Neo-Eurasianism is a Russian school of thought, popularized in Russia during the years leading up to and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, that considers Russia to be culturally closer to Asia than to Western Europe.
The school takes its insipiration from the Eurasianists of the 1920's, notably Prince N.S. Troubetskoi and P.N. Savitsky. Lev Gumilev is often cited as the founder of the Neo-Eurasianist movement, and he was quoted as saying that "I am the last of the Eurasianists.".
At the same time, major differences have been noted between Gumilev's work and those of the original Eurasianists. Gumilev's work is controversial both for its scientific methodology (using his own conception of ethnogenesis and the notion of "passionarity") and for overtones of anti-semitism. At any rate, Gumilev's work has been a source of inspiration for the Neo-Eurasianist authors, the most prolific of whom is Aleksandr Dugin.
The idea of "Eurasia" as it is referred to here stems from the nineteenth century. It originally referred to the plain extending to the East and West of the Ural mountains. As late as 1915 the Russian geographer V. Semenov-Tian-Shanskii used the term “Russian Eurasia” (Russkaia Evraziia) to designate the expanse from the Volga to the Yenisei Rivers, north to the Siberian Arctic and south to Turkestan . Soon, however, the idea of Eurasia was extended to cover the whole continent as we now know it.
Gumilev's contribution to Neo-Eurasianism lies in the conclusions he reaches from applying his theory of ethnogenesis: that the peoples of the Eurasian steppe, including the Russians, but also the Turkic-speaking nomadic peoples of Central Asia, constitute a "super-ethnos" (a notion comparable to the "civilizations" that many authors have used to describe like minded groups of nations or cultures - such as Samuel P. Huntington in his Clash of Civilizations. It should be noted that Neo-Eurasianists are fiercely opposed to Huntington's taxonomy of civilizations on the Eurasian continent).
The idea of Eurasianism contrasts with Konstantin Leontyev's Byzantism, which is similar in its rejection of the West, but identifies with the Byzantine Empire rather than with Central Asian tribal culture.
- Laruelle, Marlène "Histoire d'une usurpation intellectuelle: Gumilev, 'le dernier des eurasistes'? (analyse des oppositions entre L.N. Gumilev et P.N. Savickij" in Sergei Panarin (ed.) Eurasia: People & Myths, Moscow, Natalis Press, 1993 (Russian lang.)
- Tsymburskii, Vadim "Two Eurasias: Homonymy as the key to early Eurasianism" Sergei Panarin (ed.) Eurasia: People & Myths, Moscow, Natalis Press, 1993 (Russian lang.)