Written by Vladimir Moss



     “Putin’s Rasputin” – that is the name given by one commentator to Alexander Dugin, the most influential ideologist of contemporary Russia. And just as it was difficult to determine exactly who Rasputin was in his lifetime, so it has been difficult to pin down and classify Dugin. A professor of sociology and geopolitics at Moscow State University, he has influenced, and at one time been allied with, almost all the major politicians in Russia. He has been linked with the extreme right and with the extreme left, with fascism and with communism, with Orthodoxy and with paganism; most constantly - with Eurasianism. One thing you could never accuse him of being is a liberal, and in a country where “extremism” is a crime, one can be sure of one thing – that Dugin is an extremist (although he calls himself “a radical centrist”)... 

     However, he is not a stupid extremist, and only occasionally a crude one. When he recently appeared on television screens in Eastern Ukraine, stirring up the separatists and saying: “Putin is ALL!”, one could be forgiven for thinking that we are dealing here with a crazy whom we can dismiss as being of no significance. But that would be a mistake; and, judging from the number of academic articles that have come out in recent years attempting to summarize his very wide-ranging and complex world-view, commentators around the world have come to realize that in order to understand Putin you have to understand his Rasputin, Alexander Dugin. 

     One approach to the enigma of Dugin is through a discussion of his little-known “eschatological ecclesiology”, and in particular his understanding of the role of the Orthodox Church and Russia in the last times. In 1999 Dugin became an Old Ritualist; whether he actually joined the schism or only the yedinoverie (Old Ritualist) section of the official Moscow Patriarchate is not clear. What is clear is that the Old Ritualist understanding of Russian and world history has deeply influenced his thought. Indeed, the present writer would go so far as to say that it is more fruitful and accurate to see his thought as a product of a kind of modernized Old Ritualism than as a species of right- or left-wing politics. It follows that in order to counter his undoubtedly malign influence on contemporary Russian thought, it is necessary to elucidate his eschatologism and subject it to criticism on the basis of the teaching of the Orthodox Church.


Dugin’s Eschatological Ecclesiology

     Dugin’s “eschatological ecclesiology” is expounded in his book, Absoliutnaia Rodina (The Absolute Homeland). It divides Church history into three phases: the pre-Constantinian phase (to the Edict of Milan in 312), the Byzantine phase (to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453), which according to Dugin is the “thousand-year reign of Christ” mentioned in Revelation 20, and the modern, post-Byzantine phase. In essence, the third, contemporary phase of Church history, as coming after the “thousand-year reign of Christ”, is the reign of the Antichrist...

     In the second, Byzantine phase of Church history, according to Dugin, there was an almost ideal relationship between Church and State that made possible the maximum number of converts to the faith and the preservation of a truly Christian life in the public as well as in the private spheres. True, the Western Church of Old Rome fell away in 1054, becoming thereafter the cradle of the antichristian civilization of the West. But in the East true piety was preserved, and the Byzantine emperors, acting as the “restrainers” of St. Paul’s prophecy (II Thessalonians 2.7), held back the appearance of the Antichrist.

     However, in 1453 the Byzantine empire fell, after which, according to the prophecy, there was no “restrainer” and the Antichrist should have appeared. But then, according to the great mercy of God, a kind of “Indian summer” of truly Orthodox statehood, the “Third Rome” of Moscow, prolonged the “thousand-year reign of Christ” into the modern period. But only for a short time – until 1656, when Patriarch Nicon introduced the New Rite, or the council of 1666-67, which placed the Old Rite under anathema, or the reign of Peter the Great, who removed the patriarchate and gave free rein to western antichristian influences in Russia.

     Being an Old Ritualist, Dugin can see very little good in the St. Petersburg period of Russian history. For him, this is the period of the “Laodicean Church”, which is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. True, there are flashes of “Philadelphian” piety here – especially among the Old Ritualists. And even in the official Russian Orthodox Church there is “an understanding of the necessity of giving a further theological ecclesiological reply to the ever-increasing might of the Antichrist, and to his penetration deep into social and natural reality” (p. 517). However, Dugin shows no recognition of the striking fact that far more saints are recorded in the St. Petersburg than in the Moscow period, that the St. Petersburg empire, for all its westernizing tendencies, brought the light of Orthodoxy to many new peoples and protected the whole of the vast Orthodox commonwealth, and that the great glory of the twentieth century, the choir of the holy new martyrs and confessors of the Soviet yoke, was largely the fruit of the St. Petersburg Empire and Church.

     Dugin’s attitude to the Soviet era is ambiguous. On the one hand, he does not deny the horrors of the persecutions and the attempt to destroy the last vestiges of Orthodox faith and piety. On the other hand, in sharp contrast to the eschatology of the True Orthodox Church, he does not see the revolution of 1917 as the beginning of the last days because of the removal of “him who restrains” and the appearance of “the collective Antichrist” (although that term is Old Ritualist in origin). The revolution appears to him as less of a tragedy than the date containing the fateful numbers “666”, the beginning of the Old Ritualist schism in 1666. Indeed, he sees positive elements in the post-1917 period – especially because in 1971 the Moscow Patriarchate (followed by the Russian Church Abroad in 1974) removed the anathemas on the Old Rite.

     In general, Dugin tries to smooth over the vast differences between Orthodox Tsarist and Soviet reality. Thus he discerns similar positive features in the pre-revolutionary Slavophiles and their followers, on the one hand, and the revolutionary Social Revolutionaries, Eurasians and National Bolsheviks, on the other. The fact that the Slavophiles were faithful subjects of the Orthodox tsar, while the Eurasians and National Bolsheviks were faithful subjects of the anti-Orthodox Bolsheviks does not seem to be an important distinction in Dugin’s eyes, who, in spite of his recognition of the vital role of the “restrainer” in Christian history, has shown no zeal for contemporary monarchism, but has at different times belonged to the Communist Party, the National Bolsheviks and the Eurasians (especially the latter, his most constant allegiance)… With regard to the Soviet regime itself, Dugin admits that “it overthrew the monarchy and put the Church practically outside the law. But here again there appeared that providential idea that is complex and often inaccessible to humble human reasoning – that the Bolsheviks on the secular level and with the use of slogans profoundly foreign to the people established in an extreme form a sharply anti-western order, and the contradiction between the Eastern Roman Empire and the West burst out with renewed force in the confrontation between socialism and capitalism. On the one hand, the Bolsheviks were even worse than the Romanovs, since atheism, mechanism, materialism and Darwinism are much further from the truth than an albeit mutilated Orthodoxy. On the other hand, even through the Bolsheviks there worked a strange power that was amazingly reminiscent in some aspects of the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the oprichnina and the return to archaic popular-religious elements” (p. 517). 

     It is clear that Dugin has a positive attitude towards this “stange power”. He even appears to see in it the unifying theme of Russian history. Here we come to the nub of Dugin’s understanding of Russian history: that the real break in that history came, not in 1917 but two-and-a-half centuries earlier, and that the “Eastern Roman Empire” not only did not come to an end in 1917, but in some mysterious way continued to exist under Soviet power, and continued to serve God and the True Church by opposing the real Antichrist – American power.

     With regard to the Church, while the Soviet patriarchs beginning with Sergius (Stragorodsky) are mildly rapped on the knuckles by Dugin for placing the Orthodox Church in subjection to Soviet power, this act is considered no worse than the “complete spiritual conformism” of the hierarchs that condemned the Old Rite in 1666-67 (p. 518). Having absolved the official (sergianist) Russian Orthodox Church of all mortal sin, Dugin considers that the True, Philadelphian Church of the future should combine the official Church, the Old Ritualists and the Russian Church Abroad (this was before the surrender of the Church Abroad to Moscow in 2007): “On their own the three main currents in contemporary Russian Orthodoxy… are insufficient, but they bear within themselves separate aspects of ecclesiological truth. The Old Ritualists have a correct evaluation of the schism. The ROC has the fact of the presence of the Russian patriarchate, hierarchical fullness and national solidarity with the destinies of the Russian State at any cost. The ‘abroaders’ have the emphasis on the role of the monarchy as ‘that which restrains’.” (p. 519).

     And so, over 560 years after the ending of the supposed “thousand-year reign of Christ”, Dugin believes that all these elements surviving from the apostatic Soviet past have “remained faithful in spite of everything to the True Church and the True Kingdom, the Last Kingdom of the unconquered, indestructible Holy Rus’” (p. 521) – all under the leadership of the KGB agent who is “all”, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin!

     It is obvious that Dugin's "eschatological ecclesiolgy" is riddles with inconsistencies. Nevertheless, we can see in it a general idea that has been adopted by Putin and that appears to have become a kind of "orthodoxy" among Russian political commentators and analysts: that the present state of the Russian Federation is legitimized and strengthened by its uniting within itself all that is best in Russia's history from both before and after the revolution. Putin, following Dugin's general conception in a secularized forsm, see himself as the heir both of the Russian tsars and the Soviet commissars, both of the communists and the democrats; he is all things to all men - an Orthodox with the Orthodox, a nationalist with the nationalists, a Stalinist with the Stalinists, and a democrat with the democrats.

     However, an important qualification must be made to this statement. Neither Putin nor Dugin are liberal democrats. Putin calls his brand of democracy “sovereign democracy” – in other words, democracy controlled and limited by a sovereign, that is, himself; while Dugin believes in a kind of elemental, “organic” democracy that may have some roots in the “theocratic democracy” of Old Ritualist priestless communities, but is quite compatible with a totalitarian form of government. For, as Laruelle writes, “this kind of democracy would express itself in political unanimity as well as in a return to a ‘natural hierarchy’ of social castes, and in a (professional, regional or confessional) corporation that would leave no room for the individual outside the collectivity”. What neither man can abide is the liberal form of democracy based on human rights which is dominant in Western Europe and the United States. Putin has paid lip-service to liberal democracy and human rights in the past, when he was trying to join liberal clubs such as the G8 and the World Trade Organization. However, he has always maintained that the fall of the Soviet Union to liberal democracy in 1991 was “a geopolitical tragedy” of the first order. And now that he has entered on a collision course with the West in Crimea and the Ukraine, his contempt for western liberalism is unconcealed…

     In Absoliutnaia Rodina, Dugin expresses a hatred of America so intense as to demonstrate that, while he, with most of his countrymen, may have abandoned the ideology of the Soviet era, he has by no means been exorcised of its ruling spirit, its hatred of the collective enemy: “An ominous and alarming country on the other side of the ocean. Without history, without tradition, without roots. An artificial, aggressive, imposed reality, completely devoid of spirit, concentrated only on the material world and technical effectiveness, cold, indifferent, an advertisement shining with neon light and senseless luxury; darkened by pathological poverty, genetic degradation and the rupture of all and every person and thing, nature and culture. It is the result of a pure experiment of the European rationalist utopians.

     “Today it is establishing its planetary dominion, the triumph of its way of life, its civilizational model over all the peoples of the earth. And over us. In itself and only in itself does it see ‘progress’ and ‘civilizational norms’, refusing everyone else the right to their own path, their own culture, their own system of values.

     “How wonderfully exactly does all this remind us of the prophecy concerning the coming into the world of the Antichrist… The king of the dead ‘green country’, that arose out of the abyss of the ancient crime…

     “To close down America is our religious duty…” (pp. 657-658)

     Not for nothing did Dugin come from the family of a Colonel-General of the Soviet Army, study in a military Aviation Institute (until his expulsion because of his occultist leanings) and write the manifesto of the leader of the Russian Communist Party, Gennady Ziuganov. His hatred of America is imbibed from his mother’s milk; it is the “pure” Soviet spirit that, while recognizing the defeat of Soviet Russia in the Cold War, is burning with the desire to avenge that defeat – if necessary in the hottest of hot wars, nuclear Armageddon (as Dmitri Kiselev made quite clear recently on Russian television). The only significant difference between this spirit and the spirit of the Soviet era is that in this mutation of the virus the “closing down” (in another place he openly says “destruction”) of America is not our “patriotic”, but our “religious” duty. For the main difference between Soviet and post-Soviet Russia is that religion has now been integrated into the ruling anti-American ideology. Such an unnatural union between militant atheism and religion was prefigured by Stalin’s alliance with the official Orthodox Church in 1943; but it is only since 1991, and especially since Putin’s (and Dugin’s) rise to prominence at the turn of the century, that religion and politics have truly grown together in the Soviet Russian consciousness.

     But what religion precisely? As we have seen, Dugin probably belongs to the official Orthodox Church, but in his spirituality is Old Ritualist (with plentiful admixtures of occult esoteric nonsense). This Old Ritualism gives his thought an eschatological, end-of-the-world colouring. For at the end of the seventeenth century the Old Ritualists fled into the woods and immolated themselves precisely in order to escape the “Antichrist” – the Russian State.

      As Fr. George Florovsky writes, “the keynote and secret of Russia’s Schism was not ‘ritual’ but the Antichrist, and thus it may be termed a socio-apocalyptical utopia. The entire meaning and pathos of the first schismatic opposition lies in its underlying apocalyptical intuition (‘the time draws near’), rather than in any ‘blind’ attachment to specific rites or petty details of custom. The entire first generation of raskolouchitelei [‘teachers of schism’] lived in this atmosphere of visions, signs, and premonitions, of miracles, prophecies, and illusions. These men were filled with ecstasy or possessed, rather than being pedants… One has only to read the words of Avvakum, breathless with excitement: ‘What Christ is this? He is not near; only hosts of demons.’ Not only Avvakum felt that the ‘Nikon’ Church had become a den of thieves. Such a mood became universal in the Schism: ‘the censer is useless; the offering abominable’. 

     “The Schism, an outburst of a socio-political hostility and opposition, was a social movement, but one derived from religious self-consciousness. It is precisely this apocalyptical perception of what has taken place which explains the decisive or rapid estrangement among the Schismatics. ‘Fanaticism in panic’ is Kliuchevskii’s definition, but it was also panic in the face of ‘the last apostasy’…

     “The Schism dreamed of an actual, earthly City: a theocratic utopia and chiliasm. It was hoped that the dream had already been fulfilled and that the ‘Kingdom of God’ had been realised as the Muscovite State. There may be four patriarchs in the East, but the one and only Orthodox tsar is in Moscow. But now even this expectation had been deceived and shattered. Nikon’s ‘apostasy’ did not disturb the Old Ritualists nearly as much as did the tsar’s apostasy, which in their opinion imparted a final apocalyptical hopelessness to the entire conflict.

     “’At this time there is no tsar. One Orthodox tsar had remained on earth, and whilst he was unaware, the western heretics, like dark clouds, extinguished this Christian sun. Does this not, beloved, clearly prove that the Antichrist’s deceit is showing its mask?’

     “History was at an end. More precisely, sacred history had come to an end; it had ceased to be sacred and had become without Grace. Henceforth the world would seem empty, abandoned, forsaken by God, and it would remain so. One would be forced to withdraw from history into the wilderness. Evil had triumphed in history. Truth had retreated into the bright heavens, while the Holy Kingdom had become the tsardom of the Antichrist…”

     However, in spite of this apocalypticism, some of the Old Ritualists came to accept the Russian State as the legitimate Orthodox empire. Thus an investigator of the Old Rite in the 1860s, V.I. Kel’siev, asserted that “the people continue to believe today that Moscow is the Third Rome and that there will be no fourth. So Russia is the new Israel, a chosen people, a prophetic land, in which shall be fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, and in which even the Antichrist will appear, as Christ appeared in the previous Holy Land. The representative of Orthodoxy, the Russian Tsar, is the most legitimate emperor on earth, for he occupies the throne of Constantinople…”

     Dugin has adopted this version of the apocalyptic Old Ritualism that has come to terms with the Tsar. Only the Tsar now is Putin, and it is the modern Russian Federation that is the last true kingdom on earth. America is the Antichrist, and will be destroyed, if not by Russian nukes, at any rate by the Second Coming of Christ…

     If this seems suicidal, then we should remember that mass suicide was part of the culture of early Old Ritualism, as dramatized in Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanschina… Moreover, some years ago in Munich Putin did something which none of the earlier, more cautious Soviet leaders did – he claimed the right of first strike in a nuclear war… Not in vain did the Ukrainian President say recently that Putin’s actions could lead to the outbreak of World War Three (Dugin has said something similar.


The American Antichrist

     Dugin pays considerable attention to “the American idea”, and analyses it into two components: liberalism, whose essence is individualism, and Protestant messianism or eschatologism, which is a kind of mirror image of his Russian eschatologism. Dugin’s analysis of American liberalism is interesting. He sees it as the ultimate enemy, something much more than simply laissez-faire economics and political democracy, an ideology that has been subtly, skilfully and persistently insinuated into all countries. Its essence is the promotion of the individual above the collective in all its forms; “human rights” are always the rights of the individual against the collective.

     In a recent lecture given in Sweden, Dugin showed how even some recent surprising developments in the liberal ideology, such as gay rights, can be explained in terms of this liberal enmity towards collectivism and collectives. For individualism taken to its extreme denies the relevance of any fact that makes an individual not just an individual like any other individual, but also the member of a group that differentiates him from other individuals. So religion is irrelevant to human rights because it differentiates people; so is nationality; so is sex… These collective or group identities are not only irrelevant but must be destroyed: religion is replaced by ecumenism, nationality by internationalism, sex by unisex… “Man is the measure of all things,” as Protagoras once said – and “man” here, according to the liberal ideology, means man as an individual shorn of all differentiating characteristics…

     Dugin sees fascism and communism as failed attempts to counter liberalism by exalting collectivist notions of the working class and the Aryan race respectively. Fascism was destroyed in 1945, and communism – in 1991. Dugin claims not to want to return to either of these failed alternatives. He speaks instead of a “fourth way” or “fourth theory”, which he is in the process of developing. However, commentators can be forgiven for thinking that he is deceiving either himself or others or both in this assertion; for not only does his “fourth way” as so far developed contain no clear and consistent alternatives to American individualism or Nazi or Soviet collectivism: he has himself spoken about creating a “truly fascist fascism”…

     Also contained in the American idea, according to Dugin, is the messianic idea of “America, the promised land”, “America, the New Israel” (the ten lost tribes rather than the Jews of Judah), “America the New Jerusalem” (George Washington), the “pure and virtuous republic” whose “manifest destiny” is “to rule the world and bring people to perfection” (John Adams).

     The American and Russian messianic ideas are diametrically opposed, being “rooted in the opposition between Catholicism (+Protestantism) and Orthodoxy, the Western Roman Empire and Byzantium. The western and eastern forms of Christianity constitute two choices, two paths, two incompatible, mutually exclusive messianic ideals. Orthodoxy is oriented on the spiritual transfiguration of the world in the rays of the uncreated light of Tabor, and Catholicism – in the material restructuring of the earth under the administrative leadership of the Vatican. The Orthodox value above all contemplation, the Catholics – action. Orthodox political teaching insists on ‘the symphony of powers’, which strictly separates the secular (the basileus, the tsar) and the spiritual (the patriarch, the clergy) principles. But Catholicism strives to spread the power of the Pope into secular life, provoking a reverse, usurping move on the part of the secular monarchs, who are eager to submit the Vatican to themselves. The Orthodox consider the Catholics to be ‘apostates’ who have given themselves up to ‘apostasy’; the Catholics look on the Orthodox as ‘a barbaric spiritualist sect’.

     “The most anti-Orthodox traits – to the point of rejecting service [works?] and many dogmas – have been developed to their limit by the Protestants…

     “History is not linear, it often makes detours, goes to the side, over-emphasizes details, accentuates paradoxes and anomalies. Nevertheless, an axial line is evident. Undoubtedly there exists a certain ‘Manifest Destiny’ in the broad sense. – The West ascribes it to the American model, to the American way of life, to a super-power, while the East (at any rate the Christian East) is incarnate through the ages in Russia [the successor of Byzantium]. The socialist faith in the golden age of the Soviet Russians is like an absolutely symmetrical antithesis to market eschatologism. ‘The end of the world’ according to the liberal scenario and its opposite – ‘the end of the world’ according to the Russian Orthodox, socialist, Eurasian, eastern scenario. For them this is a general enslavement and rationalization, for us it is a general transfiguration and liberation.

     “The logic of history on the most various of levels constantly and insistently illumines the basic dualism – the USA and the USSR, the West and the East, America and Russia…” (pp. 665, 666)

     There is much that the Orthodox Christian can agree with Dugin in his analysis of the polarity between East and West, and especially Eastern and Western Christianity. But when “the East” comes to include, not only Byzantium and Holy Russia, but also Soviet socialism, - that thoroughly western utopian construct dreamed up by a German Jew in the Reading Room of the British Library, - then we begin to suspect that this is Cold War rhetoric reworked in order to appeal to a semi-educated Orthodox readership. And indeed, the same could be said about the whole Putin-Dugin project and ideology: it is essentially a resurrection of the Cold War, its reheating and re-ignition and ideological reformulation as the result of changed political circumstances. Out go Marxism-Leninism and all the baggage of dialectical materialism, which nobody outside North Korea believes in any more. In come half-digested thoughts about the uncreated light and the symphony of powers, spiced with nostalgia for the “good old days” of Soviet sausages and a very large dose of “truly fascist fascism” and Old Ritualist mass-hysteria…

     The irony – and the hypocrisy – is that the Russian Federation today looks a very long way from providing any kind of credible ideological alternative to Americanism. All the vices of the West are there in abundance. On almost all social indices – corruption, inequality, suicide, drunkenness, drug-taking, child mortality, even atheism – Russia comes well below America and on a par with the worst Third World countries. The official church contemplates, not the Divine Light, but its own obscenely inflated bank balances. As for a “symphony of powers” with the state, this is a bad joke: the KGB-run church is completely subservient to the KGB-run state…


Protestant Dispensationalism

     Dugin rounds off his analysis of the American idea with an illuminating study of the place of “dispensationalism” in the American religio-political psyche. “There exists a special Protestant eschatological teaching called ‘dispensationalism’, from the Latin word dispensatio, which could be translated as ‘providence’ or ‘plan’. According to this theory, God has a ‘plan’ in relation to the Anglo-Saxon Christians, another in relation to the Jews, and a third in relation to all the other countries. The Anglo-Saxons are considered to be ‘the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel, who did not return to Judaea from the Babylonian captivity’. These ten tribes ‘remembered their origin, and accepted Protestantism as their main confession.’

     “The ‘plan’ for the Protestant Anglo-Saxons, in the opinion of the adherents of dispensationalism, is as follows. – Before the end of time there must come a time of troubles (‘the great sorrow’ or tribulation). At this point the forces of evil, of ‘the evil empire’ (when Reagan called the USSR ‘the evil empire’, he had in mind precisely this eschatological Biblical meaning), will fall upon the Protestant Anglo-Saxons (and also the others who have been ‘born again’) and for a short time the ‘abomination of desolation’ will rule. The main anti-hero of the ‘tribulation period’ is ‘King Gog’. Now here is a very important point: this person is persistently and constantly identified in the eschatology of the dispensationalists with Russia.

     “This was clearly formulated for the first time during the Crimean war, in 1855, by the Evangelist John Cumming. At that time he identified the Russian Tsar Nicholas I with the Biblical ‘Gog, prince of Magog’ – leader of the invasion of Israel foretold in the Bible [Ezekiel 38-39]. This theme again exploded with particular force in 1917, while in the era of the ‘Cold War’ it became de facto the official position of the ‘moral majority’ of religious America.

     “God has another ‘plan’, in the teaching of the dispensationalists, in regard to Israel. By ‘Israel’ they understand the literal re-establishment of a Jewish state before the end of the world. By contrast with the Orthodox and all other normal Christians, the Protestant fundamentalists are convinced that the Biblical prophecies concerning the participation of the people of Israel in the events of ‘the last times’ must be understood literally, in a strictly Old Testament way, and that they refer to those Jews who continue to confess Judaism even in our days. The Jews in the last times must return to Israel, re-establish their state (this ‘dispensationalist prophecy’ was in a strange way fulfilled literally in 1947) and then be subjected to the invasion of Gog, that is, the ‘Russians’, ‘the Eurasians’.

     “Then there begins the strangest part of ‘dispensationalism’. At the moment of the ‘great tribulation’ it is supposed that the Anglo-Saxon Christians will be ‘taken up’ into heaven (the rapture) – ‘as if on a space ship or saucer’ – and there wait for the end of the war between Gog (the Russians) and Israel. Then they (the Anglo-Saxons), together with the Protestant ‘Christ’, will descend to earth again, where they will be met by the Israelites who had conquered Gog and immediately convert to Protestantism. Then will begin the ‘thousand-year kingdom’ and America together with Israel will rule without limits in a stable paradise of ‘the open society’ and ‘one world’.” (pp. 667-668)

     Dugin goes on to explain how dispensationalism has been spread and strengthened by such figures as Cyrus Scofield (of the Scofield Reference Bible), Hal Lindsey and Jerry Falwell.

     Then he concludes his diatribe against the American Antichrist as follows: “We arrive at a terrible (for the Russians) picture. The powers, groups, world-views and state formations that together are called ‘the West’, and which after their victory in the ‘Cold War’ are the only rulers of the world, behind the façade of ‘liberalism’ confess a harmonious eschatological theological doctrine in which the events of secular history, technological progress, international relations, social processes, etc. are interpreted in an eschatological perspective. The civilizational roots of this western model go back into deep antiquity, and, in a certain sense, a definite archaism has been preserved here right up to the present time in parallel with technological and social modernization. And these powers persistently and consistently identify us, the Russians, with ‘the spirits of hell’, with the demonic ‘hordes of King Gog from the land of Magog’, with the bearers of ‘absolute evil’. The Biblical reference to the apocalyptic ‘princes of Ros, Mesech and Tubal’ are interpreted as unambiguously referring to Russia – ‘Ros’ (=’Russia’), ‘Meshech’ (=’Moscow’) and ‘Tubal’ (=’the ancient name for Scythia’). In other words, the Russophobia of the West and especially of the USA by no means proceeds from a pharisaical concern for ‘the victims of totalitarianism’ or the notorious ‘rights of man’. We are talking about a consistent and ‘justified’ doctrinal demonization of Eastern European civilization in all its aspects – historical, cultural, theological, geopolitical, social, economic, etc.” (pp. 669-670)

     Dugin has carried out a talented hatchet-job on American Protestant eschatologism. However, if he rejects the Protestant interpretation of the prophecy, he should, as a supposed Orthodox believer, be able to provide an Orthodox interpretation; but he does not. Moreover, he fails to take into account the striking fact that, whatever the defects of the American eschatological vision, the prophecy of Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog does seem to point to Russia as its geographical context…

     Most ancient commentators placed Gog in the region north of the Black Sea, which is now South Russia and Ukraine. Some place Gog in Armenia. Thus Plumptre writes: “The name Gog seems to be found in the name Gogarene, a district of Armenia, west of the Caspian (Strabo, xi, 528).” In any case, “Gog” seems to be the name of a man – the Antichrist, according to Blessed Jerome, while “Magog” (the name first appears in Genesis 10.2 as the son of Japheth) is his people or his army. Josephus, followed by St. Andrew of Caesarea, says that Magog was the ancestor of the Scythians, who also originally inhabited the Black Sea area.

     The lands Gog rules over are called “Ros, Meshech and Tubal”. “Ros” in the Greek of the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, is the ancient name for Russia. The identification with Russia is strengthened by the fact that Gog and Magog are said to come from “the extreme north” “during the last times” (Ezekiel 38.6, 39.2). “Meshech” may refer to Moscow, according to some commentators, and “Tubal”, according to Blessed Theodoretus of Cyrus - to Georgia.

     In his commentary on Ezekiel, M. Skaballanovich quotes, against the identification with Russia, the remark of a German scholar: “The Russians cannot be included among the enemies of the Kingdom of God”. But that remark was made before the First World War: a century later, after the greatest persecution of Orthodox Christians in history, the idea that the Russians of the neo-Soviet regime of Putin or his successor could be included among the enemies of God is much more plausible – and especially from an Orthodox point of view. Moreover, Gog’s allies and opponents in his invasion of the Middle East fit quite well with the present system of alliances in the region. Thus a rough correspondence can be discerned between the allies of Gog in the form of the Armenians (“Togarmah”), the Shiite Persians and the Libyans, on the one side, and his enemies in the form of Israel and the Sunni Muslims of Turkey and the Arabian peninsula (“Sheba” and “Dedan”), on the other. These two coalitions are already fighting a bloody proxy war in Syria, and it is entirely feasible that Putin, who declared in August, 2013 that he would “destroy” Saudi Arabia, will try to carry out his threat in an invasion of the Middle East.

     The names “Gog and Magog” also appear in the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse of St. John.There are two important differences between the Old and New Testament prophecies. The first is that whereas Ezekiel's Gog and Magog come from “the extreme north”, St. John's come from “the four quarters of the earth”. The second is that whereas the destruction of Ezekiel's Gog and Magog is followed by several more years of terrestrial life, that described in St. John is followed by the Last Judgement. So Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog come earlier in terrestrial history than St. John’s. Evidently, however, they are spiritually akin; both represent antichristian powers, perhaps the collective (Soviet) and the personal (Jewish) Antichrists respectively.


Conclusion: The Threat

     These interpretations are, of course, speculative; but the threat posed by Dugin’s NeoFascist-NeoSoviet-NeoOldRitualist eschatologism is not. Putin is almost certainly a more pragmatic, less ideologically-motivated man than Dugin, who is not going to hurl his armies into the Middle East or against the West just in order to justify Dugin’s, or anybody else’s, interpretation of the prophecies. Nevertheless, he has shown favour to Dugin, and is certainly very happy to employ religious sentiment, however misguided, to strengthen his own popularity. There is no doubt that he would love to clothe himself in the robes of a Russian Orthodox White Tsar going to battle for Holy Rus’ against the American-Jewish Antichrist. And there is equally no doubt, alas, that many Orthodox both in Russia and abroad will be happy to accept him in that role. Western commentators have recognized that American Evangelical eschatologism is an important factor influencing American foreign policy. There is no reason why Russian (or Soviet or Old Ritualist) Orthodox eschatologism should not be accorded the same attention and recognition.


April 19 / May 2, 2014.

New Hieromartyr Victor, Archbishop of Vyatka.














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