Why is this Pizzagate truther meeting with a Russian neo-fascist?

Far-right darlings Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone head to Russia to meet with Alexander Dugin.

Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone meet with Alexander Dugin. CREDIT: YOUTUBE
Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone meet with Alexander Dugin. CREDIT: YOUTUBE

After they were barred from entering the U.K., far-right darlings Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone decided to head to a different country altogether: Russia.

Southern and Pettibone — the latter of whom has described herself as “one of the leading authorities on Pizzagate” — announced the trip late last week, and have already released their first video from the visit. Instead of speaking with local politicians or opposition activists however, they settled on sharing the thoughts of one of Russia’s most well-renowned neo-fascists, Alexander Dugin.

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Dugin has gained a fair bit of coverage over the past few years. Much of that attention stems from his advocacy of the geopolitical theory of “Eurasianism,” positing Russia — which he describes as “Eternal Rome” — not only as a country entitled to control all nations that made up the Soviet Union, but as one eternally at war with the West, which he refers to as “Eternal Carthage.”

Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern yukking it up with Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin. CREDIT: YOUTUBE
Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern yukking it up with Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin. CREDIT: YOUTUBE

Southern, though, claims that Dugin isn’t actually a fascist, but merely a misunderstood philosopher. As she wrote on Twitter, “It’s incorrect to call him a fascist.”

Dugin’s denials, of course, are akin to “white nationalists” or members of the so-called “alt-right” insisting they’re not actually white supremacists. Indeed, Dugin’s neo-fascism is all but impossible to miss.

Not only have other Russian fascists referred to him as the “St. Cyril and Methodius of Fascism,” but Dugin also initially made his name at Pamyat, described by one analyst as the “most significant anti-Semitic organization during perestroika.” Or as one of Dugin’s friends said, he was “looking for any sort of elevator to the top, and [he] found it in fascism.” He even named his alter ego after the former Nazi official in charge of paranormal research, and helped introduce a number of prominent anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to Russian audiences.

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Dugin further acted as one of Russia’s primary supporters during its invasion of Ukraine, calling for Moscow to annex more territory throughout Europe. As Dugin memorably said a few years ago, Ukrainians were a “race of bastards” who needed to be “cleansed.” He also urged the killing of antiwar demonstrators in Russia.

Along the way, Dugin — whom former KKK higher-up David Duke referred to as “one of the leading intellectuals of Russia’s patriotic movement” — has built up a number of ties with American fascists. Not only has his site previously published ramblings from white supremacists like Richard Spencer, but in 2015 Dugin filmed an address for the launch of white supremacist Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party, issuing a “common message” to his “American friends.” Shortly thereafter, Dugin also worked with American neo-Nazi Preston Wiginton to deliver a taped speech at Texas A&M University.

Softball supremacists

Predictably, Southern and Pettibone failed in their first video to ask Dugin about any of his fascistic beliefs, or any of his proposed policies of Russian revanchism, of support for Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, or his calls for a new “Eurasian Empire.” (Southern also referred to him as “Professor Dugin,” even though he was fired years ago for his genocidal rhetoric.)

Instead, the interview was drenched in softball questions. Among the questions Pettibone and Southern asked:

  • “Mr. Dugin, what would you say are the most important challenges that are facing the Millennial generation today, particularly within the Western world?”
  • “Where do you believe modern conservatism in the U.S. is headed?”

As it is, Southern and Pettibone have pledged more videos with Dugin in the near future. But in a follow-up video, Southern said she was “enthralled” with Dugin, and that he “open[ed] so many doors” for her.

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Southern added that she’d spoken with people “who have translated [Dugin’s] works to English,” and who warned her of the criticism she might experience for interviewing the neo-fascist. While she didn’t name these translators, Dugin’s most prominent English translator is none other than Richard Spencer’s wife, Nina Kouprianova, who has gushingly praised Dugin in the past.

As Kouprianova has said, Dugin is a man of “rare intellectual caliber” and “one of the greatest minds of our time.” And if Southern’s reactions to interviewing Dugin are any barometer, it appears she may think the same way.

This post has been updated.