Putins mystic Rasputin figure who reckons Russia should rule all of Europe

Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have been inspired the writings of a Neo-Nazi mystic known as "Putin's Rasputin."

Aleksandr Dugin, who sports long hair and a shaggy beard like the infamous Rasputin did more than a century ago, has long called for an invasion of Russia's neighbours to the south, and believes that his country has the right to rule over all of Europe and Asia.

Dugin's mad ramblings have been "required reading" for Russian soldiers, with the belief that Moscow should control everything "from Vladivostok to Dublin" central to his ideology, the Sun reports.

The 60-year-old Muscovite is most famous for his 1997 book Foundations of Geopolitics, which platforms Dugin's ultranationalist and neo-fascist ideology of Neo-Eurasianism, which states Russians have a divine right to rule.

Dugin held more sway in Russian geo politics in the 90s, but there are fresh fears he could become influential with the rise in nationalistic ideologies.

Marlene Laruelle, Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University said that "the war could give him a new field for influence."

"Putin's regime has made an ideological turn towards nationalism and repression, and this could present new opportunities for Dugin," she said.

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His relationship with Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev, chair of the board of directors for Russian TV channel Tsargrad, which has been used frequently by Dugin, is crucial to his success.

Malofeev was sanctioned by the US, EU, and Canada in 2014, and in 2017.

Ukraine, who have him on an international wanted list, accuse him of creating illegal paramilitary groups.

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"The new context of the war could give all the nationalist entrepreneurs of influence like Malofeev new access to some of the corridors of power," Laruelle said. "It could be easier for Dugin to get the ears of the Kremlin than it was before."

Laruelle characterises Dugin as a "fascist", who "believes in the need for regeneration of the nation through violence and war".

The expert added that the Rasputin lookalike uses the idea of a pan-European empire, Aryan identity, neo-Paganism, all mixed with the Russian Orthodox church to peddle fascism.

A second expert, Andreas Umland, an analyst at the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies, said Dugin's ideology ties together features of satanism, paganism, Russian Orthodox Christianity, and fascism.

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