by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker blog
The explosion that killed Darya Dugina, Alexander Dugin’s daughter, was a hybrid crime of “hit, miss, and warn”. May God Rest Darya’s soul. May God Grant Darya’s father and family peace and serenity in their lives and hearts. Furthermore, May God Cut off the terrorist hands that were involved, in any way, shape, and form, and dry out their roots from this planet. Amen, Ya Rabb-al Alamin (the Lord of the Two Worlds).
Those who are not currently trapped in whirlpools of virtual antisocial nets, serving inside virtual colonial cells and servicing false masters, would have some clues as to why Alexander Dugin would even be a (direct or indirect) target. Beyond deflecting and misleading headlines, it is instructive to open the blinds a little and see through the slits.
In this text, I would like to focus on a small corner of the pivotal role Alexander Dugin has played in turning around the perspective of many ordinary Iranians about Russia, Russian people, and Russian culture, as well as deepening the understanding of many Shi’as in religious circles, academic historians, and socio-political scholars. Decidedly, this was not (and has not been) a small task and did not occur easily and overnight. Let’s take a short glimpse.
Iranian people’s views and perception about Russia and Russian people, in a nutshell, were anchored in decades of distorted propaganda by the West, especially the British and the US, combined with a communist history of the Soviet Russia, and a troubling Iran-Russia history. As a consequence, Russian people and Russia were perceived (quite wrongly), by many Iranians, particularly by most Shi’a thinkers and scholars, as Godless people in a Godless country, respectively. This narrow and untrue perspective did not provide fertile grounds for either a strategic socio-political and cultural relationship to be sown, or, to be strengthened and grow, when sown.
In two decades, things changed, however. In an essay titled “Iran-Russia Relationship: Requisites for Transition from Meager Tactical Actualities to Actualization of Deep Strategic Potentials,” published on this blog last year (See Here), I discussed very briefly segments of the historical developments between the two nations and Ayatullah Khamenei’s role and efforts, in particular, in creating a nuanced view about Russia long before Iran-Russia strategic cooperation in Syria occurred against the US/West/Zionist and their incarnate, the terror group invoking the name of one of the trio’s most beloved deities, ISIS.
Within wider social scenes and through people-to-people contacts though, Alexander Dugin has played a significant role that cannot be ignored. He is not merely a desk thinker-philosopher theorizing inside a self-absorbed social vacuum nested somewhere in an obscure academic tower. He is a “field practitioner” of his philosophy and someone who dares to be present in the right place, at the right time, saying and doing the right things.
With respect to Iran and the Shi’a, for nearly a decade, long before any strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia materialized, as witnessed in Syria, Dr. Dugin travelled to Iran many times and participated in diverse events and met with great many Shi’a thinkers and scholars. Doing so has been instrumental in bridging the gap between the two people, cultures, and religions. May God strengthen his resolve and help him continue in this path.
The person who facilitated and arranged for Dr. Dugin’s travels, interviews, and participation was none other than Mr. Nader Talibzadeh. Mr. Talibzadeh himself was a greater thinker and activist, also, the executive producer and director of a program called “Asr” (which means Era) in Ofoq TV Network. Multiple times, he invited Dr. Dugin to his program interviewed him, and had many interesting conversations with him about different subjects. Mr. Talibzadeh was believed to have been a target of bioterrorism executed by agents of foreign governments at the airport in Najf. He was also on the United States’ sanctions list. He suffered unusual symptoms and passed away about three months ago in May. May God Rest his soul.
Perhaps it would be interesting to the readers of this blog to become a bit familiar with a sample of Alexander Dugin’s activities and exchanges in Iran during the past few years and to take a look at a few outcomes in that regard. These are in chronological order and I’ll begin with my personal favorite.
Every year, millions of people (mostly Shi’a but also others), men, women, children, young and old, able bodied or with canes, travel to Iraq and participate in an event called Arba’een Walk that entails a journey, on foot, from Najaf to Karbala to commemorate the 40th day from the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (Alaihissalam) and his companions in Karbala in 61 (H.Q.). I have written about this in the past on this blog and those interested can read about it here and here.
It must be emphasized that nothing, absolutely nothing, scares the bejesus out of arrogant and transgressing Anglo-US-Zionist powers than watching in horror a congregation of Muslims in any form. The very sight of millions of Muslim people (mostly Shi’a) participating in a ritual that commemorates standing up against the corrupt tyrants of their time must be sending chills down their crooked spines. We have no doubt they are willing to do anything to ban, or at the least misdirect, Muslim gatherings of this sort.
At any rate, in November 2017, Alexander Dugin, accepted an invitation by late Mr. Talibzadeh and participated in the Arba’een Walk that year. I cannot think of any other act that could pull the Shi’a’s collective heartstrings.
Naturally, the news of Alexander Dugin’s participation and the films of his walk in that year’s Arba’een Walk spread everywhere. He was also interviewed by Ofogh Network. Following is an excerpt of his interview:
“In Arba’een, I saw a leap in time. The End of Time is not just approaching us but is its leaping towards us. This is my overall assessment of Arba’een. I cannot offer any sort of logical explanation for this. We are witnessing the presence of millions of people here. More than twenty million Shi’a are moving in the direction of their roots. The movement from Najaf to Karbala, from Imam Ali’s tomb to Imam Hussain’s tomb is showing the movement of Shi’a to the direction of their holy origins. But the key point in all these is that they are moving toward their future: from the 1st Imam to the 3rd and onward to the Last Imam, Imam Mahdi. Their ultimate destination is the End of Time.”
Source: Arba’een Walk, IRNA, News Code: 82727410, Aban 29, 1396
Source: Screenshot of video IRB Tamasha Network interview with Alexander Dugin during Arba’een Walk 2017
This past week, too, with the terror of Mr. Dugin’s daughter, which also coincides with preparations for Arba’een Walk for this year, films of Dugin’s walk and his many interviews are being broadcast again all over Iranian TV networks.
A well-known Shi’a political thinker and activist, Mr. Raefipour, explains “Dugin of Russia” and his position with respect to Shi’a Iran in very simple, yet comparatively complex, terms for his intended audience (mainly ordinary youth from all walks of life). The talk is from a few years back. I have translated a short segment of his talk (See Here) as follows:
“Mr. Putin has an advisor called Alexander Dugin. The [US] Americans call him, the Satan. This Glenn Beck made a program about him. He was saying, ‘the Satan itself, if it came to Earth, it would be this person.’ However, he [Dugin] is a very decent man. Let me tell you, he is an excellent man. He says, ‘I, I who is Eastern Orthodox,…’ he has a doctorate degree in Philosophy, ‘…as close as I see myself to Iran Shi’a Muslim, …’ please, pay attention, ‘…I do not see myself that close to that European Catholic Christians.’ Baba, you’re Christian and you should see yourself closer to those Christians. But listen, this is just like how we, the Shi’a, have seen ourselves very close to the Christians in Lebanon, and not to the Tekfiries, who are supposedly Muslims. That is, we and the Christians in Lebanon joined and formed one camp to put these Da’esh in its place. This is quite amazing.”
Just to clarify, I am pretty certain that Mr. Raefipour did not mean to equate the European Catholics to Da’esh Tekfiris. Rather, he offered that comparison to illustrate the complexity of our world today and what is really linking people together as allies. It is not what people profess as their apparent religious identities but it is in in their stance in terms of real and tangible fight against Arrogant Powers and their oppressive means.
In search of another example, I’d like to take us back to about six and half years ago. In February 2016, Dr. Dugin participated in a conference in Tehran called Ofogh Nu or New Horizon about the current affairs of the world, human destiny and role of religions in shaping the future of humanity. After the conference, he traveled to Qom and met with Ayatullah Mirbagheri, the Head of Cultural Center for Islamic Sciences in Qom and a great Shi’a scholar and thinker. That meeting had been arranged by late Mr. Talebzadeh (May God Rest his soul), as well.
Very fascinating (in my view) conversations and exchange took place between Dr. Dugin and Ayatullah Mirbagheri at that time.
Source: Raja News. Left side, Mr. Talibzadeh and Dr. Dugin; Ayatullah Mirbagheri front right.
Ayatullah Mirbagheri is a very calm and soft-spoken religious scholar. He does not beat around the bush. So, right at the beginning and after a brief introduction, he went straight to the point and asked a direct question. I have translated a small segment of that fascinating meeting here for you:
Ayatullah Mirbagheri: “According to Quran Verses, two movements of Wilayat exist: one is the Wilayat of God that leads from darkness to light. It is continuous and it is actualized in the Wilayat of the Prophets of God and Imams. The other one is the wilayat of arrogance and evil. This, too, is continuous and its agents and leaders lead from light to darkness.”
“Four decades ago, the polarization of the world consisted of Marxism and Capitalism in some form. With the emergence of the Islamic Revolution and the capture of the Den of Spies [a reference to the US Embassy in Tehran at the time of the Revolution] and the spread of the Revolution, the double-polarity of Islam and the West emerged. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this bipolarity changed to Islam and Liberal Democracy. As the Islamic Revolution was soaring, lineups within the Islamic world, too, was activated: one line was the true Islam and the other line was an interpretation of Islam that is in the service of Satan and a proxy for the West, be it in the form of ruthless and aggressive violence and Tekfiri wars, or, in the form of an accommodating and compliant Islam, like the one in Turkey.”
“Now, I am not that familiar with your Eurasian thoughts. However, I know this: if your thoughts are not rooted in a true religion of God and if they do not have Godly dimensions, then, they would not be sustainable. Besides, the era of philosophical trials and errors has ended. We can no longer entrap the humanity and the societies of the world into these sorts of vague thoughts and tiring and bottomless challenges. The humanity and the global society cannot tolerate these sorts of challenges any more. The main axis around which we must line up must be that of the Prophets of God. Therefore, Mr. Dugin, I have a serious question to ask you: Does the authentic Orthodox Christianity and a truthful reading of that in the West have a determined will to approach Islam and Shi’a? Are there any signs of this happening? Or, is this rapprochement just another opportunistic means conditioned upon current political climate of the world?”
I do not believe the question could not have been any blunter. Dr. Dugin’s response was equally direct:
Dr. Dugin: “We have almost the same common view with one difference that we (the Russians) have placed at the center of this view the Holy Christian Russia. We have one common enemy not only in political and ideological dimensions but also in metaphysical dimension. We do not consider the West a competition but the Dajjal itself. This is an End of Time view and one of the signs for the End of Time. These beliefs are documented in our written records and religious documents: A face-off between the real Orthodox Christianity and the Western Liberalism, which we consider it the Final Battle.”
We’ll move forward in time. In an interview (See Here) conducted two years ago on Asr program by late Mr. Taleblebzadeh, Alexander Dugin, he was still quite open and candid and provided some backgrounds:
Dr. Dugin: “I have personally studies Shi’a and Sufism and since early 1980s and before the collapse of the Soviet Union. I noticed many commonalities between Russian ideals with the Islamic Revolution. Before 1990s and before Putin came to power, more than 30 years ago, I had this notion that we would one day and eventually collaborate with one another against the West. I had this notion even at the time when the Soviet Union was still in power. Discussing it then, however, would have been insane because at that time both the Communists and the Liberals had great powers. Still, I had full belief that one day, this Orthodox Russian Christian identity will win. I knew then that we would one day ally ourselves with Shi’a Iran. Now, I see this happening today in Syria.”
Mr. Talibzadeh: “Some are saying that the participation of Russia in this war and its presence in Syria and its war against ISIS, this is temporary. It’s a tactical move. It’s a temporary move that will end. But some also say, no, there is another culture behind this.”
Dr. Dugin: “First of all, I had predicted this cooperation, or perhaps I had accepted it as a necessity, long before. I have always been supporter of an alliance between Iran and Russia. This was purely based on my spiritual belief from mid 80s…”
Mr. Talibzadeh: Since the 80s…?!
Dr. Dugin: “Yes, I had this position quite openly. I had this conviction then and I believe in it now as well. This alliance is somewhat the spiritual destiny of our two peoples. Therefore, we must be alongside one another. Alongside each other, we must fight a common enemy. Throughout the history, it has never been like this. Historically, we were never military allies. We were sometimes each other’s enemy. The Iranians and the Russians were enemies. But from a spiritual perspective, we are very close to one another. Therefore, there must come a moment when this aspect is actualized. That moment has arrived. People used to think such an occurrence is impossible because we lacked historical and geopolitical bases for this. However, we now realize that mere historical and geopolitical connections are not sustainable and lasting. Rather, it is the spiritual connections and principles that will last. Now, we are observing this insight. And this is not just my observation. I have studied the alliance between Russia and the Shi’a. Now, this is a sort of reality. We are in Syria on each other’s side. The Russian, the Iranians, Hizbullah, and the Syrians are fighting alongside one another. We have a common enemy that is ISIS while the United States and others are supporting the ISIS and Tekfiris. In Yemen, too, we are in similar position. We both are helping the Huthies or Ansarullah in Yemen and the Shi’a in Yemen. The Iranians, the Syrians and Huzbullah, too, are doing the same. In Iraq, too, we both have similar position with respect to the Shi’a. Therefore, in the entire Islamic world, in the Middle East, it means, we, the Russians are on the side of Shi’a Front. In Bahrain, too, it is the same. This is not something that is based on tactics. It is something much deeper. Putin is a realist. He is a political pragmatist. His motivations have tangible challenges. However, in protecting Russia’s national interest, he is very solid. And Russia’s national interest is in harmony with the Shi’a’s civilizational interest. That is, it is almost identical. If he approaches things from a logical basis, then, he would act based on pure spiritual principles, in which case, it would be even more solid because it will no longer be a matter of personal taste.”
Dugin’s statements in this interview, which was two years ago, seem to exude more confidence and are more concrete. Just to illustrate a change in the quality of that confidence, I’d like to go back, once again, to the candid conversation between Dr. Dugin and Ayatullah Mirbargheri in Qom nearly seven years ago (which would be more than four years before this latter interview with Mr. Talibzadeh). I have extracted a couple of segments and translated just for comparison:
Dr. Dugin: “In the world of politics, we have two dimensions of pragmatism and strategy. In my opinion, God’s Will is actualized through these dimensions. Today, it appears we have a pragmatic alliance. Putin and Moscow might think that this alliance is more political and tactical. However, if we take a deeper look at the spiritual and metaphysical similarities hidden behind the Russian identity, and if we examine the logic behind the changes and placements within Russia after the Soviet era, we can clearly see that today or tomorrow, these pragmatic lines will deepen.”
“Nevertheless, we must remember that Russia today is in transition: a good transition that is a journey from darkness to light. But, it still harbors many shadows from the past: the shadow of anti-religion from Communism time in the educational system, a rush of liberals from within and from without that hate both Iran and Russia. These people have infiltrated into our society. But we are moving in the right direction.”
“We cannot say that our goals in Russia have been realized like what we are witnessing in Iran. We are still at war. Part of Putin supports us while his other part opposes us. ‘The supreme jihad’, the jihad within that “self” of the President of Russia, Putin, is still ongoing. From his outside and from the side of the truth and light, we are supporting him in this struggle. This is a major difference in the leadership between Iran and Russia. Just as, of course, there are also similarities between the two countries.”
In the past few days, the Iranian TV networks have had re-runs of Alexander Dugin’s interviews, his Arba’een Walk, and excerpts of his writings and books broadcast right along the news of his daughter’s assassination. For many, perhaps these small samples are sufficient to illustrate why Alexander Dugin or any of his family members would be even be a target. Others could circulate their own narratives.
At the end, perhaps, it would be befitting to remind the humanity, once again, that so long as the arrogance, aggression, and injustice exist, “Every Place is Karbala. Every Day is Ashura.” Those who can, I hope they can make it to Karbala for this year’s Arba’een Walk on September 16 and 17. You shall never be the same once you take this journey. والسلام.
 Maghregh News, “Dugin in the Path from Najaf to Karbala: The Arba’een Walk will give rise to a new Middle East and the entire world.” Aban 19, 1396 [Nov. 10, 2017] @ 12:34 pm; News Code: 796781; Accessed online at: mshrgh.ir/796781
 RajaNews, “Report from Russian Thinker’s Travel to Qom: A conversation between Alexander Dugin and Ayatullah Mirbagheri.” Esfand 18, 1394 [March 8, 2016] @ 11:31 am; News Code: 236678; Accessed online at: http://rajanews.com/node/236678