If you want to understand Putin, learn about Alexander Dugin, the fascist Russian charlatan beloved by the U.S.'s far-right

Most Americans don't know of Aleksanr Dugin (often spelled Alexander). I'd never heard of him until I read Gary Lachman's excellent book Dark Star Rising in 2018.

Here's what I wrote about Dugin back then: "Dugin is a very influential Russian fascist philosopher who is a kind of Rasputin figure for Putin and who pushes the idea that the only way to return Russia to greatness is by wiping liberal democracy off the face of the earth. Dugin is relatively unknown in the West, except among members of the alt-right and the dark enlightenment, who would love to install the kind of fascist regime Dugin is advocating in their own countries."

Yesterday The Washington Post ran an opinion piece by David Von Drehle about Dugin, titled "The man known as 'Putin's brain' envisions the splitting of Europe — and the fall of China." From his piece:

In his magnum opus, "The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia," published in 1997, Dugin mapped out the game plan in detail. Russian agents should foment racial, religious and sectional divisions within the United States while promoting the United States' isolationist factions. (Sound familiar?) In Great Britain, the psy-ops effort should focus on exacerbating historic rifts with Continental Europe and separatist movements in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Western Europe, meanwhile, should be drawn in Russia's direction by the lure of natural resources: oil, gas and food. NATO would collapse from within.

Putin has followed that counsel to the letter, and he must have felt things were going well when he saw window-smashing rioters in the corridors of the U.S. Congress, Britain's Brexit from the European Union and Germany's growing dependence on Russian natural gas. With the undermining of the West going so well, Putin has turned to the pages of Dugin's text in which he declared: "Ukraine as an independent state with certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia," and "without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics."

Westerners familiar with Dugin's influence on Putin's aspirations have been sounding a (mostly unheard) warning bell for years.

From a 2014 article in The National Review titled "Dugin's Evil Theology: His Eurasianism is a satanic cult":

Most Americans don't know anything about Alexander Dugin. They need to, because Dugin is the mad philosopher who is redesigning the brains of much of the Russian government and public, filling their minds with a new hate-ridden totalitarian ideology whose consequences can only be catastrophic in the extreme, not only for Russia, but for the entire human race.

On the flip side, the American far-right has been cheering Dugin's dreams of a tyrannical Soviet empire for years. Nina Kouprianova, the former wife of American Nazi Richard Spencer, has translated much of Dugin's work into English, including this 2014 essay in which Dugin argues "If there were not a powerful group of traitors in Moscow at the very top, we would already be outside of Kiev."

I doubt Marjorie Tailor Greene or Madison Cawthorn and other anti-Ukraine lawmakers have spent much time reading Dugin's turgid polemics, or even know who he is. But the people pulling their strings do.