|President Putin immerses himself in the icy waters at Lake
Seliger during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in January.ALEXEI DRUZHININ/KREMLIN VIAREUTERS
Putin's Puritan Piety: The Ideological War against the WestThis turn of events will not bode well for Israel while it is currently culturally aligned with the Wicked West.
During the Cold War, American conservatives used to label the Soviet Union "the godless nation" on the verge of collapse because it had purged religion from the Russian society. Two decades later, the Kremlin is occupied by a former officer of the KGB, secretly baptized, who launches the same accusation of atheism at the United States and the West.
Welcome to "Putin's covert war on Western decadence", as The Spectator defined it:
"Putin's Russia is fast becoming a very puritan place. Ever since returning to the presidency in 2012, Putin has pursued an increasingly religious-conservative ideology both at home and abroad, defining Russia as a moral fortress against sexual licence and decadence, porn and gay rights".
Recently, Russian officials censored porn websites. When the largest pornography site on the internet, PornHub, offered the Russia's official communications and media watchdog a premium account in exchange for lifting the ban, Russian officials replied: "Sorry, we are not in the market and the demography is not a commodity."
Russian President Vladimir Putin's ideological war against the West is getting cocky and self-confident. In a televised speech from a Kremlin hall, Putin declared that Russian traditional family values are a bulwark against the West's "so-called tolerance -- genderless and infertile."
"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have abandoned their roots, including Christian values," said Putin. The patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Kirill, echoed Putin by charging the West of being engaged in a "spiritual disarmament" of the Russian people, and by criticizing the European laws that prevent wearing religious symbols in public. "We have experienced an era of atheism and we know what it means to live without God", Kirill said.
The first ten years of Putin's dominance were devoid of any religious and cultural reference. Putin and his circle never mentioned any "values", and did not try to teach any moral lessons to the West. The second Putin decade has been marked by a "conservative revolution" based on the revival of an isolated Russian Orthodox culture, separated for centuries from European civilization. "Putin wants to make Russia into the traditional values capital of the world," said Masha Gessen, author of a Putin biography, entitled The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. In the Russian media, Putin is now called "the savior of the decadent West."
...Vladimir Putin has presided for years over the great revival of Orthodox Christianity. On the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian church had 50,000 parishes and 60 schools. By 1941, Stalin had eliminated the church as a public institution. Every monastery and seminary had been closed. With the fall of communism in 1991, the church began to rebuild its devastated institutional life. Putin's Russia is returning to the concept of Byzantine symphonia -- an approach in which church and state work together.
...The first Cold War was a clash between Western democracy and the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat. Western freedom crushed the Soviet gulags. The new Cold War is a one between Western liberalism and Russian conservatism.
Tomorrow, iy"H, the renewed influence of the Russian Orthodox Church and what it might portend for Israel.