Is Alexander Dugin really the new sage of the Kremlin?
In the 1990s, few listened to Alexander Dugin.
But this shaggy-bearded ultranationalist has come a long way from those days as a lonely pamphleteer. Then, amid the ruins of the Soviet Union, he forecast that Russia's inevitable return to great power status would be via Georgia.
Once derided by Russia's pro-Western elites, Mr. Dugin now looks like a geopolitical prophet. And he apparently has the Kremlin's ear.
His books championed the view that Russia's efforts to integrate with the global community were doomed to be swept away by fresh waves of conflict between Moscow and Washington over control of Georgia, Ukraine, and the ex-Soviet states of Central Asia.
This summer's lightning war with Georgia and the emerging political crisis in next door Ukraine are happening right on Dugin's schedule. President Dmitry Medvedev's recent foreign-policy manifesto, outlining Russia's claim to its own sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union, might have been penned by Dugin.
For the near future, Dugin prophesies more regional conflicts, including possible civil war in Ukraine, and an intensifying US-Russian confrontation that could even erupt in war. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to add fuel to that view in a tough speech Thursday that, according to excerpts, criticizes Russia's "aggressive" actions that are leading to isolation rather than a renewed prominence on the world stage.
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