We are witnessing, I believe, a turning point in geopolitical history, one future historians may analyze as we have the Roman Empire’s fall. Vladimir Putin is making a move — and it’s not just against Ukraine. It may not be just a move against Eastern Europe. It’s not even, perhaps, just a move against US world dominance.
There was a time when the USSR was the “evil empire, a godless Golgotha. But that was then. Now, in 2013-14, Putin has seen fit to say, in his December State of the Nation speech, “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. …Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”
In another shot at relativism, Putin averred, “Society is now required…to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning.”
The Russian president then took aim at multiculturalism: “Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures.”
And now we’re seeing the release of Russian Culture War 2.0. In a document called "Foundations of the State Cultural Policy," the Kremlin is doubling down and writes, "Russia must be viewed as a unique and original civilization that cannot be reduced to 'East' or 'West.' …A concise way of formulating this stand would be, ‘Russia is not Europe.’” The document goes on to state that Russia rejects “such principles as multiculturalism and tolerance" and "projects imposing alien values on society."
No, this is not your grandfather’s Russia.
But it very well may be your great-grandfather’s.
There are a few different things, I suspect, going on here. The 20 years after the Cold War’s end had been a period of relative co-operation between Russia and the West, but you can’t define yourself by going along (to get along) with the world’s cultural hegemon; you can’t be band leader by playing second fiddle. So Putin is defining his nation as the un-morally-wild West. In addition, he knows that to rally a people behind you, you need a boogeyman, your Eurasia, the “Nappy” (Napoleon) who will “get you,” British children, if you’re not good.
Yet it isn’t just that Putin is restarting the Cold War. Nor is he just an old-line KGB Bolshevik, as some stuck in commentary amber have suggested. He’s smart enough to realize that Marxism is, as the kids today would say, just so “played.”
He more likely wants to be the next czar.
What’s my theory? Try this on for size: It isn’t just that Putin wants to restore lost Russian glory.
He sees a chance to be a historic figure.
Note here that you don’t have to be good to be historic; Roman statesman Cicero called Julius Caesar an “ambitious villain,” but Caesar’s name is far better known than Cicero’s. And let’s consider what might be Putin’s calculation: the West has long been the world’s cultural trend-setter, spreading an increasingly un-Christian creed to all corners of the Earth. Of course, not everyone is on board. The Islamic abode wants nothing to do with it, but it’s Muslim; sub-Saharan Africa is largely opposed, but it lacks clout. As for South America, in addition to lacking clout it’s confused; and while China is gaining power, it’s largely pagan and non-committal on the culture war.
Enter the second Vladimir the Great.
Putin doesn’t just see a chance to define himself — and to unite the Russian people behind him — via opposition to the West, as his Marxist comrades once did.
He sees a chance to do it as today’s Charlemagne.
There’s an unsatisfied market for Christendom’s standard bearer, and Putin perceives an opportunity to exploit it. China won’t do it, Africa can’t, South America wouldn’t and couldn’t. But just as the original Vladimir the Great Christianized the Kievan Rus', just as Charlemagne forged and helped Christianize modern Europe, Putin has a chance to lift the cross — and himself — high.
And the West is a gift that keeps on giving insofar as this goes. Our cultural Marxists are on the march, smell blood and will not stop. They will continue spending us into insolvency, perverting us into prone position, relativizing us into risibility and “immigrationizing” us into irrelevance. Even now, not satisfied with placing another great nail in marriage’s coffin, our militant secularists are making moves to legitimize pedophilia and bestiality. It’s onward Luciferian soldiers.
And for Putin, it’s onward Christian soldier. As our degradation advances, Russia’s star can rise commensurately. Putin knows the West is in decline. He sees the demographic trends, that the US is transforming into a Third World/Hispanic nation and Western Europe into a Third World/Muslim continent. He knows that if there is another superpower in the near future, it will be Russia or China. And he knows what card he has to play to win this game.
Of course, while we could argue about whether the Christian-soldier solution is tactic and strategy or just tactic, it is so obviously prudent that it’s inconceivable Putin wouldn’t have pursued it. Just consider the benefits, starting with justification of Russian expansionism. If you’re a typical Russian, might not the idea that “the West is decadent, debauched, exhausted and effete” justify, in your mind, a Russian manifest destiny? Might it not be natural and wholly in accordance with man’s nature to believe that your moral superiority gives you the right to dominate? Note that this is the theory that helped justify the colonial powers’ imperialism: they were bringing civilization to a world of darkness. And it’s what we do to this day, applying secular values as standard. How often have we heard intervention in the Islamic “stan” du jour justified by pointing out that its rulers oppress women and are intolerant? The judgments are different, but the desire to claim the moral high ground is the same.
Then consider foreign relations. The USSR used to jockey for world influence with us; whereas before they had to market Marxism, however, now they can peddle purity. Standing against decadent Western secular-imperialism can win Russia many friends in Africa and even the Middle East, and most of the Far East will go with the dominant power.
Lastly, even if Putin is a functional atheist — even if his road to Heaven is paved with bad intentions — he surely knows that if Russia wants to prosper, Western secular/hedonist isms must be rejected. And why wouldn’t he know? As Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov and others have explained, it was his erstwhile Marxist buddies who encouraged those movements in the West for the purposes of undermining our civilization.
But we’re doing a very good job of undermining it ourselves, and Putin is more concerned with building his own. Pat Buchanan recently wrote about this and pointed out that Putin may very well view his realm as “The Third Rome:”
The first Rome was the Holy City and seat of Christianity that fell to Odoacer and his barbarians in 476 A.D. The second Rome was Constantinople, Byzantium, (today's Istanbul), which fell to the Turks in 1453. The successor city to Byzantium, the Third Rome, the last Rome to the old believers, was — Moscow.
Putin is entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today and command post of the counter-reformation against the new paganism.
…Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.
Note here that the term “czar” is derived from the Latin word Caesar. And while Putin may be just as satisfied to be Julius or Augustus as Constantine, I’m quite sure that Marxism is no longer his bag. That would be playing second fiddle again — and the last thing the Russians want to be is like us.
© 2014 Selwyn Duke — All Rights Reserved