[ by Charles Cameron — second and central of three posts, this one concerning a very powerful JS post ]
John Schindler‘s piece, Putin’s Orthodox Jihad, as I told him, answers so many of my unspoken questions that even thinking about it almost hurts my eyes. IMO, he is right on the mark indeed when he writes:
Nearly all Western experts, being mostly secularists when not atheists, paid no attention
As Zenpundit regulars know, this has been my own constant refrain here on the topic of global jihad, but John’s turf here is Vladimir Putin‘s once and future Greater Russia — it’s not exactly encouraging to note that the problem seems to be global.
In this post, John mentions Putin’s “fire-breathing speech to the Duma” in March 2014, in which Putin laid out his vision:
Everything in Crimea speaks of our shared history and pride. This is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptised. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The graves of Russian soldiers whose bravery brought Crimea into the Russian empire are also in Crimea. This is also Sevastopol – a legendary city with an outstanding history, a fortress that serves as the birthplace of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Crimea is Balaklava and Kerch, Malakhov Kurgan and Sapun Ridge. Each one of these places is dear to our hearts, symbolising Russian military glory and outstanding valour.
Everything except the reference to Temple Mount is already present in this speech, which predates the one I discussed in my previous post by eight months.
And as John notes of this seminal speech:
Putin included not just venerable KGB classics like warnings about the Western Fifth Column and “national traitors,” but also paeans to explicit Russian ethnic nationalism buttressed by Orthodox mysticism, with citations of saints from millennia past.
Two more points:
The late Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, whom Putin greatly admires, gave us this succinct and powerful account of how the cross and the sword can be accommodated together in a single theological perspective — again, I’m quoting John’s post:
In calling to love our enemies, Christ had in mind personal enemies of man, not God’s enemies, and not blaspheming molesters, for them drowning with a millstone around their neck was recommended. Urging to forgive injuries, Christ was referring to personal insults to a person, not all possible crimes; no one has the right to forgive the offenses suffered by others or provide for the villains to offend the weak, corrupt children, desecrate churches and destroy the Fatherland. So therefore a Christian is called not only to forgive offenses, but to fight the enemies of God’s work on earth. The evangelical commandment of “non-resistance to evil” teaches humility and generosity in personal matters, and not limpness of will, not cowardice, not treachery and not obedience to evildoers.
That’s quite a statement in and of itself. And furthermore:
This idea is more than a single man, more than a feat of one hero. This idea is great as Russia and the sacred as her religion. This is the idea of the Orthodox sword.
The second (further) point is one that John himself suggests:
We perhaps should be grateful that the Orthodox Jihad rejects suicide bombings. In the 1930’s, Romania’s fascist Legionary Movement, led by the charismatic Orthodox revolutionary Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, toyed with what terrorism mavens today might term “martyrdom operations,” but these never really caught on. Orthodoxy frowns on suicide, even in a just cause.
I read, live and learn.
Okay: let me say it again:
John Schindler‘s piece Putin’s Orthodox Jihad answers so many of my unspoken questions that even thinking about it almost hurts my eyes. Highly recommended indeed!
Of related interest:
Mark R. Elliott, Why Russia’s Evangelicals Thank God for Putin