Vienna, April 24 – Aleksandr Dugin, a Eurasianist leader known to be close to the Kremlin and especially to its chief ideologist Vladislav Surkov, predicts that Russia will soon find itself embroiled in a broader war in the Caucasus as a result of American actions there and should pursue the dismemberment of Ukraine to prevent the expansion of NATO.
While Dugin’s comments are overblown – he has made a career by striking dramatic poses about any number of issues – his observations on these two points are nonetheless worth attending to because they suggest some at the highest levels in Moscow are nervous about new fighting in the Caucasus and are still prepared to think about dividing Ukraine.
In an interview on KM.ru today, Dugin predicted that there would be “yet another war in the Caucasus – [this time] against Georgia, Chechnya, Ingushetiya and Daghestan” and that Moscow should seek to dismember Ukraine in order to protect its own national interests and those of ethnic Russians living there (forum.msk.ru/material/news/470244.html).
According to Dugin, “America is supporting the striving of the Georgian elites to move toward a sharpening of relations with Russia. And Georgia on the occasion of each such sharpening turns to the U.S. for military and diplomatic help,” the last of which Washington “as a rule” provides.
“The very same thing” is happening in Ukraine, Moldova, and “partially” in the Baltic countries, Dugin continued. “And theoretically it could occur in other countries on the post-Soviet space as well. Including, Russia itself. Moreover, “when the Chechen enclave is not controlled by federal forces, approximately the same geopolitical struggle is being played out.”
Because the NATO Bucharest summit shows that the U.S. plans to go ahead with the inclusion of Ukraine in NATO, Dugin said, Moscow does not have much time in order to block this and consequently “ought to immediately and actively get involved in the process of dismembering Ukraine” in order to prevent NATO from moving eastward.
Ukraine is so important for both Russia and the West that this conflict could move from a cold to a “hot” one very quickly. “For the Americans, Georgia is much less important,” but “the Caucasus is the weak place of Russia.” And consequently, Dugin argued that the US will push Georgia into a conflict in order to distract Moscow from what is going on in Ukraine.
In Dugin’s view, recent events in Daghestan, Chechnya and Ingushetiya reflect “not simply instability called forth by internal contradictions but also by the activization of that American network which has already been established there,” one that risks shifting the balance of power in the region against Russia.
As is usually the case, Dugin in this instance seeks to link a wide variety of issues together, something that many in Moscow and the West view as an indication of the depth of his thought, and to see the “hand of Washington” behind everything negative that happens in the post-Soviet state, a perspective that plays to Soviet-style paranoia.
But not everyone is impressed. Two observers on the FORUM.msk site, for example, dismissed Dugin’s remarks out of hand. Vladimir Filin said his words were part of “a psychological war” against Ukraine, pointing out that “if one country conducts against another a war for destruction, the other country has a complete right to respond symmetrically.”
And Ruslan Saidov noted that whatever Dugin thinks, there are “no American networks in Chechnya now. But they will inevitably appear if federal forces do not stop unceremoniously interfering in internal Chechen affairs and continue to insist that the Kremlin controls something in Chechnya besides Khankala and a few buildings in Grozny.”