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• Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop Mekhanika – all documents
• Сергей Курёхин и Поп-механика – все документы

Hannelore Fobo

Sergey Kuryokhin: Improvisations and Performances

Part Three

Empire and Magic. Sergey Kuryokhin's “Pop-Mekhanika No. 418” (1995)

Second, revised version 11 March 2020 (First version 13 August 2018)

page 4 • The “hedgehog-type” model of an empire, and other paradoxes

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page 4 • The “hedgehog-type” model of an empire, and other paradoxes

Dugin and Kuryokhin shared two disconnected strands of thought. There was, on the one hand, the “imperial consciousness” with its inherent anti-Westernness, so to speak – which, as we have seen, Kuryokhin was not actually willing to apply to his activities as a musician – and, on the other hand, there was the “antithetical thinking”. In the second part of the article entitled “Pop-Mekhanika in the West”, I have already discussed Kuryokhin’s “antithetical thinking” vis-à-vis his artistic creation. During Pop-Mekhanika performances, an antithesis could be created by attacking rock with jazz, or by bringing animals on stage.[1]

If “antithetical thinking” professes the equal value of points of view that stand in opposition to each other, “imperial consciousness” is a hierarchically organised mode of thinking, whereby one nation or culture is ranked above another, for instance. We have seen this in the NBP’s programme: Russian civilization is regarded as forming the basis for an Empire stretching from Vladivostok to Gibraltar. In contrast, antithetical thinking expresses a strong inner feeling that the individual cannot be confined to any single position, whether that be “better” or “worse”, or “right” or “wrong” – whether “one” or “minus one”, to put it in mathematical terms. This constitutes its anarchic, anti-authoritarian character – something strongly appreciated by Kuryokhin, forming, as it did, part of his avant-garde self-concept. Thus, Kuryokhin wanted the public to be amazed and bewildered by his unpredictable acts and thoughts. This explains his need to “feel the moment when the radical and the fresh becomes banal and universally recognized”.[2] That which is “radical and fresh” stands at the top of his hierarchy, but when this no longer belongs to the elite, it has to be removed by its antithesis. Kuryokhin found these antitheses within the repertoire of the NBP, which abounded with fanciful concepts and slogans.

For Kuryokhin, the NBP was a

    totally new ideology, religion, and culture; it represents those on the right striving to move to the left, and those on the left striving to move to the right. Putting it roughly, the concepts of “left” and “right”, “up” and “down” have no meaning whatsoever when it comes to the National Bolsheviks. Any semblance of dualism has been completely eradicated.[3] This is of fundamental importance. This is what Dugin calls a “conservative revolution”.[4]

Building the case for his “anti-dualistic” ideology in his New Year’s column for the magazine OM, Kuryokhin declared Marx to be “a man with a deeply gnostic understanding of the nature of the cycles pertaining to the social aspect of the life of a society.” Juxtaposing Karl Marx with Dugin’s favourite author Réné Guénon, Kuryokhin continued: “Guénon and Marx form two facets of this magic crystal, via which prism we are able to perceive the essential reality of the world in the epoch of Achievement.”[5]

The other strand of thought, “imperial consciousness”, stems from a tradition rooted in Russian and Soviet state ideologies. The collapse (or implosion) of the Soviet Union meant the borders of both the Russian empire and the Soviet Union lay beyond those of today’s Russia. This “shrinkage” was perceived by many to be akin to a defeat in a lopsided battle, or was even perceived as an insult, Russia having lost its prominent place in the hierarchy of world powers. The NBP wanted to restore Russia’s place through use of military force, and, additionally, Dugin intended to restore Russia’s place with the help of God’s grace. This idea will be discussed in the chapter entitled “Dugin and the Salvation of Mankind”.

At the same time, there can be no doubt that the end of the Soviet Union brought with it individual liberties. Kuryokhin reacted to the situation by amalgamating totalitarian ideas with liberal ideas. He imagined a strong totalitarian state in conjunction with totalitarian art, accompanied by total freedom for himself. He and Dugin conceived of a “hedgehog-type” model of empire. Kushnir quotes Dugin:

    “When I explained to Kuryokhin my political ideas, which were rooted in metaphysics and tradition, leaving no place for liberalism or Western-type civilisation, he accepted these ideas with great delight” – remembered Dugin. Together we worked out a ‘hedgehog-type’ model of empire – missiles, formidable tanks and battleships all pointed outwards. Within the empire, fauns walk about and thrive, with mermaids’ tails flickering in the grottos. In other words, there is complete freedom: internal freedom and external empire. Sergey took immense pleasure from this paradoxical idea.”[6]

In other words, a hierarchical mode of thinking was applied to world affairs, while, within the realm of individual action, antithetical thinking remained permissible – although society as such would be anti-liberal in character.

If we judge by logic, this doesn’t make sense. Empires are structured from above, assigning tasks to individuals by integrating them into a hierarchy. Yet internal freedom would permit the hierarchies to be challenged at any moment. In that a case, “internal freedom” would only be available to the privileged few standing atop the hierarchy. This contradiction is characteristic of the NBP’s programme, in which totalitarian, imperial ideas stand in contrast to the promise of individual freedom. (Point 4: “Once in power, the NBP will […] build a TOTAL STATE, and human rights will give way to the rights of nations; Point 17: “The freedom of nations from the aggression of globalisation is what guarantees individual freedom.”[7])

But Dugin and Kuryokhin didn’t have to prove to each other that their “hedgehog model” was more than just a fantasy. To their minds, the paradox made sense. Perhaps they followed Crowley’s proposition as set out in the Book of Law, quoted in the introduction: “In the words of the famous paradox of the Comte de Fénix — The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.”[8]

As a matter of fact, Crowley’s propositions are often not only paradoxical, but entirely contradictory. Within his writings it is easy to find arguments both for individual liberty and for the submission of one person to another.

Several sentences from the Book of Law support the concept of the “absolute liberty of each individual will”, in particular those three sentences from Chapter III that establish the Code of Conduct for human beings: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” “Love is the law, love under will.” “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”[9]

Crowley’s own comments on his “Book of Law”, for instance in “Magick Without Tears”, 1940, stand in direct contrast to the above: “The Book announces a new dichotomy in human society; there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the ‘lone wolf’ and the herd.”[10] Marco Pasi infers an anti-democratic viewpoint from Crowley’s writings that negates the concept of equal rights for all men. Pasi provides the following example, taken from Crowley’s “Magick without Tears”:

    He states for instance that the “nauseating cult of weakness”, namely democracy, is “utterly false and vile”.[11]

The contradiction is even more blatant in The Liber OZ (1941), which lists the rights of the individual, starting with “Man has the right to live by his own law”, and finishing with “Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights”.[12] The problem of how living according to one’s own laws violates the rights of others is obvious.

Whatever the sources of Dugin’s and Kuryokhin’s “hedgehog model”, their so-called “imperial thinking” only worked because their “antithetical thinking” stopped short of admitting its inherent consequences – namely, the randomness of what subcategory a person would belong to: i.e. “friend” or “enemy”, “master” or “slave”, or “good” or “bad”. They did not bother to apply their antithetical thinking to their imperial thinking. With regard to the latter, their dualistic view remained tied to firm positions, with America always being “the bad guy”. This was in line with their communist upbringing, which had taught them to divide the world into two solid blocks: “us” and “them”.

Kuryokhin’s claim notwithstanding, Dugin’s “conservative revolution” had by no means erased dualism; rather, it increased it. The so-called “Catechism for Members of the Eurasian Youth Union”, the youth organisation of the “International Eurasian Movement” founded by Dugin on 20 November 2003,[13] stipulates that

    There are only two forces in the world: us and them. It is akin to plus and minus, fire and ice. There is nothing in between. Whoever is not an enemy is a friend. Whoever is not a friend is an enemy (or a coward or a simpleton, which is no different to being an accomplice of the enemy – idiots are utterly guilty and they will be punished unreservedly).[14]

Concerning a proper attitude towards the enemy, it further stipulates that:

    We shall be malicious until victorious. Any powerful enemy not prepared to surrender or pull back deserves our hatred. This is the correct sentiment...[15]

Irina Prokhorova, Chief Editor of the journal Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (New Literary Survey), recently referred to such outspoken brutality as being a heritage of the Soviet era:

    Violence and abuse were standard practise, and often still are. […] But this really is how they perceive the world, with destruction and acts of violence being effective ways of resolving problems.[16] [17]

On the other hand, Kuryokhin admitted to himself that you cannot eradicate evil by killing it:

    Fascism was a romantic reaction to capitalism and the horrors of war. But everything idealistic has a tendency to degenerate in the course of its deceptive evolution. The common, social version of fascism became the very thing it had initially been fighting. There is a Chinese legend about a young hero who slew a dragon which, people said, was the embodiment of evil. But having slain the dragon, the young man himself turned into a dragon. Before dying, the dragon told him, “Don't think that you have killed evil. You may have killed the bearer of evil, but evil itself is indestructable.” Apologies for relating such a banal story. In summary, the young man turned into a dragon. But this doesn’t mean that fighting against evil is evil. It just comes down to the laws of nature and time.[18]

To put it another way, you actually turn into the very thing you have slain. This represents a gloomy prospect for Dugin: it suggests his fate is to become an American! Yet Dugin’s and Kuryokhin’s “imperial thinking” shows their unwillingness – or, perhaps, their inability, or at least their lack of intellectual courage – to remain consistent with their “antithetical” position, which would involve them seeing themselves as being in the position of the defeated enemy. It was unthinkable that Russia should play anything but the leading role in world affairs.

It was only on stage that Dugin and Kuryokhin argued that it is arbitrary to identify with one category or another. We will later see that during Pop-Mekhanika No. 418, Dugin expanded “antithetical thinking” to cover the field of chaos magic. This he did by using a passage from Crowley’s Ararita to show that it is possible for “good” and “bad” to exchange places – at the will of the magician. Antithetical thinking is a magic-based practice.

Still, hierarchal thinking offers more satisfaction than antithetical thinking, thus, since the appearance of Dugin’s early publications, his extremely aggressive anti-Western rhetoric has not waned. In Russia, Dugin’s role as a political opinion maker has been ever-increasing – especially via the “International Eurasian Movement”, which he founded. He has important contacts among the political and military elite. In 2007, he created the slogan “Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, Putin is irreplaceable.”[19] But he is also active in European right-wing circles[20] and in the near East.[21] It behoves one to consider Dugin’s power of persuasion.

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[1] Fobo, Hannelore Pop-Mekhanika in the West, Chapter 5, “Geese and goats as antithesis”.

Web 28 July 2018 http://www.e-e.eu/Pop-Mekhanika-in-the-West/index5.html

[2] Но самое главное – вовремя почувствовать момент, когда радикальное и свежее становится банальным и общепризнанным.


[3] It is interesting to note that today such views have actually been adopted by politicians, for instance with the formation of a populist left-right government in Italy (May 2018).

[4] НБП – это абсолютно новая идеология, религия, культура; это стремление правых быть левыми, а левых – правыми. Грубо говоря, в рамках национал-большевизма лишаются всякого смысла такие понятия, как «правые-левые», «верх-низ». Уничтожается всякий дуализм. Это архиважно! Это то, что Дугин называет «консервативной революцией».

Zhvaniia, Dmitrii. “Sergei Kurekhin: Natsional-bol’shevizm – eto svezhii veter i podvizhnichestvo”

(“Sergey Kuryokhin: ‘National Bolshevism: a fresh breeze – and asceticism too’”) [“Сергей Курёхин: «Национал-большевизм — это свежий ветер и подвижничество»”.] (1995) Novyi smysl, 9 July 2012. Web. 28 July 2018. http://www.sensusnovus.ru/interview/2012/07/09/13959.html

[5] Маркс – человек глубинного гностического понимания природы циклов социальной жизни общества. Генон и Маркс – это две грани того магического кристалла, через призму которого можно увидеть подлинное бытие мира эпохи Завершения.

Kuryokhin, Sergey. “S Novzm godom Zverya!” (“Happy Year of the Beast!”) [“С Новым годом Зверя!”] OM magazine, Moscow, March 1996, p. 69. Web. 31 July 2018.


“The epoch of Achievement” appears to be a reference to Crowley’s definition of the end of the old aeon in 1904.

[6] «Когда я изложил Курехину идеи политики, проистекающие из метафизики, из традиции, в которых либерализму и западничеству не было места, он с огромным удовольствием это принял, — вспоминает Дугин. — И мы с ним разработали модель империи “ежового” типа, которая поворачивается своими ракетами, своими жесткими танками, своими линкорами. А внутри там процветают, ходят фавны, а в гротах мелькают хвосты русалок. То есть происходит полная свобода. Свобода внутри и империя вовне. И Сергею очень понравилась эта парадоксальная идея».

Kushnir, Alexander [Aleksandr]. Sergei Kurekhin. Bezumnaia mekhanika russkogo roka, (Sergey Kuryokhin. The Crazy Mechanics of Russian Rock) [Сергей Курехин. Безумная механика русского рока], p. 206. Moscow: Bertelsmann Media, Moscow, 2013

[7] Point 4: Придя к власти, НБП […] построит ТОТАЛЬНОЕ ГОСУДАРСТВО, права человека уступят место правам нации; Point 17 Свобода нации от агрессии мондиализма является залогом свободы индивидуума.

Programme of the National Bolshevik Party, 1994

Website of “The NBP without reference to Limonov in Kaliningrad”, undated. Web. 25 July 2018



[8] Crowley, Aleister Liber AL vel Legis, Introduction, Chapter V

Website of O.T.O, Ordo Templi Orientis. Web. 25 July 2018


Comte de Fénix is one of Crowley’s many pseudonyms

[9] Ibid., Chapter I

[10] Crowley, Aleister. Magick Without Tears. Biblioteka Peyades. Complete and Unabridged, edited with a Foreword by Karl J. Germer2. © 1954 Karl J. Germer for Ordo Templi Orientis. Renewed 1982 © BLURB. Chapter 48: Morals of AL—Hard to Accept, and Why nevertheless we Must Concur

Web 28 July 2018. https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/crowley/mwt/mwt_48.htm

The sentence continues:

(Nietzsche may be regarded as one of our prophets; to a much less extent, de Gobineau.) Hitler's "Herrenvolk" is a not too dissimilar idea; but there is no volk about it; and if there were, it would certainly not be the routine-loving, uniformed-obsessed, law-abiding, refuge-seeking German; the Briton, especially the Celt, a natural anarchist, is much nearer the mark. Britons will never get together about anything unless and until each one of them feels himself directly threatened.

[11] Pasi, Marco Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics New York: Routledge, 2014, p. 49

[12] Crowley, Aleister Liber OZ. The Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Website of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) U.S.A. Undated. Web 28 July 2018


[13] Sozdano Mezhdunarodnoe evraziiskoe dvizhenie” (“The International Eurasian Movement has been founded”) [“Создано Международное Евразийское движение”]

Website of the “International Eurasian Movement” 21.11. 2003. Web. 25 July 2018. http://med.org.ru/article/1545

The above-mentioned founding of the movement followed the break-up of the “Evrasia” Party, following the exclusion of Dugin. See: “Mezhdunarodnoe evraziiskoe dvizhenie (MED)”

Antikompromat. Publichnaia internet-biblioteka Vladimira Pribylovskogo

(Antikompromat. The public internet library of Vladimir Pribylovsky.) [Антикомпромат. Публичная интернет-библиотека Владимира Прибыловского]

Undated. Web 25 July 2018 http://anticompromat.org/dugin/med_spr.html

[14] Есть только две силы в мире – они и мы. Это как плюс и минус, как огонь и лед. А больше ничего нет. Тот, кто не враг – друг. А не друг – враг (или трус и балбес, но это все равно, что пособник врага – вина идиотов огромна, и наказание им будет без скидок!) (Катехизис члена Евразийского Союза Молодежи. 2005).

Catechism for Members of the Eurasian Youth Union, 2005

In: Vershillo, Roman “Obrashchenie v Bogoslovskuiu komissiiu po povodu ucheniia A.G. Dugina” (“Letter to the theological committee regarding A.G Dugin’s teachings.”) [“Обращение в Богословскую комиссию по поводу учения А.Г. Дугина”] 6.9.2012. Web 28 July 2018


[15] Пока мы не обретем победы, мы будем злыми… Сильный противник, который не собирается сдаваться и отступать, заслуживает нашей ненависти. Это правильное чувство…


[16] Насилие было нормой жизни, и во многом остается. […] Но на самом деле это картина мира: уничтожением, насилием можно решить проблемы.

Prokhorova, Irina. Interview by Oksana Pashina and Vitalii Dymarskii. Echo Moskvy, 13 July 2018. Web. 28 July 2018 https://echo.msk.ru/programs/year2018/2239127-echo/

[17] Nikolai Svanidze, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Russia, gave a similar picture in an Interview with Echo Moskvy, 20 July 2018:

In our life, in today’s life, generally speaking, many are much more frightened by the risk of ending up in the prison system, of being sentenced to prison, than by the risk of death. […]

To a significant degree, it is a tradition that has been around since the old days, going right back to imperial times, prior to 1917. It is a tradition that was hugely strengthened during the days of the Soviet Union, both before Stalin, and, of course, actually during the Stalin period. It has to do with cruelty and disregard for human life and human rights and also a complete – utter – failure to comprehend the expression “human dignity”. Generation after generation has been living in this atmosphere. It has, of course, seaped into people’s blood. It has become embedded in our DNA.

В нашей сегодняшней жизни, в общем, риск попасть в систему отбывания наказания, риск сесть в тюрьму, он, в общем, для многих страшнее, чем риск смерти. […]

Это традиция, которая в значительной степени сохранилась еще с имперских, совсем старых времен. До 17-го года. Была чрезвычайно усилена при советской власти еще в досталинские времена и особенно, конечно, в сталинские.

Это жестокость, это пренебрежение к человеческой жизни и к человеческим правам. Полное вообще непонимание того, что означает словосочетание «человеческое достоинство». Абсолютно. И в этой атмосфере жили поколениями. И, конечно, это всосалось в кровь. Это вошло в наш генокод

Svanidze, Nikolai. “Osoboe mnenie”. Interview by Oksana Pashina. Echo Moskvy, 20 July 2018. Web 28 July 2018 https://echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/2243408-echo/

[18] Фашизм был романтической реакцией на капитализм и ужасы войны. Но всё идеальное имеет в себе тенденцию к вырождению в ходе ложной эволюции. И фашизм в своём социально-бытовом воплощении превратился в то, с чем боролся вначале. Есть китайская легенда о юном герое, убившем змея, который для людей был воплощением зла. Но, победив змея, юноша вскоре сам превратился в змея. Перед смертью змей сказал ему: «Не думай, что ты убил зло. Убить можно носителей зла, а само зло неистребимо». Пардон за банальность. Так вот: юноша превратился в змея. Но из этого нельзя заключать, что борьба со злом – это зло. Это законы природы и времени.

Zhvaniia, Dmitrii. “Sergei Kurekhin: Natsional-bol’shevizm – eto svezhii veter i podvizhnichestvo”

(“Sergey Kuryokhin: ‘National Bolshevism: a fresh breeze – and asceticism too’”) [“Сергей Курёхин: «Национал-большевизм — это свежий ветер и подвижничество»”.] (1995) Novyi smysl, 9 July 2012. Web. 28 July 2018. http://www.sensusnovus.ru/interview/2012/07/09/13959.html

[19] The full quotation is:

There are no longer any opponents to the course prescribed by Putin; if there are still any opponents out there, they are mentally deranged and they need to have their heads examined. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, Putin is irreplaceable.

Østbø, Jardar. The New Third Rome: Readings of a Russian Nationalist Myth. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, 2016, p 115

The original Russian quotation is

“Противников путинского курса больше нет, а если и есть, то это психически больные и их нужно отправить на диспансеризацию, - заявил лидер московского Евразийского движения Александр Дугин. - Путин - везде, Путин - все, Путин абсолютен, Путин незаменим.”

According to the journalist Viktor Shenderovich, who published the quotation on his website, Dugin proclaimed these words during a press conference (entitled Preemnik. Preemstvennost.’ Imperiia. (Successor. Continuity. Empire.) [Преемник. Преемственность. Империя.]) hosted by the Izvestia newspaper in aid of the approaching presidential elections.

Shenderovich, Viktor. Official website. 22. September 2007. Web 28 July 2018


[20] To quote one example: in 2014, he was invited to a secret meeting organised by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev in Vienna, where he met with Heinz-Christian Strache, Vice-Chancellor of Austria from 2017 to 2019, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (France), a deputy representing the French National Front, Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma (Spain), leader of the Catholic monarchist Carlist movement, Serge de Pahlen (Switzerland), Director of the Geneva financial company Edifin and husband of the Fiat heiress Countess Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen, to name but a few. The conference took place on 31 May, 2014 and was reported on by the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, which published an article that included a list of attendees.

 “Gipfeltreffen mit Putins fünfter Kolonne.” Tages-Anzeiger, 3 June 2014. Web. 28 July 2018


in English: Zubrin, Robert. “The Wrong Right.” National Review, June 24, 2014. Web 28 July 2018


[21] For instance, in association with Avigdor Eskin, Israel

Fogelman, Shay. “We Won.” Haaretz, 5 Nov. 2010. Web. 31 July 2018


See also Chapter 8, footnote 17

Regarding Dugin’s contacts in Turkey and Iran:

Meyer, Henry and Ant, Onur. “Alexander Dugin – The one Russian linking Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” The Independent, Feb 03, 2017. Web. 31 July 2018.


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Uploaded 13 August 2018
Last updated 11 March 2020