U.S. President Barack Obama walks to Marine One before departing for Sweden and the G20 Summit in Russia, September 3, 2013.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters

On March 11, 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department placed a new round of sanctions on 14 figures that Washington considers responsible for the conflict in Ukraine. Until now, sanctions had targeted either high-level Russian politicians or those who were part of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle—his friends and their bankers. The latest list, however, includes mostly secessionist leaders from Donbas, a region in Eastern Ukraine that roughly covers the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. But it also names individuals that do not belong to the Russian ruling circles, and are connected to the Ukraine conflict only by ideology.

Take for example, Alexander Dugin, an outspoken Russian thinker who is often noted in Western media for his fascist views and his belief that Ukraine is not a sovereign state but a region that belongs, and therefore is fated to return, to Russia. Dugin has no official status within the Russian government. He

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  • MARLENE LARUELLE is a Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES), the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.
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