The Middle East: An Eschatological Scenario

Let us try to describe one of the possible scenarios of further escalation in the Middle East.


The Palestinian uprising begins in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Fatah cannot contain the situation. Seeing Israel carrying out a full-blown genocide in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians launch an all-out revolt. The IDF continues to annihilate civilians in the Gaza Strip. There are growing protests around the world against Western, pro-American liberal elites standing unanimously in favor of Israel. Hezbollah gets involved and crowds of Arabs from Jordan break through cordons at the border. The U.S. launches preemptive strikes against Iran, which is increasingly involved in the conflict, and they launch strikes against Israel. Syria enters the war, attacking the Golan Heights. There is a rapid mobilization of the entire Islamic world.

Pro-American states—Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc.—are forced to join the confrontation on the side of the Palestinians. They are joined by Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia. The story of sending the Taliban to the Middle East from fake news becomes reality. The black banners of Khorassan are hoisted over the world. Problems between Salafists and traditionalists, including Shiites, fade into the background. The great jihad of the Islamic world against the West and Israel begins.

Russia takes a neutral stance, but is slow to support Israel as it is at war in Ukraine with the West, which in turn is completely on Israel’s side.

At some point in the uprising in East Jerusalem, Palestinians proclaim the need to cordon off the Al-Aqsa Mosque for protection from the IDF. This is what started the uprising in the Gaza Strip, the Al-Aqsa Storm. Israel, in the course of fighting armed Palestinian militias and in self-defense, launches a rocket attack on the mosque. It collapses. The path to building the Third Temple is cleared. But… a billion Muslims, of whom 50 million (officially) are in Europe, start an uprising now in the West itself. Civil war erupts in Europe. Some Europeans are on the side of LGBT, Soros and Atlanticist elites, and some make an alliance with Muslims (on the model of Alain Soral) and join the anti-liberal Revolution.

The US uses tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Russia launches a tactical nuclear strike against Ukraine, which seeks to cling to the West at any cost and provokes Moscow in every possible way to do so.

World War III erupts with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Russia finally makes up its mind and sides with the Muslims.

China quietly attacks Taiwan, distracting the U.S. and NATO to a new target. India refrains from the direct support the US is counting on. The evening of history ceases to be languid.

Feminists, gay activists and environmentalists demand an end to it all, but no one listens to them.

The West is forced to fight against all in the name of some goal it can no longer articulate—all the old theses about human rights, civil society and other incantations have disappeared in the harsh reality of the coming total death. Elon Musk admits that he has completely stopped understanding what is happening.

Israel begins the construction of the Third Temple under attack from all sides. Only the Moshiach can save the day…


This is where the text of the predictive analysis (prophecy) ends.

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.

Featured: The Triumph of Death, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder; painted ca. 1562.

The Slave Trade: An Islamic Invention?

As Fernand Braudel wrote in his History of Civilizations, the large-scale commercial organization we call “the slave trade” is not a “diabolical invention of Europe,” but began in the 8th century AD with the Muslim conquest. Knowledge and appreciation of the subject is hampered by the clichés and stereotypes that surround it, as well as the lack of press coverage of even the most accessible academic works (such as Tidiane N’Diaye’s Le génocide voilé; or Jacques Heers’ Les négriers en terre d’islam. But it is also because the spirit of the times dictates that we should not upset our Muslim brothers by evoking the misdeeds of a religion that is presented to us as a hotbed of peace and tolerance. The thirteen centuries of the Eurasian slave trade resolutely belie this mythology.

The large-scale trade in men, women and children known as the “slave trade” was organized in and by the “chronological and geographical melting pot” that was Islam from the 8th to the 11th century. This traffic of shame was inaugurated in 652, when the Emir and general, Abd Allah ibn Sa’d, concluded an agreement with the Nubians, imposing the annual forced delivery of hundreds of slaves, the majority of whom were taken from the populations of Darfur.

The trade only ceased long after that: even when the caliphate disappeared and differentiated Islamic worlds emerge, not yet Muslim “nations,” if such things were even possible. It was only in the 20th century, some one hundred and fifty years after the Westerners (who took their time to put a stop to this infamy) that the Muslim world officially closed the great roads of blood, death, castration and humiliation.

In the Middle Ages, the economy of Muslim countries was based on the power demanded of slave muscles in the mines and plantations. And there was also domestic slavery: a whole middle class consumed this domesticity, which could be cut and chopped at will, as well as the women and eunuchs of the harem (tradition claims that the harem of the Caliph Abder-Rahman III in Cordoba included 3,600 women), servants, singers and musicians in the palaces of potentates and great personages.

The slave trade developed along two main axes: firstly, the trans-Saharan trade (or slave trade), which took captives from the Sudan to the Maghreb, across the Sahara; and secondly, the maritime trade, which took them from the east coast of Africa to the Orient via a variety of routes described by Maurice Lombard (L’islam dans sa première grandeur) with precise, well-documented cartography. The Oriental slave trade involved a large reservoir of people who came to be known as “the Slavs,” from which the word “slave” derives.

In France, work on the Muslim slave trade is only half a century old, and has met with much resistance. What first attracted the attention of French researchers and scholars was Sudanese gold, because all Arab authors referred to it as “the main product of black countries.” They conveniently forget the other traffic: that of human beings. Émile Félix Gautier, an ethnographer specializing in Algeria, the Sahara and Madagascar, set off the frenzy in 1935. He had sensed that the author of Hanno the Navigator’s journey (between the 5th century BC and the 1st century AD), a Carthaginian suffete, had undertaken his expedition to secure for Carthage the gold powder long known to the Lybio-Phoenicians. The introduction of the camel to the Sahara under the emperor Septimius-Severus (146-211), born in one of those Punic cities, anxious to preserve its links with Black Africa, had made it possible to conquer the desert and trade with this almost legendary Sudan. However, the Romans failed to understand the value of Carthaginian positions and trans-Saharan trade relations and traditions, which would have faded into oblivion had it not been for the fact that the Punic cities of Africa, encompassed within the orbis romanus, had maintained them through the intermediary of Berber caravan tribes.

Once Islamized, other human reservoirs would have to be found, as the Koran forbids the enslavement of Muslims (a precept that was hardly ever applied). These Berbers were to make use of the Saharan trails, restoring the ancient gold trade to its former glory and, above all, developing the trade in blacks from the Sudan and sub-Saharan Africa.

But they were not alone in the large-scale organization of this monstrous traffic. By the 8th century, the formation of the Muslim world had created an immense domain in relation to “a kind of common market” from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean, from the Sudan to the barbarian West and the region of the great Russian rivers. This ensemble was built on three previous domains: the Sassanid Empire, Byzantine Syria and Egypt, and the barbaric Western Mediterranean. This “common market” was characterized by an influx of gold, a large supply of slaves (Turks, Africans and Slavs), and a network of major trade routes stretching from China to Spain and from Black Africa to Central Asia. This network covered the whole of Eurasia, but was also subject to unstable junctions, linked in particular to conflicts between the great empire-states (such as Byzantium and Persia).

In the ancestral lands of ancient civilizations—Iran, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt—there was no gap between the Byzantine-Sassanid period and the Muslim era in terms of urban occupation, workshops or arts and techniques, because the economic frameworks were already in place on the eve of the Muslim conquest. The East was home to all the driving forces and dispersal centers from which the various influences associated with the new conquerors would spread westwards: Islamization, Arabization, Semitization and, above all, Iranization. It was Persia, heir through Islam to the ancient Mesopotamian home, that provided the conquerors with the mental frameworks and techniques, as well as the repertoire of ideas and artistic forms, with which to assert themselves.

But throughout the Muslim world, big business was to fall to Jewish merchants.

The first exile under Nebuchadnezzar had created a scattering and chains of Jewish communities, settled along all the major trade routes, which corresponded with the lines of Judaization. From Sassanid Mesopotamia, these religious and commercial routes reached Armenia, the Caucasus and Caspian countries, the land of the Khazars (lower Volga and Ponto-Caspian steppes), Iran, Khorasan, Khwarazm and Transoxania, and finally the Persian Gulf and India (Malabar coast). It was with these communities that, very early on in history, a class of merchants and craftsmen emerged, faithful to the trading spirit and old technical and mercantile methods of the Semitic East. In some places, these communities were more numerous and more active. But these nuclei of Judaism were not always well connected, due to the split between the barbarian (then Christian) West, the Byzantine area and the Sassanid domain. Rabbinism, which became official within the Muslim domain, welded the nuclei of Judaism, from East to West: rabbinic centralization and commercial relations, deriving from the driving forces of Abbasid Mesopotamia, went hand in hand. These relationships continued beyond the confines of the Muslim world, through links with the distant communities of Eurasia.

Until the Muslim era, Christian Syrians (Syrians and Persians above all) had been the masters of East/West trade. Their trade was also based on a chain of Nestorian and Jacobin communities. Eliminated from the maritime domain, they retained their importance in continental relations in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Iran, Armenia and Central Asia, with monasteries and places of pilgrimage playing an economic role.

At all frontiers of the Muslim world, a large part of trade was thus in the hands of the Jews and their trading houses, including the slave trade and all related activities: eunuch manufacture, slave instruction and education, currency trading and banking. The most beautiful women were channeled into the harems: abducted at a very young age, they received extensive training, particularly in music and psalmody, but not only. A few towns, including Verdun, specialized in the castration of male children and men. The fact that it was mainly carried out by Jews was due to their reputation for medical knowledge based on old Greek medicine, enriched by contributions from the Iranian and Indian schools. Nestorian “polymaths” (physicians and scholars) played a central role in the “translation sciendi” of ancient knowledge to the new Arabized world. Dual medical and philosophical knowledge (the works of Aristotle in particular) followed the same circuit. From Greece to Syria, it was translated into Syriac, Aramaic and Arabic, then transplanted to the major centers of Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba, where Spanish Jews translated it into Latin. From there, they reached the centers of the Christian West, particularly Toledo.

The Arabian conquerors transformed this tribal Islam into a caliphal Islam: a political system of widespread domination and plunder. Not only did they seize the gold of the vanquished (treasures of the Sassanid rulers, Syrian and Egyptian churches, systematic excavations of the Pharaohs’ tombs), they also appropriated the knowledge of these ancient Aramaic-speaking sedentary civilizations, or what remained of them after the first devastating period of conquest. And it was at the junction of East and West, in the old land of Spain, that these “matrix” civilizations would cast their last fires.

Al-Andalus was not the brilliant civilization celebrated in today’s fifth-grade French history textbooks. It is the swan song of this great Christianized civilization which, having taken on Greek and Indian knowledge, transmitted it in the language of the conquerors before disappearing into the sands of the desert and history.

In the Islamized East, a few Christian communities still survive, heroically maintaining the oral structures through which faith and the Gospel have been passed down through the vicissitudes of the centuries and the continual persecutions of Islam.

Marion Duvauchel is a historian of religions and holds a PhD in philosophy. She has published widely, and has taught in various places, including France, Morocco, Qatar, and Cambodia. She is the founder of the Pteah Barang, in Cambodia.

Featured: Slaves in Zabid, Yemen, folio 105, Maqama 34, by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti, Baghdad, ca. 1236-1237.

Eurasian Discussion on Transcaucasia

A collection of interviews with Valery Korovin, one of the most prominent representatives of the International Eurasian Movement, entitled, Imperskiy razgovor o Karabakhe: geopolitika i etnosotsiologiya konflikta (Imperial Conversation about Karabakh: Geopolitics and Ethnosociology of the Conflict) was published at the exact moment of a sharp escalation of tension in the Transcaucasus, primarily around Karabakh. The authorities of both Azerbaijan and Armenia have taken a number of steps in recent months and weeks that have worsened their relations with Russia in unprecedented ways. The leaders of the Eurasian Movement in Azerbaijan and a number of pro-Russian journalists in Armenia were arrested. Openly anti-Russian statements and steps by both Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev followed one after another. The old alliance agreements between Moscow and Yerevan and Baku began to be cynically and demonstratively trampled upon. The Russian Foreign Ministry moved from usual restraint to verbal notes of protest and much harsher statements than usual. Finally, Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov spoke about the aggravation of the situation.

At such a tense moment, when the threat of a new major war in the Transcaucasus could materialize in a matter of weeks, and only the titanic efforts of Russian and Iranian diplomacy to convince hotheads and Western agents in Yerevan and Baku to come to their senses and stop, the appearance of Valery Korovin’s theoretically rich, profound and at the same time practical analysis of the situation in the region is extremely timely.

His small, new book, in addition to a fresh preface, includes 19 interviews given to various media on Armenian and Azerbaijani topics. Five of them were given during the color revolution in Armenia in the spring of 2018; four, during the Karabakh War in the fall of 2020; the remaining ten relate to 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2021, June 2022 and May 2023. The common feature of most of the interviews is rather aggressive questions of journalists obsessed with nationalism and chauvinism, and Valery Korovin’s convincing objections, which reveal step-by-step, the Eurasian vision of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and the ways of resolving it. In relation to each specific new event in the region, Korovin lays out the recipe for a resolution by way of a Eurasian solution, which rejects the very concept of unitary nation-states, and the disastrousness of the Atlanticist baits of the United States and Europe, dangling the fanciful carrot of membership in the EU and NATO in front the face of Yerevan and Baku.

Valery Korovin’s thesis runs through the book: inter-ethnic conflicts throughout post-Soviet space have no solutions in the format of “nation-states.” Attempts to follow this path inevitably lead post-Soviet republics to collapse, impoverishment, destruction of infrastructure, rupture of traditional economic and cultural ties, complete subjugation of their politics to the dictates of the West, and, finally, wars, genocides, and ethnic cleansing. Genuine self-determination of peoples does not require their separation into different states, but presupposes the preservation of their own ethnic identity within the framework of what N.S. Trubetskoy called “pan-Eurasian nationalism” almost a century ago. In the face of this integration program of uniting the whole of internal Eurasia around Moscow, around Russia, all kinds of private nationalisms and chauvinisms that hinder integration, be it Russian, Azerbaijani, Armenian or Georgian, should be resolutely denied. At the same time, on the external contour, Valery Korovin’s Eurasian program allows for the inclusion of both Iran and Turkey in the integration processes, if its authorities are ready to break with the West and take such a turn. In reality, this has not happened so far.

The answer to the question of who benefits from the disruption of Eurasian integration, the incitement of wars and ethnic conflicts, the manic desire to conquer territory against the will of the ethnic self-determination of its people, is simple: firstly, the globalist West, especially Britain and the USA; secondly, those local post-Soviet elites for whom, after 1991, “independence” became an intrinsic value for personal enrichment through the socio-economic degradation of the republics under their control, which was achieved at the cost of orientation towards the West and hostility towards Russia, Iran, and China. This is a recipe for disaster. Valery Korovin is trying to stop Armenia and Azerbaijan on this path, warning them that Russia will not tolerate the collapse of its geopolitical program in the Transcaucasus. His convictions to restore a single strategic and civilizational space of the peoples of Transcaucasia with each other and with Russia will undoubtedly be heard by all reasonable people who care about the survival of their peoples, and will be furiously rejected by pro-Western Atlanticists. Time will soon show whether the pattern of all major wars of the 18th-20th centuries between Russia and Europe (Northern, Patriotic, Crimean, World War I, Civil War, Great Patriotic War), in which the second, southern, Transcaucasian front was invariably open, will be repeated.

Maxim Medovarov is a historian, philosopher and journalist. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.

Eschatologies of a Multipolar World

BRICS: The Creation of Multipolarity

XV BRICS Summit: The Multipolar World is Established

The XV BRICS summit made a historic decision to admit six more countries to the organization—Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Thus, in fact, the formation of the core of the multipolar world was completed.

Although BRICS, formerly BRIC, was a conditional association of semi-peripheral (according to Wallerstein) or “second world” countries, the dialogue between these countries, which are not part of the structure of the collective West (NATO and other rigidly unipolar organizations dominated by the United States), gradually outlined the contours of an alternative world order. If the Western civilization considers itself to be the only one, and this is the essence of globalism and unipolarity, the BRICS countries represented sovereign and independent civilizations, different from the Western one, with a long history and a completely original system of traditional values.

Initially, the BRIC association, created in 2006 at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, included four countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. Brazil, the largest power in South America, represented the Latin American continent. Russia, China and India are of sufficient scale on their own to be considered civilizations. But they also represent more than nation-states. Russia is the vanguard of Eurasia, the Eurasian “Greater Space.” China is responsible for a significant area of the contiguous powers of Indochina. India also extends its influence beyond its borders—at least to Bangladesh and Nepal.

When South Africa joined the BRIC countries in 2011 (hence the acronym BRICS—the “S” at the end of South Africa), the continent was symbolically represented as the largest African country.

7 Civilizations (1 vs. 6)

At the XV summit, held from August 22 to 24, 2023 in Johannesburg, the final formation of the multipolar club took place. The entry of three Islamic powers—Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and the UAE—was fundamental. Thus, the direct participation in the multipolar world of the entire Islamic civilization, represented by both branches—Sunnism and Shiism—was secured. In addition, along with Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Spanish-speaking Argentina, another strong and independent power, joined BRICS. Back in the mid-twentieth century, theorists of South American unification into a consolidated large space—above all Argentine general Juan Perón and Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas—considered a decisive rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina to be the first step in this process. If this were achieved, the process of integration of the Latin American ecumene would be irreversible. And this is exactly what has happened now in the context of the accession of the two major powers of South America, Brazil and Argentina, to the multipolar club.

Ethiopia’s acceptance is also highly symbolic. It is the only African country that has remained independent throughout the colonial era, preserving its sovereignty, its independence and its unique culture (Ethiopians are the oldest Christian people). Combined with South Africa, Ethiopia is strengthening its presence in the multipolar club of the African continent.

In fact, in the new composition of BRICS, we get a complete model of unification of all poles—civilizations, large spaces, except for the West, which is desperate to preserve its hegemony and unipolar structure. But now it faces not disparate and fragmented countries full of internal and external contradictions, but a united force of the majority of humanity, determined to build a multipolar world.

This multipolar world consists of the following civilizations:

  1. The West (USA+EU and their vassals, which includes, alas, the once proud and distinctive Japan);
  2. China (+Taiwan) with its satellites;
  3. Russia (as an integrator of the entire Eurasian space);
  4. India and its zone of influence;
  5. Latin America (with Brazil + Argentina at its core);
  6. Africa (South Africa + Ethiopia, with Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, etc., emerging from French colonial influence).
  7. Islamic world (in both versions—Shiite Iran, and Sunni Saudi Arabia and UAE).

At the same time, one civilization—the Western one—claims hegemony, while the six others deny it this right, accepting only a multipolar system and recognizing the West only as one of the civilizations, along with others.

Thus, the rightness of Samuel Huntington, who saw the future in the return of civilizations, was confirmed in practice, while the fallacy of Fukuyama’s thesis, who believed that the global hegemony of the liberal West (the end of history) has already been achieved, became obvious. Therefore, Fukuyama can only doomedly lecture Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the last hope of globalists to stop the onset of multipolarity, for which Russia, in Ukraine, is fighting today.

August 2023 can be considered the birthday of the multipolar world.

Having outlined multipolarity, it is time to take a closer look at how the civilizational poles themselves interpret the situation in which they find themselves. And here we should take into account that virtually every sovereign civilization has its own idea of the structure of history, the nature of historical time, its direction and the end of history. Contrary to Fukuyama, who ambitiously proclaimed a single end of history (in his liberal version), each sovereign civilization operates with its own understanding, interpretation and description of the end of history. Let us briefly review this situation.

Each Civilization has its own Idea of the End of the World

Each pole of the multipolar world, that is, each civilization, has its own version of eschatology, somewhere more and somewhere less explicit.

“Eschatology” is the doctrine of the end of the world or the end of history. Eschatologies form a significant part of religious doctrines, but have secular versions as well. Any idea of the linear direction of the historical process and its supposed finale can be considered an “eschatology.”

The multipolar world consists of several civilizations or “big spaces” with a completely unique and original system of traditional values. This is the pole (not the individual state). A pole is precisely a civilization. Each civilization has its own idea of the nature of the historical process, its direction and its goal, and thus its own eschatology.

In some “large spaces” there are even several versions of eschatology, and a number of relatively small political formations, which cannot claim the pole in any way, nevertheless sometimes have a special and even developed eschatology.

Let us outline the different types in the most general terms.

Eschatologies of the West

Eschatology in Western Christianity

Western Christianity originally had the same eschatological doctrine as Eastern Christianity, being one. In Christianity—in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy (and even Protestantism)—the end of the world is considered inevitable, since the world and its history are finite and God is infinite. After the coming of Christ, the world moves toward its end, and the return of Christ itself is seen as taking place “in the last days.” The entire history of the Christian Church is a preparation for the end times, the Last Judgment, and the Second Coming of Christ. Christianity teaches that before the Second Coming there will be a general apostasy in mankind, nations will turn away from Christ and His Church, and will rely only on their own strength (humanism). Later, mankind will degenerate completely and the Antichrist, the messenger of the Devil, the “son of perdition” will seize power.

The Antichrist will rule for a short time—3.5 years, “a time, two times and half a time”), the saints and the prophets Elijah and Enoch, who will have returned to earth, will denounce him, and then the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment will take place. This is what every Christian is obliged to believe.

At the same time, Catholicism, which gradually separated from the united Orthodox trunk, believed that the stronghold of Christians should be the Catholic Church under the Pope, the “City of God,” and the retreat would affect only earthly political entities, the “City of Earth.” There is a spiritual battle between the heavenly politics of the Vatican and the earthly politics of secular monarchs. In Orthodoxy, unlike Catholicism, the main obstacle in the way of the Antichrist is the Holy Empire, eternal Rome.

Traditional Christian eschatology and exactly this—partly pessimistic—view of the vector of history prevailed in Europe until the beginning of the New Age. And this is how traditional Catholics, unaffected by the spirit of modernity, who are becoming fewer and fewer in the West, continue to think about the end of the world.

Protestant eschatologies are more bizarre. In the Anabaptists of Münster or the Czech Hussites, the Second Coming was preceded by the establishment of universal equality (eschatological communism), the abolition of class hierarchies and private property.

Recently, under the influence of modernization and political correctness, many Protestant denominations and the Anglican Church have revised their view of eschatology, finally breaking with the ancient Christian tradition.
Masonic Eschatology: The Theory of Progress

At the origins of the Western European civilization of Modernity is European Freemasonry, in the midst of which the idea of “social progress” was born. The idea of progress is a direct antithesis of the Christian understanding of history; it rejects apostasy, the Antichrist, the Last Judgment, the resurrection of the dead and the very existence of the soul.

Masons believed that humanity develops progressively: in the beginning savagery (not earthly paradise), then barbarism (not traditional society), then civilization (culminating in the European New Age and the Enlightenment, i.e., secular atheistic societies, based on a materialistic scientific worldview). Civilization in its formation passes a number of stages from traditional confessions to the humanistic cult of the Great Architect of the Universe and further to liberal democracy, where science, atheism and materialism will fully triumph. And conservative Freemasonry (Scottish Rite) stopped usually with the cult of the Great Architect of the Universe (that is, with deism—the recognition of an undefined non-denominational “god”), and the more revolutionary, the Grand Orient rite was called to go further—to the complete abolition of religion and social hierarchy. The Scottish Rite stands for classical liberalism (big capital), the Grand Orient and other revolutionary lodges stand for liberal democracy (intensive growth of the middle class and redistribution of capital from the big bourgeoisie to the middle and small bourgeoisie).

But in Freemasonry, in both versions, we see a clearly directed vector to the end of history; that is, to the construction of modern progressive global civilization. This is the ideology of globalism in two versions—conservative (gradual) and offensive (revolutionary-democratic).

England: The Fifth Monarchy

During Cromwell’s English Revolution, the theory of the Fifth Monarchy developed in Protestant circles under the influence of Jewish circles and Sabbataism (notably the Dutch Rabbi Manasseh ben-Israel). The traditional Christian doctrine of the Four World Kingdoms (Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman) was declared insufficient, and after the fall of Rome (which for Protestants meant the refusal to recognize the authority of the Pope and the overthrow of the monarchy, regicide) the Fifth Kingdom was to come. Earlier, a similar idea had arisen in Portugal in relation to the maritime Portuguese Empire and the special mission of the “vanished King” Sebastian. The Portuguese and Portuguese-centered (mystical-monarchical) version was passed on to the Portuguese Jewish converts (Marranos) and Jews exiled to Holland and Brazil. One of them was Manasseh ben-Israel, from whom this theory passed on to English Protestants and Cromwell’s inner circle (Thomas Harrison).

Proponents of this theory considered Cromwell himself to be the future world Monarch of the Fifth Monarchy. The Fifth Monarchy was to be distinguished by the abolition of Catholicism, hereditary monarchical power, estates and to represent the triumph of bourgeois democracy and capitalism.

This was continued by the current of “British Israelism,” which declared the English to be the “ten lost tribes of Israel” and spread the belief in the coming world domination of England and the Anglo-Saxon race. The world rule of the “New Israelites” (Anglo-Saxons) was seen beyond the Four Kingdoms and broke with traditional Christian eschatology, as the Fifth Monarchy meant the destruction of traditional Christian kingdoms and the rule of the “chosen people” (not Jews, but the English).

From England, extreme Protestant sects transferred these ideas to the USA, which was created as a historical embodiment of the Fifth Monarchy. Hence the American eschatology in the mythologies of William Blake (in America a Prophecy the USA is represented by the giant Orcus freeing himself from the chains of the old god), who was also an adherent of the theory of “British Israelism.” Blake embodied these ideas in his poem “Jerusalem,” which became the unofficial anthem of England.

USA: Dispensationalism

In the United States, the ideas of “British Israelism” and the Fifth Monarchy were developed in some Protestant denominations and became the basis for a special current of dispensationalism based on the ideas of the Plymouth Brethren (preacher John Darby) and the Scofield edition of the Bible, where the eschatological interpretation in a dispensationalist way is incorporated into the biblical text in such a way that to ordinary people it seems to be a single narrative.

Dispensationalism considers Anglo-Saxons and Protestants (“twice born”) to be the chosen people, and applies to them all the prophecies about the Jews. According to this doctrine, mankind lives at the end of the last “dispensation” of the cycle, and the Second Coming of Christ will soon take place, and all the faithful will be raptured into heaven (the Rapture). But this will be preceded by a final battle (Armageddon) with the “king of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” which from the 19th century to the present day has meant Russia. Before this Russia would invade Palestine and, there, fight with the “twice-born” (Anglo-Saxons), and then be defeated by them. After that, there would be a mass conversion of Jews to Protestantism and an ascent to heaven (by means of miracles or spacecraft).

In recent decades, this current has merged with political Zionism and has become the basis of the ideology and geopolitics of the American neocons.

France: The Great Monarch

In France, as early as the late Middle Ages and the dawn of the Modern Age, an eschatological theory of the Great Monarch developed, which claimed that a secret French king, chosen by God, would appear at the end of time and save humanity—from decadence, Protestantism, and materialism. This version of eschatology is Francocentric and conservative, and circulated in mystically oriented circles of the aristocracy. The difference from traditional Catholic eschatology is that the French king, rather than the Vatican See, is the barrier to the Antichrist.

Some researchers consider Gaullism to be a secular and simplified geopolitical version of the Great Monarch’s eschatology. General De Gaulle advocated the unification of the peoples of Europe (primarily the French, Germans and Russians) and against NATO and Anglo-Saxon hegemony. The French writer Jean Parvulesco (following Raymond Abellio) called it “the mystical dimension of Gaullism.”

But the vast majority of the French ruling class is dominated by Masonic eschatology—with the exact opposite understanding.

Italy: The Ghibellines and the Greyhound

In the Middle Ages, the confrontation between the Roman throne and imperial power—after Charlemagne proclaimed himself “Emperor”—at times became extremely acute. This led to the creation of two parties—the Guelphs, supporters of the Pope, and the Ghibellines, supporters of the Emperor. They were most widespread in Italy, the possession of which was the basis for German kings to be recognized as Emperors of the (Western) Roman Empire after coronation in Rome.

The poet Dante was a supporter of the Ghibellines and encoded in his poem, Divine Comedy, eschatological teaching of the Ghibellines that after the temporary rule of the Ghibellines and the complete degradation of the Catholic Church, a true Ghibelline monarch would come to Europe, who would revive the morals and spirituality of Western civilization. He is symbolically represented in the figure of the greyhound (veltro) and the mystical number DXV (515), which yields, after rearrangement of letters/digits the word, DVX, “leader.” Dante expounded the ideas of the World Monarchy in a separate treatise. Here again the eschatological theme is connected with monarchical power—and to a greater extent than with the Catholic Church. For Dante, the French monarchy was seen as being on the side of the Antichrist, as was the Roman throne that had risen against the Emperor.

Germany: Hegel and the End of History

The original version of eschatology is given in Hegel’s philosophy. He sees history as a dialectical process of the scattering of the Spirit through Nature, and then a new gathering of the particles of the Spirit in an enlightened society. The culmination of this process according to Hegel would be the creation of a unified German state on the basis of the Prussian monarchy (during his lifetime it did not exist). In this enlightened monarchy, the cycle of the history of the Spirit would be completed. These ideas influenced the Second Reich and Bismarck, and later in a distorted form Hitler’s Third Reich. It was Hegel who put forward the thesis of the “end of history” in a philosophical context, combining in a peculiar combination Christian eschatology (including the figure of the Christian ruler) and a special mystical-monarchical interpretation of social progress (as a preliminary stage before the creation of the world empire of philosophers).

The German philosopher (Catholic) Carl Schmitt correlated the idea of the Reich with the function of the Katechon, the restainer, which was the meaning of imperial power in Byzantium and which was usurped (according to the Orthodox) in the ninth century by the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne. This line was partly in line with the Ghibelline tradition.

The German Jew, Karl Marx, built a theory of communism (the end of history) on an inverted materialist version of Hegelianism, and the Russian philosopher Alexandre Kojève tried to identify the end of history with globalism and the planetary triumph of liberalism. But it is important that Hegel himself, unlike his sectarian interpreters, was an eschatological, Germano-centered monarchist.

Iberia: The Habsburgs and Planetary Evangelization

Eschatology in the Spanish version was linked to the colonization of the Americas and the mission of Charles V Habsburg and his dynastic successors. Since in the prophecies about the end of the world (Pseudo-Methodius of Patara), the sign of the end of the world was the spread of the Gospel to all mankind and the establishment of a worldwide Christian empire under a Catholic world king. The geographical discoveries and the establishment of vast colonies by Spain gave reason to consider the Spanish Habsburgs—above all Charles V and Philip II—as contenders for the role of world monarch. This Catholic-monarchical version, partly consonant with the French version, but in contrast focused on the Austrian Emperors, the traditional opponents of the French dynasty. Christopher Columbus was a proponent of an eschatological world empire during the reigns of the Catholic kings Isabella and Ferdinand, and reflected his eschatological views in The Book of Prophecies, compiled on the eve of his fourth voyage to the Americas and completed immediately after his return.

After the Bourbon reign in Spain, this eschatological line disappeared. Its echoes, partly, can be found in Catholic circles in Latin America and especially in the Jesuits.

The Fifth Empire in the Portuguese version and its Brazilian offshoot are generally close in type to this version of eschatology.

Israel: The Territory of Mashiach

The State of Israel was established in 1948 in Palestine, as a realization of the eschatological aspirations of the Jewish Diaspora, who had been waiting for two millennia for a return to the Promised Land. Jewish eschatology is based on the belief in the chosenness of the Jews and their special role in the end times, when the Jewish Mashiach will come and Jews will rule the world. It is the best studied. In many ways, it is Jewish eschatology that has determined the main scenarios of end-of-the-world visions in monotheistic traditions.

Modern Israel was created as a state prepared for the coming of Mashiach, and if this function is taken out of the picture, its very existence loses its meaning—first of all, in the eyes of the Jews themselves.

Geopolitically, Israel cannot claim to be an independent civilization, an empire, whose scale is necessary for full participation in global eschatological processes. However, if we take into account the rapprochement of political Zionists in the United States with neocons and Protestant dispensationalists, the role of Jews in the last century in the Masonic lodges, the influence of the Diaspora in the ruling and especially economic elites of the West, then the whole picture changes, and the basis for serious eschatological events turns out to be significant.

The Kabbalistic interpretation of the migration route of the bulk of the Jewish Diaspora describes it as following the Shekhinah (God’s Presence) in exile (according to Rabbi Alon Anava). At the beginning of the Galut (dispersion), the bulk of the Jews were concentrated in the Middle East (Mizrahi). Then the Shekhinah began to rise to the north and the Caucasus (Khazar Kaganate). From there, the path of the Shekhinah led to Western Russia, to the Baltics and to Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi). Then its movement led the Ashkenazi to go deeper into Western Europe, and made the Sephardim move from the Iberian Peninsula to Holland and the American colonies. Finally, the bulk of the Jews concentrated in the United States, where they still represent a majority compared to Jewish communities in other countries. Thus, the Shekhinah remains in the United States. The second largest community of Jews is in Israel. When the proportions shift in Israel’s favor, it will mean that the Shekhinah, after a two-thousand-year circle, has returned to Palestine.

Then we should expect the building of the Third Temple and the coming of the Mashiach. This is the logic of Jewish eschatology, clearly visible in the political processes unfolding around Israel. This idea is adhered to by the majority of religious Zionists, who make up a significant percentage of Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora. But any Jew, wherever he or she may be and whatever ideology he or she may share, cannot fail to recognize the eschatological nature of the modern state of Israel and, consequently, the far-reaching goals of its government.

Orthodox Eschatology

Greeks: The Marble Emperor

In the Orthodox population of Greece, after the fall of Byzantium and the seizure of power by the Ottomans, an eschatological theory developed about the coming of an Orthodox liberator-king—the Marble Emperor. His figure was sometimes interpreted as the return of Constantine XII Paleologos, who, according to legend, did not die when the Turks took Constantinople, but was carried away by an angel to the Marble Gate and there awaits his hour to free the Orthodox (Greeks) from the oppression of foreigners.

In some versions of the eschatological legend this mission was entrusted to the “red-haired king of the north,” by whom in the 18th century many Athonite monks understood the Russian Emperor.

These are echoes of the classical Byzantine doctrine of the Katechon, the “restainer” who is destined to become the main obstacle in the way of the “son of perdition” (Second Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians) and of the Tsar-Savior from the book of Pseudo-Methodius of Patara. Greek political-religious thought retained this eschatological component during the Ottoman period, although after the liberation from the Turks, Greek statehood began to be built on Masonic liberal-democratic models (despite the brief period of rule by a number of European dynasties), completely breaking with the Byzantine heritage.

Russia: The King of the Third Rome, the Savior of the Sects, and Communism

In Russia, eschatology took a stable form by the end of the fifteenth century, which was reflected in the theory of Moscow as the Third Rome. It asserted that the mission of the Katechon, the restainer, after the fall of Constantinople passed to Muscovite Russia, which became the nucleus of the only Orthodox Empire—that is, Rome. The Grand Duke Moscow changed the status and became Tsar, Vasilevs, Emperor, restraining.

Henceforth, the mission of Russia and the Russian people was to slow down the coming of the “son of perdition,” the Antichrist, and to resist him in every possible way. This formed the core of Russian eschatology, and formalized the status of the Russian people as “God-bearers.”

Forgotten in the era of the Western reforms of Peter and his followers, the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome revived again in the 19th century, under the influence of the Slavophiles, and then became a central theme in the Russian Orthodox Church beyond the Frontier.

After the schism, eschatology became widespread among the Old Believers and sectarians. The Old Believers generally believed that the fall of the Third Rome had already irreversibly taken place, while the sectarians (Khlysty, Skoptsy), on the contrary, believed in the imminent coming of the “Russian Christ.”

The secular version of sectarian “optimistic” eschatology was taken up by the Bolsheviks, hiding it under the Marxist version of Hegel’s end of history. In the last period of the USSR, the eschatological belief in communism faded, and the regime and the country collapsed.

The theme of Russian eschatology became relevant again in Russia after the beginning of the Special Military Operation, when the confrontation (with the Masonic-liberal and materialistic-atheistic) civilization of the West became extremely acute. Logically, as Russia establishes itself as a separate civilization, the role of eschatology and the central importance of the function of the Katechon will only increase.

The Islamic World

Sunnism: The Sunni Mahdi

In Sunnism, the end of the world is not described in detail, and the visions of the coming leader of the Islamic community, the Mahdi, pale before the description of the Last Judgment that God (Allah) will administer at the end of time. Nevertheless, this figure is there and is described in some detail in the hadiths. It is about the emergence of a military and political leader of the Islamic world who will restore justice, order and piety, which has fallen into decay by the end of time.

The authoritative Sufi, Ibn Arabi, specifies that the Mahdi will be assisted in ruling by “viziers,” forming the basis of the eschatological government; and according to him, all the viziers of this “metaphysical government,” as assistants and projections of the unified pole (kutbah) will come from non-Arabic Islamic communities.

The Mahdi will defeat al-Dajjal (the Liar) and establish Islamic rule. A peculiar version of Islamic eschatology is also professed by supporters of the Islamic State (banned in Russia). Various figures in Islam claimed for the role of Mahdi. Most recently, the head of the Turkish PMC SADAT Adnan Tanriverdi proclaimed Erdogan as the Mahdi.

Iran: The Twelfth Imam

In Shi’ism, the Mahdi theme is much more fully developed, and eschatology underlies the very political-religious teachings of the Shi’ites. Shi’ites consider only the followers of Ali, the Imams, to be the legitimate rulers of the Islamic community. They believe that the last, Twelth, Imam did not die, but withdrew into concealment. He will appear to people again at the end of time. This will be the beginning of the rise of the Shia world.

Then there will be the appearance of Christ, who together with the Mahdi will fight with al-Dajjal and defeat him, establishing for a short period—just before the end of the world—a just, spiritual order.

Such views are espoused by the majority of Shiites, and in Iran it is the official ideology, largely determining the entire political strategy of this country.

Shiite eschatology in many respects continues the Iranian pre-Islamic tradition of Zoroastrianism, which had a developed theory of the change of cycles and their culmination in the Great Restoration (frashokart). There the image of the coming King-Savior, Saoshyant, who is destined to be born magically from a pure Virgin and defeat the army of the dark beginning (Ahriman) in the last battle, also plays an important role.

Probably, it was the ancient Iranian doctrine about the struggle of light (Ormuzd) and dark (Ahriman) began through history, as a key to its meaning and about the final victory of the warriors of light, became the basis for the eschatological part of monotheistic teachings. But in any case, the influence of Zoroastrianism on Shi’ism is obvious, and this is what gives Iranian eschatology such a sharp and vivid political expression.

Southeast Asia

India: Kalki

In Hinduism, the end of the world has little significance, although a number of sacred texts associated with the Kalachakra cycle tell of kings of the mystical land of Shambhala, where the conditions of the golden age reign. At the ultimate moment in history, one of these kings, Kalki, believed to be the tenth avatar of Vishnu, will appear in the human world and fight the demon Kali. Kalki’s victory will end the dark age and signify a new beginning (satya-yuga).

Kali-yuga (the age of darkness) is described as an era of the decline of mores, traditional values and the spiritual foundations of Indian civilization. Although Indian tradition is quite detached from history and its cycles, believing that spiritual realization can be achieved under any conditions, eschatological motifs are quite present in culture and politics.

In contemporary India, the popular conservative politician and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is recognized by some traditionalist circles as a divine avatar, either of Kalki himself or his harbinger.

Buddhism: The Buddha of Times to Come

Eschatological motifs are also developed in the Buddhist tradition. The end of time is seen in it as the coming of the future buddha, Maitreya. His mission is to renew the spiritual life of the sangha, the Buddhist community, and to turn humanity to the salvific path of awakening.

On Buddhism were based some political systems of the countries of southeast Asia—Japan, combined with the autochthonous cult of Shinto, centered on the figure of the divine Emperor, and a number of states of Indo-China. In some cases, the appeal to the figure of the coming Buddha Maitreya became the basis for political movements and popular uprisings.

Sometimes eschatological Buddhism found support in communist ideology, giving rise to syncretic forms—Cambodia, Vietnam, etc.

China: The Heavenly Mandate

Eschatology is virtually absent in Confucianism, which is the dominant political-ethical mainstream of Chinese tradition. But at the same time, it is developed in some detail in the religion of the Chinese Taoists and in Taoist-Buddhist syncretistic currents. According to Taoist ideas about cycles, the history of the world is reflected in the change of ruling dynasties in China. This change is the result of the loss of what the Taoists call the “heavenly mandate,” which every legitimate ruler of China is obliged to obtain and retain. When this mandate runs out, China is in turmoil, with civil war and unrest. The situation is saved only by obtaining a new heavenly mandate and enthronement of a new dynasty.

The Chinese Middle Empire is perceived by the Chinese themselves as an image of cosmic hierarchy, as the Universe. In the Empire, culture and nature merge to the point of indistinguishability. Therefore, dynastic cycles are cosmic cycles by which epochs are measured.

The Chinese tradition does not know the absolute end of the world, but believes that any deviation of the world order, in any direction, requires symmetrical restoration. This theory implicitly contributed to the Chinese revolution and retains its significance to the present day.

In fact, the figure of the current chairman of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping, is seen as a new appearance of a legitimate Emperor who has received a heavenly mandate.


Garvey: Black Freemasonry

One of the founders of the movement to restore dignity to African peoples was Jamaican-born Freemason, Marcus Garvey, who applied Masonic progressivism to blacks and called for rebellion against whites.

Garvey took a series of actions to bring American blacks back to the African continent, continuing a process that began in 1820 with the creation of an artificial state on the west coast of Africa, Liberia. Liberia’s government copied the U.S. and so too was composed predominantly of Freemasons.

Garvey interpreted the struggle for the rights of blacks not just as a means to gain equality, but actively promoted the theory of the chosenness of Africans as a special people, which after centuries of slavery was called to establish its dominance—at least in the space of the African continent, but also to claim and assert the rights to power in the U.S. and other colonial countries. And in the center of this world movement should stand the Masonic lodges, where only black people are allowed.

The extreme representatives of this current were the organizations Black Power, Black Panthers and later BLM.

Great Ethiopia

In Africa, among the melanodermatic (black) population, their own original versions of eschatology have developed. All of them (as in Garvey’s eschatology) regard African peoples as endowed with a special historical mission (blacks = New Israel) and foretell the rebirth of themselves and the African continent as a whole. The general scheme of African eschatology considers the era of colonization and slavery as a great spiritual trial for the black race, to be followed by a period of reward, a new golden age.

In one version of this eschatology, the core of African identity is Ethiopia. Its population (Kushites and Semites with dark skin) is seen as the paradigm of African civilization, as Ethiopia is the only African political entity in Africa that has not been colonized, either by European powers or by Muslims.

In this version, all African peoples are considered to be related to Ethiopians, and the Ethiopian monarch, the Negus, is perceived as a prototype of the ruler of the great African Empire. This line was the basis of Rastafarianism, which became popular among the blacks of Jamaica and further spread among the black population of Africa and America.

This version is prevalent among Christian and Christianized peoples. Christian eschatology of Ethiopians (Monophysites) acquires original features connected with the special mission of Ethiopia, which is considered to be the chosen country and the chosen people (hence the legend that the ancestor of Ethiopians was Melchizedek, the King of Peace). In Rastafarianism, this Ethiopian eschatology acquires additional—sometimes quite grotesque—features.

Black Islam

Another version of African eschatology is the Nation of Islam, which emerged in the United States. This doctrine claims that both Moses and Muhammad were black, and that God incarnates in black politico-religious leaders from cycle to cycle. The founder of this current, Wali Fard Muhammad, considered himself to be such an incarnation (this is consonant with the Russian Khlysty). After the death of Wali Fard Mohammed believers expect his return on a spaceship.

Parallel to this is the proclamation of the need for black struggle in the United States and around the world—and not just for their rights, but for recognition of their spiritual and racial leadership in civilization.

Under the contemporary leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, this current has achieved great influence in the United States and has had a significant impact on the ideological formation of black Muslims in Africa.

Black Egypt

Another version of African political eschatology is the KMT current (from the ancient Egyptian name of Egypt itself), which develops the ideas of the African philosopher Sheikh Anta Diop. He and his followers developed the theory that ancient Egypt was a state of black people, which is evident from its name “KMT,” in the Egyptian language meaning “Black Land” or “Land of Blacks.” Anta Diop believed that all African religious systems are echoes of Egyptian religion, which must be restored in its entirety.

His follower Kemi Seba developed the thesis of African monotheism, which is the basis of a religio-political system where power should be vested in a Metaphysical Government expressing the will of God (like the Mahdi viziers in Ibn Arabi’s version). Life should be based on the principle of closed black communities—kilombo.

At the same time, Africans should return to the traditions of their peoples, fully control the African continent, restore as dark a skin color as possible (through melano-oriented marriages) and carry out a spiritual revolution in the world.

The single, sacred Pan-African language should be the restored ancient Egyptian language (medu neter), and Swahili should be used for practical needs. According to the proponents of KMT theory, black people are the bearers of sacredness, Tradition and the people of the golden age. White civilization, on the other hand, represents perversion, pathology, and anti-civilization, where matter, money, and capital stand above spirit.

The main enemy of Africans and blacks around the world is whites, who are considered the bearers of modernization, colonialism, materialism and spiritual degeneration. Victory over whites is the guarantee of blacks’ fulfillment of their world mission and the crowning achievement of the decolonization process.

Latin America

Ethno-eschatology: Indigenism

In Latin American countries, a number of aboriginal Amerindian peoples see the logical end of colonization as the restoration of ethnic societies (indigenism). These tendencies are developed to varying degrees depending on the country.

Many consider the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II, a descendant of the last Inca ruler, who led an Indian revolt against the Spanish presence in Peru in 1780, as the symbolic beginning of Indian resistance to colonizers.

In Bolivia in 2006, Evo Morales, the first-ever representative of the Aymara Indian people, was elected president. Increasingly, voices are being heard—primarily in Peru and Bolivia—in favor of declaring the ancient Indian cult of the earth goddess Pachamama an official religion.

As a rule, the ethnic eschatology of Latin American Indians is combined with leftist socialist or anarchist currents to create syncretic teachings.

Brazilian Sebastianism

A particular version of eschatology, linked to Portuguese ideas about the Fifth Empire, developed in Brazil. After the capital of the Portuguese Empire was moved to Brazil because of a republican coup d’état in Portugal, the doctrine arose that this transfer of the capital was not accidental and that Brazil itself had a special political-religious mission. If European Portugal lost the doctrine of King Sebastian and followed the path of European bourgeois democracy, then Brazil must now assume this mission and become the territory where, in the critical conditions of the historical cycle, the missing but not dead King Sebastian would be found.

Under the banner of such a doctrine the conservative Catholic-eschatological and imperial revolts against the Masonic liberal government—Canudos, Contestado, etc.—took place in Brazil.

Eschatological Map of Civilizations

Thus, in a multipolar world, different eschatologies clash or enter into an alliance with each other.

In the West, the secular model (progressivism and liberalism) clearly prevails, with a significant addition in the form of extreme Protestant dispensationalism. This is the “end of history,” according to Fukuyama. If we take into account the liberal elite of European countries under full American control, we can speak of a special eschatology that unites almost all NATO countries. We should also add the theory of radical individualism, common to liberals, which demands to free people from all forms of collective identity—up to freedom from sex (gender politics) and even from belonging to the human species (transhumanism, AI). Thus, the new elements of Masonic progressive eschatology, along with the “open society,” are the imperatives of gender reassignment, support for LGBTQ principles, posthumanism, and deep ecology (which rejects the centrality of the human being in the world that all traditional religions and philosophical systems have insisted on).

Although Zionism is not a direct continuation of this version of eschatology, in some of its forms—primarily through its alliance with the American neocons—it partly fits into this strategy; and given the influence of Jews on the ruling elites of the West, these proportions may even be reversed.

Russia and its Katechonic function, which combines the eschatology of the Third Rome and the communist horizon as a legacy of the USSR, stands most blatantly in the way of this end of history.

In China, Western Marxism, already substantially reworked in Maoism, increasingly openly displays Confucian culture, and the head of the CCP, as traditional Emperor, is given a heavenly mandate to rule “All that is under Heaven” (tianxia—天下).

Eschatological sentiments are constantly growing in the Islamic world—both in the Sunni zone and especially in Shiism (primarily in Iran), and it is modern Western civilization—the same one that is now fighting Russia—that is almost unanimously presented as al-Dajjal for all Muslims.

In India, Hindutva-inspired sentiments (the doctrine of the independent identity of Hindus as a special and unique civilization) are gradually growing, proclaiming a return to the roots of the Hindu tradition and its values (which do not coincide at all with Western values), and hence outlining the contours of a special eschatology associated with the phenomenon of Kalka and the overcoming of the Kali-yuga.

Pan-Africanism is developing towards the strengthening of radical teachings about the return of Africans to their identity and a new round of anti-colonial struggle against the white world (understood primarily as colonial countries belonging to the civilization of the West). This describes a new vector of black eschatology.

In Latin America, the desire to strengthen its geopolitical sovereignty is based on both leftist (socialist) eschatology and the defense of Catholic identity, which is particularly evident in Brazil, where both leftists and rightists are increasingly distancing themselves from globalism and U.S. policy (hence Brazil’s participation in the BRICS bloc). The ethno-eschatologies of indigenism, though relatively weak, generally add an important additional dimension to the whole eschatological project.

At the same time, the French aristocratic eschatology (and its secular projection in Gaullism), the German version of the end of history in the form of the German Empire, as well as the Buddhist and Shinto line of the special mission of Japan and the Japanese Emperors—(for now, at least) do not play any noticeable role, being completely bought by the dominant progressive globalist elite and the strategies of the Anglo-Saxons.

Thus, we have a world map of eschatology, corresponding to the contours of a multipolar world.

From this we can now draw whatever conclusions we want.

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.

Featured: Multipolarity I, by Roodslav.

Deciphering the Russian Code

Russia is in dire need of an ideology capable of fighting the enemy on the invisible battlefield.

Yeltsin destroyed the Soviet Union and with it the communist ideology. The ideologues of victorious liberalism—Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais—built a country that resembled an ugly caricature of the victorious Western civilization.

Russia ceased to be a civilization, ceased to be a country; the Russian people ceased to be a people, and a frenzied liberal broom swept across the once great expanse between three oceans, sweeping away everything associated with Russian uniqueness.

Now that Yeltsin’s Russia is facing a war in Ukraine and liberal ideology is gone along with its ideologues, Russia, robbed, exhausted, deceived, devoid of ideological meanings, is fighting the giant behemoth of the West, which, in addition to the space constellations of Ilon Musk and long-range Himars, has a powerful ideology, tested over the centuries, rooted in the mysterious depths of European metaphysics.

Russia, in dire need of shells and tanks, reserve battalions and divisions, is in dire need of an ideology capable of fighting the enemy on the invisible battlefield, in empires of ideological meanings.

And today a hunt for meanings has been announced in Russia. A lot of political scientists, political technologists, philosophers are looking for meanings. They look for them underfoot, find them, carry them to their laboratories, glue them together with something sticky that is secreted from their political science glands. They take their products to the Kremlin, offering to write history textbooks on the basis of these products, to build a new Russian state, to create public organizations, political movements, new symbols, new songs, a new Russian man capable of winning the battle for history.

But the products fall apart on the approach to the Spasskaya Tower. The sticky secretion of political scientists dries up, and the lumps of meanings found underfoot disintegrate—ideology does not stick together.

Meanings are not obtained in brainstorming sessions of political scientists, nor in discussion clubs of politicians. Meanings are obtained by the revelations of individual God-revealed people, who suddenly open the gates to those heavenly spheres where meanings dwell. Meanings are the inhabitants of high azure spaces, which the religious consciousness of thinkers reaches. Meanings are like nuggets stored in the depths of heaven.

The deep content of Russian civilization, changing its external forms, dressed from century to century in various vestments and robes, remained unchanged in its innermost essence. It was a dream of ideal existence, divine harmony, creating a just kingdom, where there is no violence, oppression, darkness, trampling of the weak by the strong, the rich by the poor. Where the most terrible injustice that haunts the human race is defeated—death is defeated.

The image of this kingdom has moved from pagan fairy tales to Orthodox Christianity, to the fantasies of cosmists, to the mysteries of poets and musicians, to the political declarations of Narodovites and Communists. This image even now lives as a dream in the depths of the people’s feeling, not allowing the people to disappear, encouraging them to fight and build, guiding them to perfection.

The Russian Dream of a just state is a precious treasure of the Russian World, which is conceived by the Creator as a repository of this marvelous idea.

To the achievement of this ideal, to the building of this marvelous kingdom, the Russian codes are the steps up which the nation rises, overcoming terrible difficulties, bitterness, fires and defeats, each time rising from the ashes, and with its charred, burnt hands continuing to build this marvelous edifice.

Russian codes are the meanings, the keyboard on which a great ruler creates a symphony of nation and state—Russian and Tatar, Chechen and Khanty. Great rulers, such as Vladimir the Holy, Ivan Vasilyevich the Terrible, Peter the Great, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, owned this keyboard, led Russia from great upheavals to greatness.

These codes are thousands. Such codes are Pushkin, Stalingrad, Baikal, Peresvet… “There was a birch tree in the field.”

But among these thousands of codes there are seven, without which it is impossible to build a sunny Russian state.

There is the code of exaction—the continuous striving for this state, begging for it, calling it out among the rubble of history.

There is the code of sacred labor, which is used not only to obtain daily bread, but also to build the state itself, and to obtain the Kingdom of Heaven, “which is given by works.”

There is the code of resurrection, which allows Russia to rise again after terrible historical defeats, and strive for the ideal bequeathed to it.

There is the code of the Russian miracle, which saves Russia when, it would seem, there is no salvation, and the abyss embraces the country and the people. Russia sinks into the dark depths of Lake Svetloyar to suddenly in the sparkle of the divine miracle to surface again from unknown waters, with its golden domes, marvelous palaces and churches to rise to greatness.

There is the code for a common cause, transforming the nation into a gigantic labor-artel, a vast invincible battalion. And the entrance to this ideal kingdom, to this heavenly Jerusalem, will be realized by all the people—both those who are still living on earth, and those who have already passed away, and those who have not yet been born.

There is the code of defense consciousness, when people defend their dream, their ideal, making colossal sacrifices for its preservation. Russia, defending its ideals, takes on all the darkness of the world, turning it into light. God entrusted Russia to defend this divine ideal, washing it with tears and blood.

There is the code of Russia—the soul of the world. For Russia invites to the historical campaign all kinds of people, wishes spiritual victory not only to itself, but also to all mankind, opens to each person of the Earth a gate to this delightful Russian garden.

The intimate knowledge of Russian codes is the essence of acquiring meanings. Obtained codes must be saved from the enemy.

The enemy, admitted to the storehouse of Russian meanings, destroys them, cuts off people from the sky, expels them from history. All conquerors coming to the Russian land strove for this. Demons of perestroika aspired to it. This is what today’s enemies are striving for, trying to reach with their long-range drones, their high-speed missiles, not just to reach the Kremlin chambers, but also to hit the repository of Russian meanings.

The Izborsky Club gathers into its spiritual brotherhood people with illuminated consciousness, clairvoyants to whom meanings are revealed. It is a school of spiritual knowledge, where the teachers are Russian clairvoyants, be it pagan skomorokhi or Dostoevsky, Seraphim of Sarov or Joseph Stalin.

The forum of the Russian Dream movement has just taken place. It was held in the Grebnevo estate near Moscow, where many confessors of this precious Russian faith came from all over Russia. They shared discoveries, fraternized, and gifted each other with their spiritual discoveries. There were singers, warriors wounded in the Donbass, philosophers and politicians.

At night, on a huge glade, they lit a fire, which blazed, sending countless golden sparks into the sky, and each of them was a prayer, a demand, a hope for the Russian miracle and for the Russian victory.

Sparks, mined by fiery, loving and fearless hearts open to the light.

The confessors of the Russian Dream, the discoverers of Russian meanings pay a huge price for their discoveries. Darya Dugina, her majestic father Alexander Dugin, the brilliant Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin. And now—Alexander Borodai, the hero of Donbass, has been hit by a Ukrainian tank. Wounded, he lies in a Donetsk hospital.

Sasha, get up soon from your bed, Russian meanings are waiting for you.

Alexander Prokhanov, a doyen of Russian letters, is a member of the secretariat of the Writers Union of the Russian Federation and has written more than 30 novels and many short story collections. He also edits the influentail weekly newspaper, Zavtra. This article comes through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.

Featured: Evening Bells, by Isaac Levitan; painted in 1892.

Making Russian Children

Since we have established ourselves as a sovereign civilization, we need to change the dominant discourse. What everyone was afraid or embarrassed to say before (what the West will think about us, the world community…) must now be stated clearly and openly.

So, let’s say: we need to urgently begin the revival of the Russian people.

That’s exactly how it is. Otherwise, any manipulations with labor migrants – even the friendliest ones – will only inflame the situation and increase instability. Migrants are not the solution to the demographic problem of the disappearance of the Russian people. This is an axiom. Therefore, the solution lies elsewhere.

The main points are as follows:

  1. Give birth to Russians. Any form of restriction on abortion is good here. But the issue is not biological, but social, cultural, ideological. For birth we need a man and a woman, even more precisely (according to Aristotle) a father and a mother (the father gives the creature a form, and the mother supplies matter, nurturing the form). This means that a family is needed. Russians give birth to Russians in Russian families. Russian father, Russian mother, Russian children. And in the background as a foundation—Russian ancestors. This is not a biological production; it is a spiritual sacrament—the creation of the people. Therefore, the birth of a Russian child should receive a special status of a national feat. From the fact of Russian birth, we pass to the Russian family.
  2. Russian family and Russian upbringing. It’s not about ethnic identity; it’s about cultural code. A family is Russian when it thinks of itself as part of the Russian people, shares its traditional values, considers Russian history as its history, accepts Russian life and its conditions. The status of a Russian family is not about blood and phenotype, but about self-consciousness. The Russian family means many things at the same time. This notion has yet to be revealed more fully. Russians brought up only in a Russian family. The family forms the structure of personality. It is not enough to give birth to a Russian, it is necessary to bring up a Russian Russian. Russian upbringing is the business of Russian families.
  3. Russian society. If a Russian child is to be born and brought up, it is necessary to provide a suitable society for him—such a society must be Russian. In it everything is Russian—education, professions, way of life, social structure, patriotic spirit—Russian attitude to sex, to work, to old age and to death. Russian society should be built on Russian traditional values. If a Russian is born and brought up in a Russophobic liberal-cosmopolitan society, it will lead to tragedy—both for him and for society. For a Russian to feel natural in the world, this world must be a Russian world.
  4. Settlement of cities. There is an iron sociological law in the sphere of demography: in big cities people give birth less than in small cities, and in small cities less than in the suburbs, in the countryside or in villages. That is why we want more Russians; we need to move from cities to villages. Everyone should be given land on the most favorable terms, the opportunity to build houses (preferably one-story houses—so closer to the Russian land!—but they can be large, for more children), loans (can be irrevocable, if there are a lot of children, or people have accomplished feats, or are just talented), gas and light. Russian demography will jump.
  5. Russian culture. In order for Russians to create Russian families, give birth to Russian children, bring them up as Russians and send them to live in a beautiful and just (because justice is our most important traditional value!) society, the culture of our society must be Russian (and not whatever and certainly not as it is now). Culture is the most important, even the main factor that defines society. It is the air and it is the meaning.
  6. Russian economy. Russians need a Russian economy—e.g., there is Islamic banking, interest-free credit. Russian economy willingly accepts society with market, but categorically denies market society, where everything is sold and bought (a carrot is sold; the rest is obtained by honest labor or by merit). The basis should be rural labor (it created the Russian people); and along with it, separate zones of high-tech development, where will be concentrated passionaries who are tired of living in the countryside (it is always the same there, because it is eternity; most Russians will prefer eternity, but some will rush into time with its dynamics and dissimilarity). Russian passionaries will engage in areas of scientific and technological breakthrough and will invent everything. Russian inventors are the most inventive in the world. There is nothing to worry about; but if you leave them in the countryside, they can bring not only a lot of good, but also a lot of bad. That’s who will live in cities and work in manufacturing. The cities will be small, compact and stuffed with the highest scientific inventions. Russians will be able to fly all over them.
  7. Russian faith. Russians need Russian faith; that is Russian Orthodoxy. In every settlement, construction should begin with the erection of a church. Russian passionaries (engineers, designers, commanders, defense, warriors) from the cities must also be Orthodox (and who else?). If Russians will not believe in the Lord God, in Jesus Christ, they will believe in some devilish things, little understood and only confusing everyone. And the Russian faith says everything about what a person should be. A saint. An ordinary Russian saint. It’s difficult, of course, but you have to try. And there are examples— what wonderful inspiring and enlightening examples. A whole host of Russian saints. A Heavenly host.
  8. And what to do with non-Russians? First, the Russian people are open. Whoever wants to become Russian, welcome. Secondly, Russians love non-Russians; they are interested to communicate with them, to study, to be friends. So it was always, and will always be so. Thirdly, Russians are the people of the Empire. And are ready to build it together with those with whom fate has united them. And in the great continental Empire of the Russians, there will be a place for all peoples who honestly and with an open heart are ready to share existence with the Russians.
  9. Let’s put the question more acutely: What to do with liberals? There is a bifurcation: some will realize themselves as Russians and repent of past delusions (this process in our society is in full swing), some will disperse on their own.
  10. And finally, even more acutely: What to do with those who hate Russians? And this is already a red line. If they simply hate, but do no evil to us and our friends, we will take this into account, but we will be restrained, trying to explain how wrong they are. If their hatred spills over into vicious crimes against Russians—we will be forced to restrain them through force (because Russians hate war, we are a people of peace).

Here is such a program of Russian demography, and all points in it, in my opinion, are of fundamental importance. It is possible, of course, to add something else that I have missed. But not much. The Russian program of demography should be simple.

Understood. Accepted. Done.

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.

Featured: Children Singing, Mikhail Samkov; painted ca. 1971-1972.

Pakistan: Christians under Threat

In a country officially made up of more than 96% Muslims, religious minorities feel they live on the fringes of a society that grants them—at best—the status of dhimmis. They fear, rightly, to bear the brunt of the crises that are looming in a nation with growing instability.

In 1947, during the independence of Pakistan, in a context of extreme violence, the flag was drawn with obvious Islamic symbols, the green color and crescent of Islam. But a white band on the left symbolized religious minorities. Like a place granted to them in the “land of the pure,” the literal meaning of the name “Pakistan.” The nation had just been born and was struggling to find a common identity among the Pashtun, Punjabi, Sindhî, Baluch, etc. peoples. who composed it. They had in common Islam—with serious variations—which was to serve as the basis of the new nation.

Flag of Pakistan, with the white stripe representing religious minorities.

Nearly 70 years later, the demographic weight of these minorities, mainly Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, has continued to decline. In 1947, 23% of Pakistan’s population was non-Muslim, while in 2022 the proportion had fallen to 3.5%. If the white band of the flag had to be adjusted to the proportion of the population it represents, the band would be barely visible today. These figures, however, deserve to be weighed, because as the latest ACN Religious Freedom Report denounces, several Muslim states are cheating on the real number of non-Muslims in their country. The decline of minorities in Pakistan is no less indisputable.

This decline does not correspond to a well-established political agenda. No Pakistani ruler has claimed it, and no plan of action against minorities, however secret, stands out in the country’s history. On the other hand, minorities are steadily losing their political representation and weight in Pakistani society.

Hindus who did not decide to emigrate to India at the time of independence know that they are suspect in the eyes of Muslims, as they could represent a fifth column in the event of a confrontation between the two enemy countries. As for the Christians, their case illustrates how a population gradually loses its foothold in its own country. During English colonization, lower-caste Hindus and even untouchables converted, creating a new church parallel to the historic Indian churches of Malabar and Malankara, known as the “Christians of St. Thomas.” With the support of Western Christians, the new Catholic Churches played a major social role, notably through their hospitals and schools.

In Pakistan, these structures were nationalized during the tenure of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1971-1977), the nation’s first democratically elected leader. He was also the first leader to speak out explicitly in favor of an Islamic Pakistan. As a result, Catholic schools have been unable to play the role they do in comparable countries such as Iraq and Syria. In the latter two countries, Christian schools have a reputation for excellence that encourages wealthy Muslims to send their children there. In addition to the educational benefits of these structures, they offer young Muslims the opportunity to rub shoulders with Christians and members of other minorities. Indeed, it was in one of these schools that the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinna, was educated. The man, who is revered as the nation’s founder, also placed his own children in Christian schools.

These schools also ensured that the Christians had well-educated elites capable of rising to the highest offices of the state. This was the case of Shahbaz Bhatti, Christian, and Minister for Minorities, who was assassinated on February 9, 2011. The Ministry of Minorities has since been abolished during Imran Khan’s tenure as Prime Minister, so that there is no longer a single non-Muslim at the top of the administration.

Islamism Makes Money!

A former star cricketer and willing critic of Islamists, Imran Khan doesn’t look like a bearded man intent on wiping out minorities, who have a rather positive impact on Pakistani society. But faced with a fall in popularity, he needed to pledge his support to conservatives, in particular by coming out in favor of the anti-blasphemy law. This political coup reveals the evil that is eating away at Pakistani society, not so much the cynicism of politicians—which country is spared?—but rather the pervasiveness of radical Islamists. No politician can ignore them, and they influence the whole of society.

Warlike Islamism is being woven into the brains of young children at a very early age in school. The history of Pakistan has been rewritten in school textbooks, giving pride of place to slave-owning Muslim conquerors. Hindus, on the other hand, are portrayed as evil and brutal, and followers of other minority religions, notably Christians, are described as “infidels.” All students, regardless of their religious affiliation, are required to learn and recite by heart: “I am Pakistani. I am a Muslim. Pakistanis are Muslims.”

More generally, Muslims’ contempt for all other communities is expressed in a thousand and one ways on a daily basis. Naeem Yousaf Gill, Director of the Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan (CNJP), warns that it is difficult to grasp the extent of this discrimination against non-Muslims, so he illustrates it with a number of examples. His Commission comes from the local Catholic Church and is supported by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for its work in defense of Pakistani Christians.

In a series of documents devoted to discrimination in the year 2021-2022, the Commission lists hundreds of incidents against Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, all of whom are considered subhuman. This litany includes acts of violence and discrimination covering a broad spectrum.

For example, the case of Riaz Gill, a competent employee who was promoted to director of his hospital in Karachi. He immediately received death threats from his colleagues. Petty thugs were paid to follow him home and warn him that he and his family would be in serious trouble if he did not give up his position, as it was intolerable for a Christian to lead Muslims. Wearily, Riaz Gill returned to his previous position. But the pressure continued, until he handed in his resignation.

In another typical case reported by the Commission, a Muslim riding his motorcycle past a church square complained that he had been dirtied by two young Christians sweeping the area. He returned with an angry troop of sixty men, brandishing cricket sticks and iron bars. They beat up the family of the two young men, including women and children.

Another series of facts denounces the treatment of young Christian women. It commonly happens that a Christian woman escapes an attempted rape, denounces her attacker, only to discover that a crowd forms to defend her assailant. The question of the safety of young Christian women represents a painful challenge. They know they risk being seen as easy victims for sexual predators. They can be abducted, “converted” and then forcibly “married.” Cases of this kind abound. Maira Shabbaz, who was abducted at the age of 13 and managed to escape from her attacker, is a case in point. In the majority of cases, the parents of these young girls are distraught and afraid to lodge a complaint with the police, lest it be turned against them. The CNJP points out that in 90% of cases, the aggressors divorce their “wives” within the year. More often than not, they had at least one other wife at the time of the incident, wives that are much older than the girls they take in this way.

Martyrs of the 21st Century

In 2021, Abida, 26, and Sajida, 28, two Christian sisters living in the Makhan district, on the outskirts of Lahore, were harassed and then abducted by Muslims. They were found dead, their throats slit, in sacks, abandoned in a canal, probably because they had refused forced marriage and conversion.

A multitude of other less dramatic examples are symptomatic of the sickly aversion many Pakistanis feel towards people of other religions. Also, during the year under review, a Hindu family was beaten up for filling their water bottles at a tap in front of a mosque.

The hundreds of cases recorded show that ill-treatment does not come directly from the administration. Ordinary Pakistanis, in the face of annoyance or simply to get what they want—land, a wife, revenge—believe they have the right to attack the “lower castes.” But if the authorities are not the source of these exactions, they are no less deficient in restoring justice.

The Pakistani administration, which is fighting Taliban terrorists on its own soil, is clearly reluctant to tackle the ordinary Islamism that is blighting relations between its citizens. “This is a fundamental weakness that threatens society as a whole,” warns Babar Ayaz, journalist and author of What’s wrong with Pakistan (Hay House Inc.). A Muslim himself, he notes that the Islamic Republic was not part of the project of the country’s founders. He also fears that it will inevitably lead to chaos and ruin, given the profound religious differences that exist in his country. In particular, he notes that while the majority of Pakistanis unequivocally condemn jihad and terrorism, the same cannot be said of the Ulemas, who prefer to attack the Pakistani authorities, accusing them in particular of being pro-American. Few of them openly condemn extremist violence. Under these conditions, he questions the interest of his country in continuing to train more Ulemas than doctors, lawyers and engineers.

Wishing for a separation between religion and state, Ayaz notes that the Pakistani Parliament is instead constrained by religious issues: “Parliament should be free to debate religious issues, and not have to declare itself Muslim if we want to separate religion and state. This is crucial if we are to get the evil genie of Islamism back in the bottle,” he writes.

This is all the more crucial as Pakistan is going through a period of crisis which does not bode well for the minorities living there. Experience shows that they are the first to suffer. Economically, the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the international context is not helping matters. On the political front, the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and the destruction of his party, the PTI, demonstrate the feverishness of the current administration, which feared his return to the political scene. His still numerous supporters are likely to revolt, raising the risk of civil war.

Despised, living in a poorly built country on the brink of collapse since its creation, Pakistan’s Christians should probably represent an anemic community by human logic. But this is not the case, Mgr Shukardin, Bishop of Hyderabad, assures us: “The churches are full at weekend celebrations and during the high holidays. The people are proud of their faith and the Church is the great source of their faith, and it is source of encouragement for them.” Asked about the strange dynamism of his Church, Archbishop Shaw of Lahore replied, “I don’t know if the environment for Christians in Pakistan is improving, but I do know that we are improving our ability to adapt to the situation!”

ACN in Pakistan

Last year, the CAN spent 1.2 million euros on projects in Pakistan. This sum was spent on some sixty projects at the service of the Catholic Church in Pakistan. The construction of a church in Chakwal, the training of priests and catechists. There are also—among other initiatives—educational campaigns for young girls initiated by the Church and supported by the ACN.

The high-profile release of Asia Bibi in 2019 may have raised hopes that recourse to Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law would diminish, but the opposite is happening. On January 17, 2023, Parliament raised the minimum prison sentence for “blasphemy offenses” to 10 years.

Support the work of the ACN in Pakistan

ACN Religious Freedom Report 2023

62.5% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is seriously violated, warns ACN, which published the 16th edition of its Religious Freedom Report on June 22. Since the previous report in 2021, the situation has deteriorated significantly in 47 of the 196 countries studied.

Africa is the continent most affected by violations of religious freedom. The main cause, in addition to poverty and civil war, is the expansion of Islamist terrorist groups.

In Asia, ethno-religious nationalist powers instrumentalize religion for political ends through anti-conversion and anti-blasphemy laws that oppress religious minorities.

Faced with these facts, ACN reiterates the vital importance of upholding the right to religious freedom, as an essential condition for world peace. It urges public authorities and citizens alike not to “turn a blind eye” to religious persecution. It will continue to provide information and practical help to victims of religious persecution through its work in 128 countries.

Download the entire Report.

Sylvain Dorient is a journalist for ACN-France. This article appears through the courtesy of La Nef.

The South Caucasus: Between Dynamism and Stalemate

In the framework of Washington’s policy of attempts at penetration into the Russian “near abroad,” in the first week of May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted, in Washington, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov and the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Ararat Mirzoyan, for a series of talks. According to the final communiqué, after a series of bilateral and trilateral discussions, the parties made significant progress regarding the resolution of the conflict that has opposed Yerevan and Baku since 1991.

Moscow responded by restarting a similar initiative, taking advantage of a forum of the EAEU (EuroAsian Ecoomic Union) on May 24 and 25, marked by the presence of Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as well as that of the member states and other guests, for a bilateral and trilateral meeting (with Putin). However, the meeting, which was supposed to restart the dialogue between Yerevan and Baku (and secure the Russian grip on the region at the expense of the EU and NATO, keep out the Turks, the Iranians, the Saudis, the Chinese, the Israelis) saw a tough verbal confrontation between Aliyev and Pashinyan regarding the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. A confrontation so hard in substance but formal in form, as to embarrass Putin himself, who presided over the meeting and who clearly showed he did not know which way to turn.

Russia is certainly worried about the crisis on its “southern front,” but it shows more and more clearly the lack of options and resources. Putin is engaged in a very difficult game, where open enemies, fragile, ambiguous, doubtful, necessary and unbearable allies and friends mix.

With so much political, economic, diplomatic, military attention and energy focused on Ukraine, Russia has reduced its attention (and capabilities) to the South Caucasus, where its grip is inexorably fraying. After a series of tensions, on April 11, a new clash between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces caused the death of four Armenian and three Azerbaijani soldiers while a massive exchange of artillery fire broke out between the two sides, despite the presence of a Russian interposition mission (with a small Turkish contingent).

Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized as a part of Azerbaijan under international law, was occupied by the Armenian army for 26 years, following the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. Under the terms of the UN Charter, Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani territory. But the province is also home to a large ethnic Armenian population who, as the Soviet Union was crumbling in 1988, unilaterally declared their independence from Azerbaijan. The first war in the 1990s ended with the victory of the separatists, supported by the Armenian regular forces and the expulsion of the few Azeris who lived in the region. The support of Yerevan allowed the separatists to enjoy a form of de facto independence, even if no country in the world, not even Armenia itself, has officially recognized them. This lack of recognition by Yerevan, which had promoted and supported it, might have seemed a paradox, but it wasn’t; in fact, Armenia wanted pure and simple union with Nagorno-Karabakh (the dream of a Wilsonian Armenia). In 1993 the UN Security Council passed four resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) calling for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan, but Yerevan flatly ignored them.

It should be underlined that despite the enormous financial and cultural influence of the Armenian diaspora in the world, especially in the US and France, it was impossible to move the situation, legally toward unification, due to the stiff resistance of Azerbaijan. Since 2008 Baku, which has always claimed sovereignty over that territory, has begun to increase pressure on the Armenians with a series of clashes and skirmishes on the de facto border, using an ever more powerful and prepared military force; this, thanks to the enormous hydrocarbon resources, which became a real threat for the forces of Yerevan and Stephanakert.

Between the end of November and the first half of November 2020, Azerbaijan, after a brief conflict, came very close to the almost total recovery of the lost territory, accompanying this with the expulsion of all the Armenian populations (Christians, while Azerbaijan is Sunni-Muslim and Turanian-speaking [Turkish lineage]) and the systematic destruction of all Christian presence in that territory. The conflict ended with a ceasefire agreement brokered by the Russians.

The ceasefire was, on the surface, meant to make room for a formal truce, but no further. This is where the Russian vision comes into play, dictated by its need to keep the South Caucasus under control, but it has few options and even fewer tools to try to impose its model. Moscow, allied with Armenia, albeit instrumentally, would prefer a freeze on the conflict and seeks to push away the option of a definitive peace treaty between the two contenders, which among other things would involve the withdrawal of the interposition forces. Despite the dire need for experienced soldiers to send into the Ukrainian cauldron, Moscow sees them as necessary to bolster her influence and a tool to keep outside any infiltration of NATO and EU in the region. Putin fears, and he saw it in 2020, that any change in the field, given that it has already happened, strengthens Azerbaijan, which seems to act more and more like a small-scale Turkey, in terms of ambitions and will to emerge (and indirectly increases the influence of Turkey, Israel and other actors).

Proof of Moscow’s will to keep the matter in the backburner was the appointment of the oligarch Ruben Vardanyan, born in Armenia and linked to the Kremlin, as prime minister of Nagorno-Karabakh (by now reduced to a patch of land flattened by Azeri bombings and garrisoned by Russian soldiers) who blocked any dialogue. Last February, Vardanyan was unexpectedly sacked from his post by the president of the breakaway republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, further showing the weakening of Russian regional influence. As proof that the South Caucasus continues to be an area of great importance to Moscow, it has appointed General Alexander Lentsov, one of Russia’s most experienced military figures (previously he served as head of the so-called center joint control, coordination and stabilization of the ceasefire in Donbas after the first conflict in Ukraine in 2014 [the Russian troops supporting Russian-speaking forces in the region], and served in Chechnya, South Ossetia and Syria)

The timing of Lentsov’s appointment was indicative: just four days before the FMs of Armenia and Azerbaijan travelled to the aforementioned meeting in Washington. Blinken and Borrell, the high representative for European foreign and security policy, would like to revive the US-EU two-track process.

The Americans are evidently aware of the benefits of reconciliation in the South Caucasus and are pressing for a solution as soon as possible. However, some signals from Brussels, such as the sending of the EUAM (EU Assistance Mission in Armenia) irked Azerbaijan, leaving the door open to sirens from Moscow, or at least allowing Baku to raise the political price for the dialogue with Brussels.
Such a peace agreement, in the pious wishes of Washington, should proceed from the recognition by Armenia that Nagorno-Karabakh is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, but with guarantees from Baku, which however it is absolutely not willing to grant, taking up the Turkish approach towards the Kurds. For the US, solving the issue, would allow the restart of a dialogue between the two enemies, but the path is narrow.

In fact, Pashinyan recently signalled that he was willing to do so, despite a further wave of protests, which echoed those following the defeat against Azerbaijan, of which he was accused (and objectively responsible, given that he squandered the limited military resources of Armenia in support of Nagorno-Karabakh). This, while Moscow, aiming for limited normalization between Armenia and Azerbaijan, is suggesting that the province’s status should be left off the table for the foreseeable future.

But this is a red line for Baku, which having won the war, had increased negotiating weight thanks to Western needs to sever energy ties with Russia, and replace it with the ones in Azerbaijan. Aliyev showed that it is able to raise the price and keep everyone on the ropes (also in this imitating Erdogan, for example with NATO and Swedish membership). Aliyev’s only possible concession would be an amnesty for the soldiers of the Nagorno-Karabakh forces who fought against the Azerbaijani troops, who for Baku are criminals and as such must be prosecuted. It is not much; less than what Armenia should give up, i.e., the renunciation of the achievement of national unity, but at least it is a first sign and Washington hopes for further steps.

The USA and EU seems very determined to remove Armenia and Azerbaijan from Moscow’s influence, and the two FMs met again, this time in Chisnau (Moldova) after the meeting in Washington, in preparation for the 2nd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Political Community, which took place on June 1st (the two had already spoken in a bilateral meeting during the 1st Summit of this architecture, promoted by President Macron, in Prague, in October 2022).

Precisely following the political-military disaster of the 2020 conflict, the government of Nagorno-Karabakh is under pressure to negotiate with Baku their reintegration into the Azerbaijani state. The issue is how to do it and what guarantees can be offered to the Armenians so that their rights as a minority group within Azerbaijan are respected, and as already mentioned, despite some small, recent openings, Baku is deaf to any hypothesis of administrative autonomy of that region, as well as cultural, linguistic and religious ones.

But having demonstrated its military superiority, nearly all the leverage in the negotiation’s rests with Azerbaijan, particularly as it knows that its position is valid under international law and has acquired interests in the eyes of potential buyers of its energy resources and for the its location as an important hub for present and future energy pipelines. Baku sees its victory in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War as a justified corrective measure that ended an illegal encroachment on its sovereignty. So, in that sense, it will be difficult to get Azerbaijan to concede much else in the negotiations.

Given the context, international actors have the difficult mission of convincing Armenia not to lose the option of a sustainable peace agreement in exchange for a very difficult option, to obtain the recognition of any autonomy for the Armenian speakers still residing in Nagorno-Karabakh, considering the military (and political) weakness of Yerevan.

In addition to dampening the danger of new violence, the EU and USA are dangling the prospect that peace could bring economic benefits to Armenia, which since the first Nagorno-Karabakh war has remained regionally isolated, with more than 80% of its land borders closed: those with the Azerbaijan to the east and those with Turkey to the west. With Georgia to the north, given the bad relations with Tbilisi, the flow of exchange is limited and difficult (the bad relations between Armenia and Georgia are historic; as soon as they achieved independence in 1919, both Tbilisi and Baku stabbed Yerevan in the back in its struggle against the resurgent Turkey that was no longer Ottoman and paved the way for the arrival of the Bolsheviks who imposed their brutal regime on the whole of the Caucasus; the continuous internal political upheavals of independent Tbilisi do not help a reconciliation with Yerevan). Armenia’s only connection to the outside world is a narrow border with Iran (a nation that has been subjected to a harsh sanctions regime for decades) through the mountainous terrain to the south and without railway lines.

Regional reintegration would open Armenia to new trade and energy supplies, eliminating its overwhelming political dependence on Russia, making it easier to connect Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves (especially for Kazakhstan, which seeks to evade an embarrassing link with Moscow).

Today Nagorno-Karabakh is in the worst possible limbo, the only area not in Azerbaijani hands is garrisoned by Russian troops and there are no prospects of reunion with Armenia, and the terms of a re-incorporation into Azerbaijan are uncertain, at least. Whether we admit it or not, the project has failed.

Given the success of field operations, Azerbaijan which has an important military apparatus, has not formally abandoned the idea of completing the recovery of control of the territories lost in the 1990s, and this keeps Yerevan close to Moscow, which still has a little more than a symbolic military contingent in Armenia, but as a guarantee against possible Turkish attacks, perhaps coinciding with a new Azeri offensive in the east.

Russia has also traditionally been the main guarantor of Armenia’s security. However, its credibility has taken a hit since 2020, when Moscow proved unable to back Armenians in the second Nagorno-Karabakh war, and showed very limited leverage vis-à-vis with Azerbaijan. Pashinyan, who showed his state of submission to Putin on the occasion of the celebrations of last May 9th in Moscow, could try to grasp the signals that the West sends out, but he has strong fears over internal stability. In fact, the elders and a large part of the large Russian-speaking minority frown upon any pro-NATO and EU oscillation (see in this light the pro-Russian riots in Georgia and Moldova), while a good part of Armenians look at prospects for socio-economic development (political life and the media are rather dynamic and free for a former Soviet republic).

But the internal Armenian scene is much more complex. Historically Armenia has an empathetic bond with Christian Russia which defended them from the Ottomans; it is strongly nationalistic. Despite the political and financial influence of the Armenian diaspora in France and the USA, Armenians suspect Western docility towards Turkish diktats (especially from Washington) and Azeri blackmail (in this case from the EU); it also has claims against Georgia and Turkey (the districts of Kars, Trabzon and Van, lost in the partition between Ankara and Moscow in the 1920s). The aforementioned debacle with Azerbaijan has exasperated Armenian public opinion; and Pashinyan himself, after barely surviving (also from the point of view of his personal safety) a very serious institutional crisis following the defeat, continues to be in a difficult situation.

Opposition parties staged massive anti-government protests at the first indications that Pashinyan might relinquish Nagorno-Karabakh claims to Azerbaijan. In early May, former Armenian president Robert Kocharian even called for Pashinyan’s resignation.
Brussels (NATO and EU) work to undermine the apparently good but weakened ties between Moscow and Yerevan by driving a wedge, given that much of Russia’s political capacity is now focused on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine. By diminishing the Kremlin’s influence in the region, Yerevan would have the leeway to build new, closer security ties with the West and attempt to boost cooperation with neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan. But even this, in the light of the present situation and domestic, regional and international dynamics, look to be a long and painful path.

Enrico Magnani, PhD is a retired UN officer who specializes in military history, politico-military affairs, peacekeeping and stability operations. (The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations). This paper was presented at the 53rd Conference of the Consortium of the Revolutionary Era, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 2-4 February 2023.

The West is Dancing on a Volcano—and Turning up the Volume

France is in a bad way: inflation is out of control, credit rates are soaring, real estate is at a standstill, and, as if to rub our noses in our negligence, our financial rating has just been downgraded to AA- by a major American agency. This downgrade is not anecdotal. It reflects the reality of the deterioration of our public accounts, further increases our dependence on the United States and the threat of a default on our abysmal debt, and deepens our credibility deficit, and therefore our international usefulness. This warning shot can only paralyze even more our residual capacity to push the boundaries, by using a discourse of reason and intelligence in the face of the disaster of the Western attitude in the conflict in Ukraine. I will be told that this is a false problem because we will still have to have the courage.

In the United States, the insanity of the self-enclosure of American neoconservatives in a permanent military escalation against Moscow has precipitated the total destruction of the Ukrainian state and territory and increased the risk of a slippery slope, threatening the whole of Europe. However, the open hatred of Russia, the successful daydream of its annihilation and dismemberment are openly expressed.

Western media, confined in ignorance and arrogance, have become the pathetic echo chambers of a delirious propaganda, and have no credibility. We have returned to the worst hours of McCarthyism or worse, of fascism of thought, of slander and denunciation. This bouquet of indignity stinks, but it is constantly thrown in our faces, certainly in an increasingly ridiculous and desperate way—because the curtain and the masks are falling before recalcitrant reality.

However, American rage and now panic still seek to perpetuate the fantasy of a coming “victory,” the contours of which we have obviously never bothered to define. What does it mean to “win” the war in Ukraine? No Clue. No vision in this area. As for winning the peace, we don’t want it. What a horror! How to make peace with Vladimir Putin?!!! it seems impossible to voluntary hemiplegics stuck in their sandbox rhetoric who only think of humiliating a “systemic enemy” and are doing rain dances (or rather against the rain and the mud that make their last-chance tanks get stuck) to ward off the inevitable. It is thus the headlong rush in the inexpiable hatred of the Russian… until the last Ukrainian.

The dizziness is so great in the face of the abyss that we no longer know what to do but to press the gas pedal of the military and strategic rout and sink into a hateful and hopeless insanity. This hatred is spreading and infusing everywhere in Europe, especially among our vassalized and/or stipendiary “elites,” who are also caught up in this tragic trap that they pretend to ignore. However, the military fiasco has been unequivocal for months already. Even the “Mainstream media” are beginning, by order or via opportune leaks, to let the implacable truth filter through—about the military reality on the ground, about the chain of desertions of the unfortunate young Ukrainians picked up in the streets and thrown by force into the “Russian meat grinder,” about the real losses, about the structural incapacity of the NATO forces to provide Ukraine with the quantity, rhythm and quality to be able to pretend to withhold the shock, and even less to reverse the balance of power against Russia.

Certainly, in the Pentagon as well as among the European staffs, it has been known for months that the die is cast and the bet is lost. Only the Poles and the Baltic states are left to push the issue. But they don’t want to wake up, and they continue to flood Ukraine with weapons (most of them diverted) and heaps of money to ensure the “great counter-offensive”—in summer… or in autumn—with the appearance of a last stand, the anticipated failure of which will serve to demonstrate that “the camp of the Good” has done everything it could, but that Ukraine has not been able to defeat Russia (as if it could!) and that it is necessary “to get rid of Russia”) and that “to save Ukraine and its people” (amply sacrificed for two years) we must finally resolve to negotiate with Moscow. No doubt, not with a president Zelensky charred by his extremism and more and more threatened by his ultra-right entourage with openly fascist overtones. Our moral dereliction is total but here again, we deny it. We support at arm’s length (since 2014), with an unabashed cynicism, a clique at the antipodes of the values we crow about, to foment and lead this superfluous “proxy war.”

Unfortunately, it is still the “Neocons” in the White House, the CIA, the NSA and the State Department who are calling the shots in Washington. And they will not admit that Russia has won and will not collapse, either militarily or economically. On the contrary. Its hypersonic weapons are unrivalled at the moment; it has been able to anticipate and avoid the sanctions trap; its economy has held up; its people still overwhelmingly support the military response to the NATO military threat on its borders. Above all, it now makes common cause with China. Admittedly, this is an alliance that is at least apparently unbalanced. But it is a vital alliance, no matter what. A tactical and strategic convergence of interests.

President Xi is rubbing his hands, setting himself up as a substitute pole of financial and political stability and even offering himself as a peacemaker (Iran-Saudi Arabia rapprochement, 12-point plan, etc.). He gathers his new flock, a disparate herd of strays in need of protection who can no longer stand the American Master and his cowboy practices. A massive gathering. No less than 19 countries are now crowding at the door of the BRICS+, a real “counter-G7.” A gigantic integration process is taking shape from this welcomed and variable geographical core, around the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), OPEC+ and by extension, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). All of this is for the benefit of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the imperative fortification of its Central and West Asian Economic Corridor, but also the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that will link Russia and Iran to India. The financial instruments of this gigantic integration, the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, are already very active.

It is tragic but perfectly clear: we are our own gravediggers. It is our pathological anti-Russianism and our warmongering in Ukraine, to provoke Moscow in the hope of bogging it down and separating it from Europe forever, which have accelerated the great seesaw of the world, the emergence of an all-embracing and reassuring multilateral structure capable of bringing down the hegemony of the dollar, and which threaten Europe with an even more serious financial economic crisis than that of 2008.

In France, of course, people are acting as if nothing has happened. We are “surprised” by the downgrading of our financial rating, while all the indicators have been glaring red on both sides of the Atlantic for months already, and the first banking shocks in the United States as well as in Germany and Switzerland were hastily suppressed. Can we avoid a major and systemic crisis by treating it with contempt? This seems doubtful. In any case, the 2024 presidential election in Washington is looking bad for the Democratic camp. Donald Trump may well win again, despite the wall of cases and accusations against him. He has a thick hide. And then, Bill Clinton’s famous 1992 advisor James Carville’s verdict will kick in again: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Americans are not so much concerned about the “unprovoked” aggression of Ukraine or the victory of democracy in the world as they are about their wallets and the increasing fragility of their dollar, whose dominance is eroding at a rapid rate. In its anti-Russian curse, Washington indeed committed a cardinal error by freezing, in a totally arbitrary way, once again, the $300 billion of Russian assets in the spring of 2022. A bad decision. Many nations understood right away that it could be their turn tomorrow. This demonstration of power was the last straw in an already full burden of resentment and fury at Washington’s leonine methods of sanctions and the legal extraterritoriality of “American rules.” This is far more than Russia, Iran or unfortunate Syria, whose ordeal is never ending.

No one can stand this “Rules based World Order” any longer. Everyone has understood that only America decrees these famous “rules” and modifies them according to its own interests. The principles contained in the imperfect United Nations Charter are much more protective. The dollar is no longer what it once was, a guarantee of stability. It now embodies uncertainty and pure domination. Yet international trade cannot do without security and stability. The freezing of Russian assets has given the signal for a chain of defiance in many countries, which have understood that they must now protect themselves from Washington’s dictates and therefore look to the new Sino-Russian pole. Not to align themselves, but to balance their dependencies according to subjects or sectors. This is the era of “poly-alignment”—that is, the end of Cold War-style alignment and the return to grace of non-alignment—of which France should know how to be the leader.

The figures are indisputable: the dollar’s share of global reserves has fallen from 73% in 2001 to 55% in 2021 and—47% in 2022. The acceleration over the last 20 years has been considerable. Without an urgent correction, which presupposes a drastic change of foot on the part of the United States in its behavior towards the rest of the world, the fall is likely to continue. 70% of trade between Russia and China is now conducted in Yuan or Rubles. Russia and India trade in rupees, the CIPS (Chinese interbank system which is an alternative to SWIFT) is working at full speed. Total Energies and its Chinese counterpart CNOOC have just signed a gas agreement—in Yuan! Not for love of China. Because it is a question of survival for the company, because pragmatism is better for business than dogmatism, and because ideology is bringing down the Western economy.

The world is multipolar and we can no longer pretend to ignore it. The IMF recognizes that the five BRICS alone contribute 32.1% of world growth, compared to 29.9% for the G7 countries. And there are still 19 candidates waiting to join BRICS. The close cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh is also a bad omen for America. It allows Russia to balance its strategic cooperation with Iran, and strengthens the hand of Vladimir Putin and that of MBS in their battle against Washington on oil prices. The BRICS have on their side all the commodities and natural resources of the world and are now openly challenging the only domination left to the G7 countries—that of finance.

Behind all these facts, there is a “subtext,” a reality that we should grasp before the boomerang hits our European economies too hard and China, beyond its effort to escape, thanks to the BIS, from the American domination of the seas and maritime transport routes to Europe, comes to nurture a more offensive dream of power. This reality is that the current revolution in world geopolitics corresponds to a necessary rebalancing of relations between states. There will be clashes, crises and conflicts in the coming years, but we are in a phase of restoration after the decline of the American hegemon, which has become unsustainable and no longer corresponds to the reality of the geopolitical and geo-economic field of forces.

Our planet needs appeasement, stability, respect, the re-establishment of a form of formal equality and in any case of real equity between its members, large or small. People will say that I am angelic. I think that this is the primary motivation of countries and entire regions of the globe that want to develop and refuse this zero-sum game that America thought it could impose ad vitam aeternam. This is true for the powers of the Middle East (Iran, Syria, Libya), which must emerge from the doldrums, for Africa, which sees vast opportunities in this opening of the game, and for Latin America, which is in the process of relegating the Monroe Doctrine to oblivion. Finally, this is true for Asia itself, which is showing signs of fear and circumspection in the face of the new Chinese target of American bellicosity, provoked by martial declarations (Taiwan). Only the EU seems to live in a bubble—which no longer protects it. It does not seem to see that everything has changed, that it is located on the Eurasian continent which is a land of opportunities towards which it must project itself with vigilance but without fear.

Europe’s future does not lie in a radical break with Russia or an alignment with Beijing. It is not even more in a consented vassalization to Washington, which after Ukraine, already has the ambition to throw NATO (which really has nothing left of a regional defensive alliance) into the waters of the China Sea. What for? To feed the American military-industrial complex? To further the destabilization and fragmentation of the world? How do these objectives serve our national, economic and security interests? Europe must, as I have been saying for years, finally emerge from its strategic infancy and learn to walk with its head held high. Without crutches or leashes.

The American neoconservatives have put not only America but also Europe in great danger. It is high time to put an end to this madness and to hasten the conclusion of a ceasefire in Ukraine and a lasting rebuilding of security in Europe. The Ukrainian people, the security of the whole of Europe, the Western economy and our peoples deserve it. It is in everyone’s interest. What are we waiting for?

Caroline Galactéros is the creator and director of the think tank GéoPragma, which is dedicated to realistic geopolitics. She has a PhD in political science and is seminar head at the Ecole de guerre. She also holds the rank of colonel in the operational reserves of the French army. This article comes to us through the kind courtesy of GéoPragma.

BRICS, or the New International Bipolarism (Maybe)

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the US and its partners in the “enlarged” West architectures (EU, NATO, G7 and some OECD/G20 countries) have been remarkably united in their support of Kyiv, but they have been much less successful at getting others to join their cause, especially in the so-called “global South” (mainly MENA/Africa, Latin America, South Asia countries). Governments and populations across the developing world express more and more vocally their objections against this narrative underlining the double standards and hypocrisy, about decades of neglect of the issues most important to them, about the mounting costs of the war and of sharpening geopolitical tensions. So, the support to Moscow appears to be more a sign of intolerance vis-à-vis US (and the Western-like states and system) than an ideological alignment with Russia, with some significant exceptions (e. g. Belarus, DPRK, Eritrea, Nicaragua).

This situation is window of opportunity for China, which looks to consolidate her penetration in the international system. Beijing had already set up, since a few years, several initiatives and architectures like BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), focused on building a network of client states. In the past, superpowers, and mid-size powers as well, used trade tariffs and coerced allies and enemies to achieve their geopolitical ends, creating tensions and leading to confrontations, like the trade policy of the US against Japan before WWII which exasperated Tokyo and facilitated the path to conflict.

In large part, companies, and not countries, are now the focus of China’s campaign to regain leverage over the West and keep open the door for a flush of trade, and reduce the tensions about critical raw material and products. China has paused its economic coercion of countries and commenced another one against firms. With new tactic, but same objective in order to achieve long-time political goals such as building domestic technological capabilities or the acceptance of its policies about “one China” (read absorb Taiwan) or ease the criticism over the internal contestation in Tibet, Sinkiang/East Turkestan, Hong Kong, religious minorities.
But the growing Russian weakness on the Ukrainian frontline allows China to increase her influence inside BRICS (initially BRIC, gathering Brazil, Russia, India and China established in 2006, formalized in 2009 and with the adhesion of South Africa in 2011, and renamed BRICS). This group of states worked to transform BRICS in an architecture more than a diplomatic conference and now appear close to a major turning point (or another step).

However, it is useful to analyse the approach of the founders and their views for the future of BRICS. Russia and China have the same one, using it as tool to face the “other side” (the Western economic and security system), but their magnitude is different. If before the war in Ukraine, the two (Moscow and Beijing) could be considered not so unbalanced, the poor political and military performances of Russia, changed the scene and China emerged as the real power and Putin looks more and more as junior partner of Xi Jinping. As consequences of it, BRICS seems to be transformed on the stage of the more assertive (and effective?) of Chinese assault on the world. For Moscow, BRICS is a tool that may help to re-propose herself as an alternate pool of attraction against the (above-mentioned) pro Western architecture/s.

For India, South Africa and Brazil, even with different extent and magnitude, BRICS is a space of maneuver for their own autonomous policies, monetize their cooperation with the pro-Western side, keep a dedicated channel of communication and trade (this especially true for India) with China and Russia.

As of now, despite the intrinsic weakness of the Chinese economy and society, Beijing is now the real leading pusher for the enlargement of the BRICS, and in parallel of it as part of the main assault line to the backbone of the US-led influence over the world which runs on the dollar (the euro currency would be a secondary target, the pound and Swiss franc are not considered challenges for China in this field) and the influence of Washington in the management of the world affairs, establishing a new world wide currency.

As above-mentioned, BRICS has an informal character, as yet. There is no funding charter, it does not work with a fixed secretariat nor does it have any funds to finance its activities. But slowly, and not fully reported and analysed, BRICS is on the way to set it up.

The first tool of the BRICS-led architecture is the New Development Bank, established in 2012 with a founding capital of 100 US$ Billions and with the aim of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries, “complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.” In 2021, NDB enlarged its membership and admitted Bangladesh, Egypt, UAE and Uruguay as its new members and it is led by the former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, designated at this position on the month of April of this year.

The announced summit of BRICS for August in South Africa (according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, country chairing the group in 2023, the summit will have the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.”) it is announced as a critical moment of the project to undermine the Western dominance (or influence) over the world. One of the keys of this meeting, as announced by the galaxy of pro-Beijing/Moscow media sources, it is the enlargement of the membership of BRICS and, in parallel, the launch of a new currency for the group and show off for other potential members.

China leading the development process of a new currency, to overrule the US dollar dominance and become a top currency for buying and trading worldwide. Even if it is presented as a collective initiative, in reality this is a solo project given that the only economy that has the capacity (and willingness) to setting up this currency mechanism is China. Russia, despite the unexpected positive performances of the ruble facing the Western sanctions, has not the capabilities to be the leader (or even co-leader) of the initiative.

On the best of the options, Moscow could be a minor partner of the new financial system and nothing more. India is not interested to lead it and wants to keep an autonomous space and is reluctant to have the major financial burden of this initiative may bring. Brazil and South Africa are even weaker than Russia under this perspective and out of the machinery. They, like Russia, could participate with minoritarian shares and showing the international façade of it.

According to the pro-Beijing/Moscow sources, talks will likely progress throughout this upcoming summit, with other countries outside of BRICS looking to join in. Allegedly, a total of 24 nations (but the reported number is reportedly increasing) are now looking to build a strategic alliance that will challenge the US dollar’s decades-long role as the world’s reserve currency. According to a South African diplomat, a long list of nations is now looking to join in; 13 countries that have formally asked to join while an additional six countries that have informally requested to be part of the alliance. The group of known newcomers includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain, Indonesia, two unnamed nations from East Africa and one from West Africa. Additional details are likely (or allegedly) to emerge by the summer.

The timing of the project of the expansion of the BRICS, the anti-Western narrative of its members (regardless of current members, potential members and allies), the repeated visits by top Russian and Chinese diplomats to Africa and other regions of the global South, etc., indicate that Beijing and Moscow target those countries as platform for their geopolitics, economy and diplomacy push.
Thirty years ago, the multipolar global system, despite the collapse of USSR, did not emerge as a reality and was replaced by a US-led Western hegemony. Now, this system is more and more challenged by the growth of China as global competitor, re-proposing a newly designed bi-polarism. Functional to the establishment of a bi-polar world, where China hope to lead the alternate poles, Beijing needs to set up a collection of client states, possibly bound up with strong financial ties. In this project Russia would play an essential role as junior partner and decoy, calling the attention and hostility of West for the aggression against Ukraine and dragging political, financial and military resources and distracting (at least trying to) their concerns about the dynamics ongoing in the Indo-Pacific macro-region and elsewhere.

The project of a new currency, is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the BRICS is their ability to expand their membership base while maintaining their current growth.”

BRICS group of states, with the current membership, is already the world’s largest GDP, contributing 31.5% of global GDP, ahead of the G7, which contributes 30.7% (the lion share is in the hand of China and India).

The attraction of a new BRICS-led international currency is based on another aspect of the growing hostility, in the so-called global South (but not only there), for the policies of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), which formally part of the UN system, are perceived as US tool to dominate the policies of many countries. These two institutions are known for stipulating their monetary support to countries, especially in the global South, always with tight (and tighter now) political conditions focused on tough budgetary adjustment policies, the privatization of public services and the opening of markets for foreign (especially western) investors. To these harsh terms, IMF and WB, more recently started to add conditions of the defense and promotion of human rights and democracy, and acceptance of migrant waves (the last is very recent and its operate in cooperation with UNHCR and IOM).
So, under these circumstances, the struggle for build alternative tools to the IMF and the WB is political, understanding that the global South requires, like or not, a different political agenda in terms of reject of attempted external intromissions and/or controlling local economies.

However, a BRICS-issued currency still has a long path beyond and will holds many questions and difficulties (technical and political, more than purely political, which are already important). The first, is which currency will be used. As above mentioned, for different reasons, the most probable would the Chinese yuan/renminbi, which is already the 5th most traded currency as of April 2022, while rubles, rupees, rand and real will (or better, would) play a minor, if not purely symbolic role.

With many powerful countries backing it and looking for an alternative to the US Dollar, the upcoming BRICS Summit could be a major stepping stone towards De-dollarization and one of the most important steps of the world policy after Bretton Wood conference.
It is the call for the BRICS to derive an integrating scheme that goes beyond the exclusively economic, although at the official base is the principle of an economic alternative to present leading institutions in the world.

The Chinese-led project would face a stiff resistance from the US, which are really worried to lose the economical hegemony (and political influence) and multiplied the initiatives and contacts with the potential, disclosed or not, adherents to the BRICS in order to disrupt the project and antagonize the equivalent size powers, like India, against Beijing as major antagonist.

The Dark Side of the Moon

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world’s biggest and most unforgiving government lender, China. Those countries, the most indebted to China—e.g., Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia, Laos and Mongolia—have found paying back that debt is consuming an ever-greater amount of the tax revenue needed to keep schools open, provide electricity and pay for food and fuel. And it’s draining foreign currency reserves these countries use to pay interest on those loans, leaving some with just months before that money is gone.
This is originated by the stubborn resistance of Beijing to forgive debt and the extreme secrecy about the amount and terms of the loans. Zambia and Sri Lanka, are already in default, with serious impact on the domestic stability with political and public turmoil, exhaustion of currencies reserves, rise of costs and inflation.

In Pakistan, the textile industry sector has been shut down because the country has too much foreign debt and can’t afford to keep the electricity on and machines running, while Kenyan government stopped to pay the salaries to the civil servants in order to save cash to pay foreign loans.

The persistence of this tough line from Beijing will originate more defaults and will impact negatively on the perspective of the credibility of a financial system, alternate to the US dollar, hegemonized by Beijing. Zambia, which borrowed billions of dollars from Chinese state-owned banks to build dams, railways and roads, boosting the country economy but also raised foreign interest payments cutting deeply any public expenditure. Countries like Zambia, Pakistan and Congo-Brazzaville and other countries, like Indonesia, Laos, Uganda in the past, even, with tough conditions, from IMF, WB (and regional development banks and countries) got deals to forgive some debt.

All of it is roiling domestic politics and upending strategic alliances. In March, heavily indebted Honduras cited “financial pressures” in its decision to establish formal diplomatic ties to China and sever those with Taiwan. Chine firmly rejected the allegations to strangles its clients and underlined that has forgiven 23 no-interest loans to African countries; however independent sources stated that these actions are focused to very older loans and less than 5% of the total that was lent.

The future, as usual in the international relations is uncertain, and in this time, more than ever. The described picture shows that the ambitions of several actors would worsening the fate of minor and/or weak partners.

Enrico Magnani, PhD is a retired UN officer who specializes in military history, politico-military affairs, peacekeeping and stability operations. (The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations). This paper was presented at the 53rd Conference of the Consortium of the Revolutionary Era, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, 2-4 February 2023.