Vienna, November 25 – Lydia Chudinova, an Orthodox writer who gained national and international attention for her dystopian anti-Islamic novel, “The Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris,” two years ago has now taken aim at the ideas of Aleksandr Dugin and his anti-Western and, in her view, ultimately anti-Russian Eurasian movement.
Entitled “Jokers Near the Throne: A School of Scandal,” Chudinova’s soon-to-be-released book is a commentary on what she argues is a dangerous trend in Russian thought, the division of the country’s “patriotic” camp into two irreconcilable camps, the Eurasianists and the ethnic nationalists, a reflection and a cause of “the intellectual destruction” of the country.
Excerpts which she herself chose appear in this week’s “Nashe vremya,” and they provide a glimpse into her ideas on this subject. If the public’s reaction to her earlier book is any guide, they are likely both to provoke a sharp debate and to shape the opinions of many in the Russian elite (www.gazetanv.ru/archive/article/?id=5359).
The Eurasianists, she says, are always calling for the rooting out and destruction of their enemies such as the Orange revolutionaries, pro-Western groups, and “the West as such and the US in particular” even as they insist that this is “not a manifestation of ‘xenophobia’ or a call to force, but [simply] the program of the Eurasian movement.”
‘We of course did not expect from the Eurasians,” the Orthodox writer says, “an understanding of the reality that calls to ‘destroy’ someone cannot be constructive or unifying --unlike calls to ‘save’ and to ‘defend,’ the kind of appeals that historically have been closer to the Russian people.
Such “anti-Western hysteria,” she continues, is something that one “very much hopes is not a [Russian] government course, even though participants [in various demonstrations and declarations] have sought to portray themselves as the ideological supporters of the current powers that be.”
“”May God grant,” she says, “this this love [of the Eurasians for the Kremlin] is not mutual.” Unfortunately, there are some reasons for concern on this point. Russia’s foreign policy toward the West is just the reverse of what it should be, she says. Now, Moscow makes concessions but is angry; instead, the Russian government should be well-intentioned but firm.”
Dugin frequently says that Russia is closely tied to Orthodoxy, but he celebrates the cult of state violence rather than the civilizing mission of the faith. And that shows, Chudinova continues, that he does not really understand either Russia or the Russian faith and in fact is their opponent.
That is only one of the intellectual confusions of Dugin and the Eurasianists, she says, noting that he and his movement proclaim their commitment to “combining ‘oprichnik formations for the liquidation of the enemies of the powers that be’ with ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights.’”
According to Dugin, Chudinova writes, “’Russia is everything; the rest are nothing1’” But she says, “it would be interesting to know where the border between ‘all’ and ‘nothing’ actually is. Perhaps it corresponds with the state border?” And she suggests that this points to an imperialism which threatens the Russian nation.
Unfortunately, she argues, Dugin’s rise to prominence reflects a fundamental weakness in the patriotic camp. When the first Russian March took place two years ago, she was not especially pleased and indeed found it hard to understand just why anyone would be, given the intellectual kasha on display.
How could one be pleased, she asks, “when in one rank march opponents of the globalists and the opponents of the masons, opponents of the liberals and opponents of ‘the bloody regime’ of Putin, opponents of the West and monarchists, communists, Eurasians and fighters for Islamic expansion” – all together supposedly “’patriotic forces.’”
In fact, she says, this manifested the weakness of those forces, who she says should be focusing on “one concrete task:” the salvation and growth of the Russian people and of its culture rather than building a new empire. Those who pursue the Eurasianist alternative, Chudinova suggests, are “building their ‘empire’ on sand.”
The excerpts, which also include attacks on Islamic Committee head Geidar Dzhemal, who Chudinova describes as Dugin’s “Siamese twin,” suggest that the book itself will include an even more varied set of ideas than the ones included in her excerpts. But however that may be, this book, like her earlier one, is certain to become a cause célèbre in the months ahead.