The man accused of brutally killing 50 worshipers in two mosques in my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, is almost certainly an ideological “National Bolshevik.” Countless media stories have labeled the killer as “far-right,” which is an inaccurate description at best.
A thorough reading of his 74-page manifesto, “The Great Replacement” (which refers to the replacement of white Europeans by Islamic and other immigrants), confirms that Brenton Tarrant is no “right-winger” in the U.S. sense, i.e., a believer in the individual, constitutionally guaranteed liberties, and free-market economics.
Tarrant’s ideological outlook appears to be consistent with that of the National Bolsheviks, a curious amalgam of communist and Nazi ideologies often associated with influential Russian political analyst and activist Aleksandr Dugin—who is reportedly an influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
Dugin is a leader of the small but influential National Bolshevik Party, whose adherents are known as the “Natzbols.” He is also a leader of the so-called “Eurasia Movement,” which strives to unite fascist political elements with nationalistic communists to create a European homeland stretching from Siberia to Ireland. Dugin and his fellow ideologues are widely admired by European neo-fascists and neo-Stalinist communists alike.
Dugin’s National Bolshevik/Eurasian philosophy is ultra-nationalistic, anti-Western, anti-free market, Green, and racist. There is something in National Bolshevism for every stripe of totalitarian. Variants of National Bolshevism have been used by Moscow to seduce Western fascists and racial nationalists into the pro-Russia camp.
Tarrant’s manifesto, which he posted online just before he embarked on his murder spree, incorporates the National Bolshevik symbol three times, including on the title page, without explicitly stating its meaning.
Tarrant’s manifesto is, however, littered with clues as to the writer’s core pro-Russia and anti-Western ideology.
Enemies of the United States
Interestingly, many Russian National Bolsheviks want to ally with Islam against the West. They may not want Muslims on white-occupied soil, but they still see them as fellow enemies of what they perceive as the world center of evil: the United States. Western National Bolsheviks are opposed to Islamic immigration not because they oppose Islamic teaching, but because they see Islam as an invader of their traditional white homelands.
The following statement, from the October 2011 “Against Post-Modern World" conference in Moscow, is attributed to Dugin:
"In today’s world, Islam is the world religion most actively resisting globalism’s force. It makes the Islamic factor extremely important for the front of traditionalism. In this war with Islam, the United States and ideologue of the end of history Francis Fukuyama even tried to suggest the term ‘Islamofascism’ to greater discredit the faith.
"United States as an empire tends to designate Islam the new enemy No. 1. This is an almost official U.S. position now, while with Bush, it was merely formal. And therefore Islam should be treated as a priority field of struggle against U.S. imperialism, the modern and post-modern world and globalization. This determines the value and importance of Islam."
Tarrant makes it clear he doesn't oppose Islam per se, only Islam that tries to “replace” the white races of Europe and the wider West.
Tarrant answers his own rhetorical questions throughout the manifesto:
"Did/do you personally hate Muslims? A Muslim man or woman living in their homelands? No. A Muslim man or woman choosing to invade our lands live on our soil and replace our people? Yes, I dislike them.”
Tarrant’s anti-Americanism is very evident in his writings. He boasts that he used guns in the Mosque massacres specifically to promote civil war in the United States.
The last of Tarrant’s several listed goals was “to create conflict between the two ideologies within the United States on the ownership of firearms in order to further the social, cultural, political and racial divide within the United States."
He writes: "This conflict over the 2nd amendment and the attempted removal of firearms rights will ultimately result in a civil war that will eventually balkanize the US along political, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines.
"This balkanization of the US will not only result in the racial separation of the people within the United States ensuring the future of the White race on the North American continent, but also ensuring the death of the ‘melting pot’ pipe dream.”
Tarrant later reiterates this point in another question to himself:
"Won’t your attack result in calls for the removal of gun rights from Whites in the United States? Yes, that is the plan all along, you said you would fight to protect your rights and the constitution, well soon will come the time,” he writes.
Tarrant shows his anger at the United States for intervening in Bosnia after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. U.S. forces backed Bosnian Muslims against the pro-Russia nominally Orthodox Christian but communist-led Serbs.
"Furthermore, this balkanization will also reduce the USA’s ability to project power globally, and thereby ensure that never again can such a situation as the US involvement in Kosovo ever occur again (where US/NATO forces fought beside Muslims and slaughtered Christian Europeans attempting to remove these Islamic occupiers from Europe)."
Tarrant also calls for the assassination of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan—not because he is a Muslim, but because his death would help Russia by destroying Moscow’s main stumbling block to European domination: the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Erdogan, the leader of one of the oldest enemies of our people, and the leader of the largest Islamic group within Europe. This warlord must bleed his last, whilst he visits his ethnic soldiers currently occupying Europe. His death will also drive a wedge between the Turk invaders currently occupying our lands and the ethnic European people whilst simultaneously weakening Turkey's hold on the region, removing a prime enemy of Russia and destabilizing and fracturing NATO.”
It’s not hard to see that Tarrant wants the end of the United States as it is now constituted. While Tarrant doesn't explicitly say so, he demonstrably understands that destruction of the United States will remove the major obstacle to Russian expansionism.
Tarrant also admires Russia’s main military and political ally communist China, which, with its mixture of Marxism-Leninism, corporate state fascism, and ethnic Chinese nationalism, is very close to the National Bolshevik ideal:
“The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”
Tarrant claims he evolved from supporting communism, to anarchism, to libertarianism, to what he now describes as an “eco-fascist” position. His current ideology is like National Bolshevism, a mix of socialism and fascism. Tarrant is indeed on the left in most of his views—the racist nationalist left. And contrary to many media reports, he is no fan of U.S. President Donald Trump:
"Were/are you 'right wing'? Depending on the definition, sure.
"Were/are you 'left wing'? Depending on the definition, sure.
"Were/are you a socialist? Depending on the definition. Worker ownership of the means of production? It depends on who those workers are, their intents, who currently owns the means of production, their intents and who currently owns the state, and its intents.
"Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump? As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policymaker and leader? Dear god no."
Chillingly, Tarrant shows a sophisticated grasp of the sort of socially divisive “active measures” once so effectively employed by the Soviet KGB in Europe and still employed by Russians in the United States. Moscow learned decades ago that the best way to prepare a country for revolution is to provoke maximum social conflict and to back both sides of any divisive issue.
Consider a quote from Dugin’s 1997 book, “The Foundation of Geopolitics”:
“It is especially important to introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements—extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”
In 1959, the government of NATO member the Federal Republic of Germany was hugely embarrassed when Jewish graves across Germany were desecrated with Nazi swastikas. During the ensuing panic at thoughts of a Nazi revival, questions were raised as to Germany’s fitness to remain a member of NATO.
But all was not as it seemed.
According to CNN’s Michael Weiss:
"The two men who had inaugurated the spree of defacements in Cologne had belonged to a minuscule West German neo-Nazi party but ... the authorities discovered ‘that they frequently made trips to East Germany and one had a Communist Party badge hidden behind his coat lapel.’
"In a separate incident, the 22-year-old treasurer of a different fascist organization was arrested and admitted to the police that he was an East German agent whose mission was to infiltrate far-right groups in West Germany and whip up anti-Semitic sentiment."
Years later, former communist East German defectors revealed the true source of the "swastika graffiti operation."
"An operation is exactly what it was, too, cooked up by General Ivan Ivanovich Agayants, who headed Department D of the First Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB. The 'D' stood for Dezinformatsiya, or disinformation, and Agayants, an austere ethnic Armenian, was very good at his job."
In the last few years, the Moscow-based, Russian government-funded, “Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia” has actively supported both U.S. communists and Black Lives Matter activists as well as American “right-wing” activists from the Texan and Californian separatist movements. Richard Spencer, the self-styled leader of the U.S. so-called “alt-right,” who organized the disastrous May 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, openly supports Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which he has described as the “sole white power in the world.”
That rally—which resulted in three deaths—resulted in massive negative publicity for Trump and the genuine American patriot movement. The internationally publicized street battles pitted pro-Russian “white nationalists” against pro-Russian communists from the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Guess which nation made Anti-American propaganda hay from the ensuing chaos? Just check out some RT (Russia Today) news clips from the period.
According to Newsweek, in 2014, Spencer invited Dugin to an international conference he planned to convene in Hungary. Fortunately, international sanctions prevented Dugin attending, and Hungarian police raided the subversive gathering. Dugin later became a contributor to Spencer’s AltRight.com website and his online journal Radix. Spencer has written at least one article for Dugin's Katehon website. Spencer’s former wife, Nina Kouprianova, is Dugin’s English translator. In 2013, Vice reported that during a “leadership conference” at Spencer’s “National Policy Institute,” Spencer declared in part:
“Our dream is a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans. It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence.”
Former Ku Klux Klan leader and lifelong agitator David Duke downplayed his role at Spencer’s Unite the Right rally, which he described as a “turning point.” Duke has made no secret of his admiration for Russia, describing the country as the “key to white survival,” and has been photographed alongside Dugin.
Tarrant appears to be following the Russian playbook—stoke both sides of a conflict, create maximum division, then move onward to revolution and the seizure of state power.
From his manifesto:
"These tumultuous times can be brought about through action. For example, actions such as voting for political candidates that radically change or challenge entrenched systems, radicalizing public discourse by both supporting, attacking, vilifying, radicalizing and exaggerating all societal conflicts and attacking or even assassinating weak or less radical leaders/influencers on either side of social conflicts. A vote for a radical candidate that opposes your values and incites agitation or anxiety in your own people works far more in your favor than a vote for a milquetoast political candidate that has no ability or wish to enact radical change.
"Canvas public areas in support of radical positions, even if they are not your own. Incite conflict. Place posters near public parks calling for (Islamic) sharia law, then in the next week, place posters over such posters calling for the expulsion of all immigrants, repeat in every area of public life until the crisis arises. Destabilize, then take control. If we want to radically and fundamentally change society, then we need to radicalize society as much as possible."
The use of National Bolshevik symbolism in his manifesto, clear parallels with that philosophy in his writings, and obvious pro-Russia views indicate that Tarrant is likely a National Bolshevik sympathizer.
Many important questions remain unanswered.
Did Tarrant learn this philosophy mainly through the internet and his own personal research, or was he part of a wider network?
Tarrant has traveled extensively in Europe and has visited both Pakistan and North Korea—both known terrorist training centers. What was the nature of his trips?
Has Tarrant been in contact with Russians or National Bolshevik figures?
It's difficult to accept that Tarrant acquired the skills and will to efficiently execute his murderous rampage all on his own.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.