Paper Examines Russian Orthodoxy’s Influence On Kremlin Foreign Policy

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Paper Examines Russian Orthodoxy’s Influence On Kremlin Foreign Policy

Paper Examines Russian Orthodoxy’s Influence On Kremlin Foreign Policy by EurasiaNet

A new paper explains how the notion of “spiritual security” is a major component of Russia’s national security doctrine, and illustrates how Russia’s current political and ecclesiastical leadership can never abide a Ukraine that is oriented toward the West.

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The paper, titled Spiritual Security, the Russkiy Mir, and the Russian Orthodox Church: The Influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on Russia’s Foreign policy Regarding Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, is contained in a report published earlier in November by the Foreign Policy Centre.

Underscoring the extent to which Russian Orthodoxy is intertwined with Russia’s statehood, the paper cites the Kremlin’s National Security Doctrine, which states that “ensuring the national security of the Russian Federation also includes the protection of the cultural, spiritual and moral legacy … of all the peoples of Russia.” The paper also asserts that a major building block of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy is the concept of Russkiy Mir, a term used to identify Russia’s sphere of cultural and canonical influence. It adds that the religious values espoused by the Russian Orthodox Church are essential elements of Russkiy Mir.

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“The Russian Orthodox Church, which has regained its pre-eminence as the cultural and moral guardian of Russia, is supplying the ideology utilized by the Putin administration in its relations with the ‘near abroad,’ as well as those nations that are regarded to be within its sphere of geopolitical influence,” states the paper written by Rev. Fr. Dr. Daniel P. Payne, a Greek Orthodox priest who was a scholar from 2006-2015 at the Dawson Center for Church-State Studies at Baylor University.

“The Russian Orthodox Church’s promotion of traditional values, which have undergirded the ideology of the Russkiy Mir and the concept of ‘spiritual security,’ has had a great influence on what has been called the ‘Putin Doctrine,’” the paper says.

In recent years, the proponents of Russkiy Mir have cast themselves as the defenders of traditional Christian values. Accordingly, they have embraced the idea that their chief mission is to keep secularism, a phenomenon that has already overrun the West in their view, at bay. At home, the Russian Orthodox Church, in the words of its spiritual leader, Patriarch Kirill, is engaged in “the second Christianization of Rus,” striving to rid Russkiy Mir of the secular influences associated with Communism.

This religious-cultural factor is a major driver of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the paper contends. The idea of Ukraine shunning Moscow for a closer relationship with the European Union is particularly abhorrent to Russian leaders because Kyiv is the cradle of Russian civilization, the place where the Russian Orthodox faith was founded in 988. Thus, Russian leaders are convinced that Ukraine’s acceptance of Western values would irrevocably split Orthodox believers and mean the collapse of Russkiy Mir.

“The Orthodox faith is the pillar, the backbone that will never allow Rus to become enslaved or ruined,” Patriarch Kirill said in a speech in July 2014. “If we betray this, reject this, we will lose everything.”

Western leaders are making a big mistake if they do not take the religious underpinnings of Russian foreign policy, particularly in how messianic ideas are guiding Russian policy toward Ukraine, into account, the paper argues.

“If foreign policy makers in the United States and Western Europe fail to understand this religious dimension of the Putin Doctrine of the Russkiy Mir, then they will not fully understand the rationale of Putin and his administration in promoting Russianess around the world,” the paper states.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have been several times in Russia .. you have a point except for the propaganda part .. but the test of a religion is the power it has to make people better.. I have lived in Ukraine .. and four trips to Russia .. I do not know one guy that goes to church every week or models his life after the teachings of the church .. they have beautiful chapels .. and .. where do you live ? can you tell me one orthodox believing young male ?

  2. People are human and capable of committing all manner of acts that fly in face of a supposed faith. It does not diminish the established majority. I guess you have to be in Russia to understand. You examples are western idiotic propaganda.

  3. great if it was true that Russian culture embodied the values of Christianity .. but honestly I don’t see it .. how can you claim it ? Moscow and Russia is rife with dishonesty and corruption as only Russians can know .. and from top to bottom .. and how many people know the meaning of chastity ? is this all because of Western influence? I think the Kremlin’s reliance on this argument is just another convenient excuse for having “power vertical” mafia dictatorship, along with the “surrounded by NATO” argument.. ask Sergey Magnitsky and Alexander Litvenenko and Anna Politkovskaya how Christian is the Kremlin power ..

  4. it would be great if it was true that Russian culture embodied the values of Christianity .. but honestly I don’t see it .. how can you claim it ? Moscow and Russia is rife with dishonesty and corruption as only Russians can know .. and from top to bottom .. and how many people know the meaning of chastity ? is this all because of Western influence? I think the Kremlin’s reliance on this argument is just another convenient excuse for having “power vertical” mafia dictatorship, along with the “surrounded by NATO” argument.. ask Sergey Magnitsky and Alexander Litvenenko and Anna Politkovskaya how Christian is the Kremlin power ..

  5. For all to see?))
    West is falling in the hands of easern barbarians like Western roman empire in 4 century.
    Read some history please.

  6. “Paper Examines Russian Orthodoxy’s influence on Kremlin Foreign Policy” There is nothing wrong with that influence.Russia lost moral compass during the rule of communism.Most of the Western countries are secular.Church and States are separate entities,but Church followers are never separated from the respective State.Therefore,States get a dose of influence through the Church or Churches memberships.Many faiths and their place of worship, in many ways, help their followers live better life with the tolerance and understanding.Islamic faith, for the reason of their own,never accepted idea that other Faiths and their Churches have the same rights as they have to worship God, conflict free, in their own way. On the Global scale, East and West have to resolve the issues Islamic faith may have,or there is never going to be end of the terrorism.

  7. In Roman Catholicism, we have long learned that marriage of altar and throne brings no good fruit. Russian Orthodoxy never learned this–and results are there for all to see.

  8. Like most American propaganda, this article disparages the idea that a country’s policy should be driven by retaining its culture. The reason is that Americans are beginning to question who they are and what happened to theirs. Aren’t we supposed to be the greatest country on earth? Exceptional? We have given up our soul, become a secular, godless country in exchange for what? A corrupt government run by dopes that have no concept of culture or history, and a perpetually struggling economy running on fumes and driven by goofs.

  9. You have to understand Orthodoxy and its people.It is not an idiology,it is a way of life,with priority on the world to come.come. Sufferance has to be endured stoically and the main thing is to save Orthodoxy(Pravoslavny).It is the religion that maintained the Byzantium for 16 hundred years and will sustain Holy Rus. Orthodoxy is under a promise,”the power of evil will not prevail on it”.The One who made the promise proved right always :yesterday,today,always.

  10. The west has already failed to even remotely understand Orthodoxy in general, Russian Orthodoxy in particular. Ignored also is the fact that many in Russia are not very devout but defend their faith while accepting that some are of other faiths. As long as they get along without strife such as what arrived from wahabist radicals in the Kavkaz, there are few problems. Those that exist are blown out of proportion by NGO’s seeking publicity and expansion for whatever reason, especially economic at the expense of Russian Orthodoxy. Basic fundamental tenets of the faith are well established and widely know, if not practiced faithfully, much as in any region. The difference is in the size of the majority. When there is little opposition, of course other countries become suspicious. They refuse to accept that such exists and thrives. They deny that it could be possible for so many people could have such a similar belief system as well as political leanings. Yet this is the history of Russia. United against the axis in the Great Patriotic war for their very survival, many were closet Orthodox under the yoke of the dictator. Now of course their are sadly, weakly humans in control who make decisions that fly in the face of Orthodoxy as well as criminals of all faiths. Opportunists shall we say. Russia wishes to protect its faith because it has one. The rest of the world, even such high majority countries as Indonesia for example, have little in the way of opposition from other faiths. At the other extreme are hard core islamist countries where preaching or converting to a different faith is taking your life in your hands. Then there is the west where faith is rapidly becoming supplanted by atheism and all manner of legalized behavior that violates the faith of the vast majority of Russian and other Orthodox people. The west has no right to dictate to the Orthodox world. The rada of Ukraine recently rejected the EU push to deviate from a deeply ingrained, faith based tenet of Orthodoxy. Separation of church and state? There is no Thomas Jefferson equivalent in Russia and never has been. The majority of the people want to be and remain Orthodox without interference or encroachment from the west or anywhere else. The city of Vladikavkaz is an example of a place where people of Orthodox and Muslim faith life side by side. There is a great deal of organized crime as there is in many cities of such size anywhere in the world, but it is more peaceful than Chicago, as is Grozny for that matter. The Orthodox reserve the right to fight for their faith, with or without help from other Orthodox whether in Armenia, Greece, Egypt, Syria, or Russia.

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