Foundations of Geopolitics

Aleksandr Dugin

‘The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia’ is a 1997 geopolitical book by Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian political analyst and strategist known for his fascist views. His book has had influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and has been used as a textbook in the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military.

Its publication was well received in Russia. Powerful Russian political figures subsequently took an interest in Dugin, a Russian eurasianist, fascist, and nationalist who has developed a close relationship with Russia’s military academies.

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense, helped draft the book. Dugin credits General Nikolai Klokotov of the Academy of the General Staff as co-author and his main inspiration, though Klokotov denies this.

Klokotov stated that in the future the book would ‘serve as a mighty ideological foundation for preparing a new military command.’ Dugin has asserted that the book has been adopted as a textbook in many Russian educational institutions. Former speaker of the Russian State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, for whom Dugin was adviser on geopolitics, has ‘urged that Dugin’s geopolitical doctrine be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum.’

In Foundations of Geopolitics, Dugin calls for the United States and Atlanticism to lose their influence in Eurasia and for Russia to rebuild its influence through annexations and alliances.

The book declares that ‘the battle for the world rule of Russians’ has not ended and Russia remains ‘the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution.’ The Eurasian Empire will be constructed ‘on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.’

Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook advocates a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia’s gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries. The book states that ‘the maximum task [of the future] is the ‘Finlandization’ of all of Europe.’

Finlandization is the process by which one powerful country makes a smaller neighboring country abide by the former’s foreign policy rules, while allowing it to keep its nominal independence and its own political system. The term means ‘to become like Finland’ referring to the influence of the Soviet Union on Finland’s policies during the Cold War.

Dugin described such a future for every major power. According to his plan: Germany should be offered the de facto political dominance over most Protestant and Catholic states located within Central and Eastern Europe. Kaliningrad oblast could be given back to Germany. The book uses the term ‘Moscow–Berlin axis.’ France should be encouraged to form a bloc with Germany, as they both have a ‘firm anti-Atlanticist tradition. The United Kingdom, merely described as an ‘extraterritorial floating base of the U.S.,’ should be cut off from Europe.

Finland should be absorbed into Russia. Southern Finland will be combined with the Republic of Karelia and northern Finland will be ‘donated to Murmansk Oblast.’ Estonia should be given to Germany’s sphere of influence. Latvia and Lithuania should be given a ‘special status’ in the Eurasian–Russian sphere. Poland should be granted a ‘special status’ in the Eurasian sphere. Romania, North Macedonia, Serbia, ‘Serbian Bosnia,’ and Greece – ‘Orthodox collectivist East’ – will unite with ‘Moscow the Third Rome’ and reject the ‘rational-individualistic West.’

Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because ‘Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics.’ Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.

As to the Middle East and Central Asia, the book stresses the ‘continental Russian–Islamic alliance’ which lies ‘at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy.’ The alliance is based on the ‘traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization.’ Iran is a key ally. The book uses the term ‘Moscow–Tehran axis.’ Azerbaijan could be ‘split up’ or given to Iran. Armenia has a special role: It will serve as a ‘strategic base,’ and it is necessary to create ‘the [subsidiary] axis Moscow-Yerevan-Teheran.’ Armenians ‘are an Aryan people … [like] the Iranians, and the Kurds.’

Georgia should be dismembered. Abkhazia and ‘United Ossetia’ (which includes Georgia’s South Ossetia) will be incorporated into Russia. Georgia’s independent policies are unacceptable. Russia needs to create ‘geopolitical shocks’ within Turkey. These can be achieved by employing Kurds, Armenians and other minorities. The book regards the Caucasus as a Russian territory, including ‘the eastern and northern shores of the Caspian (the territories of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan)’ and Central Asia (mentioning Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).

As to East and Southeast Asia: China, which represents a danger to Russia, ‘must, to the maximum degree possible, be dismantled.’ Dugin suggests that Russia start by taking Tibet–Xinjiang–Inner Mongolia–Manchuria as a security belt. Russia should offer China help ‘in a southern direction – Indochina (except Vietnam), the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia’ as geopolitical compensation. According to Dugin, Russia should manipulate Japanese politics by offering the Kuril Islands to Japan and provoking anti-Americanism. Mongolia should be absorbed into Eurasia-Russia.

The book emphasizes that Russia must spread anti-Americanism everywhere: ‘the main ‘scapegoat’ will be precisely the U.S.’ He argued that Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke ‘Afro-American racists.’ Russia should ‘introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.’nThe Eurasian Project could be expanded to South and Central America.

Hoover Institution senior fellow John B. Dunlop stated that ‘the impact of this intended ‘Eurasianist’ textbook on key Russian elites testifies to the worrisome rise of neo-fascist ideas and sentiments during the late Yeltsin and the Putin period.’ Historian Timothy Snyder wrote in ‘The New York Review of Books’ that ‘Foundations of Geopolitics’ is influenced by the work of Carl Schmitt, a proponent of a conservative international order whose work influenced the Nazis. He also noted Dugin’s key role in forwarding the ideologies of Eurasianism and National Bolshevism.

Eurasianism is a political movement in Russia that posits that Russian civilization does not belong in the ‘European’ or ‘Asian’ categories but instead to the geopolitical concept of Eurasia. Originally developing in the 1920s, the movement was supportive of the Bolshevik Revolution but not its stated goals of enacting communism, seeing the Soviet Union as a stepping stone on the path to creating a new national identity that would reflect the unique character of Russia’s geopolitical position. The movement saw a minor resurgence after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, and is mirrored by Turanism in Turkic and Finnic nations.

The book was described by Foreign Policy as ‘one of the most curious, impressive, and terrifying books to come out of Russia during the entire post-Soviet era,’ and ‘more sober than Dugin’s previous books, better argued, and shorn of occult references, numerology, traditionalism, and other eccentric metaphysics.’ In 2017, news.com.au said that the book ‘reads like a to-do list for Putin’s behavior on the world stage.’

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One Comment to “Foundations of Geopolitics”

  1. “Making nice” with those who hold this world view is not in America’s best interest. I’m glad new leadership is soon to come.

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