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A Trump Endorsement From Russia With Love

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 5/04/2016 Dustin DeMoss
UNITED STATES RUSSIA © Klubovy via Getty Images UNITED STATES RUSSIA

Donald Trump and Aleksandr Dugin
With the way the election has been running, it's probably no surprise to see yet another article about Donald Trump hit the internet. In fact, between his comments immigration, public stammering about abortion, and refusal to cut ties with a member of his staff charged with assaulting a reporter, he's been on the minds of many perhaps even a bit more than usual. This particular article, however, isn't being written just to point the finger at a fairly distasteful individual and blindly condemn their actions. Instead, I want to take a closer look at Donald Trump and the people who support him. In particular, I'd like to take some time to explore his ties to Aleksandr Dugin, also known as "Putin's Rasputin".

Aleksandr Dugin and Eurasianism
If you're not familiar with Russian politics and foreign policy, you might not be familiar with the name Aleksandr Dugin. Let me give you a quick run down. Dugin, a "key theorist of the ideological underpinnings or Putinism", is a former professor of international relations and sociology at Moscow State University. He's also, by many an estimation, one of the most controversial and outspoken figures in Russian politics. Expelled from the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1979 because of his participation with various neo-Nazi groups, Dugin spent the majority of the eighties cavorting about in extremely right-wing and monarchist circles before founding the Eurasianist National Bolshevik Party (NBP) in 1994. The NBP openly self-identifies with Nazism and embraces the idea of a return to totalitarianism, although Dugin would argue that the comparison is not a perfect one.
Regardless, he's managed to climb his way up to relative prominence as a political theorist from a starting positon of radical, and has even managed to catch the ear of other well-respected politicians, including Putin himself. As David Remnick writes, Dugin "was once as marginal as a Lyndon LaRouche follower with a card table and a stack of leaflets. He used to appear mainly on SPAS (Salvation), an organ of the Russian Orthodox Church. Now the state affords him frequent guest spots on official television." Hannah Thoburn, an analyst at Foreign Policy, similarly notes that his ideas are gaining traction, especially among the ruling elite. This is fairly concerning given the overt ties to Nazism as well as Dugin's often-repeated desire to see a rise of the "Eurasian" empire - that is, the rise of Russia in a bid for world domination. He writes of his desire to see the West fall, proclaiming that a new Russian party - "a party of death. A party of the total vertical. God's party, the Russian analogue to the Hezbollah" - must triumph over the "dark forces" of the United States and Europe. He is defiantly and unhesitatingly against anything and everything to do with the United States, and wishes nothing more than to see it reduced to a pile of ashes under a conquering Eurasian army.
Are you wondering why I'm bringing up Aleksandr Dugin and Eurasianism in an article ostensibly about Donald Trump? Along with Putin, Dugin has heartily endorsed Trump's bid for the presidency, stating that "maybe, that redhead rude Yankee from the saloon will get back to the problems inside the country and will leave humanity alone, which is tired of American hegemony and its destructive policy of chaos, bloody rivers and color revolutions?" He urges Americans to vote for Trump, and "see what will happen". And why shouldn't he? Their values, not to mention political trajectory, seem to be fairly similar.
Trump and Dugin
Like Dugin, Donald Trump unexpectedly captured the ears of many Americans with his seemingly outlandish bid for the presidency. How on Earth would a man with no political experience, nor the education to competently run the country, ever gain traction in the race? Against all odds, however, he has become a fixture in the 2016 presidential election season, stubbornly refusing to admit his ignorance even in the face of his political and social gaffs - of which, by the way, there are many. From his comments about women, the poor, African Americans, and immigration, Trump has shown an astounding lack of respect for virtually anyone other than himself (and those exactly like him). Even more than simply expressing his ignorance, he seems to revel in it. He commits to his own view of the world without any regard as to how it would affect anyone else. In this respect, he and Aleksandr Dugin have much in common, along with many of their ideological goals. It's worth noting that another fervent supporter of Trump, David Duke - former "grand wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan - also has ties with Dugin and is a big supporter of the Eurasian movement.
While Trump has weakly disavowed Duke's endorsement, the question as to why so many individuals so clearly in opposition of democracy are urging Americans to vote for him. Why are people like Dugin and Duke so genuinely in favor of a Trump presidency? Is it because they agree with his politics, or is because they want to see extreme conflict arise within the United States of America? An even better question, of course, would be to ask if there's really a difference between the two justifications at all.

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