Discussing the Russian Orthodox Church

Dear Roman,

I’ve got a question if you allow me. Putin’s actions have not convinced me that his position is just “oppositional to the West”, but independant.

It seems to me it flows from a direct interpretation of Slavic Orthodoxy. I’ve read dozens of books on the West, Islam, liberalism, but not on Orthodoxy.

Do you have a good tip of a writer on orthodoxy? I prefer the non-hyperbolic kind, factual explainers. My intention is to understand what Russian actions flow directly from the Orthodox worldview and which are just opportunistic realpolitik.



I don’t think you’ll find it I’m afraid.

Despite how they advertise themselves to Western conservatives, Russia is only about 40% Orthodox, and only about 45% Christian. The US, by contrast is about 75% Christian.

My biggest recommendation would be the treatment Francis Fukuyama gives to the Orthodox Church and Russia’s political development in Origin of Political Order.

They never had the church as a separate pole of power as was the case in the west’s miraculous political development. The Russian Orthodox church was always ceasaropapist — the church was always a rubber stamp of the state for the government and the presider over an illiterate and supersticious populace. (Read Chekov’s “The Peasants”.)

They became even more so in the 13th century when the Mongolian invasion severed their ties to Byzantium.

Today, their current head is a former KGB agent, they have a ridiculously high abortion rate compared to the rest of Europe.


Thanks for asking.


Thnx for your response. I think this is a fascinating topic.

Your pieces on Daily Anarchist influenced my thinking a lot


I do agree in that his actions are independent, but Russia is all about power

oh, man. That’s such a big compliment, thank.

Westerners have no idea how dark and deep Russian nihilism goes.
So they think everybody is trying to hurt them, including their neighbors.

Universal Ideologies — like those we take for granted in the west — they perceive as either hopelessly naive, or as hoaxes designed to outsmart them.


No problem. I was already in that direction, you articulated my thoughts quite well. 8 years I was sort of an Buchanan/Anti-war.com thinker on Russia, but I changed my mind after Putin strangled E-Europe w/ the pipeline. Crimea/Ukraine/MH17 did the rest.

Putin was so disrespectful. Smiling with the FIFA after downing a plane by your doing.


That makes both of us part of a long tradition

people who looked to Russia as an alternative to west and became horrified. Here’s my favorite member of that tradition from 175 years ago:

French writer Marquis de Custine: http://romaninukraine.com/175-year-old-account-of-russians-being-proud-of-lying/

He traveled to Russia after becoming disgusted with French populism.

He started optimistic, but became so horrified that he became a famous critic of Russia and has gone down in history as such.


For the record, I think faith plays an important role in society, and Christianity is better than the other Abrahamic religions and getting people to cooperate. It is the only one which emphasizes forgiveness.