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Fascism, with the intellectual world that surrounded it, and Communism, with the intellectual world that surrounded it, are so intrinsically woven into the European intellectual tradition that attempting to cancel either, or both of them - declaring them to be irredeemably evil and therefore untouchable - inflicts on Europe a wound so deep that at the time of writing it seems impossible that Europe should recover - which is to say, any chance that it might become a moral entity, knowing its own mind and capable of standing up against the influence of, say, the United States - or indeed the Soviet Union or China in the days when they had the ambition to reshape the world in their own image.

It was partly with this in mind that some eight years ago I developed an interest in the Russian geopolitical thinker, Alexander Dugin, and in particular his evocation of the 'Conservative revolutionaries' in Germany in the 1920s - thinkers who undoubtedly contributed to the success of National Socialism but who nonetheless lived in a state of tension with it. To quote Dugin himself:

'From the very beginning, we emphasise that we are fundamentally not interested in the so-called "moral" side of the issue related to the Conservative Revolution, since any idea can be discredited in the course of its implementation, and the sphere of political life itself is not free from propaganda vilification. No matter how many bloody crimes "communists", "capitalists" or "fascists" commit, their ideological concepts must be analysed objectively, impartially and without any "party" pathos, if, of course, we want to understand these concepts and explain them to others, and not to "expose" or "refute", which is the task of agitators or propagandists, but not of researchers.' (1)

(1)  Alexander Dugin: The Conservative Revolution (a brief history of third way ideologies), Moscow 1991, accessible at Dugin of course doesn't always maintain such a superior attitude to agitation and propaganda.

In this respect Dugin was continuing work already begun in France by Alain de Benoist and the 'New Right', going back to the 1960s, but Dugin casts a wider net than Benoist who is resolutely hostile to anything suggesting either Christianity or Bolshevism.

Dugin's interest in the intellectual world out of which Naziism emerged may seem surprising in a Russian writer, given what Russia suffered at the hands of the Nazis and also Russian pride in the victory of the Great Patriotic War. It is perhaps less surprising that the same - or a very similar - interest has developed in Ukraine. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the 1914 war was a disaster for the West Ukrainians, placing them first under their traditional enemies (in the Austro-Hungarian context) the Poles and then under the Soviet government which they held responsible for the massacre of their fellow Ukrainians during the forced collectivisation of 1929-33. In these circumstances - circumstances in which the only truly motivating political ideas in the New Europe of the nation states were Fascism and Communism - it is quite understandable that Ukrainians anxious to break free from the Soviet Union should look on Nazi Germany as a potential liberator and regret its subsequent defeat.

In Ukraine, though, so far as I can see, the interest in German Conservative Revolutionary thinking developed relatively late, perhaps inspired by Dugin's example. The name most prominently associated with it is Olena Semenyaka, described in a broadly hostile but informative account by Adrien Nonjon, as 'The "First Lady" of Ukrainian nationalism.' (2) Following Nonjon's account:

'Olena Semenyaka (b. 1987) is the female figurehead of the Azov movement: she has been the international secretary of the National Corps since 2018 (and de facto leader since the party’s very foundation in 2016) while leading the publishing house and metapolitical (3) club Plomin (Flame) … In the second half of 2019, she was in the media spotlight of the British investigative journalism consortium Bellingcat, which accused Semenyaka of promoting a far-right International. She is indeed seeking to impose her ideology in Western metapolitical debates, successfully rousing interest in her conservative revolutionary vision of European geopolitics.'

(2) Adrien Nonjon: 'Olena Semenyaka, The “First Lady” of Ukrainian Nationalism', Illiberalism Studies Program Working Papers, September 2020, accessible at Nonjon is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of History Europe-Eurasia Research Centre (CREE) at the Institut des Langues et Civilizations Orientales de Paris (INALCO), and Associated Research Fellow at the Illiberalism Studies Program at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University. He gives his interests as Ukrainian far-right, Azov movement, nationalist cunter-cultures such as 'eco-nationalism', white rock and neo-paganism.

(3) The word 'metapolitical' occurs a lot in these circles. It refers to a work of preparing the way for practical politics, through establishing intellectual and cultural dominance, following the recommendations of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.