The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Jacek Kugler — Putin & Power Transition Theory: China, Russia, and Ukraine

Michael Shermer speaks with Professor of International Relations, Dr. Jacek Kugler, about his Power Transition Theory which states that an even distribution of political, economic, and military capabilities between contending groups of states is likely to increase the probability of war; peace is preserved best when there is an imbalance of national capabilities between disadvantaged and advantaged nations; the aggressor will come from a small group of dissatisfied strong countries; and it is the weaker, rather than the stronger power that is most likely to be the aggressor.

Shermer and Kugler discuss: Power Transition Theory and how it applies to Putin and Russia today; the relationship between a nation’s economic strength and its political power; where China figures into the future of the new world order; what happens if Putin succeeds in Ukraine? What if he fails?; What should the U.S. should have done in response to the annexation of Crimea, intervention in Syria, the destruction of Georgia and Chechnya, the imprisonment and murder of Russian dissidents?; What should NATO do now or in the near future?; and more…

Listen now

If you enjoy the podcast, please show your support by making a $5 or $10 monthly donation.

The following article was published in Skeptic magazine 20.2 (2015). It will strike readers, therefore, as all too prescient. We asked Dr. Robert Zubrin to update it this week, in light of Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Zubrin’s update follows the article.

ABOVE: Photo of Alexander Dugin by Mehdi Blourian, taken at The Eurasian Civilizations Summit in Tehran (Feb 2017). Original photo credit: Fars Media Corporation (CC BY 4.0). (Image altered, converted to greyscale, added Eurasia Party symbol overlay.)

Putin’s Rasputin
Meet Aleksandr Dugin, the Mystical High Priest of Russian Fascism Who Wants to Bring About the End of the World

Men of action cut a large figure in the history books, but it is the ideas placed in their heads by men of thought that actually determine what they do. Thus the scribblings of mad philosophers can lead to the deaths of millions. As the modernday heir to this tradition, Aleksandr Dugin bids fair to break the record.

Most Americans don’t know anything about Aleksandr Dugin. They need to, because Dugin is the mad philosopher who is redesigning the brains of much of the Russian government and public, filling their minds with a new hate-ridden totalitarian ideology whose consequences can be catastrophic in the extreme, not only for Russia, but for the entire human race.

As I write these lines, Russia has invaded Ukraine and Vladimir Putin is threatening further actions that could initiate additional conflict, and possibly even another world war. It has thus become apparent that a new force for evil has emerged in Moscow. It is essential that Americans become aware of the nature of the threat.

Putin is sometimes described as a revanchist, seeking to recreate the Soviet Union by reclaiming territory lost after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. That is a useful shorthand, but it is not really accurate. Putin and many of his gang may have once been Communists, but they are not that today. Rather, they have embraced a new totalitarian political ideology known as “Eurasianism.”

The roots of Eurasianism go back to czarist émigrés interacting with fascist thinkers in between-the-wars France and Germany. But in recent years, its primary exponent has been the very prominent and prolific political theorist Aleksandr Dugin. Born in 1962, Dugin was admitted to the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1979, but was later expelled because of his involvement with mystic neo-Nazi groups. He then spent the 1980s hanging around monarchist and ultraright- wing circles, before joining Gennady Ziuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF, a neo-Stalinist group partially descended from, but not to be confused with, the previously ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union, CPSU) for a while, after which he became a founder and chief ideologue of the Eurasianist National Bolshevik Party (NBP) in 1994.

Continue reading (free)


Gender Dysphoria Rising

Celebrating 30 years in print! This issue is in full-color, cover-to-cover, for the first time ever. Available in print and digital editions. Buy the single back issue, or order a subscription today.

Buy now


Get eSkeptic

Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox twice a week. It’s free. We never share your address. Unsubscribe any time.

Sign me up!

Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

Copyright © 1992–2022. All rights reserved. | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.