Entangled Far Rights: A Russian-European Intellectual Romance in the Twentieth Century
Since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, Russia’s support to the European far right—and to a variety of populist leaders more globally—has become a cornerstone of the West’s perception of Moscow as a “spoiler” on the international scene. The fact that Russia’s most fervent supporters are now to be found on the right of the ideological spectrum should not be a surprise. The European far right has always had Russophile tendencies, but these were obscured during the Cold War, when rightist politics were most of all anti-Communist. Entangled Far Rights traces the “intellectual romance” that existed between European far right groups and their Russian-Soviet counterparts during the twentieth century and accounts for their recent re-emergence.
This chapter examines the personal and ideological contacts between members of the Russian émigré Eurasianist movement and representatives of the so-called “Conservative Revolution” in late Weimar Germany. Throughout the 1920s both movements professed similarly strong anti-Western and anti-democratic ideas. Yet, so far it has been little known that these groups and their members also had actual organizational contacts and direct personal interactions. Introducing new archival evidence from the Eurasianists’ personal papers, this chapter reveals that in the early 1930 Eurasianists indeed strove to forge a strategic alliance with several German rightist movements, such as “Gegner” (led by Harro Schulze-Boysen), “Die Tat” (led by Hans Zehrer), “Schwarze Front” (led by Otto Strasser) and “Widerstandsbewegung” (led by Ernst Niekisch). The Eurasianist A.P. Antipov met representatives of these groups in early February 1932, when he officially represented the Eurasianist movement at the “European Youth Congress” in Frankfurt organized by the French non-conformist Alexandre Marc and his group “Plans.” Following this event, some German “conservative revolutionaries,” in particular Schulze-Boysen, intensified their contacts and exchanged letters and programmatic statements with individual Eurasianists. By then, the Eurasianists had become part of an international, pan-European network of non-conformist groups in search of a “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism, between “left” and “right.”