Wars, conflicts, mass demonstratios, all this occurs always with some planning behind or at least with some sort of stimulus or "push" that triggers the desired effects.
In August 2014, already during the ongoing war in Ukraine, professor Anton Shekhovtsov published in his blog comparative photos of Eurasian Youth Union´s members between the years 2006 and 2014. The photos taken in 2006 show five members of this movement at a summer camp for indoctrination and training of ultra-nationalist cadres. According to Shekhovtsov, these members should actively fight against democratic movements, a reference to the so-called "Colored Revolutions" that took place in countries neighboring to Russia in 2004 and 2005. The 2014 photos show, one by one, the members of the Union occupying key posts in the administration of the self-proclamed "Donetsk People´s Republic", a region dominated by the pro-Russian fighters that claims for autonomy in eastern Ukraine. Bellow are two of the examples identified by Shekhovtsov.
Another member who would be also involved in Ukraine crisis is the oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. He´s accused by Western leaders of financing the pro-Russian fighters in the neighboring country, and is on the list of economic sanctions of Canada and European Union, which he considers "much stupid" and unable to affect his business. Maloffev is head of the investments firm Marshall Capital and is described in the Western media as "Putin´s Soros", in allusion to his financial support for Kremlin projects, and as "God´s oligarch", a reference to his commitment to promoting Orthodox Christian values and the restauration of glory of the former Russian Empire. Among his actions are the funding to the World Congress of Families, to the dissemination of traditional values (i.e. Orthodox) through his St. Basil the Great Foundation, the law against homossexual propaganda to minors in Russia, the internet control and the rebels in Ukraine.
The conection between Malofeev an the Kremlin circle is narrow. On his list of contacts are the former Russian Minister of Communications Igor Shchyogolev, the head of state Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, the likely Vladimir Putin´s personal confessor and head of one of the main monasteries in Russia father Tikhon, the political technologist, former Malofeev´s public consultor and former Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People´s Republic" Alexander Borodai, the member of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia and leader of the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine Igor Girkin (known as Igor Strelkov) and Alexander Dugin.
Marshall Capital provides funding to the St. Basil Foundation. In this company, Igor Strelkov would have worked years ago, information denied by the oligarch. Strelkov also appears in the economic sanctions imposed by the US and European Union.
Malofeev, Strelkov and Borodai probably form a close relationship. In a trip to Ukraine that would have aimed the exposure of Orthodox relics, Malofeev visited Kiev and had his protection provided by Strelkov, who is also a Borodai´s friend.
The oligarch doesn´t spare praise to Strelkov, whom calls "a man of ideals". He also says that for his actions in Ukraine Strelkov would be a "real hero". "He´s got the spirit of a Russian officer. As someone loves the Russian Empire, I can only sympathize with him." Dugin also shed many praises and exalt Strelkov´s figure, whom he describes as "the Russian myth" presenting him as model of the "ideal" Russian man, the one who embodies the nation´s identity. He would be the "bearer of the Russian archetype". "He´s us", says Dugin, the right man to fight with hatred the spiritual enemy, a reference to the men who embody the Western way of life. Both Malofeev´s and Dugin´s statements suggest that both have a good knowledge of who Strelkov is, and who is openly supported by them.
The relationships network that brings Dugin, Malofeev, Strelkov and Surkov to the conflict in Ukraine is complex. Their role indicates that the Russian government delegates to members of it´s relationship circle the responsability to act in Ukraine, avoiding the accusation that Moscow would be acting directly in it´s territory. This is the stratagem used by Putin to repeatedly state that Russia isn´t intervening in the neighbouring country, what amounts to say that a gang didn´t invade a house because it delegated to the other gang the assault in an agreement signed by both parts.
Given the size of the Russian network linked to the Kremlin that´s operating in Ukraine, it´s higly unlikely it have been created in the period between the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, on February 22nd 2014, and the beginning of the Crimean invasion by Russian military forces from the port city of Sevastopol four days later. It not only existed before, like the Eurasian Youth Union´s summer camp, as people like Strelkov were already active in military, an activity without which would be impossible to lead an armed militia. Most important of all, however, it´s the Neo-Eurasian ideology that moves groups such as the Union, the International Eurasian Movement and a number of representatives of politics, the Armed Forces and the media. The ideals of restauration of the former Russian emperial power, as openly supported by the various Konstantin Malofeev´s projects, are perfect tools for the expanstionist program of the Eurasian movement. The oligarch sees the conflict in Ukraine as a war in a cultural context. Culture is seen by the Dugin´s Neo-Eurasian movement as one of the fundations for the formation of civilizations and, hence, of their political forces. For Malofeev there are no differences between Russians and Ukrainians. Both don´t form distinct people, but only one, an idea also shared by the Eurasianists.
It should be noted that the Ukraine´s people and territory are crucial for the creation of Greater Russia and the Eurasian Empire idealized by Dugin, the fighters in Ukraine, the Kremlin´s oligarchs and put into practice by Putin. Judging by the Eurasian Movement´s principles, Moscow won´t rest until its has carried out it´s plans in Ukraine and, thence, to the rest of the world. The fight is much deeper than the economic sanctions imposed by the West to some members of the Russian power. It pass through the conquest of hearts and minds and the bodies movement into the battlefield.
* Published in Portuguese on July 15th 2015.