Alastair Campbell has joined Rory Stewart on The Rest is Politics podcast to discuss the mysterious influence of Russian political philosopher Alexander Dugin on the Kremlin’s geopolitical strategy over Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is believed to have been strongly influenced by Russia’s foremost ultra-nationalist thinker.
Mr Campbell told the podcast: “I want to talk about this bearded Russian Rasputin lookalike Alexander [Dugin].
“If he is as influential on Putin, as it is said then it’s quite frightening because he’s a fascist is an outright fascist.
“He thinks the war is good. His vision is actually that Russia should be driven by the hatred of America sufficient to want to build an empire.
“He talks about an empire from Dublin to Vladivostok.”
“He wrote a book in 1997 when we thought that the world could only get better and in this book, it was sort of guide to geopolitics from the Russian perspective,” continued Mr Campbell.
“He says there are some very bold ambitions for Russia. One was, he felt that the Russian Secret Service should infiltrate American public life to sow dissent into politics.
“He had a vision that Britain should be separated from the rest of Europe, done pretty well in that and he said that we should try to get Central, Western, and Central Europe addicted to Russian oil and gas as a way of weakening them for the long term.
“When you read the stuff that he wrote then and the stuff that he says now, it’s pretty terrifying.”
Russia told Ukrainian fighters still holding out in Mariupol to give up on Wednesday as it pushed for a decisive victory in its new eastern offensive, prompting Western governments to pledge more military help to Kyiv.
Thousands of Russian troops backed by artillery and rocket barrages were advancing in what Ukrainian officials called the Battle of the Donbas. Earlier, they seized the city of Kreminna.
Russia’s nearly eight-week-long invasion has taken longer than many expected while still failing to capture any of the biggest cities, forcing Moscow to refocus on and around separatist regions.
The biggest attack on a European state since 1945 has, however, seen nearly 5 million people flee abroad and reduced cities to rubble as the incursion drags on.
Russia was hitting the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining stronghold in Mariupol, with bunker-buster bombs, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said late on Tuesday. Reuters could not verify the details.
The world watches the murder of children online and remains silent,” adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
After an earlier ultimatum to surrender lapsed and as midnight approached, Russia’s defence ministry said not a single Ukrainian soldier had laid down their weapons and it renewed the proposal. Ukrainian commanders have vowed not to surrender.
“Russia’s armed forces, based purely on humanitarian principles, again propose that the fighters of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries cease their military operations from 1400 Moscow time on 20th April and lay down arms,” the Russian Defence Ministry said.