The hacking crisis may be distracting us from a disturbing convergence between two mighty powers

Russian hacking, White House warnings, angry denials by Vladimir Putins officials: we are edging towards a digital Cuban crisis. So it is as well to ask what is truly at stake in this e-conflict, and what underpins it.

To which end, meet the most important point intellectual you have( probably) never heard of. Alexander Dugin, the Russian political scientist and polemicist, may resemble Santas evil younger brother and talk like a scoundrel from an Austin Power movie. But it is no accident that he has earned the moniker Putins Rasputin. His volumes and posts often, it must be said impenetrable or plain madcap are required reading for those who seek to understand the new scenery of Brexit, Donald Trumps victory and the global surge of the far right.

Born in Moscow in 1962, Dugin is a ferocious champ of Russian imperialism, or what he calls Eurasianism. He supports tradition against liberalism, dictatorship against democratic institutions, stern homogeneity against Enlightenment pluralism. In The Fourth Political Theory( 2009 ), he claims all this adds up to a new and coherent ideology, supplanting liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism though he still seems pretty fond of fascism.

The extent of Dugins personal access to the Kremlin remains opaque: it has certainly waxed and waned over the decades. What is beyond dispute, however, is the influence his geopolitical vision has enjoyed in the general staff academy and the Russian ministry of defence. Putins intervention in Georgia in 2008, his invasion of Ukraine in 2014, and his stiffen grip on Syria are all entirely consistent with Dugins strategy for Mother Russia.

All of which is alarming enough. But what stimulates Dugin so abruptly significant is his growing influence in the west. It has long been alleged that he acts as a covert mediator between Moscow and far-right groups in Europe, many of which are believed to receive funding from the Kremlin.

The purpose of operations like the hacking of the US election has been to destabilise the Atlantic order generally, and America specifically. And on this large conflict, Dugin is positively millenarian: We must create strategic alliances to overthrow the present order of things, of which the core could be described as human rights, anti-hierarchy, and political correctness everything that is the face of the Beast, the anti-Christ.

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