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Alexander Dugin has sometimes been seen as the eminence gris behind Vladimir Putin. He is indeed closely associated with two important ideas that Putin has taken up - the 'multipolar world', as opposed to a 'unipolar world' in which the US is the sole hegemonic power, and 'Eurasia' as one of the poles, centred on Russia. I will look at these shortly. But first, an idea which, I think, hasn't been taken up by Putin, on the subject of élites. Putin's élite still seems to be an oligarchy of wealth on the British liberal model. What Putin has done in relation to disciplining a property based élite could be compared with what Robert Walpole did in forming the 'Whig oligarchy' in the early eighteenth century. In both cases a great deal of bribery and corruption was involved. What Dugin is aiming for in this situation is, however, an oligarchy based not on the possession of wealth but on spiritual superiority.

What would be the ideas on which such an élite would be formed? Dugin offers three:

1) the 'traditionalism' of René Guénon

2) the 'new beginning' of Martin Heidegger

3) Russian Orthodoxy.

It may be that the first two (Guénon and Heidegger) are specifically for the élite while the third (Russian Orthodoxy - or Roman Catholicism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Shamanism, or whatever) simply provides the necessary link between the élite and the populace at large.

I need hardly say that neither Guénon nor Heidegger are Russian but they are very important to understanding Dugin (as is the English founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, whom we shall meet again later on).