Facts and Findings

The Russian Orthodox Church's Disempowerment of Society

by Andreas Heinemann-Grüder

Analysis for the Empowerment of the War Enthusiasts

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and Putin's regime are very close. The ROC provides the ideological superstructure for Putin's agenda and empowers the war-mongers in society. At the same time, it promotes indifference and cynicism regarding public affairs. Foreseeably, however, the ROC's propaganda is reaching its limits, as it is finding less of a hearing among post-Soviet socialized age groups and lacks a forward-looking vision.

Since the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran (1979), a re-politicization of religion can be observed globally, not only among Muslims but also among Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. The so-called "conservative counter-revolution" responds to the loss of control due to globalization, secularization, cosmopolitanism and the emancipation of women. It revitalizes traditional family images, homophobic attitudes and Manichean notions of one's own moral superiority.

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the political regime embodied by President Putin are part of this global countermovement to the liberal West. The symbiotic proximity between the ROC's anti-pluralist officials and the autocratic regime under Putin has substantial parallels to clerical-fascist currents of the 1920s and 1930s in Italy, Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. 

While the ROK expanded as a state church in the post-Soviet period with the help of tax breaks, privileges, and sinecures, it in turn provided sacral legitimacy for the political regime's imperial, anti-liberal, and bellicose programmatic. There are striking similarities between the organizational mode of the Putin regime and the ROK.

Read the full German-language Publication „The Russian Orthodox Church's Disempowerment of Society“ here as a PDF.

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