Close Encounters of the Third Rome Kind:
An Interview with the Author of Rising
Moscow and Peter’s grad, the city of Constantine,
these are the capitals of the Russian kingdom.
But where is their limit? And where are their frontiers
to the north, the east, the south and the setting sun?
The Fate will reveal this to future generations.
Seven inland seas and seven great rivers
from Nile to Neva, from Elbe to China,
from Volga to the Euphrates, from Ganges to Danube.
That’s the Russian kingdom, and let it be forever,
Just as the spirit foretold and Daniel prophesied. — Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873)
Greg Johnson: What led you to write your second novel Rising?
Fenek Solère: I was working in St. Petersburg and my girlfriend, a student and part-time actress, was auditioning for the role of Traudl Junge in the 2004 movie Downfall (Der Untergang). A part that was eventually taken by Alexandra Maria Lara who went on to play Annik Honore, the Ian Curtis extra-marital love interest in Control (2007) and Petra Schelm in the Baader Meinhoff Complex (2008). I was mixing with the generation that had survived the economic crisis of the nineties, the more politically literate of whom were crowding into small venues like Club DADA to see Death in June and discussing the ideological merits and electoral and legal problems faced by various nationalist fringe groupings like The Movement Against Illegal Immigration, Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party, Dugin’s Eurasian Party, The Other Russia, and the Russian Imperial Movement.
It was the same demographic that had spawned Pussy Riot, thrill seeking roof-toppers like Kirill Vselensky, and Instagram celebrities like Nastasya Samburskaya. An egotistical and yet fragile generation of young people that had learned through bitter experience not to plan too far ahead. Voting for Putin because he represented stability in the face of lawlessness and economic well-being after the calamitous extravagance of the Yeltsin years. They were in effect the party-goers who had woken up with a decades-long hangover, only to discover their country had been asset-stripped of nickel, gold, and oil deposits by so-called gladiator capitalists, who were in-fact no more than ruthless, looting, self-dealing kleptomaniacs turned oligarchs like Roman Abramovich, Pyotr Aven, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Movers and shakers that wielded unimaginable power in the vacuous corridors of the pre-Putin Kremlin.
And although I had travelled widely and studied under an Emeritus Professor of Russian literature in London who had published extensively on Gogol and Dostoevsky and occasionally accompanied him to the Cathedral of the Dormition in Ennismore Gardens to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, nothing could have prepared me for the shabby sophistication of the museums, art galleries, and Italianate architecture of the Venice of the North, the granite-faced business mentality of Muscovites, or the burnt orange sunsets that gaped across the endless flat Steppe toward Omsk.
Rising attempts to capture some of the grandeur of that former Empire. It is a homage to St. Petersburg, a mist shrouded city of cobwebs that haunts you in much the same way as Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, once you have delved into its phantasmagoric underworld.
GJ: I can see it must have been a life-changing experience. Can you describe some of your activities and impressions of Russia?
FS: Russia is a land of incredible contrasts. Unimaginable wealth living side by side with extreme poverty; catastrophic rural depopulation juxtaposed with multi-billion urban construction projects like the glass towers and copper-colored shards of Moscow’s financial district; and overt commercial and governmental corruption set against acts of amazingly generous Christian piety. It is a truly exhilarating environment.
Some defining moments that I can readily recall are walking down Nevsky Prospekt and being completely overwhelmed by how homogenous the Slavic community still is in comparison to Western Europe and North America; being intellectually aware of Orthodox eschatology but still feeling surprised by the very real power and energy of resurgent religious practice; and if you will excuse my sexism, observing from a heterosexual red-blooded male perspective, the disproportionate number of attractive and slim women of child-bearing age, as they walked out of the underground stations in the cities or made their way from stall to stall in the market squares of the provincial towns and villages I occasionally visited.
Besides moshing to Arkona’s pagan riffs in concerts as far apart as Kiev and Lakewood, Ohio there were also moments of thoughtful reflection. I would stand by my friends as they filed in an orderly line to go into onion topped cathedrals, their smiling faces reflecting in the polished double-headed eagles hanging on the walls, congregating under the glistening chandeliers, crossing themselves when the chant of gospodi pomilui mixed with the crackle of wax candles and the tinkle of silver bells rose to the crescendo of ‘Vechnaia Pamiat,Vechnaia Pamiat!’ Placing flowers on the graves of the philosopher Ivan Alexandrovich Il’in and General Anton Denikin, head of the anti-Bolshevik White forces in Southern Russia during the Civil War, two figures representing the pen and sword of anti-Communism, now returned to their native soil after decades of exile. Honorable men who stood against Lenin’s doctrine of Mass Terror and the indiscriminate shooting by Cheka operatives of thousands of bourgeois hostages in the Petrograd and Kronstadt prisons; the containment of hundreds of thousands of dissidents in camps like that in Maykop, where women, children, and the elderly died of typhus, cholera, and starvation; the summary executions in Moscow, Tver, Nizhny-Novgorod, Vyatka, Perm, Tula, Odessa, Kharkov, and Kiev; the Decossakization of the Don and Kuban territories; the rounding-up of the Kulaks; and the plans to use asphyxiating gas against counter-revolutionaries in the forests around Tambov. People Lenin described as harmful insects, lice, vermin, and germs. Indicating the need to cleanse Russia of fleas, bugs, and parasites.
Inhuman crimes that continued well after the Civil War had petered out in 1921 and Lenin’s wax-like corpse lay embalmed in the Kremlin, climaxing in the extermination of the remnant of White sympathizers in the Crimea, the deliberate starving to death of at least four million Ukrainians in the Holdomor of 1932/33 under the direct supervision of Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich, and the construction of the Gulag system immortalized in the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In fact a body count that when you include the murderous activities of NKVD leaders like Nikolai Yezhov and Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda under the Stalin regime adds up to over 58,000,000 between 1922 and 1991. At least 100,000 of which were priests and nuns. Although still falling short of Mao Zedong’s estimated 73,000,000 victims, it makes an absolute mockery of fatuous claims by ‘court’ sponsored historians like Laurence Rees in his The Holocaust: A New History (2017) that the events in Central and Eastern Europe between 1939-45 were unprecedented and amount to the “most appalling atrocity in history.”
GJ: What are you trying to communicate about the Rightist Revolutionary demimonde?
FS: That it is we who hold the moral high ground, and we should continue to maintain that position against the lies, hypocrisy, and double-standards of the Left, liberals, and neoconservatives acting in the interests of the Robber-Baron globalist elites. It is we, not they, who are under constant attack by malign forces who are using every demographic, ethnic, financial, and politically correct artifice in their tool-box to first dispossess us of all that our civilization has accumulated over centuries and then eradicate us from our very homelands. Desperate attempts to deny individuals and groups advocating for whites and their constitutional and legal rights, efforts to disrupt funding streams to alternative media sites and the de-platforming of our spokespeople are symptomatic of the establishment’s anxiety and fear that our message is beginning to gain traction. Their response is reminiscent of the Soviet regime’s strategy to quell internal opposition in the dying days of communism. And if people think that is an exaggeration or an unfair comparison I would advise them to read Zhores Medvedev’s Ten Years After Ivan Denisovich (1973) and reflect on how different that is to the current situation in Russia. With Putin saying:
To forgive the terrorists is up to God. To send them to him is up to me!
We see that many Euro-Atlantic states have taken the way where they deny or reject their own roots, including their Christian roots, which form the basis of Western Civilization. In these countries, the moral basis and any traditional identity is being denied. There, the politicians treat families with many children as equal to a homosexual partnership; faith in God as being equal to faith in Satan. The excesses and exaggerations of political correctness in these countries leads to serious consideration for the legitimization of parties that promote the propaganda of paedophilia.
And with the Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev adding:
The fact is, the Catholic Church in the West exists today under an information blockade, under a very hard diktat from secular society. In this case we are without question allies. We can search together for the answer to those challenges which threaten the very existence of Christianity. I call it a strategic alliance between Orthodoxy and Catholics, that is the understanding that if there are threats, then these are common threats and if there are challenges, they are also common.
Dare we speak such truths in the West, shackled as we are by political correctness? And what would the media make of such statements? President Trump was literally shouted down at a press conference for merely pointing out that the Left had behaved violently at the recent Charlottesville debacle. What a reversal of fortune between the freedom of expression in the East and West. But having said that please do not think I am naïve enough to envisage Taras Bulba’s Cossacks riding over the horizon to save White Civilization. There is far too much suspicion and misunderstanding between Slav and Saxon for that. Rather, I see Russia as part of a larger geopolitical jigsaw, playing its part to protect, preserve, and extend a global commonwealth of independent white ethno-states that also ensures the autonomy of Baltic countries like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as part of a broader Scandinavian confederation.
GJ: You comment extensively about Alexander Dugin’s philosophy in your interview with Daniel Macek on the New European Conservative website. Have you ever met Dugin and what are your current thoughts on his brand of Eurasianism?
FS: No, I have never met Dugin. I’m afraid I do not move in such exalted circles. Most of my Russian compatriots are devotees of his and have read his works like Putin vs Putin: Vladimir Putin Viewed From The Right (2014) in the original language. My Russian is too poor for that, so I am limited to the translated versions like those offered by Arktos. I see Dugin as very much part of a much longer tradition of thinkers and I would advise anyone coming to his works for the first time to familiarize themselves with L. N. Gumilev’s The Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom (The Legend of the Kingdom of Prester John) translated by R. E. F. Smith and published by Cambridge University Press (1987). A work in which the celebrated, if controversial historian, opens both the eyes and minds of the reader to the migrations and conflicts that have shaped Khazaria and the peoples and cultures living on the Eurasian steppe.
GJ: Do you in any way identify with the main character. Is the novel biographical?
FS: I think it is natural for a writer to draw to some extent on personal experience. I walked the streets, parks, and thoroughfares I write about in Rising, breathed the dry dusty air of the polluted backstreets, and drank shots of vodka in dimly lit bars listening to the dreams of young idealists. Remember what Joseph-Marie Comte de Maistre said “There is no man who desires as passionately as a Russian. If we could imprison Russian desire beneath a fortress, that fortress would explode.” I would agree. I loved every minute of it and would not change a thing. My head still spins with the excitement and hedonism, like fondly remembered moments of a misspent youth. Embracing Mokosh, the goddess of destiny and pumping my fists in the air when Masha the Scream sings “Rus Narodnyi!”
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