VP: A person.
AD: An enemy, yes.
VP: When and where were you happiest?
AD: Always and everywhere.
VP: What is your greatest disappointment in life?
AD: If I were Silenus I would say tha fact to be born on earth as human. But I am not Silenus.
VP: What are you most proud of?
AD: That I am Russian.
VP: What is your main weakness?
AD: I consist entirely of weaknesses. I am not sure which of them is first. Pride, probably.
VP: What will you say to God when you find yourself before Him?
AD: You know, He will probably say something to me, probably something very harsh. So I am afraid to think about it. And who am I to speak to God? If he asks, I’ll answer. I’m nothing, and most likely, I’ll be send to the place appointed for me. But I don’t think it will be God Himself. He has many deputies, angels, and other spirits that deal with such little, it seems to me, significant, sinful beings.