National Security & Defense

Moscow’s Mad Philosophers

The Izborsky Club is spreading its noxious fascist ideology among Moscow’s power players.

Most Americans have never heard of the Izborsky Club. It is past time that they did, because this extremely influential organization is a key part of the core group that is driving the world toward war.

In previous articles for National Review Online, I have discussed the work of Alexander Dugin, a.k.a. “Putin’s Rasputin,” a reactionary philosopher who has synthesized a new totalitarian “fourth political theory” combining elements of Communism, fascism, ecologism, and traditionalism to serve as the binding creed of a Moscow-centered “Eurasianist” empire opposed to the West.

There have always been mad philosophers. But they do not become a clear and present danger until they link up with and recruit worldly men with the power to put their ideas into action. This is the purpose of the Izborsky Club, whose elite membership brings together Dugin and his corps of Eurasianist intellectuals with key Moscow power players in the political, military, and economic arenas.

The founder and president of the Izborsky Club is Aleksandr Prokhanov. A former high-level Soviet propagandist, in 1991 Prokhanov wrote the “Word to the People” manifesto for the coup that attempted to restore Stalinist hardliners to power in the USSR. Following the failure of the coup, Prokhanov joined the radical ultranationalist opposition, which he has boosted through his publication of, first, the anti-Semitic newspaper Den’ (The Day) and — since Den’ was banned following the failure of the 1993 Soviet-restorationist coup — through his widely circulated extremist “red/brown” (Communist/Nazi) newspaper Zavtra (Tomorrow). Prokhanov’s 2012 book, The Tread of the Russian Triumph, is a fictionalized treatise on Russian history promoting the author’s “Fifth Empire” doctrine, stating that the currently emerging Eurasian Union will become the absolutist geopolitical giant that finally realizes the vision of the Khanate, Muscovy, the Romanov Empire, and the USSR.

Other powerful members of the Izborsky Club include Zavtra’s editor-in-chief, Aleksandr Nagorny; Putin’s Eurasian Union policy architect, Sergei Glazeyev; economic policymakers Aleksandr Ageyev, Sergei Bachikov, and Andrei Kobyakov; military hardliner Leonid Ivashov; pan-Slavist soldier of fortune and Zavtra military editor Vladislav Shurigin; oligarchs Oleg Rozanov, Yuri Lastochkin, and Aleksandr Notin; police major general and former head of Russian Interpol Vladimir Ovchinsky; the co-chairman of the reactionary Great Fatherland Party, Nikolai Starikov; the Kremlin’s Islamic-world strategy coordinator, Shamil Sultanov; the author of the bestseller Why America Will Perish, Oleg Platonov; leading TV news anchors Mikhail Leontev and Maksim Shevchenko; film director and Russian Orthodox priest Ivan Okhlobystin; Russian Orthodox Church Supreme Council member Archmandrite Tikhon; and Eurasianist ideologues Aleksandr Dugin, Valeri Korovin, Andrei Fursov, and Vladimir Kucherenko (a.k.a. Maksim Kalashnikov).

This is the core group behind the Kremlin’s drive toward fascism, war, and Eurasian empire. A glance at their publications should dispel any notion that Russia’s ongoing step-by-step invasion of Ukraine is being undertaken for purposes limited to taking control of just a few more provinces. These people are quite open about the fact that their plans are much bigger than that.

For example, Dugin’s chief lieutenant, Korovin, has just come out with a book entitled The End of the Ukrainian Project. “The destruction of residual Ukrainian statehood is predetermined,” he writes, adding in a recent post that, contrary to European leaders’ belief that “there is no military solution to the problem, this problem has only a military force solution, and that will be to sweep Ukraine.”

But the Izborsky Club’s vision goes far beyond Ukraine. Kucherenko (writing as Kalashnikov) outlines the next steps. Russia lost the Third World War (the Cold War), he says in a recent article published by the club, but “the Fourth World War is possible. It will be a war for the redivision of the world. . . . And in the final stage, some strong country, the United States, in the first place, and then perhaps China, will be subjected to military strikes.”

The Eurasian imperial concept requires unification not only of Eastern and Central Europe under Kremlin leadership, but of the Middle East as well. “We war with America on two fronts: Syria and Ukraine,” says Fursov in a recent article. Club president Prokhanov recently traveled to Tehran, where he spent five hours seeking convergence with Iranian hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some of which discussion he was kind enough to write up and publish. “I want to tell you, Mr. Prokhanov: ‘Welcome!’” Ahmadinejad reportedly said. “I am very glad to meet you. Two and a half years ago we met in Moscow in the circle of thinkers in Russia, and I have very good memories of that meeting. . . . I have great respect for you. I think in many fundamental issues we have with you a single view. . . . We are with you on one front, acting in the same direction.” To which Prokhanov tactfully replied; “I am your warrior, Mr. Ahmadinejad.”

Prokhanov’s trip to Teheran was done in company with club member and retired general Leonid Ivashov and Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu who, while there, signed a military-cooperation pact with Iran. According to Ivashov, “a step was taken in the direction of cooperation on the economy and arms technology, at least for such defensive systems as the S-300 and S-400. Probably we will deliver them.”

But the most important country that Eurasianists need to conquer to fulfill their vision is not Ukraine or Iran, but Russia itself. In this connection, the Izborsky Club’s recent publication of a whole-hearted defense of the regime of Joseph Stalin could not be more revealing.

“There is a political order out to debunk Stalin’s role, and thus discredit the very great victory,” the club’s statement says:

In the case of Ukraine, we see what this historic diversion brought. It began with the idea of claiming “Stalinist famine,” to subsequently establish monuments of this “crime” in Ukraine, and ended up abandoning of our heroic history. . . . Then there are the lies about the number of the repressed — the cornerstone of the denigration of the figure of Stalin. The historical fact is that from 1921 to February 1, 1954, just 3,777,380 people were convicted of political crimes, and that in 34 years! It is well known that not all of them were innocent “lambs of God.” It has long been proven far more people were sent to the “‘American Gulag.” . . . 

The Stalin period must be weighed against the factual side of his achievements. Stalin’s achievements in the economy — thousands of businesses across the country, industrialization, the annual decline in prices of products and goods,

Stalin’s achievements in geopolitics — the return of the territories “cut off” earlier from the Russian Empire was unprecedented in the history of the growing power of the USSR.

In the field of culture — the heyday of cinema, architecture, fine arts and literature.

Stalin’s achievements in science and technology were unprecedented: Soviet planes, tanks, cars were not inferior to world standards, and surpassed them. Our country developed its nuclear weapons and its engineering industry. . . . 

Supreme Commander Stalin is our monument of Victory.

This really puts the club’s cards on the table. Aleksandr Dugin may put on airs about how profound his “fourth political theory” is in its synthesis of Communism and fascism, but Stalin had all the basics down 85 years ago, without bothering with Heidegger, Schmitt, or most of the other turgid Teutonic philosophers so dear to Dugin. It was Stalin, after all, who was the original “National Bolshevik,” who understood — as Hitler also did, but as many of Stalin’s thus-doomed revolutionary comrades did not — that to obtain the degree of mass hysteria required to impose complete totalitarian collectivism, it would be necessary to invoke the tribal instinct.

Russians would do well to stop and think about this, before they abandon their rational faculties for the pleasure of surrendering to the herd mind. The program of the Izborsky Club has been tried before, and the results were monstrous. The Ukrainians may have been among Stalin’s first victims. They weren’t his last.

Westerners would do well to stop and think as well, before they solidify the power and validate the plans for aggression of the red/brown totalitarians through continued appeasement. We’ve seen this program before, too.

— Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, and the author of Energy Victory. The paperback edition of his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, was recently published by Encounter Books.


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