Post-Soviet 'Uncivil Society' and the Rise of Aleksandr Dugin: A Case Study of the Extraparliamentary Radical Right in Contemporary Russia
243 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 23, 2007
Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Cambridge for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation argues that, in Russia, the extreme right, in spite of its relative fail-ure to become a notable force in parliament throughout the 1990s, remains a signifi-cant social and political factor in the new century. The thesis uses the generic concepts of uncivil society, groupuscule, and right-wing Gramscianism developed in comparative fascist studies to substantiate the claim that the political potential of ultra-nationalism in a given country might be assessed in-completely by sole measurement of the electoral performance of right-radical parties. It refers to the transformation of anti-Semitism in late Imperial Germany from a party ideology into a component of national political culture as an example illustrating that stagnating or downfalling ultra-nationalist parties, sometimes, indicate not a decline of the popularity of their aims, but an infiltration of their ideas into society. The thesis reviews recent comparative research on the role of third sector actors in regime change and post-War politics in Western Europe to illustrate that a consideration of the organizational capacities, ties with the elite, and social rootedness of extremely right-wing extraparliamentary groupings might constitute an important addition for an adequate assessment of the prospects of the ultra-nationalist movement of a given country. In its second, empirical part (Chapter III), the study develops a case study in the emergence of post-Soviet uncivil society detailing the context and course of the rise, in 1988-2006, of Aleksandr Dugin’s circle of “neo-Eurasianists” from a lunatic fringe group into an influential think-tank with a notable presence in the Russian book mar-ket, intellectual discourse and mass media. Apart from showing Dugin’s increasing reach into Moscow high politics, the study, in particular, focuses on his purposeful attempts to enter Russia’s academic life and mainstream political publicism, and some successes he had in doing so. The conclusions relate the findings from the case study to recent trends within Rus-sian extremely right-wing party politics, and make some tentative suggestions on how the Russian extreme right, as a whole, as well as its scholarly study, as a collec-tive enterprise, might develop in the future.
Keywords: Russia, fascism, civil society, right-wing extremism, nationalism, Eurasianism, Russian politics, post-Soviet affairs
JEL Classification: Y40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation