Cliff Kincaid Sees Aleister Crowley Link In Russian Politics

Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid takes aim against fellow US conservatives who support Russia because of Putin’s “family values” authoritarianism:

Rather than embrace Christianity, the evidence shows Russia has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church, always a tool of Soviet intelligence… Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky has called it “Putin’s Espionage Church,” and devotes a major portion of his book, KGB/FSB’s New Trojan Horse, to its use by the Russian intelligence service.

But that’s just the warm-up:

…The scholarly paper, “The Occult Revival in Russia Today and Its Impact on Literature“… describes how “post-Soviet Russia” has embraced New Age and occult ideas, even what the author, German academic Birgit Menzel,  calls “dark” or “evil forces”… Theosophy, writes Dr. Peter Jones, one of the world’s foremost experts on paganism and the occult, is part of a movement which “plans to eat the Christian church alive in the days ahead.”

…One of many fascinating revelations from Menzel’s well-researched 2007 article is that Aleksandr Dugin, now an adviser to Putin, has incorporated some of these ideas into his theory of “geopolitical Eurasianism,” a revival of the Russian empire that includes Islamic Iran… Robert Zubrin, the author of several articles about Dugin, points out the similarities between the National Socialism of Hitler and Dugin’s original National Bolshevism… Equally troubling, there are reports that Dugin’s vision of a resurgent Russia is built in part on the ideas of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), a Satanist who described himself as the “Beast 666,” or Antichrist, of the Book of Revelation. “It [is] worth mentioning that in early 90s the National Bolsheviks and their main ideologist Aleksandr Dugin tried to bring Aleister Crowley’s ideas to wide popular masses in Russia with enviable persistence,” one observer of the Russian political scene noted.

Kincaid’s article rebukes Pat Buchanan, and (for the second time or more) the World Congress of Families, and he notes the WCF’s association with Vladimir Yakunin, who is close to Putin.

Now, many of us have criticisms of Putin and of the position of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russian life; but that Aleister Crowley might turn out to be the key to understanding Putin’s ultimate motivation isn’t something that I was expecting. Has Kincaid got a bit carried away, perhaps?

Kincaid’s “observer of the Russian political scene” is actually a certain “Frater Marsyas”, who is apparently involved with the OTO in Russia. “Marsyas” is critical of Dugin’s attempt to appropriate Crowley as a “conservative revolutionary”, and he adds: “It looks like after that our ‘conservative revolutionaries’ became disappointed in Crowley”. Dr Peter Jones, meanwhile, is an “Adjunct Professor of New Testament” at Westminster Seminary California; he has no formal expertise in “paganism and the occult”, and he runs a polemical Christian fundamentalist website called truthXchange.

It’s perhaps also worth noting a few points about some of Kincaid’s other sources: Zubrin is a nuclear engineer of eastern European descent who has advised Newt Gingrich on the need for humans to go to Mars, while Preobrazhensky left the KGB more than 20 years ago and moved to the USA in 2006. As with Ion Pacepa (also quoted in the article, and discussed by me here), it’s difficult to judge the extent to which Preobrazhensky’s background means he really has a special insight into current affairs, or whether he’s milking a long-past privileged position to maintain pundit status. His book – full title KGB-FSB’s New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent – was published by Gerard Group Publishing, which is attached to Gordon Cucullu’s Gerard Group International (I previously wrote about Cucullu here), and his section on the Orthodox Church was previously available on the website of the  CI Centre (“The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies” – based in Virginia, despite the spelling of “Centre”).

The nature of Dugin’s influence on Russian politics is certainly an interesting subject, and he’s been the focus of recent media attention. Foreign Policy ran a profile (by Anton Barbashin and Hannah Thoburn) a few days ago, entitled “Putin’s Brain“; Oleg Shynkarenko followed up at the Daily Beast with “Alexander Dugin: The Crazy Ideologue of the New Russian Empire“. However, an article from a month ago by J. Paul Goode in the Washington Post cautions that

Though Putin is given to quoting nationalist philosophers, this narrative also overstates the influence of Eurasianism in the Kremlin. Alexander Dugin and Gleb Pavlovskii—two figures most often associated with Eurasianism—have not held Putin’s ear for some time, and one suspects the majority of state and quasi-state actors actually involved in foreign policy are more interested in rent-seeking and asset stripping than empire. 

A piece in the Boston Globe by Leon Neyfakh on the Eurasian Union adds that:

…While the language and aesthetics may sound like the definition of fringe, Dugin has become increasingly influential over time. According to fascism scholar Anton Shekhovtsov, he “entered the mainstream” “when he became an adviser to the head of the State Duma, Russia’s parliamentary body, in 1998. Today, Shekhovtsov, says, “his ideas are taken seriously by people who are close to Putin.”

Dugin and his followers may be the most worrisome face of Eurasianism, but they are not its only supporters; other Eurasianists disdain him as a fascist using the philosophy for his own ends. Among these is Yuri Kofner, the founder of the Eurasian Youth Movement, a clean-cut, blond 20something who makes friendly YouTube videos in English aimed at Westerners who might be curious about the Eurasian dream…