The Early Eurasian Project as a Manifesto of Russian Platonism

The Early Eurasian Project as a Manifesto of Russian Platonism

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By Alexander Bovdunov

Last Year, 2020 marked exactly one hundred years since the publication in Sofia of the fundamental work of Nikolai Trubetskoy: "Europe and Humanity". From that moment on, we can talk about the emergence of a fundamentally new Russian political philosophy: Eurasianism.

Eurasianism is interesting because it can be called the crown of Russian conservative political thought, that version of it that was maximally opposed to Modernity, which by that time had struck European civilization. Eurasianism in this degree is inherited by the Slavophils, Danilevsky, Leontiev.

However, an important distinction of Eurasianism is the comprehensive elaboration of the doctrine of the state and politics, the ideal principles of organizing political power, and the state in Russia.

The point is in a fundamentally different context in which they lived and thought – a traumatic experience – a revolution, a civil war, the collapse of historical Russia, and the emergence in its place of a special political formation of the USSR. On the one hand, this required a reassessment of the past, on the other, finding in this past eternal, timeless pillars that would help contribute to the cause of Russia’s revival.

How to classify the philosophical views of the Eurasians? If we take into account the theory of the “princely subject” conducted by Alexander Dugin in “Noomakhia”, note for oneself the biography of the founders of Eurasianism, especially Peter Savitsky (quite a character from Bulgakov’s “White Guard”), then we can admit that other political philosophy except platonic with such a background and such a task, they could hardly adhere

Hence the proposal is to look at Eurasianism as a form of Russian political Platonism , perhaps its most striking, but on the other hand, it is quite schematic, debugged in a multitude of clear and coherent formulations and concepts.

If we take a closer look at them, firstly, Platonic roots are clearly visible, and secondly, the striking similarity of the state of the Eurasians with the scheme of state, political and social structure described by our great Platonist Fr. Pavel Florensky in his work “Proposed state structure in the future”, written also in a situation of very traumatic experience – in anticipation of imminent death.

Ontological structuralism

First, let’s turn to the interesting theses of the Swiss researcher

Patrick Serriot believed that the ideological basis of Eurasianism is special ontological structuralism, or if we can say platonic structuralism (“The work of structure and integrity: on the intellectual origins of structuralism”). The thesis that the structuralism of Levi Strauss was born from the linguistics of Trubetskoy, through Roman Yakobson, who acted as a connecting link. Trubetskoy was influenced by the structural geography of Savitsky.

As the Russian researcher of Eurasianism Rustem Vakhitov notes in particular, exploring Savitsky’s thoughts at the end of the 1920s-1930s, “the main idea of Savitsky’s concept was that all levels of being are permeated with organizational ideas  (eidos), which allows us to speak of action in the universe of common periodic law “. According to Savitsky, “an organization is a spirit dwelling in the matter” and the presence of this spirit is associated with the fact that the world is governed by the divine mind.

Local development – the descent of an idea

The Eurasian theory of local development is also directly related to the concept of the organizational idea.

The essence of local development as a synthesis of space and culture is an organizational idea that organizes the content of local development. In some cases, the organizational idea manifests itself in the human mind, in others it manifests itself in things. But it is the idea that comes first. In the article “The Power of the Organizational Idea” Savitsky asserts “the independent existence of the organizational idea that permeates social reality,” eidos controls the phenomenon “, and” cognition

Hence the concept of ideocracy arises – as not just serving some abstract concept, but as serving an idea in the Platonic sense.

Ideocracy in the full sense of the word is the ability to ascend to an organizational idea, to understand it. Only such an idea can be an idea of ​​a ruler, verifying the authenticity of the political and social order. And if we continue this thought, the rulers can only be those who were able to carry out the ascent to the idea.

Examples of such organizational ideas can be the idea of ​​autarky or the idea of ​​a public-private economy, to which Russia will always be disposed in the opinion of Savitsky, and to which sooner or later Russia will turn to under any government. 

However, the true Eurasian elite must understand these ideas, address them consciously, in contrast to the elites of Romanov or Soviet Russia.

As Savitsky notes in another work, “It is in the Eurasian system that Russian autarky is entirely justified internally, it is in it that it is essential and necessary. It follows from the doctrine of Russia-Eurasia as a special kind of “symphonic personality”, it fully corresponds to the Eurasian thesis of Russia as a special geographical, historical, ethnographic, linguistic, etc. world. “

Ideocracy: the power of the “guards”

The concepts of “Eurasian selection” and “ideocracy” occupy a central place in the political philosophy of Eurasianism. Like all representatives of Platonic philosophy, Eurasians believe that the best should rule, for this a system of upbringing the elite should be created, the value of sacrifice should be inherent in the elite.

“The selection sign of ideocratic selection should be not only a general outlook but also a willingness to sacrifice oneself to an idea-ruler. This element of sacrifice, constant mobilization, the heavy burden associated with belonging to the ruling selection is necessary to balance those privileges that are inevitably also associated with this belonging, ”Nikolai Trubetskoy notes in his article“ On the Idea of ​​the Ruler of an Ideographic State ”.

At the same time, the philosopher notes that “the idea of ​​the ruler of a truly ideocratic state can only be the benefit of the totality of peoples inhabiting this particular autarkic world. “

It is just as easy to find platonic ideas among the main Eurasian jurist Nikolai Alekseev.

Alekseev is not talking about ideocracy, but about ideocracy, trying to avoid excessive psychologism of the concept of idea.

According to Alekseev, eidos is not one of the many concepts of the existing, but “a necessary, integral, contemplatively and mentally tangible semantic face of the world.” This is the truth, not some subjective representation (which is often denoted by the concept of idea).

To the one who leads the selection, according to Alekseev, “the highest religious and philosophical truth must be revealed, which he must serve, and which cannot but unite into a single whole”

The idea of ​​a ruler in this perspective is not just something external, imposed on the people, but something that is inside it. At the same time, in the Alekseev guarantee state, the leading system is the “guardians” of the idea.

“In the guarantee state, the idea approved in the constitution is guiding and acting. She inspires the leading layer, which is the totality of her defenders, her “guards”, (an obvious platonic image of the editors) of her servants, ”notes Alekseev. Actually, these experiences and guarantee that the state serves the idea.

Conclusion:

  1. Eurasianism can be understood and meaningful as an integral system only within the framework of Platonic political philosophy. Then all concepts and methodology are clear and meaningful. Otherwise, it appears as an amalgam of obscure concepts and theories.
  2. Platonism as the semantic axis of Eurasianism can be used to separate from the basic concepts of Eurasianism the concepts or concepts of archeomodernism.
  3. Eurasianism can and should be understood by the Eurasians themselves as Platonism. All works should be re-read exclusively from the position of a platonic worldview. All other interpretations are the reason for the work of the intellectual inquisition.
  4. All the concepts of Eurasianism, especially: ideocracy, Eurasian selection, the guarantee state, the organizing idea (as a principle of methodology) can be considered the basis for building a full-fledged political Platonic philosophy in Russia and the project of the Russian Platonic state.

Author

Alexander Buvdonov is a Russian Political Commentator and analyst.


Republishing is allowed with the copyright credit to © The Radical Outlook

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The Radical Outlook

The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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