Understanding Putin

An old university friend who also follows The Hump wrote to ask me about the sources I use most on the Ukraine conflict, and shared some of his own with me.

Among them is Postil Magazine which carries some weighty and worthwhile articles. One which I highly recommend is this one by Etienne de Floirac, giving a deep insight into the political (and irreducibly religious) basis of Vladimir Putin’s vision for Russia. It confirms what I had suspected since the start of this war, that to see Russia’s role apart from its spiritual aspect is an almost universal error in the West. To what extent that neglect is deliberate, and to what extent it reflects our culture’s loss of spiritual values, you may judge for yourself.

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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1 Response to Understanding Putin

  1. Jon Garvey says:

    The Postil article, incidentally, clarifies for me the rather mixed situation for non-Orthodox believers in Russia. According to a 2019 article raising concern about apparent tightening of restrictions for some Baptists:

    While freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed in Russia, the relevant legislation names Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as the country’s four traditional, protected religions.

    Now, at first sight this favouring of such disparate groups is irrational: it is not, as under Communism, anti-religious. Yet given Putin’s avowed Christian conviction, it seems odd that his regime would discriminate against Baptists in contrast to Muslims, Jews and Buddhists.

    But it makes sense if we see him as someone seeking to balance traditional values, order and religious freedom, in the light of the religious free-for-all seen, quintessentially, in America. How, in practice, does a government prevent Satanism or Jihadism being accorded equal status with orthodox faith? This was a problem equally acute for Oliver Cromwell, witnessing a proliferation of heterodox and, in some cases, dangerous or seditious sects during the Civil War. Our solution of blanket religious freedom has caused problems as well as solving them.

    We see the loss of national unity here because of Islamism, though we are less concerned than we once were, as a body politic, over the state of men’s souls. Religious abuse in cults is a perennial problem. Russia has these concerns, in addition to the possibility of importing contemporary Western prejudices together with western Protestant denominations.

    The pastor involved in the incident raised by the article, Yevgeny Kokora, seems by his attitude to sound an optimistic note, as do remarks quoted from Vladimir Putin:

    Kokora, who spent four years working in the Novorossiisk administration and was a member of the city’s civic council, said he is reluctant to try and leverage his official contacts and plans instead to take the legal route by appealing to the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in Moscow.

    “We have laws, and we have courts. Let’s fix this through a legal framework,” he said.

    That council may be the last hope for groups who feel targeted for their faith.

    On December 11, in a meeting with council members, President Vladimir Putin suggested that official policy toward some religions should be liberalized.

    “We probably can, and even at some point should, be much more liberal toward representatives of various religious sects,” he said.

    Putin ordered Supreme Court Justice Vyacheslav Lebedev to oversee the drafting of a general legal framework for adjudicating cases brought against religious groups. The deadline is July 1.

    Kokora is among thousands of believers vesting their hopes in the initiative as a chance to reverse what they see as a tightening of the screws on Russia’s minority faiths.

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