Charles Clover: Putin's Grand Vision and Echoes of ‘1984’

Charles Clover is the FT's Moscow bureau chief.

The prospect of uniting with Kazakhstan and Belarus is unlikely to fill most Russians with a sense of grand imperial destiny. But for a small group of committed “Eurasianists”, the announcement by Vladimir Putin of a “Eurasian Union” between the three countries marks the epitome of their ambitions, the pay-off for a lifetime spent in the political wilderness.

“We have waited for 25 years for these words to be uttered in public by our leadership,” the leader of the Eurasianist Movement, Alexander Dugin, said in Moscow on Tuesday. For two decades he has worked to make dictatorship hip. Bearded and deep voiced, he veers effortlessly in conversation from the heroism of Muammer Gaddafi to the US conspiracy to destroy Russia.

In his hardline vision, the motherland is threatened by a western conspiracy known as “Atlanticism” to which it must create a bastion of “Eurasian” power.

In Mr Dugin’s vision, a reborn Russia is a slightly retooled version of the Soviet Union with dystopian echoes of George Orwell’s 1984, where Eurasia was one of three continent-sized super states (Oceania and Eastasia being the other two) in perpetual war…

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