I'm bemused - Vladimir Putin as a Christian Warrior - Do Russians see him as a fighter for Jesus?

by fulltimestudent 29 Replies latest social current

  • kaik

    FTS, every Russian and Soviet despot with exception of Gorbachev had extensive support of Russian population. They just loved them. This was even unbelievable even for other communist countries. In Central Europe dictators are very rare. A.H. was an exception who fanaticized and deceived his nations. Today's Germans do not feel much about returning into ideology of National Socialism. Russians do, they want recreation of USSR, but even with less national freedom to suppress possible disintegration. France had also its dictatorship under Jacobins. Yet, they do not dream about bringing guillotine and exporting their republicanism as they did during the Wars of I. Coalition.

    Russia does not have strong economy, it is shell of former USSR. It does not have alliance nor ally. Because China voiced support to it, it does not equal alliance. Czechoslovakia had widespread support from antisoviet socialist countries in 1968 like China, Yugoslavia, and Albania (it withdrew from Warsaw Pact on protest), they were not its ally, nor there was whatsoever military treaty nor support. They complained with the invasion, but that was the most they did. Russia has nothing in the term of economy to influence the world at this time. Its GDP is equal level of Italy. Its exports in much smaller than Netherlands. It is 3rd world country with nukes. China would not sacrifice itself on behalf of Russia to piss USA. Money is where it matters, and Russia is running out of them. They would be lucky if their currency does not totally collapse and they would not resort to barter and rations.

    Russia will kick around, and if not stopped, they will occupy everyone who does not have nukes. As we used to say under communists, that Russia border with anyone who she feels like to. However, due uncritical admiration of everything Russian, they can count on widespread support in the West and elsewhere who see it as some kind of good and holy country meaning the best. When I traveled during the Cold War in the West, I had hard time to explain that we did not like communism, nor want Russians to be there, nor anyone had interest to be a part of Russia. Many Westerners did not understand it. You are more than welcome to live there. I would rather be homeless man in NYC or Montreal than living in country controlled by Russia. Hundreds of thousands of Czechoslovaks, Hungarians, and Poles who run from Soviet/Russian control would agree with me on that.

  • kaik

    Another funny things on the right wing parties in USA and in Europe who think that Russia is guarantor of Christianity. Orthodox Christianity never reformed, it is backward, reactionary and stuck in thinking of the late Antiquity. It is not compromising nor interested in debate. In medieval times, Russians and Orthodox countries rather surrendered to Mongols that accept help from the West and confront their faith. There was this huge painting where we had under communist time in the text book where Alexander Nevsky surrenders to Mongols in exchange for protection of his Christianity against Catholic Europe. In 1415 Council of Konstanz several times had interest to unify Christianity after Schism in 1054. They even sent Czech missionary, Jerome of Prague to ensure equal treatment of the eastern Churches. Only Kievan patriarch was interested to attend. Numerous popes were interested in negotiation with Greek and Orthodox churches, but all these were never answered. Idealist from the right are as naive as the left was in 1920 who immigrate to Russia only to be shot or sent to gulags. Catholic church went through numerous reforms (Cluny, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, Schism, Lateran councils, and faced pressure from Reformation). Protestant Reformations are chapters on its own.

    At any case, Russia has huge Muslim population with extensive birth rate from Caucasus to southern Russia to Central Russia of Tatarstan. More than 150,000 people in Russia died since 1994 when the war and insurgency in the south started. Much more than in Balkan wars and as much as in Syria. War with Ukraine and confrontation with entire West will wear out Russia. And the right wing want to side with totalitarian Russia for their own political ideology as the communist bastards in the past.

  • fulltimestudent

    DJS: But the 'little green men' firing high tech guided missiles and operating the other military equipment in E. Ukraine are not Ukrainians - they are a Russian trained and equipped assault force.

    Not Ukrainians? May I ask who/what is a Ukrainian? You seem to be dismissive of the idea that a large proportion of the population may (most likely are) ethnic Russian.


    BTW, I note some thoughts emanating from the American elite, regarding the effectiveness of the sanctions on Russia. George Friedman, is reputed to be close to American intelligence sources (though, I can't be sure that there is ONLY one American intelligence source-grin).

    So, here's the link: https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/viewing-russia-inside

    In this entry (dated December 2014) Friedman gives his impressions of a visit to Russia.

    On the effect of sanctions, Friedman comments:

    Russians' strength is that they can endure things that would break other nations. It was also pointed out that they tend to support the government regardless of competence when Russia feels threatened. Therefore, the Russians argued, no one should expect that sanctions, no matter how harsh, would cause Moscow to capitulate. Instead the Russians would respond with their own sanctions, which were not specified but which I assume would mean seizing the assets of Western companies in Russia and curtailing agricultural imports from Europe. There was no talk of cutting off natural gas supplies to Europe.
    If this is so, then the Americans and Europeans are deluding themselves on the effects of sanctions. In general, I personally have little confidence in the use of sanctions. That being said, the Russians gave me another prism to look through. Sanctions reflect European and American thresholds of pain. They are designed to cause pain that the West could not withstand. Applied to others, the effects may vary.

    On Ukraine he comments:

    The Ukrainian Issue
    There was much more toughness on Ukraine. There is acceptance that events in Ukraine were a reversal for Russia and resentment that the Obama administration mounted what Russians regard as a propaganda campaign to try to make it appear that Russia was the aggressor. Two points were regularly made. The first was that Crimea was historically part of Russia and that it was already dominated by the Russian military under treaty. There was no invasion but merely the assertion of reality. Second, there was heated insistence that eastern Ukraine is populated by Russians and that as in other countries, those Russians must be given a high degree of autonomy. One scholar pointed to the Canadian model and Quebec to show that the West normally has no problem with regional autonomy for ethnically different regions but is shocked that the Russians might want to practice a form of regionalism commonplace in the West.

    Do the "Russians" understand the USA, Friedman seems to think they do, at least in some ways:

    The discussion was over lunch, but my time was spent explaining and arguing, not eating. I found that I could hold my own geopolitically but that they had mastered the intricacies of the Obama administration in ways I never will.

    Summing up:

    I came away with two senses. One was that Putin was more secure than I thought. In the scheme of things, that does not mean much. Presidents come and go. But it is a reminder that things that would bring down a Western leader may leave a Russian leader untouched.
    Second, the Russians do not plan a campaign of aggression. Here I am more troubled — not because they want to invade anyone, but because nations frequently are not aware of what is about to happen, and they might react in ways that will surprise them. That is the most dangerous thing about the situation. It is not what is intended, which seems genuinely benign. What is dangerous is the action that is unanticipated, both by others and by Russia.
    At the same time, my general analysis remains intact. Whatever Russia might do elsewhere, Ukraine is of fundamental strategic importance to Russia. Even if the east received a degree of autonomy, Russia would remain deeply concerned about the relationship of the rest of Ukraine to the West. As difficult as this is for Westerners to fathom, Russian history is a tale of buffers. Buffer states save Russia from Western invaders. Russia wants an arrangement that leaves Ukraine at least neutral.

    Kaik, may be correct in many of the things that he says, but what he says is often affected by emotion, an emotion which we may understand, but neglects similar emotions on the others.

    The question for most of us is, do we just accept or do we try to understand. I wasted my life because I was too accepting.

  • zed revisited
    zed revisited

    Jesus is Vlad the Impaler's bitch.


  • DJS


    I read Friedman and Stratfor every day, including the one you reference; it is one of my sources, but I also work with - or have contact with - current and former military advisors and security personnel who have up-close and personal experience working in various US governmental agencies around the world. It isn't considered nice or appropriate to call a head of state a cold blooded murderer or mafia hit man. Even Friedman is going to shy away from that. But that is what Putin is, and he plays well to the old guard and the rank and file who seek a strong leader. Most people are sheep. Most people are followers. Sadly, many Russians will follow Vlad into oblivion, because that's where he is heading.

    Of course the Russians rationalize their actions, but the simple fact is that they will be forced to use force to accomplish their goals; the former republics do not want to be assimilated and are not waiting with wine and roses. A lot of old-guard Russians have romanticized this issue to the point where the old republics appear more like former lovers pining for them than angry exes wanting a restraining order. The Crimea was a cake walk, but there do not appear to be any additional cakes.

  • OrphanCrow
    kaik: ...the communist bastards in the past.

    Ah, yes...my Grandfather, literally with his dying breath, raised his fist in the air, and said, with a strong Russian voice, "God, DAMN the Bolsheviks...to HELL for what they did to my family." And then he died.

    DJS: But that is what Putin is, and he plays well to the old guard and the rank and file who seek a strong leader.

    Russian politics and history are a passion of mine. Could you please enlarge on who you mean when you refer to "the old guard"? I need some historical context for the expression - the meaning shifts through time.

    DJS: Not Ukrainians? May I ask who/what is a Ukrainian? You seem to be dismissive of the idea that a large proportion of the population may (most likely are) ethnic Russian.

    This is true.

    The areas of Russia in question is where I have family roots - I count family members in the numbers of casualties you have posted.

    The Ukrainian/Russian designation is somewhat fluid, depending on how far back you go in history. The borders that separate the countries have shifted many times historically, and migration of the Cossack clans in previous centuries has shifted the demographics in those regions.

  • kaik

    Russian speakers in Ukraine are Ukrainian citizens. Ukraine is multinational country. There are Hungarians, Poles, Slovaks living there as well. Carpathian Ruthenia was part of Czechoslovakia in interwar period and later became a part of Hungary during WWII to be returned in October 1944 back to Czechoslovakia for 8 months until Stalin kicked them out and the territory was ceded as price for liberation to USSR. I was in Lviv, Uzhorod, Beregovo, crossed over Carpathian mountains separating Hungarian basin from Central Ukraine. It is not ethnically homogenous country, yet it is Russia who got involved by military action and destroying this country. Since Putin ascent into the power if we include first war in Chechnya, more than 150,000 people died in Southern Russia, Caucasus Region and Ukraine for his dream. Three countries are directly occupied and invaded by Russia today. Russia threaten everyone on its border from Finland down to Poland to Baltic states to Romania. Russia will not stop there, and if not contained, they will be in the Western Europe in no time. Russia has hard time to acknowledge Ukraine as an independent county and nation. They do not understand that no Slavic country wants to be with Russia, no single of them have whatsoever desire to be allied with it. Maybe Serbs after 1999 NATO bombing, but I was in Yugoslavia under Tito and Serbs were looking upon Russians as poor relatives not to be trusted.

    The issue for me is that Western Russian sympathizers do not see the dangers and apologize Russian extremism and aggression even at the cost of tens of thousands dead. How many countries and what is the death toll acceptable for these people.

  • DJS

    Not Ukrainians in that several of the weapons' systems being used in the Ukraine by the 'insurgents' where supplied, staffed, trained and operated by Vlad and the Impalers (Soviet military). The Guided missile system that brought down the airliner (and other Ukrainian planes) is rarely if ever simply provided by entities like Russian and the US without providing trainers, operators and maintenance for a protracted period of time.

    Vlad may have sent in Ukrainian born/bred military experts, but these individuals were Russian soldiers. That's what I meant by 'not Ukrainian."

    This is the same reason the US balks at providing the types of weapons' systems the Ukraine wants in fighting Russia. These are complex 'systems' - not an individual point and shoot weapon - that require a lot of sophisticated stuff to make them happen, such as software, hardware, training, support, maintenance, etc. Vlad didn't simply give these things to the Ukrainian insurgents or natives to play with. The US has very good intel as to who staffed and operated these weapons' systems. It is almost a certainty that the US has fixed satellites and other intel gathering systems, including HUMINT, along these borders for the foreseeable future. Vlad can't likely go to the potty without Obama knowing about it.

    Orphan Crow - I don't mean to be mean but your question is a 30 second google search.




    All of these sites, and there are many like them, refer to "Old Guard' in the same manner - they are the older generation who came up through the military, society and especially the KGB/Communist Politburo/Political organizations in the same manner as Vlad, who as I have pointed out is KGB trained and bred. Typically they pine to be back in the USSR. If you are truly a Russophile, you would have known this.

  • OrphanCrow
    Orphan Crow - I don't mean to be mean but your question is a 30 second google search.
    ....they are the older generation who came up through the military, society and especially the KGB/Communist Politburo/Political organizations in the same manner as Vlad, who as I have pointed out is KGB trained and bred. Typically they pine to be back in the USSR.
    If you are truly a Russophile, you would have known this.

    thank you...but I have spent little time on the history of Russia after the Revolution...you are speaking, then, of the old 'Bolshevik' guard - the 'old guard' that is post 1917...not the old guard of old Russia...

    Sorry...I will back out of this and return to my dusty readings through Imperial Russian history...pre-Soviet history...pardon me....

  • kaik

    DJS, there is a difference between Putin's Russia and old USSR. USSR was multinational conglomerate where Russia dominated the states in the federations, and many nationalities faced rusification, and today, where it became nationalistic state waging wars against neighbors to turn them into unified, centralized Russian state. This dream of Russian nationalists is bloody and it took 20 years for the West to finally notice it. The present guard in Moscow wants to recreate state within boundary of USSR and beyond, but with much stronger grip of Moscow to prevent similar disintegration of 1991. The same time, it is driven by revenge against all states that were some point under Moscow control and they decided to chose their own destiny. This poses threat to good half of Europe and it is ridiculous when two months ago Russian officials claimed that future border of Russia as far west as in Prague and Rijeka at Adriatic sea. Southern Slavs were never part of Russian influence because Tito chess mated Stalin from the Balkans in 1948. This still does not prevent nationalist in Moscow to dream that Rijeka, Zagreb, Prague or Ljubjana to be a part of vast empire just because Croats, Slovenes, and Czech are Slavs. Either way, what is happening in Russia is far more different than was with USSR. Russia after 1917 isolated itself from the world, today, it attempts to flex its control everywhere it feels like to.

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