Read the Full Report Here: From Ideas to Action: Yevgeniy Prigozhin, Wagner Group, and the Operationalization of Duginism



Ideology is the way human beings navigate their mental environment of beliefs and values, a conceptual pathmaking that seeks to draw continuous roads across an often inconsistent and unwieldy reality. For intercultural scholars seeking to understand an actor from a place far away, ideology can act as a map to guide their thinking to best approximate how that actor sees their world. One way to interpret the recent developments of the Wagner Group is to examine how they perceive and respond to their ideological landscape. By making sense of how current Eurasianist theorists like Alexander Dugin perceive of Russia and the options available for its future, Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s actions, from the formation of the Wagner Group in 2014 to his efforts to spread disinformation in Western elections, begin to form a consistent constellation of projects to unseat the United States from its role as “global hegemon.” Through in-depth open-source analysis, we conclude that Yevgeniy Prigozhin is inseparably tied to Dugin’s own circle, and Prigozhin’s actions should be understood as an operationalization of Duginist thought.

But ideology on its own is a story without an audience. In order for an ideology to guide the actions of a group of people, the ideologue must find a receptive milieu to enable that ideology to shape the world around them. By charting the current heading of Eurasianist ideology in Russia, we argue that current events like the Ukrainian conflict are motivated by a uniquely contemporary construction of the ideology espoused by leading Russian thinkers like Alexander Dugin. This paper seeks to understand the role that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, as well as his Wagner Group, play in the major strands of ideological thought in Russia. We engage in a discussion of the core tenets of Duginist thought, after formulating the context for its arrival. Once a firm footing is established in the conceptual framework laid out by Duginist neo-Eurasianism, we observe the way the influence of this idea has taken hold of major players in Russia today, most notably in Prigozhin’s sudden rise to power and establishment of his empire, as well as Konstantin Malofeev’s growth of his media enterprise. Finally, we discuss the implications of the embedded nature of Dugin’s neo-Eurasianism and Fourth Political Theory in Russian strategic and political thought.

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