“The Antichrist Lives in the West”: The United States and Western Europe as Russia’s Geopolitical “Other”

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Magda Dolinska-Rydzek, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany


    The title of my presentation refers to the conception of neo-Eurasianism, established by Aleksander Dugin – Russian philosopher and political theoretician, a leader of the Center of Geopolitical Expertize in the Russian Duma. Dugin’s neoEurasianism is a re-interpretation of the conception, which was founded by Russian émigrés in France after the Bolshevik Revolution and gained popularity in the post-Soviet Russia. Euroasianism, together with conceptions of Westernizers and Slavophiles, are the most important philosophical interpretations of the “eternal” Russian queries about its place in the world, historical development and destiny – not only in political, but also metaphysical sense. Furthermore, all these conceptions derive from the most important question of the Russian self-knowledge: does Russia belong to the West or maybe is a distinct “civilization”? Although the dispute on this problem started in 19th century, it is still present in the public discourse of the contemporary Russia. In fact, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian political elites continuously attempt to “re-invent” Russia and establish its relationship with the West anew. Interestingly, the notion of the Antichrist plays an important role in many conceptions aiming at re-inventing the post-Soviet Russia. It appears not only in the Dugin’s neo-Eurasianism, but also in other political, historiosophical, and even scientific conceptions. Since the Antichrist has an idiosyncratic place in Russian culture and has been used in various context throughout the centuries, evoking this notion has a great impact on Russian society. Furthermore, the concept of the Antichrist has been predominately used in order to describe the “Other”, both internal and external. In consequence, the West, portrayed as the Antichrist, may be perceived not only as an ideological enemy, but also as the real political threat. In my presentation I would like to elaborate on how the notion of the Antichrist is used in Russian contemporary political and geopolitical discourse. Moreover, I would like to pay particular attention to the role of this concept in the processes of altering the West within “re-inventing” Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.