Staunton, April 29 Aleksandr Dugin, the influential leader of the Eurasian Movement, says that Vladimir Putin is not just being attacked by “a fifth column” of opposition figures but also is being undermined by what he calls “a sixth column” consisting of those within his regime who are actively working to undermine the Kremlin leader.
In today’s Vzglyad, Dugin notes that the term “fifth column” is widely and appropriately used in Russia to designate those who are openly opposed to Putin not so much on traditional ideological grounds than on civilizational ones and who look to the West as a model.
According to the Eurasian leader and frequent Kremlin advisor, one cannot describe this confrontation “in ideological terms” because both Russia and the West are democratic societies with capitalist market economies, a liberal ideology, and are secular. Dugin says that it isn’t even a battle between eastern and western Christianity
Instead, he says, what is going on is a civilizational struggle reflecting the tendency of geopolitics “to regionalize space and society,” to divide the world between what he calls “the civilization of the Sea” (the West) with its liberal values and “the civilization of the Land” or World Island (Russia and adjacent territories, “an Empire of conservative values.”
Sometimes this conflict runs along national borders and sometimes, as in the case of Ukraine, it cuts across them. But Dugin says he wants to focus on the ways in which the civilization of the West is using some in Russia to undermine its civilizational basis and thus advance the power of the West.
The fifth column helped destroy the land empire that was the USSR and promote the rise of Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s. At that time, the Eurasianist says, it wasn’t entirely proper to talk about a fifth column in Russia because under Yeltsin, those who were and are part of a fifth column were inside the regime itself and directing its development.
The turning point came in 2000 with the coming to power of Vladimir Putin, Dugin says. His conservative and nationalist approach led to the ouster of those in the Yeltsin regime who are now the open opponents of the Kremlin and thus can be defined as a fifth column in the classical sense.
But in fact, what Putin has done allowed the development of a fifth column of a double kind: an open, “explicit” fifth column of the most radical anti-Putin pro-Western opposition, and “a hidden (implicit) fifth column in the form of those oligarchs, politicians [and others] who while being no less radical Atlanticists than the anti-Putin radicals, remained within the political regime” and sought “a compromise” with Putin.
The first are obvious, and the Russian state is fighting against them, but the second are more hidden and not even properly named. Consequently, Dugin says, he believes there is a need to introduce into the Russian political lexicon a new term: “the sixth column,” to designate those within the regime who are weakening it by not supporting Putin fully.
The fifth and sixth columns have the same principles, but they manifest these in different ways. Unlike the fifth, Dugin says, “the sixth column does not consist of the enemies of Putin but of his supporters. If they are traitors, then this is not at the level of a country but at that of a civilization. They do not attack Putin” at every step; instead, “they hold him back.”
Because of that, fighting the sixth column is more difficult, but it is absolutely necessary, Dugin says, because “contemporary Russia is ‘Russian’ only in an extremely relative sense.” Instead, it remains “under the power of the West in a much deeper sense than that of direct external rule as was openly the case in the 1990s.”
According to Dugin, “the West is inside of [Russians] in all senses, including consciousness, analysis, relations, meanings and values. Present-day civilization is still not completely Russia; it is not a Russian world; it is only something that can become a Russian world,” but only if the sixth column is defeated along with the fifth.
The Eurasianist writer says that the sixth column “is sabotaging” Putin all the time, and “if Putin does not find in himself the courage to give battle to the sixth column, his historic mission will turn out to be fragile … and even ephemeral.” In short, today, this “sixth column is the main existential enemy of Russia.”
And to reinforce his point, Dugin argues that “Ukraine became the victim not simply of a fifth column consisting of those in the EuroMaidan but also of a sixth column inside the administration of Yanukovych and the Party of the Regions. Washington strategists,” he says, “are preparing something analogous for Russia.”
But in what will recall for many some of the words of those who called for expanding the purges in Stalinist times by attacking not just the openly disloyal but instead focusing and attacking those who appeared most loyal, Dugin says that in Russia under Putin, “he who is forewarned is forearmed.”