Dugin, Putin’s 39th Brain

Alexander Dugin is continuously trouted out by the Western media as this gray cardinal of the Kremlin, who is the “brain”, the favorite philosopher, and even the Rasputin behind Putin and no doubt soon behind Trump as well.

The banal reality is that Dugin is, at least in relative terms, far better known in the West than he is in Russia.

Last month, a Russian website quantified the media presence of the country’s top politologists. Dugin placed a rather unremarkable 39th on that list.

I translated the names of the first ten people, as well as of the other notables on the list. Here is a sampling of Russian politologists people who are more influential than Dugin:

  • Alexander Prokhanov – Clearly the top Russian “hard nationalist.”
  • Mikhail Delyagin – An unorthodox economic and proponent of protectionism.
  • Evgeny Minchenko – One of the foremost analysts of Russian “clan politics.” A while back I translated one of his articles.
  • Stanislav Belkovsky – Very popular in the West as the originator behind the “Putin has $40 billion socked away” meme (since inflated to $70 billion and $200 billion). Even though Putler personally murders all his detractors, Belkovsky somehow continues to have a flourishing career.
  • Natalia Zubarevich – A liberal critic of the regime. I translated one of her articles.
  • Fedor Lukyanov – Editor in Chief of Russia in Foreign Affairs.
  • Lilya Shevtsova – The originator of the silovik takeover of the Russian state meme, who has the tendency to “agree with the United States and condemn her own country on every single issue on which they have disagreed.”
  • Gleb Pavlovsky – Infamous in the West as one of the foremost practitioners of “political technology,” though he has long since become more anti-Putin than pro-Putin.
  • Dmitry Zhuravlev – Entirely apolitical, but mentioning him as one of Russia’s best economics commentators.

And finally, we have:

  • 39. DUGIN – So influential and close to Putler he wasn’t allowed to hold onto his sociology professorship at Moscow State University. (Even though it’s not like sociology is even a real science, considering that the field is monopolized by SJW quacks in the West, so it should not have been difficult to justify keeping Dugin on).

And yet Dugin is the person we are to believe is the puppetmaster behind Trump’s puppetmaster.

Incidentally, in my opinion the deepest and most talented Russian nationalist politologist is Egor Kholmogorov, who is based, economically literate, and unlike most Russian (and European) nationalists even has an inkling of HBD understanding i.e. doesn’t think open borders with Central Asia is a great idea. I have translated two of his articles (here, here). However, there is no doubt that his influence is decidedly modest, and mainly survives by writing columns for second-tier media outlets. For context, he is only marginally less influential than Dugin, at 47th position.

место Политологи итог
1. Nikonov, Vyacheslav 8486
2. Markov, Sergey 6901
3. Makarkin, Alexey 5859
4. Orlov, Dmitry 5671
5. Kalachev, Konstantin 5474
6. Prokhanov, Alexander 5426
7. Delyagin, Mikhail 5350
8. Mukhin, Alexey 5299
9. Minchenko, Evgeny 4729
10. Vinogradov, Mikhail 4133
11. Belkovsky, Stanislav 3600
12. Симонов Константин 3583
13. Zubarevich, Natalya 3395
14. Костин Константин 3232
15. Lukyanov, Fedor 3220
16. Рар Александр 3164
17. Чеснаков Алексей 3163
18. Орешкин Дмитрий
19. Shevtsova, Lilya 2782
20. Абзалов Дмитрий 2760
21. Михеев Сергей 2615
22. Мартынов Алексей 2405
23. Pavlovsky, Gleb 2348
24. Галлямов Аббас 2332
25. Миронов Николай 2230
26. Ремизов Михаил 2192
27. Морозов Александр 2152
28. Данилин Павел 2148
29. Бадовский Дмитрий 2105
30. Малашенко Алексей 2001
31. Кынев Александр 1859
32. Zhuravlev, Dmitry 1772
33. Гонтмахер Евгений 1761
34. Шульман Екатерина 1758
35. Жарихин Владимир 1739
36. Кузнецов Глеб 1608
37. Бунин Игорь 1565
38. Фадеев Валерий 1530
40. Kurginyan, Sergey 1449
41. Матвейчев Олег 1260
42. Пожалов Александр 1250
43. Иноземцев Владислав 1225
44. Караганов Сергей 1225
45. Zlobin, Nikolay 1208
46. Туровский Ростислав 1204
47. Kholmogorov, Egor 1173
48. Куликов Дмитрий 1165
49. Бордачев Тимофей 1114
50. Межуев Борис 1112
51. Станкевич Сергей 1059
52. Становая Татьяна 1048
53. Зудин Алексей 1041
54. Trenin, Dmitry 1035
55. Нейжмаков Михаил 984
56. Третьяков Виталий 910
57. Добромелов Григорий 771
58. Колядин Андрей 737
59. Поляков Леонид 734
60. Макаренко Борис 725
61. Кагарлицкий Борис 671
62. Федоров Георгий 602
63. Тишков Валерий 598
64. Фетисов Дмитрий 589
65. Маркедонов Сергей 545
66. Жаров Максим 544
67. Смирнов  Сергей 532
68. Lipman, Maria 502
69. Коновалов Александр 400
70. Солозобов Юрий 385
71. Дмитриев Михаил 372
72. Мигранян Андраник 351
73. Пионтковский Андрей 350
74. Минтусов Игорь 293
75. Kryshtanovskaya, Olga 247
76. Урнов Марк 191
77. Гаман-Голутвина Оксана 160
78. Игрунов Вячеслав 136
79. Мельвиль Андрей 124
80. Ципко Александр 98
81. Максимов Андрей 93
82. Шаравин Александр 71
83. Каспэ Святослав 64
84. Рябов Андрей 19
85. Кувалдин Виктор 11

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Gleb Pavlovsky

    A demagogue who fits extremely well with Ivy League degree mill corps of (faux) political “scientists”.

  2. Incidentally, in my opinion the deepest and most talented Russian nationalist politologist is Egor Kholmogorov

    This reminds me of something. Kholmogorov, who knows a shocking amount about Russian history, supportst the identification of Rurik with Rorik of Dorestad, which I mentioned here earlier today.

  3. Unaddressed is the question of whether this kind of media presence is more valuable or important than that of the Kardashians or their equivalents like Ksenia Sobchak.

  4. Well for the politologists themselves at any rate it is both pretty valuable and important. It is the oxygen they breathe.

  5. Seamus Padraig says

    I always have to laugh whenever the NYT or the Langley Post goes on a tear about Dugin being ‘Putin’s court philosopher’. Even in his native Russia, Dugin’s an extremely marginal figure. The party he’s associated with–the National Bolsheviks–has never held a single seat in the Duma in its more than 20 years of existence. And, as Anatoly pointed out, if he were really such a fave of the Kremlin, then why wasn’t he allowed to keep his professorship at a public university?

  6. why wasn’t he allowed to keep his professorship at a public university?

    He also read lectures on “geopolitics” in the General Staff Academy in Russia and didn’t succeed either. Dugin’s education (a formal one) is a degree from some backwater agricultural institute in Stavropol (if I remember correctly), Dugin couldn’t handle math and physics from one of the top Moscow engineering schools where he originally started his education and then dropped out. If you are interested, find a piece by Edik Limonov about Dugin (in Russian). While I am no fan of Edichka, he sure as hell is precise in describing this Dugin guy. Dugin is no “scholar”, he is rather a very large collection of historic and political facts and nothing more. As per “Dugin–the brain behind Putin” meme, it is a typical “intellectual” excrement of American “Russian Studies” ignoramuses from Ivy League and other “think-tanks” and “intelligence” org. Those people have neither sense of measure nor even a minimal number of reference points when “analyzing” Russia to have at least a semblance of coherent conclusions.

    P.S. Another “remarkable” person in this list is Kolya Zlobin–a certified moron with very influential, Soviet time historians, parents. The guy who came up with the idea of No-power poles world. He humiliates himself periodically on Solovyov’s political talk Show where he passes as a “scholar” in US history and policies because he lives in D.C.

  7. Never mind.

  8. I’m surprised Nikolai Stavrogin isn’t on this list, you can find him in most Russian-language bookshops. Didn’t Akarlin do a piece on him of the so-called ‘Putin’s rehabilitation of Stalin’ on textbooks a few years back?
    Masha Gessen can tell you all you need to know about Russia.

  9. I remember reading that Dugin is of raskolnik background. Is that right? They’re supposed to be apocalyptic minded.

  10. Immigrant from former USSR says

    Esteemed SmoothieX12:
    To the best of my understanding, you are expert on military questions,
    including military technology.
    It may be of interest for you, that in 1930-s “bronepoezda”,
    i.e. armored and armed military trains were produced by USSR
    with the transverse measures as to fit Western Europe’s
    (i.e. narrower) gauge. I leave it to you — to come to the conclusions.
    Here is the reference:
    Myself, I was unable to open zip-file.
    I am sure you are much better with software.
    My best, I.f.f.U.

  11. I wouldn’t play the academic credentials game. This is a game that only liberals (and the corrupt) will always win.

    I don’t have anything against Dugin personally and some of his articles are pretty good but I find his brand of Eurasianism to be far too obscurantist.

  12. Hey Karlin

    What do you make of Vladislav Surkov as puppet master of postmodernist political theatre. meme which seems a quite popular meme as well?

  13. I wouldn’t play the academic credentials game

    I would, and we have a superb example of how not to do things in form of US, so called, National Security Establishment stuffed with people who have vast numbers of Ph.Ds in all kinds of “humanities” fields (from journalism to “history” and “political “science”)–we all know the results. They are around us and are easily observable. I pointed out in one of my posts in my blog that Trump has been endorsed by 200+ senior officers of the US Armed Forces, he also has in his Administration an unprecedented number of military people–this is not an accident. For decades now, US foreign policy was formulated largely by people with a lot of “credentials” in very very wrong fields, most importantly–from the fields which precluded serious professional and academic grasp of the nature and application of the military force, its social and operational dimensions. The result of it is an unmitigated disaster or, rather, catastrophic failure in attaining any sort of global situational awareness and geopolitical catastrophe. This does not imply that the alternative (more professional in general) will necessarily provide better results but what came before it, sure as hell, fits Krylov’s fable on “if the baker will start making boots”. Real credentials, while not the only criteria of human’s ability, sure as hell matter, especially in the fields where one has to make serious decisions which have consequences–a responsibility unknown to the so called doctrine-mongering “intellectual” class, including many offering their opinions and suggestions in the fields they have no credentials for. Last several years we all could observe a neocon “ideologues” drive towards the military conflict with Russia despite suggestions to the contrary from real US military professionals, who, while not having any sympathies to Russia, knew damn well where this all could lead to. In the end, we all, when we have a toothache, go to a real dentist with credentials (usually hanging from the wall in the torture room), not to a Ph.D. in political “science”. So, “credentials” matter, including in modern geopolitics which requires the whole spectrum of solid knowledge from military (including engineering), economic, linguistic to historic.

  14. I remember reading that Dugin is of raskolnik background.

    Yeah, he loves to mention that. Nobody knows if that is true. Reality is, he is from classic Moscow late Soviet intellectual “tusovka” where he supposedly impressed everyone with his knowledge of European fascism. What was that “tusovka” is a separate long discussion.

  15. Philip Owen says

    Presumably the rodnovery’s favourite, Sergey Glazeyev, escaped the list because he is actually in government.

    Dugin has some facility for self promotion. He writes books not just articles. He is translated into English. By eyesight, his ranking depends quite a lot on internet mentions. I wonder if his English articles are included, not that they would enhance his Russian influence.

    The claims in his books are substantial. He apparently gave the Communists their programme before his venture in National Bolshevism and then created Putin’s ideology for him via a renewed discovery of Orthodoxy. So he’s not modest. He probably created his own reputation for fascism. From what I have read of his books he gets muddled rather than fascist considering the “who is a Russian?” question. The man Nat Bol centre is in Saratov. Dugin hasn’t shown his face in town for at least a decade. They get no votes here either. Lib Dems however …

  16. Uebersetzer says

    He speaks rather good English, judging from Youtube interviews. Perhaps this is a reason for foreigners to overstate his importance?

  17. This comment is “old,” but

    In the end, we all, when we have a toothache, go to a real dentist with credentials (usually hanging from the wall in the torture room), not to a Ph.D. in political “science”. So, “credentials” matter

    For the record, when I have a toothache (which is very rare) I sterilize the spot … myself. I seldom go to a dentist, and when I do, it’s never been because of a toothache.
    My teeth are in a state well above the national average. At all the dentists I’ve been to as an adult, I have noticed odd failures of understanding things that they, as dentists, should understand as a matter of course. I put little blame on them personally, because I get a sense there is something too rigid about the system of formal education and in the common notions of professionalism, skill and knowledge.

    This comment is mainly to correct a factual error in the quoted statement : “we all” ….

  18. I never read much Dugin, but after hearing a few of his interviews and a couple of articles here and there I always thought of him as another freak philosopher. There are a lot of such types appeared since the Perestroika, those intellectual halfwit types who create the theory of everything and try to “save Russia”. But after I have read his theory about “solar” and “lunar” Putin, I’m finally left in no doubts who he is, he is not just another freak among others, he is simply insane. I always laugh when the Western media name and cite Dugin as some influential serious figure, be they mainstream or anti-establishment groups (the fringe Right and Left especially like him). This means they either know nothing about the Russian realities or they think their readers are idiots, or both. The same goes when they cite the fringe Russian “democratic” opposition like Kasparov or Ponomarev, but at least such people seem to be more or less sane. While the right place for Dugin is a mental asylum. But instead he lectures at the Moscow State University, what a shame.

  19. As for your choice of Kholmogorov. No doubts he has written some good pieces, often I agree with him (though I have not read him for a couple of years), and I would say he is not a bad writer and historian, but overall he is a very… I cannot find the right words… unpleasant, sleazy person with a lot of skeletons in the closet. At least his moral principles and sincerity are questionable, one cannot trust him, or his words, or his position. Frankly, most “professional Russians” are such. Also even if he is very self-educated and well-read, he does not give an impression of being clever, I think he is rather dumb and manipulable.

    I cannot name a person on the Right in Russia who could be decent. Maybe Dmitry Krylov is, though he is also not a very pleasant person, but at least he seems to be more clever and honest. Some of his philosophy is dull rubbish, but often he makes a good point.

  20. In short, you have no argument.

  21. In short, you’ve never had anything meaningful to answer my comments, so you resort to making nonsensical remarks.

  22. You’re sort of a basic bitch member of the intelligentsia. “I don’t like him, and that’s all there is to it.” Well, you’re not a beautiful woman, so nobody will be enchanted just by your caprice.