On The Frontier Metaphysics
The present transcript of the lecture took place at the Eurasian Youth Union summer camp in the year 2022, The recording of the lecture is available here.
Translation: Sophia Polyankina and Daria Mochalova. The Sun of the North translator's team.
On The Frontier Metaphysics
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Dear friends, let me introduce myself. Those of you who don't know me in person have an opportunity to get to know me. My name is Daria Platonova. I am a political observer for the International Eurasian Movement. I am a qualified philosopher, more precisely, a historian of philosophy. I have researched into political Neoplatonism of XXI century. My talk will be devoted to a rather burning topic. The sound and awakened people have been thinking about it not for the last six months, but for at least 8 years already. And whoever is older than me, in fact, have been thinking about this topic for 30 years, or even 40 years. Today, I see such people among our speakers, guests, and VIP participants of our Eurasian camp.
Let me start off with the topic of frontier. Talking of Novorossiya, of the new Russian lands, of what is happening in Russia these days, and how our Empire is expanding, or “breathing”, we are missing the understanding of the region we are entering. It seems that everything is clear. Novorossiya, for sure, is a necessary advancement in our battle for our ideals and values. However, we do not fully understand what this region is, what its ontological status is, what it can give us, what it is already giving us, and whether it is secondary to, for example, the center, or vice versa, the core. It seems important to me to answer these questions because the events that are taking place now and my personal experience of visiting the Donbass have shown me [a reality] totally different from the common Moscow view of it. I have found that this region teaches us a huge lesson. That is, it is Novorossiya that teaches us now to be an Empire and provides us with an identity. Novorossiya poses this challenge, it calls for our awakening. That is why we have to comprehend Novorossiya, think it through and for and live it.
Many of our participants and speakers have been to Novorossiya, some even had a military service there. Among the members of the Eurasian Youth Union, there are quite a few people who are familiar with this region, and there are also those who died there. I would like to honor the long-term memory of Alexander Proselkov, a member of the Eurasian Youth Union, Rostov branch, who has been with us, practically, from the very beginning. In 2014, he died under tragic circumstances. Alexander is one of our Eurasian Youth Union heroes. Despite this, I feel that the dead are with us, the living. And as living, we are their voices. We are left to represent them here. Therefore it is our duty to comprehend the sense of the special military operation. Earlier today we were meeting our guests, who will also give lectures today. The key guests of our Eurasian school are those who construct meanings, those who set the paradigm of thinking for the entire Eurasian Youth Union. At that very time our Russian armed forces have already taken over the town Peski. The statement from the Ministry of Defense has just arrived that it is under Russian control. Congratulations. You see, our Empire, even during our Eurasian school, continues to 'breathe'. It 'breathes', and with this breath, with this exhalation, its borders or non-borders expand, begin to live, are pushed further. We acquire new lands and new platforms.
Actually, my lecture is devoted to the topic of frontier metaphysics. When I came back from Novorossiya, I asked myself where the border between us and them is? Where is the borderline that can clearly separate what is ours from what is not ours. In principle, this borderline can be drawn in terms of ideology. We can say who WE are and who THEY are. Here, in the Eurasian Youth Union we have been doing this for a long time. We know that our opponents are appealing to Dmitro Dontsov and liberalism. They represent what our President described as “liberal totalitarianism”, in which nationalism is mixed with liberal values, human rights, the open society by George Soros, and, at the same time, all sorts of pervertive practices, i.e., sadism. Basically, the ideology of our opponents can be described, as well as our ideology. But let us focus on what, in general, a border is and what a frontier is. Here I move on to our main topic, which, in my point of view, must be raised and developed. I am talking about the theme of the frontier.
If we look at Novorossiya, then you might have noticed that we do not have a clear definition of where we end and they begin. We cannot define it geographically, even according to the Ministry of Defense maps and reports, which, by the way, are always late. That is, what we see in these reports is not happening in real time. It is like watching the stars. In fact, what was ours may already be out of our control, and vice versa. One can notice the rapid fluid movements of the border, as if this border is a living creature. Due to the fact that there is no such exact border as it can be seen on the military maps, and as it becomes clear in conversations with people at that territory, who say: “Well, this is partly ours, not totally ours.” Say, Peski is definitely ours today, and yesterday it was partly ours, i.e., there was no clear border there. That is what made me turn to the concept of 'frontier'.
Frontier. Who knows who introduced this concept, and how it was used, in general, in history? Does anybody have any ideas? Has anyone heard of this concept before?
From the audience: Perhaps it has something to do with the exploration of the Wild West.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): That's quite right. Do you remember who authored this theory?
From the audience: Unfortunately not.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): It was Turner. Actually, the term 'frontier' appeared in the 19th century, just when the deconstruction of US history was underway. And, in fact, the advance on the North American continent is perceived as an advance to the frontier. The meaning of the frontier, from the point of view of Turner, an American historian who glorifies the United States of America, is the formation of free thought. This is a space in which there is both Anglo-Saxon and something alien. It forms democracy, human rights. It feeds this “American messiah”, who then has a total monopoly on imposing his agenda and values to the rest of the world. The frontier is extremely important for Turner. Not the border (he says that the border cannot describe the expansion of the empire, especially the American Empire), but the frontier. That is, the frontier is breathing, the frontier is expanding. Consequently, this Empire, when it goes deep into the Wild West personified by the figure of a Cowboy, who is taming this Wild West, expands too.
Therefore, when we say 'frontier', first of all, it is important to understand that it goes back to the 19th century, that this is precisely American historiography. Keeping this in mind, we mean some expansion in depth, the empire that is unfolding.
His name was Frederick Jackson Turner, and he just says that this frontier source forms the American nation, and it becomes great precisely because of this interesting mixture. Actually, since that time, all American historians until about the middle of the 20th century have used this metaphor of the frontier, they have retreated to it every now and then. This concept of frontier, in fact, became commonplace in all the historical works of American thinkers of that period. An exception is the middle of the 20th century, when a new group of American historians is formed all of a sudden. Richard Slotkin is one of its members. He says that, in fact, the frontier equals violence, i.e., expansion, some kind of capture of something belonging to the other(s). By no means, such attitude towards the other is totally unacceptable, it is nothing but a cult of violence. Actually, in 1973, Richard Slotkin publishes the book Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier (1600-1860). He states there that both frontier thinking and the American empire are absolutely unacceptable and the very idea must be abandoned.
Following this, the American society has become split. A number of American presidents still adhered to the absolute understanding of the frontier as necessary for the formation of American identity; the others abandoned this frontier theory. In particular, even if we consider the current American political system, Kamala Harris believes that the concept of frontier should be canceled because the frontier equals violence. Donald Trump, on the contrary, is a supporter of this frontier thinking. He believes that the American empire was expanding, and due to that a new special identity was just being forged. In fact, even to the present day, there are disputes and confrontations because of this idea in the American political space: whether there should be the frontier or not, whether it is good or evil.
If we look further at the development of this term, then we will find it in Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's works. In particular, most of the people with whom I consulted while coming up with the metaphysics of the frontier and understanding this topic mentioned Negri and Hardt. These two post-Marxist philosophers also have such a frontier ideology. The frontier for them is the border of freedom. They view the frontier just like most American historians, with an exception of the Slotkin's followers. They belong to the classical Turner's school. They also talk about the utopia of open spaces which is also an important romantic image for them. They believe that this American space, this frontier melting pot is very important for the formation of the empire. However, they also have a specific understanding of what the empire is, which also requires explanation.
Further the concept of frontier can be found in the 20th century Europe. A French historian Lucien Febvre has introduced his own theory of the frontier basing on European identity, European history and the map of Europe. He rejects the concept of border. Lucien Febvre believes that the border is something artificial. The border breaks down, divides. It is an echo of modernity, i.e., a certain system of the states of the Westphalian system that destroys, cuts to the core the pluralism of peoples. And then Lucien Febvre makes a bridge towards the concept of frontier. He says that the border cannot be a border in our common understanding. The border is somehow 'breathing', there is some space to it. That is where he approaches the topic of the frontier. That is, we should not study the border as such, but should study what is in it. Doing so, he overcomes boundary thinking, fragmentation, and moves on to this space of the frontier in action. Therefore, this thesis exists in European historiography thanks to Lucien Febvre, who is a key member of the French Annales school.
The European historians and cultural studies scholars researching into the concept of frontier agree that the boundaries are artificial, but the frontier is natural. There have never been clear borders between the European states. If they were ever drawn, then these were artificial borders that must be abolished. They cannot be considered as something that separates one from the other, because the zones of transition, from the point of view of Lucien Fevre, are a space of gradual displacement of one by the other. However, it is impossible to say where one state begins, where it ends because this border is not in action.
As a matter of fact, if we generalize, we can see that, indeed, borders are some kind of an anachronism. This is a system dated back to the modern age, the era of modernity, the paradigm of modernity, which cuts peoples to the quick. This is exactly what is happening in the African continent. I am currently actively following these events for the wars broke out because of the borders. For instance, Mali was founded within its borders in a completely artificial way. There are several ethnic groups, several peoples that are totally incompatible who inhabit this country. The Azawads live in the north of the country, and the Fulbe and the Mandinka live in the south of the country. They have nothing in common at all: no cultural, social, religious shared space among them. Nevertheless, they were united. A lot of such strange hybrids can be found in Africa. Consequently, these nation-states, these artificial clear-cut borders do only provoke conflicts.
Looking at our history… it seemed to me, when I finally have comprehended the metaphysics of the Novorossiya frontier, that the Crimea was the border. That is, Crimea was something definitive: here one country ends and another begins. From this point of view, reunification exclusively with Crimea was a rather wrong step within the logic of tradition. Having done it, we limited ourselves to some kind of compromise. We entered a certain defined territory, we cut it off, we demarcated it and forgot that there is a frontier. Every empire has its frontier. The American Empire has a frontier, the liberal empire has a frontier. Just look how this frontier 'breathes' in different Arab states! Look how this 'breathing' begins to be heard during the coups in various areas of the Middle East. This is the 'hoarse breathing' of the American Empire. Our communist state, the Soviet Union, had the same 'breathing', when this frontier expanded. The 'breathing' of the Communist Empire reached all the way to Africa. And many people remember it. Thanks to this 'breathing', thanks to these cases when the Soviet frontier 'breathed' all the way to Africa, many African countries are still looking up to us. They still remember the wind of change that came from the Soviet Union.
And, of course, Europe once also had its own frontier, i.e., its colonies. This was also an attempt to expand, it was also the 'breathing' of their empire. The Russians should also have a frontier. For now, the American Empire still views Novorossiya and Ukraine as its own frontier. They are taking it into account as their frontier. For them, this is some kind of the Wild East that they must tame. They denied us this right. We were told to stick to the Minsk agreements. Or they told us: “This is such a delineated border, strictly territorial delineation, and you, Russians, must stay within these borders." And they are trying to drive us into this border. Remember the plan for the decolonization of Russia, which, I think, many of you have seen? To those of you who have read Halford Mackinder's essays on geopolitics, it could well remind you of the early 20th century very crafty Mackinder's plan to expand the Heartland. There he mentioned such a country as Lenaland. This is, in fact, a cut piece in order to create a full-fledged coastal zone to separate from the Russian Empire. Actually, the project of decolonization of Russia has already existed back then. There is nothing new to it. Anyone who has read Mackinder's works can easily draw this map. This is the logic of Mackinder.
And accordingly, America and our enemies (and our main enemy is not even America, but rather this liberal totalitarianism) are trying to split us, to drown us in this 'border thinking'. And even now, this thinking can be found in many projects of Russian nationalists... You might be familiar with some Russian nationalists who claim that we have to create a Russian national state - the RNS. This is a case of 'border thinking'. The vassal thinks in the categories of borders; the sovereign thinks in the categories of frontiers. And this frontier thinking is being revived in our state.
With the start of a special military operation, Russia remembered its mission. Russia, in fact, became an empire. This is a mystery how this has happened. Apparently, this is some kind of divine intervention in the course of history. And, finally, Russia began to 'breathe', and this 'breathing' is felt in Novorossiya. Look. Do you remember how earlier, at the very beginning, in 2014, we heard the statements that Crimea was ours? But what about the rest? The rest was not ours. Now, in fact, we no longer have an answer to the question of where we will stop. When asked where we will stop, a Russian officer or soldier, both in Novorossiya and here in the Ministry of Defense, answers: "We'll see after the victory!" Where is this victory? The victory is the frontier. We must win on this frontier. Therefore, we are restoring the imperial thinking. We are restoring the breath of the frontier. It shows in this very moment, when you really talk to the military, they say: “We will fight here until ultimate victory.”
I also traveled to one of the Novorossiya regions with foreign journalists. In the village of Shchastia of the Lugansk Oblast, the journalist who I know well was asking one special operations forces officer: “Could you tell me when are you going to ...? I mean what kind of victory will satisfy you? Where, in which particular zone should there be a territorial border, in what area? In Zaporozhye, right? Not further? And what about Odessa region?" And the military man relied: “Well, what about Odessa? Well, wait, until victory. Until our victory. That's when our Russian victory will be gained, then we'll see ... " Obviously, the journalist got confused and said: “Okay, I didn't get it.” That journalist was anti-globalist, but one globalist journalist concluded: “Aha, they want to take over Europe! Got it." And then he wrote about it in his report.
This is how this frontier thinking is now manifesting itself, and it is really felt. I have just now realized that the military really never answers what areas we will limit ourselves to. The same goes for the experts on the TV channels. For example, I have never heard it either on Zvezda channel or on Channel One. By the way, many experts are already exclaiming: “Sure, we will reach Latvia, we will reach Estonia, well, ultimately, Paris.” We will not reach Paris with tanks. But we may reach it in terms of ideology. The 'breathing' of our empire is very powerful. Basically, all it has to do is exhale. And this, by the way, is a very symbolic exhalation. In many ideologies the world was built precisely through exhalation: inhalation and exhalation were a form of creating the world. And this 'breath' begins to reach many cities and countries.
The next point is about the frontier. Let us define what kind of category it is, the horological category, or, to be precise, the spatial category. It is, in fact, very close to geopolitics, geopolitical thinking. In geopolitics, space is qualitative. Space is not just mountains or some lakes, or land and sea. No, land and sea do not have a geographical characteristic alone, not just a characteristic of what atmospheric temperature is there, what type of landscape (rural, or urban), etc. The fact is that, in geopolitics, space is alive. It is the space that also exists in a certain socio-cultural context, the space that is deified. That is, the space of Ancient Greece, e.g. If the ancient Greek saw this space, he would immediately think in the following categories: where is the sanctuary, where are the Muses, what territories are forbidden for people to visit, where is the sacred part of this space, where is the profane part? That is, he would have thinking, the perception of space that is exactly qualitative. Or, at the Faculty of Philosophy, they often give an example of a table. Each person imagines a table in a different way. For the ancient Greek, this table would be some element for a sacred ritual, for a sacred rite.
The same happens to space. The space is different for everyone. In Frontier Studies, in frontier thinking, space is a qualitative, socio-philosophical category. That is, space has its own way of thinking. Remember, Mackinder had a formula that land civilization and sea civilization have different styles of philosophy. Alexander Dugin went on postulating that sea civilization is more focused on the individualistic principle, while land civilization thinks collectively. Actually, the space in Frontier Studies is absolutely the same. It is a geopolitical space, animated, living space. That is why it is so important to master this frontier mentality. Frontier is a mental category.
Besides, when I was looking for some analogies to the frontier, I found the concept of ' border line' in English language. There is a 'border', i.e., a boundary. But a 'border line' is some space, a space on the border. And this is exactly the closest thing to our Frontier Studies. Anthony Giddens also had the formula of 'local'. Giddens described local as a text, some space that should be read as text.
Let us apply all this to the Novorossiya case. Interestingly, we will indeed have to borrow the category used by American historians. Once I came across an interesting poem by Alexander Blok, who all of a sudden uses such formulas in 1913:
From the grim underground—a Messiah—
The black coal comes, thy bride-groom and king.
But no terror in me, O my Russia,
Strike the voices that songs of stone sing!
This is 1913, the time of the rapid process of transition to large-scale enterprises. In 10-15 years, it is the Donetsk region that will become the space of this black coal, where its cult will be established. The cult, which was celebrated by Dziga Vertov in the work Enthusiasm: Symphony of Donbass. And this black coal will rise. Then I saw the title of the poem and I was astonished. It read New America. That is, if one comes up with such an illogical, irrational, absolutely emotional association, then we might think that, in principle, Blok anticipates this frontier thinking, which is borrowed from American historiography. This black coal becomes our frontier.
Let us now move on to what Novorossiya can teach us. First, Novorossiya is our frontier. This is a qualitative space in which different cultures intersect. This space is totally heterogeneous, it has its own language, its own logic, its own religion, its own cults, has its own attitude to life and death. It also has its own attitude to philosophy. I was very pleased when I found out that Lugansk philosophers were also developing the idea of a frontier. Novorossiya of Thunderstorms, Novorossiya of Dreams is a title of a collection of poems by Elena Zaslavskaya where exactly this frontier nature of Novorossiya is depicted. The frontiers are not the borders. This is not a delineation between the first and the second, but a fusion. It is a certain space of interaction, a certain Dionysian field, in which there is one logos and the second one too, and they form something entirely different together. Take the language of Novorossia: it is absolutely amazing. I have already told at a lecture here that the Donbass people have their own very special language. It is not always easy to understand it, it is very complex. It is not a pidgin, but it has some complex formulas, a strange construction of phrases, a strange word order in these phrases.
And this frontier today is a teaching frontier. The frontier that teaches us that we are an empire. We keep forgetting that we are an empire. Many of us have already forgotten. Now there are a huge number of artists who condemn the Special Military Operation or somehow try to manifest their civic position and write “No to War” at night on the grey stones of our country. They, in fact, have forgotten that they are a part of an empire. And they have betrayed it. But the frontier called Novorossiya has been regularly reminding us of this since 2014. And finally, this voice broke through the asphalt. These trees sprouted from the frontier completely suppressed by the asphalt skating rink and began to teach us lessons.
I would like to finish my lecture with four lessons of the frontier. Four lessons of Novorossiya, Russian Federation frontier, Russian frontier.
Firstly, Russia is an empire, not a nation-state. The nation state has borders, it is a project for everyone to occupy their places, for everyone to be in their stalls. This is, in fact, an apologetic system and a model designed for vassals. This is a model for export. Here is the nation state one, there is the nation state two, over there a nation state three. Having talked to the Russian nationalists, I actually realized that with them we will not achieve anything. We might have some kind of cult of the Russian (and that’s not bad, that’s already good for Russian is excellent), but I'm afraid that we will simply lose everything. I mean, we will not survive. The Russians then will be slaughtered because their project to preserve the Russian national state is a project that, as it seems to me, is not very far from Mackinder's idea to decolonize Russia. And, by the way, there is evidence that Russian nationalists supported and were especially interested in closer ties with American conservatives. Under the guise of these American conservatives, “comrades” interested in the decolonization of Russia reached out to them and provided them with financial support. But as far as this imperial lesson is concerned, it is Novorossiya that is teaching it to us. A remarkable example of our imperial self-consciousness in this special military operation were two cases that made quite a tremendous impression on me. The first is when children and women were hiding in basements in Mariupol, and after leaving the basements they told the following. They said: "We were sitting in the basement and suddenly we heard 'Allahu Akbar' and we immediately realized that the Russians were finally coming." This is an example of an entirely Eurasian frontier, an example of an absolute empire. The empire is coming, the empire is 'breathing', that's what these people heard. The second episode that comes to my mind took place in Lisichansk, when our warriors said “Lyubo, bratsy, lyubo! Akhmat is power!” (they joined the words of a well-known traditional Cossack song meaning "Lovely, brothers, lovely" with a Chechen slogan paying tribute to the leader of the Republic Akhmat Kadyrov). The Chechen and Russian units, the Donetsk and Lugansk units, in fact, forged this saying in the liberated Lisichansk. This is what I call imperial thinking. Accordingly, to stick to the optics of a Russian nationalist, given that there are such cases that Russians are not fighting alone, but we are fighting as a huge integral offensive, is a crime and an act of sabotage, in my eyes. We are all Russians, all these people are Russians too. That is, any [nationalist] thinking now, a return to Russian nationalism during the special military operation, in principle, is if not stupidity (which can be the case), then an act of sabotage, especially if it is a deliberate and conscious choice.
The second lesson is that our identity is Eurasian and imperial. As a fact of the matter, this is very close to what I have already said. That is, we are precisely the empire, we are precisely Eurasia.
The third lesson is frontier capture. We are abandoning national languages, we are switching to an imperial language with its dialects. I am a little outraged by the situation that is currently happening in our Telegram channels or in the media because I don’t understand why we still don’t have any channel that broadcasts in Ukrainian and puts our messages across to the Ukrainian population. This is our language. This is the language which we have every right to speak. Akim Apachev in his wonderful song Pliva kacha, a remake of a Rusyn ballad, claims it. There are the following lines: "now I'm assuming your language." This is the thinking of a true imperial. But for some reason we are not putting enough effort to appropriate this language. We have every right to do so. Or why, for example, we pay so little attention to the Belarusian language? I love Belarus very much. Especially after I immersed myself into their culture, after I began to study it. We do know little of their language, even though there are a lot of words that, in fact, are a very old form of Russian words. For example, 'dabranach'. Or “maladzeychyna” is “molodets”. That is, there are a lot of lexis that we also need to study. They, perhaps, are sometimes even closer to Church Slavonic. Such neglect for our brothers in our frontiers is unreasonable. Coming back to the song by Akim Apachev sung in Ukrainian. It's wonderful, but what's next? Where are other works in this language? Where is the thinking? We smay think that the Ukrainian language is generally an underlanguage. This is utterly wrong. It's a true language. Just try to translate and read something in it without a dictionary. You'll fail. We need to study it. Then we need to switch to the imperial language with dialects.
By the way, I was also told an interesting story by a high-ranking military man who came from that region. He said: “We once talked with one prisoner of war, and suddenly I approached him and started talking to him in perfect Ukrainian. He asked me,
Why do you speak Ukrainian? Isn't it a forbidden language in Russia?
I replied, Of course not. Nothing of a kind is forbidden here because it's our language too."
That Ukrainian prisoner was astonished and then he shared a lot of interesting secrets because these two soldiers established a connection somehow. I mean they realized that they belonged to the same world, but are artificially separated. This prisoner has finally made penance. It wasn't Volyna, but of the same rank with him. So, such an episode took place.
And, finally, the fourth lesson of the empire, of the frontier is that we can live authentically thank to frontier. Можно сказать так – тестировать аутентично. This may sound as big words, but it is Novorossiya that teaches us this lesson. Staying there for only a week teaches what is life and what is death. Novorossiya is where the dead live together with the alive. Someone is killed there, someone is buried. They are little and big, young and old, heroes and not fully heroes, those who are on the verge of attack and the ones in the rear. Seeing them one encounters authentic existence. When the enemy artillery is bombing the cities, you hear all these explosions 50 kilometers away and realise what life is and that you have to go on living somehow. Melancholy stands nowhere close to mourning the newborn baby dying from bombs in Novorossiya. How dare we remain inactive here when there people face death every day regularly burying the victims and mourning? That is the reason why Novorossiya among many things teaches us to experience life and death. It's hard to put into words. It is worth coming there and seeing with one's own eyes. One can go there as a journalist, as a military man, or as a humanitarian worker. We can discuss all the options, if anyone got interested. In fact, I am now actively following the work of my friend from the bookstore Listva, Dima Bystrakov, who is providing very serious assistance to the military, such as distributing first-aid kits.
Anyway, it seems to me that reunification with Novorossiya is a crucial step. By the way, the Sun of the North, our Eurasian cultural centre based in St. Petersburg, is planning to hold conferences for philosophers and intellectuals in Novorossiya. That is why I think this frontier thinking, Frontier Studies, needs to be developed, refined, and thought about. We must think in the same terms not only about Novorossiya, but also about regions like Kazakhstan, or Belarus. We have totally forgotten the Belorussians. I mean we know nothing about their identity. We don't know much about the Ukrainian identity either, apart from the TV reports about Nazism there. On the contrary, I think that in order to exist and to represent the Eurasian Youth Union, we need to be able to explain to everyone what the Ukrainian identity is, who Dmytro Dontsov is and on what bases the integral nationalism was founded. We have to answer and make ourselves accountable, if we are Eurasians and advocate for Empire, what is, for example, "tuteishya" (a Belarusian term that literally means "local" or "local people"used by the Belarusians to distinguish themselves from Poles or Russians). No one knows for sure what the identity of the Belarusians is. Even the Belarusians themselves occasionally hit a dead end when they start talking about who they are. But in their culture, there are absolutely ingenious categories to make sense of. We don't do it. We somehow get lost in some more subtle meanings, as it seems to us, and we simply ignore it. The more we have this ignorant attitude, the more of our empire we can lose. In fact, we have to be in sync with the 'breathing' of the empire and breathe as well, i.e., develop this empire too. If we don't breathe, the empire will actually shrink.
By the way, it is interesting that if we consider Russian history, the history of the Russian Empire, it could both shrink and exhale. These particular movements are the movements of this very frontier breathing.
What I'm driving at is that it is necessary to understand what the frontier is and how this frontier manifests itself in history, especially in our history. It is vital to realise that what we now see in Novorossiya is a frontier, it is not a border. The border was the Crimea. Then it was a strict nation-state mentality. Now we have an imperial mentality. Consequently, we must build this empire.
I would also like to add a few words about the Eurasian Youth Union. I have been its member since its foundation in 2005. Basically, this movement has always had to do with making sense of empire and shaping the philosophy of empire. Surprisingly, the Catechism that was issued in 2006 reflects upon all the events that are taking place right now. There were the ideas of the frontiers, the possibility for Russia to acquire subjectivity and frontier imperial thinking, precisely Eurasian. Therefore, the Eurasian Youth Union is ahead of the curve. All these processes that are now taking place were already predicted, worked out and prepared by us. Many of Novorossiya local authorities in 2014, being on the frontier, were the active members of the Eurasian Youth Union.
So, we have a great mission to breathe with this empire, to be this empire, to carry out such respiratory function. In general, our mission is to encourage this breathing. The Eurasian Youth Union is not "to the right" or "to the left" of some politicians. We are simply smarter, i.e. we can argue with the "left wing", with the "right wing", or we can be above the argument.
This, by the way, is a feature of the meta-political. Metapolitics is such a term in France used by the French "New Right". It implies work in the ideological sphere, where there is no opposition of left and right wings, but where is a space of ideas. This is why Benoit calls himself a historian of ideas. And in fact, this break from the momentary and temporal disputes along with the focus on the eternity is very important. The modern "right-wing" and "left-wing" think in terms of borders, arguing about where the border is and where to draw it. Eurasians, on the other hand, think in frontier terms. One can think in frontier terms not only geographically speaking, when we say "the Peski region is ours and the empire will spread further", but one can also think in these terms philosophically. There are two types of thinking: analytical thinking that fractures, divides into subject and object, splits everything down to atoms; and thinking that absorbs everything, i.e. inclusive thinking, imperial thinking, imperial philosophy.
This is where I would like to sum up. It seems to me that we are now not just at the camp of the Eurasian School of Thought, but we are at the most important point in history. What is happening today has the biggest significance. The most important directions will be discussed here. We have to do the breathing. Let it be a little artificial for our empire at times; a kind of an assisted respiration for the empire, but still. After assisted respiration, at some point, if a human is destined to live, they breathe with their full chest, sigh and go on living. We are to assist the empire in its breathing with our intelligence, expertise, philosophy, or military duty. By the way, regarding expertise, I recommend that anyone who wants to develop their expertise should keep a diary every day. I mean not an ordinary diary, but a diary of the philosophical and political focus. The Telegram channels can help to stay up to date. Our task is to be up to date and analyse the current events. For instance, say, Pakistan signed a free trade agreement with Turkey. We need to ask ourselves: what does that mean in strategic terms? What actually is the Greater Middle East? What is the Sufi project, anyway? Who are the Sufis? What is Erdogan's connection to the Naqshbandi order, for example?
Moving on to the practical part, I strongly recommend starting a Telegram channel or writing posts on VKontakte. In fact, I encourage everyone to join our network. We already have a small network of Telegram channels run by me and the members of the Eurasian Youth Union. There we can have discussions. Later we will have to help our Empire breathe on its own. Expert work is of high significance to make it happen. I myself take part in different political TV shows more often these days. If any of you would like to appear on screen too, please contact me. By the way, if anyone wants to excel in public speaking, I highly recommend the school of rhetoric of Zhar Volokhvin, our leader of the Eurasia Youth Union. People often ask which experts I recommend to follow. We can also practice with you in public speaking on Eurasian Youth Union radio for a start. Zhar is also in charge of our radio project. Afterwards we can reach wider audience.
Yesterday I was listening to political scientists, who seemed to be absolutely avant-garde breakthrough patriots before the special military operation, and I was thinking that it is all so boring and dull. Now we are craving for new meanings. Have you noticed that on all TV channels, in the media, there are, for the most part, war correspondents who comment on the current events? Look, how many of them are in the public eye! Moreover, some war correspondents were considered to be outcasts before the special military operation. They were seen as dangerous warmongers and a threat to our society. As a rule, the people who went to Novorossiya were not invited to the TV shows. However, now they are in the mainstream, now they are on the agenda, now they are in the thick of it. Now this Overton window is shifting. That is why we need to act now. It is the only chance to make the difference. We will fail, if keep silent, if we do not write. You have already come to the Eurasian Youth Union, which means you already know how to write and speak out. I am sure of it. Moreover, you want to save your country. For these reasons you have to get involved, you must act, do everything you can. If you are good at painting or if you are a talented sculptor, then, please, be creative as much as you can. We have a talented sculptor among our guests, who has created works inspired by Julius Evola, René Guénon, Alexander Dugin. He made sculptures of all our guiding figures.
At this point, I think we'll call it a day. If you have any questions about the lecture, please do not hesitate to ask. Ну а так, я остаюсь здесь на эти два дня и готова [ответить], если у кого-то будут какие-то специальные [вопросы].
Question from the audience: Hello. I wonder if it is possible to compare, so to speak, to draw an analogy, between the frontier thinking and border thinking as if between the static and dynamic and, as a consequence, the idea of the state as a superhuman? For example, there is a human metaphor of a state. Taking this into consideration, one could take Nietzsche's dichotomy of the last human, who wants to freeze in statics, and the superhuman, who wants not to freeze but to be dynamic. And that's how one would tell the frontier from the the border. Is it possible?
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Absolutely accurate, a beautiful comparison. Indeed, human is something to be overcome. This overcoming, this very process, is frontier thinking. A human is an arrow thrown to the other shore. At this exact moment of throwing, there is no final destination yet, i.e., it is not an arrow that is thrown at some point on the other shore, it is an arrow that is thrown to the other shore. And this 'other shore' and thinking in terms of this in-between world is precisely frontier thinking. A very accurate comparison, by the way. Frontier Studies can be viewed and taken as a methodology not only for comprehension of special military operation processes in terms of geography. Frontier Studies can also be applied to thinking, i.e., one can think with frontiers. It is precisely the Nietzschean doctrine of the superhuman, the doctrine of awakening, that speaks of this frontier. I mean, from my point of view, your analogy is absolutely valid. Thank you. Does anyone else have any questions? Yes, Sasha.
Question from the audience: The previous speaker took the words right out of my mouth. Даша, смотри. Thank you for the most interesting talk. The question off the top of my head is, how can this be related, in general, to Haushofer's notions of borders? According to Karl Haushofer, we know that the border is always something dynamic, not a line, but a kampfzone, that is, a combat zone. On the other hand, Haushofer is very fond of the notion of the 'frontier'. It is important for him to bridge, on the one hand, the dynamics and this combat zone here. On the other hand, he writes that some sense of border must still be cultivated, i.e., some sort of order and separation, e.g., of friend from foe, without which politics and this border dynamic itself would not be possible. This approach combines both the dynamics of combat zone and a certain statics. There is still a separation, a separation of "us and them", "friend and foe", "this and that" that is a kind of an orderliness. How can this fit in with the frontier concept you are talking about?
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Yes, Haushofer did have a discourse on the border. He even had this formula that 'on the border the poles rot.' He considered these borders that are drawn between countries to be artificial and criticised them. I think there the two methodologies should be applied at once. It would seem that they are quite opposite, but both of them are viable. That is, the heart of the empire must always think in terms of "friend or foe" categories and, in doing so, assume how it is possible to advance into this enemy area and, finally, to merge this territory. Talking of the Novorossiya case, in order to come to Novorossiya, in fact, our military command and ideological command must know what integral nationalism is. It is the ultimate enemy. Only then it will become clear how to interact with the middle region, with the one in between. Because this zone here is actually a very interesting issue. Because this frontier zone of Novorossiya is not stable, and in fact, no border can be drawn there. Therefore, I think it is necessary to combine the two approaches, on the one hand, frontier thinking, on the other hand, this "friend-foe" optics. But then again, what are a "half-friend" and "half-foe"? This is the question if there is such a concept in geopolitics. An interesting topic to be developed is the way geopolitics thinks in terms of the frontier.
Question from the audience: How relevant, in your opinion, is the fact the history of Novorossiya in the 18th century is a frontier in its purest form? I mean that it is the reconquest of the Wild Field by Russia, by the Russians? To what extent can this historical aspect be of use now, in the 21st century? I’m still thinking about it, but I only came up with this question and not an answer. I would like to know your opinion.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): This is an interesting question, another area of reasoning. Now I can only say that on Wednesday in Listva book store in Moscow, there will be a lecture by my friend, a historian. The lecture will be dedicated to the experience of the frontier in history, that is, how the Russian Empire developed as it stepped into this space. And I think that he will be able to describe it more accurately and meaningfully from the historical point of view. Therefore, I am inviting you to this lecture. Its recording might be also available later.
Question from the audience: How can you describe a doctor working in the frontier zone? I mean his image.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): I imagine such doctor the way you are, knowing the philosophy of medicine, reading philosophical treatises; a person who asks questions about Paracelsus and ancient medicine. Just like that. Sorry for interruption, keep going. Well, what I mean is not an appeal that you urgently go to Novorossiya. This is exactly the type of a doctor that must be there. You know, I will share a story I heard from Dmitry Steshin, a war correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda. He told about his journey from Donetsk to Rostov with soldiers at the beginning of the SMO. He said: "I turned on Finis Mundi episode about Parvulesco. We were listening to it and had a good journey." They said: “What a strange interesting talk. Why didn’t you show us this one before, Dima?” This is what a war correspondent should be. So is Vladlen Tatarksy, walking along the front line in Peski talking about them occupying the cowsheds, quoting a biblical text. Or Semen Pegov, who all of a sudden makes some kind of a traditionalist conclusion in his speech. These are the war correspondents. This is what they should be.
What should doctors be like? Well, in general, the doctors who have already gone there, did their best. I mean, a military man does not have to read Ernst Junger to be a military man. A military man is the Junger, just the Junger, who is completely alive in his true, authentic existence. We used to have this idea in the Sun of the North to go, tell the military about Junger, give them a lecture at the front. Then we realized, it’s better if we come, give them cigarettes, just say thank you and listen to what they tell. Everything we have read, or all our meaningless explications that we will tell them is nothing. Especially wishing them to “hang on”.
You know, if you go to Novorossiya, you hear this “hang on” all the time. There is no need to say “hang on” to these people. They are people of an incredible strength. You can only bring humanitarian aid or some medicine. That would be of use. But, in fact, the true Junger is there. Medical workers, of course, if they have read Paracelsus and ancient medical philosophers, have an advantage. And the way you spoke today about Paracelsus, about the philosophy of medicine, when we were walking with you... That is perfect for a doctor on the frontier, but this is already a final touch of what we would like to have in an ideal empire. But in general, you can just be a doctor, go there, and this already will justify as a human. Any human who has lost meaning and feels bad, if he or she goes there, regains this lost meaning. This is the region that gives this meaning, the meaning of life. By the way, here is our friend, he has just came back from Novorossiya. He has spent a month there, hasn't he, Alexey?
Alexey:Yes, but I don't want to dwell upon it, I would rather continue the discussion. We can talk a lot about who is already there, who is missing there, and so on. Thank you so much for an enlightening talk. You told a lot of important things. The most exciting moment for me was connected with the “left-wing”, since we understand that Benois, Alexander Dugin, Vladimir Putin, and Eurasianism per se, one way or another shattered and canceled the dichotomy. Nevertheless, these two wings are still present. I say it as a person who communicates with the Africans, and in general, understands the situation in the world. It seems to me that we should not and cannot cancel the "left-wing" as an idea. To put it bluntly, if these topics are reduced, somehow simplified and minimized, it turns into an endless horizontal, but also an endless vertical. What do you think, after all, this theme of the imperial, which, of course, concerns us and, of course, should exist... In what way should it be married with the ideas of Antonio Gramsci? He was a "leftist" philosopher who talked about cultural hegemony and cultural victory. Or take my favourite José Buenaventura Durruti, who also visited people from the front and asked about anarchism. What about the anarchist Novorossiya? An anarchist can be a patriot, too. Moreover, an anarchist can be a Eurasian, too. There are various combinations. What do you think, can the leftist idea can be married up with our idea now? How can these things coexist? We can't cancel that. When we drive through Novorossiya, we understand that it is all red. It is red, it is a red star, definitely. So is Africa, half of Africa is red.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): One can see the Savior Not Made by Hands, which Andrey Afanasiev brings with the humanitarian aid there, these Christian Orthodox banners. The Ministry of Defense provides soldiers with icons, but at the same time, there is an old lady with a red Communist flag. It’s a paradox. In fact, the Eurasian empire accommodates, includes, and forges into itself both red and non-red, both “left-wing” and “right-wing”. This is the peculiarity of Eurasianism. The same goes for France, where Alain de Benoit, was not "right-wing". When did they begin to demonize him in general and began to call him the “New Right”? At the moment when he held a gigantic congress for the "left-wing", where representatives of the Socialist Party, the Socialist Party of France, and a bunch of "left" intellectuals came. After that, Bernard Henri Levy stepped up and started a media campaign. In1971, he said, "this is the New Right, in a new guise, we hate them" simply because Benoit spoke to this "left" front. He himself is not from the "right-wing", he is above it all. So is Eurasianism, it includes the "left-wing". We are anarchists, mystical anarchists and Gramschists at the same time. Philosopher Alain de Benoit said that it was necessary to develop "right Gramschism". What for? To neutralize Gramsci, to place him “above”, to take him into metapolitics. Therefore, I believe that in this sense, Eurasianism is the smartest of all. I say so because we take the best from the "left-wing" and the best from the "right-wing". We reject the "left-wing" politics, but accept the "left-wing" economy. We reject the "right-wing" economy, but accept the "right-wing" politics.
Actually, the origins of this idea can be traced back to the National Bolshevik Party. Later they grew into the Eurasian movement, into the Eurasian Youth Union. So the question you asked is a good one. Yes, we must think both as “left-wing” and “right-wing”, because for us there is no “left and right”. That's what I believe. As for anarchism, I am a mystical anarchist. There is even such a manifesto by Tatyana Goricheva and the deceased Igor Dudinsky of mystical anarchism. Yes, we don’t accept power, but we recognize it being devoted to God so much that, at the same time, we serve Him here, and therefore we accept this power. This is an absolute paradox, koan thinking. This is crucial. This is crucial because we often communicate with the "right-wing" and the "left-wing", and they just can't understand us. "Well, you're right-wing," the "left-wing" say. And the "right-wing" say, "Well, you're the left-wing".
Alexey: "It doesn't make sense," they say. "What basic military training? What Eurasianism? It's nonsense."
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Yes, they also say, “You are deceiving us, you are probably just trying to pretend ...”
Alexey: I suggested them the topic of design. It's very important, you know. We start collaborating on design.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Yes, this T-shirt has been designed by Alexey's wife. (Daria shows her T-shirt).
Alexey: Yes. Because, it seems to me, in the visual, in the media, not only the divine, i.e., an endless vertical, but also the horizontal, which is a little bit red, must also somehow be displayed. Future, right? Future Eurasia should somehow be displayed, it seems to me. Reboot of the visual must also happen somehow. Though it is a small step, it is important, in my view.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Going back to the “Red” theme, we have Alexey here wearing a red T-shirt with a Eurasian star. We also have these red ones. We had red banners at Red Easter in 2006, the first meeting I participated in.
Question from the audience: May I steal your attention for another half a minute? So, when I came across the concept of three logoi, I got used to simplify something, trying not to lose the meaning. The logos of Apollo is white, the logos of Dionysus is red, the logos of Cybele is black. It is so simple from the point of view of the visual. To explain this idea of three logoi, the following image came to me. A true “Red” had to suffer in the civil war, “I am Red, I understand my Red truth, but I am Russian, I see that the White has his own Russian White truth”. A true white is one who understood, “I am White, I am an Orthodox Christian, I will never bow to Trotsky, but I understand that the Reds have their own Red truth”. These are the true Red and true White. That Red who put the White against the wall and that White who put the Red against the wall, they are, in fact, not Red and not White. They are both black, who pretend to be either Red or White in order to defeat both. Well, in general, at the level of political agitation it works, but at the level of philosophical reflection, I leave it to philosophers. It looks like that, doesn’t it? Thank you.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): Yes, that's absolutely, right. Yes, I was startled by those "right-wing" ... We recently had a dispute with Russian nationalists. They say: “We are Russian nationalists, we do not know what the Russian people are. Russians are a nation." I say: “This is the people. I completely agree with you, but Russians are people. You just replace one concept of “nation” with “people”, and you and I will be in the same camp. Come on, open your eyes to reality.” It's useless. In general, this dialogue is doomed. I would like to say that there is such a idea for the Eurasian Youth Union... We need to design some kind of cards for children, maybe very simple ones. With help of such cards, we can explain what Eurasianism is and how it is different from nationalism, what good can be found in the “left-wing”, and what good can be found in the “right-wing”. I suggest that the volunteers can form a working group and make cards like this to explain it clearly. I agree that the book Ethnosociology by Alexander Dugin or other long texts are not as effective. People are too lazy to read them. Alexander has read them, some other people have. The rest haven't, but start criticizing. Well, if you can’t read it, then we’ll reach out to you, we’ll show you these cards for children, like for seven-year-olds. Well, let's do this. Let's do this, I think it's very important. Same thing with the "left-wing" ones. Why are leftists good? A Eurasian answer. Why are "leftists" bad? A Eurasian answer.
Question from the audience: Sounds like Nietzsche, huh? Thesis-antithesis. And the very resolution of contradictions according to dialectics is up to each of you. Right? I would also like to say something about the nationalists and about the uniqueness of Eurasianism. A thought came to my mind after what you have you said. You say that Eurasianism differs from everything else in that it erases the “left-right” opposition. And in fact, “left-right” is a dichotomy; it is like yin and yang, in a way. That is, "left" cannot be "right", "right" cannot be "left". In fact, being enemies, they complement each other. I cannot call myself "right" if there is no "left". And in general, Eurasianism… I would suggest a different dichotomy of self-sufficient and non-self-sufficient. And Eurasianism is trying to be self-sufficient in geopolitical terms, too. You said that nationalists think like vassals. They just want some kind of static border for themselves, so that they have a place to live. Thus, they admit their slavish nature and say "just let's do it and leave us alone, we don't want to fight for anything, we don't want to be self-sufficient." This is a weak position. You are not imposing values, on the contrary, you just want to protect what you have. And the dichotomy is that there are political forces that want the country in which they live to be some kind of center for imposing power. The multipolar world is the same. A unipolar world is just a unary concept, where a human just wants to take any position in some common chain. And this is the essence of Eurasianism, the fact that it is trying to be precisely self-sufficient. We have both, we just take it, because we kind of pour out this energy.
Daria Dugina (Platonova): That's, as you remember, the divine cup by Plotinus that is so self-sufficient that it, as if pours this Good into the world and thereby creates the world. Quite a neoplatonic image. Absolutely right, yes. I fancied this formula made by my colleagues recently in a discussion: "Eurasianism is not to the "right" or to the "left", Eurasianism is to the smart ones." And on that note, let's finish this talk. Thanks a lot.