Whose side is God on now?
In his Kremlin defense of Russia's annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin, even before he began listing the battles where Russian blood had been shed on Crimean soil, spoke of an older, deeper bond.
Crimea, said Putin, “is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptized. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilization and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”
Russia is a Christian country, Putin was saying.
This speech recalls last December's address in which the former KGB chief spoke of Russia as standing against a decadent West: “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”
With Marxism-Leninism a dead faith, Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West, led by the United States, and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.
In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God's side.
Western leaders who compare Putin's annexation of Crimea to Hitler's Anschluss with Austria believe Putin's claim to stand on higher moral ground is beyond blasphemous.
But Putin knows exactly what he is doing. He is plugging into some of the modern world's most powerful currents. Not only in his defiance of what much of the world sees as America's arrogant drive for global hegemony. Not only in his tribal defense of lost Russians left behind when the USSR disintegrated.
He is also tapping into the worldwide revulsion of, and resistance to, the sewage of a hedonistic secular and social revolution coming out of the West.
Author Masha Gessen, who has written a book on Putin, says of his last two years, “Russia is remaking itself as the leader of the anti-Western world.”
But the war to be waged with the West is not with rockets. It is a cultural, social, moral war where Russia's role, in Putin's words, is to “prevent movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.”
This writer was startled to read in the January/February newsletter from the social conservative World Council of Families in Rockford, Ill., that, of the “ten best trends” in the world in 2013, No. 1 was “Russia Emerges as Pro-Family Leader.”
In 2013, the Kremlin imposed a ban on homosexual propaganda, a ban on abortion advertising, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks and a ban on sacrilegious insults to religious believers.
“While the other super-powers march to a pagan world-view,” writes WCF's Allan Carlson, “Russia is defending Judeo-Christian values. During the Soviet era, Western communists flocked to Moscow. This year, World Congress of Families VII will be held in Moscow, Sept. 10-12.”
Will Vladimir Putin give the keynote?
In the new ideological Cold War, whose side is God on now?
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”