The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia
Screenshot from video of Dugin

Dugin Tells Separatists in Ukraine What to Do Next

Staunton, April 1 – Aleksandr Dugin, a Eurasianist who is close to the Kremlin, has told ethnic Russians in Ukraine that they must not cooperate with Kyiv in any way, that they must be ready to “act radically,” even to the point of sparking a civil war in that country, and that Moscow will support them because it supports “the independence of South-East Ukraine.”

Three days ago, Dugin made those comments via Skype to the wife of Pavel Gubarev who has been detained by the Ukrainian security services for his separatist activities. They were picked up off the Internet and have become something of a sensation on Ukrainian sites.

It is worth underscoring that Dugin came from the radical Russian opposition before 2000, changed sides and became a Kremlin loyalist when Vladimir Putin came to power, and that his latest comments came even as Putin and his officials were declaring that they have no further plans for advancing into Ukraine.

Neither Dugin nor the Kremlin has confirmed these words, but neither has disowned them either, an indication that one or the other or both are interested in continuing to destabilize Ukraine even as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells US Secretary of State John Kerry that Moscow wants to stabilize the situation.

Several of Dugin’s specific statements are worth highlighting. First, Dugin says that “all local politicians who agree to take part in the presidential elections in Ukraine set for May 25 will from now on be considered traitors.” And he added that this includes people in the pro-Russian party, the Party of the Regions.

Second, Dugin says that “separatists must not try to find a common language with the new authorities in Kyiv but rather ‘act radically,” a comment that many are seeing as an appeal to begin a civil war in that country against the current government.

And third, adding to such fears, Dugin insists that “the Kremlin is inclined to decisively struggle for the independence of South-East Ukraine,” hardly consistent with Moscow’s statements but clearly consistent with its policies.

As one British political leader observed at the time of Munich, in words that may come to haunt some contemporary politicians, “Hitler’s policy is perfectly clear: he simply says one thing and does another,” and he expects others to accept that as the new reality if they want peace and stability in our time.