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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dugin and Kotzias

Questions are being raised (for example, in the FT) about relations between Alexander Dugin (right in photo) and the new Greek foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, (left in photo). Kotzias, a Communist in his student days and then a successful professor of international studies before his appointment as foreign minister, hosted Dugin at the University of Piraeus in 2013. The transcript of this event tells us little of the views of Kotzias, who chaired the session and said little, other than to compare the European Union to an empire. That Kotzias is hostile to the European Union and its recent policies regarding Greece should come as no surprise: that is after all the whole point of the elections that have just brought Kotzias and colleagues to power.

There are signs of Kotzias and colleagues inclining towards Russia, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras choosing the Russian ambassador as the first foreign official he met after his appointment, and the stance he is adopting against EU sanctions against Russia. There are, however, no obvious signs of them tending specifically towards Dugin's version of Eurasianism, and The Economist is probably right to conclude that "there is no basis for religious determinism in diplomatic history... [but] when the diplomatic stars are aligned, common cultural and spiritual reference points can give added resonance to a relationship."

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