In all seriousness, liberal hegemony is still very strong in the country. The fact is that practically all the basic attitudes transmitted in education, humanities and culture since 1991 have been built on strictly liberal models. Everything in our country is liberal, starting with the Constitution. Even the very prohibition of ideology is a purely liberal ideological thesis. After all, liberals do not consider liberalism itself an ideology—for them it is the “truth in the final analysis;” and by “ideology” they mean everything that challenges this “liberal truth”—for example, socialism, communism, nationalism, or the political teachings of traditional society.
After the end of the USSR, liberal ideology became dominant in the Russian Federation. At the same time, it acquired a totalitarian character from the very beginning. Usually liberals themselves criticize totalitarianism, both right-wing (nationalist) and left-wing (socialist), and liberalism itself (without reason and hastily), identified with “democracy,” is opposed to any totalitarian regimes. However, the profound philosopher and student of Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, astutely noted that totalitarianism is a property of all political ideologies of the New Age, including liberal democracy. Liberalism is not an exception; it is also totalitarian in nature.
As in any totalitarianism, it is about a separate group of society (representing a known minority) announcing that it is supposedly the “bearer of universal truth,” i.e., knowledge about everything, about the universal. Hence totalitarianism—from Latin totalis, all, whole, complete. And further proceeding from the fanatical conviction in the infallibility of its ideology, it imposes its views on the whole society. Totalitarian “everything” is easily opposed to the opinion of the majority or various ideological groups actually existing in society. As a rule, the ruling totalitarian top justifies its “rightness” by the fact that it supposedly “possesses knowledge about the meaning of history;” “holds in its hands the keys to the future;” “acts in the name of the common good” (open only to it). Most often, the theory of progress, development, or the imperative of freedom, equality, etc., plays the role of such a “key to the future.” Nationalist totalitarian regimes appeal to nation or race, proclaiming the superiority of some (i.e., themselves) over others. Bolsheviks act in the name of “communism” which will come in the future, and the party top brass are seen as the bearers of awakened consciousness, the “new people.” Liberals believe that capitalism is the crown of development and act in the name of progress and globalization. Today they add gender politics and ecology to this. “We rule you because we are progressive, protecting minorities and the environment. Obey us!”
Minority Theory and the Critique of the Majority
Unlike the old (e.g., Hellenic) democracy, the majority and its opinion in totalitarian regimes, including totalitarian liberalism, is irrelevant. There is an argument for this: “Hitler was elected by the Germans by majority vote; so the majority is not an argument; it may not make the right choice.” And what is “right” only the “enlightened / awakened”(Woke) liberal minority knows. Moreover, the majority is suspect and should be kept under strict control. Progressive minorities must rule. And this is already a direct confession to totalitarianism.
The totalitarianism of the Bolsheviks or Nazis is unnecessary to prove; it is obvious. But after the victory over Germany in 1945 and after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, liberalism remained the only and main planetary ideology of the totalitarian type.
The Totalitarian Nature of the Rule of Liberal Reformers in the 1990s
Liberalism came to Russia in this form—as a hegemony of pro-Western liberal minorities, the “reformers.” They convinced Yeltsin, who had little understanding of the world around him, that their position was without an alternative. The ruling liberal top brass, consisting of oligarchs and a network of American agents of influence, as well as corrupt late-Soviet top officials, formed the backbone of the “family.”
From the very beginning they ruled with totalitarian methods. Thus in 1993 the democratic uprising of the House of Soviets was suppressed by force. The liberal West fully supported the shooting at the Parliament. After all, this was demanded by “progress” and “movement towards freedom.”
After the 1993 elections to the Duma, the right-wing opposition LDPR won; but it was equated with “marginalists” and “extremists.” The majority had no significance in the eyes of the “family.” Zhirinovsky was first declared “Hitler,” then reduced to the status of a clown helping to blow off steam (i.e., to rule solely and indiscriminately over a people who were completely dissatisfied with and disapproved of the basic liberal course).
In 1996, the elections were won by another (this time left-wing) opposition, the CPRF. Once again, the ruling liberal top brass, representing a minority, failed to notice. “The majority can be wrong,” this minority asserted, and continued to rule undividedly, based on liberal ideology, without paying any attention to anything.
Liberalism established its principles in politics, economics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, jurisprudence, ethnology, cultural studies, political science, etc. All humanities disciplines were completely taken over by liberals and supervised from the West through a system of rankings, scientific publications, citation indices and other criteria. Hence, not only the Bologna system and the introduction of the USE, but most importantly, the content of the scientific disciplines themselves.
Putin’s Realism versus Liberal Hegemony
Putin’s rise to power changed the situation only in that he has brought in the principle of sovereignty, i.e., political realism. This could not but affect the overall structure of liberalism in Russia, since liberal dogma denies sovereignty altogether and advocates that nation-states should be abolished and integrated into a supranational structure of World Government. Therefore, with Putin’s arrival, some of the most consistent and radical liberal minorities rose in opposition to him.
However, the majority of (systemic) liberals decided to adapt to Putin, take a formally loyal position, but continued to pursue the liberal course as if nothing had happened. Putin simply shared power with the liberals—he got realism, the military, and foreign policy, and they got everything else—the economy, science, culture, and education. This is not exactly liberal, but it is tolerable—after all, in the U.S. itself, power fluctuates between pure liberal globalists (Clinton, Obama, Biden) and realists (such as Trump and some Republicans).
Medvedev played the role of the Russian liberal from 2008-2012. And when Putin returned in 2012, it caused a storm of indignation among Russian liberals, who thought that the worst was over and Russia would again (without Putin) return to the 1990s—that is, to the era of pure and untainted liberal totalitarianism.
But even back in 2012, Putin—contrary to his program articles published during the 2012 election campaign—decided to leave the liberals alone, pushing back only another batch of the most odious ones.
In 2014, after reunification with Crimea, there was a further shift toward sovereignty and realism. And another wave of liberals, sensing that they were losing their former hegemonic position, drifted out of Russia. However, Putin was then stopped in his battle for the Russian World, and the ruling liberal top brass went back to their usual tactics of symbiosis—Putin gets sovereignty and the liberals get everything else.
The SMO: Final Break with the West
The Special Military Operation has changed a lot, as the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine has finally come into conflict with the liberal dogma: “democracies do not fight each other.” And if they do, someone else is not a democracy. And the West easily identified who. Russia, of course. And specifically Putin. So, the liberal West finally refused to consider us “liberals.”
But the impression is that we still want to prove at any cost: “No, we are real liberals. It is you who are not liberals. You are the ones who deviated from liberal democracy by supporting the Nazi regime in Kiev. And we are loyal to liberal dogmas. After all, they include anti-fascism. So, we are fighting Ukrainian fascism, as liberal ideology demands.”
I am not saying that everyone in the Russian government thinks this way, but certainly a lot of people do.
They are the ones who fiercely oppose patriotic reforms, throwing themselves into the firing line so that sovereignty does not affect the most important thing—ideology. Antonio Gramsci called “hegemony” the control of the liberal worldview over the superstructure—first and foremost, culture, knowledge, thought, philosophy. And this hegemony is still in the hands of liberals in Russia.
We are still dealing with “sovereign liberalism;” that is, with a (contradictory and hopeless) attempt to combine the political sovereignty of the Russian Federation with global Western norms; that is, with liberal totalitarianism and the omnipotence of liberal Western elites who seized power in the country back in the 1990s.
And the plan of the Russian liberals is as follows: even during the SMO, to maintain their power over society, culture, science, economy, education, so that—when all this is over—they can again try to present Russia as a “Western civilized developed power,” in which they managed to preserve liberal democracy, i.e., totalitarian domination of liberals, even in the most difficult times of adversity. It would seem that Putin signed Decree 809 on traditional values (directly opposed to the liberal ideology); and the Constitution includes provisions on a normal family; and God as an immutable basis of Russian history is mentioned; and the LGBT movement is banned as extremist; and the list of foreign agents is constantly updated; and a new wave of the most radical liberals and oppositionists fled to the West; and the Russian people were declared a subject of history, and Russia a State-Civilization. And the liberal hegemony in Russia still persists. It has penetrated so deeply into our society that it began to reproduce itself in new generations of managers, officials, workers of science and education. And it is not surprising—for more than 30 years, in Russia, a group of totalitarian liberals remains in power, who have established a method of self-reproduction at the head of the state. And this is despite the sovereign course of President Putin.
Time for a Humanitarian SMERSH
We have now entered a new cycle of Putin’s re-election as the nation’s leader. There is no doubt about it—the public knowingly and unanimously chooses him. Consider him—already chosen. After all, he is our main and only hope for getting rid of the liberal yoke; the guarantee of victory in the war and the savior of Russia. But the bulk of Putin’s opponents are on this side of the barricades. The liberal totalitarian sect does not think of giving up its positions. It is ready to fight for them to the end. They are not afraid of any patriotic forces in politics; they are not afraid of the people (whom they have learned to keep under the table on pain of severe punishment); they are not afraid of God (they do not believe in Him, or believe in their own, fallen one); they are not afraid of rebellion (here some tried to show disobedience in the summer). The only thing holding them back is Putin, with whom they will not dare to have a head-on collision. On the contrary, systemic liberals are concentrated in his camp, if only because there is no other camp.
But the problem is very acute—it is impossible to justify Russia as a Civilization, as a pole of the multipolar world, with reliance on liberal ideology and preserving the hegemony of liberals in society, at the level of public consciousness, at the level of cultural code. We need something similar to SMERSH in the field of ideas and humanitarian paradigms; but there is clearly no determination, no personnel, no institutions, and no trained competent specialists for this purpose—after all, liberals have been in charge of education in Russia for 30 years. They have secured themselves, by blocking any attempt to go beyond the liberal dogma. And they succeeded in doing so, making the humanities either liberal or sterile.
The remnants of Soviet scholars and their methods, theories, and doctrines are not an alternative. Firstly, their approaches are outdated; secondly, they themselves have forgotten them because of their advanced age; and thirdly, they do not correspond to the new civilizational conditions at all.
And all this time, the totalitarian top liberals have been training only and exclusively their own cadres. Liberalism in its most toxic forms permeates the entire humanitaries sphere.
Many will say: right now, it is the SMO and elections; we will deal with liberals later. This is a mistake. We have already missed the deadline. The people are awakening; the country needs to focus on Victory. Everything is still very, very serious, and Putin never tires of talking about it. Why does he so often mention that everything is at stake and Russia is challenged to be or not to be? Because he sees it soberly and clearly—if there is no victory in Ukraine, there will be no Russia. But it is simply, theoretically impossible to defeat the West in Ukraine and preserve the totalitarian omnipotence of liberals inside the country. As long as they are here, even Victory will be Pyrrhic.
Therefore, it is now time to open another front—a front in the field of ideology, worldview, and public consciousness. The totalitarian domination of liberals in Russia—first of all in the field of knowledge, science, education, culture, determination of values of upbringing and development—must come to an end. Otherwise, we will not see the century-mark of Victory.
Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.