Putin's Religion

Discussion in 'Russian Politics' started by Patrick Armstrong, May 13, 2013.

  1. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Finally got around to reading his huge Q&A sessions (and what Western leader could -- or would do that?) and was struck by this in re the letters Berezovskiy sent him:


    *KIRILL KLEYMENOV:* Why didn’t you make this letter public? As you know,
    some allegations made in the West...
    *VLADIMIR PUTIN:* You see, these letters were quite personal, although I
    have never had a close relationship with him. We knew each other, of
    course, but there wasn’t a close relationship. Still, he turned to me
    with a request. Some of my colleagues wanted me make the letter public
    immediately. I am very grateful to the Lord for keeping me from doing that.

    Interesting. Any thoughts?
  2. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Putin's religion is a mystery. On the one hand he attends Church on regular Feast Days and George Bush II no less is said to have been impressed that Putin has an icon. That would point to a personally religious man. We know of course that he was baptised into the Church and that his mother (but not his father) was personally religious.

    Against that Putin scarcely ever talks about God and I clearly recall his refusing to discuss his religious beliefs when asked about them by a journalist, I think from Time magazine.

    Was he therefore using a figure of speech when discussing the Berezovsky letter? Perhaps those with a better knowledge of Russian than me can say.

    My impression is that Putin knows that politically it is to his advantage to stay on good terms with the Orthodox Church (even Zyuganov realises this) but that he also realises that excessive close identification with the Church would also be politically harmful. At the same time I suspect that at some level he does have a genuine belief in God, which explains why he is so comfortable in the presence of religious people, but he is certainly no religious fanatic and that it is not a major factor in his personal life.
  3. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I'm pretty sure Putin was using a figure of speech when publicly expressing his gratitude to "the Lord" for the decision he took.

    Although Putin makes no secret that he was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Faith, as regards politics he does not publicly call upon "god's guidance" and protection for Russia, as is the habit of US presidents when talking about the United States. In this matter, Putin is acting in a very European way: Russia is a secular state that has citizens of many faiths or, indeed, none. Chancellor Merkel, for example, is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. I am sure she is a "believer", but nevertheless does not call upon "god's guidance" in matters of state: long gone are the days when German soldiers had "Gott mit uns" emblazoned on their belt buckles. Europe, with a few exceptions such as the UK with its established churches, consists of secular states, and the involvement of the church in European politics has long been curtailed, which fact is, I believe, proof positive for many US "believers" that Europe is fundamentally "socialist", if not downright "commie".

    No present-day European politician would dare publicly state as did president Truman:

    "The fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state."

    As regards my belief that Putin was speaking figuratively when giving his thanks to "the Lord", I well remember witnessing the surprise of some "born again" English students in the USSR upon their hearing Soviet citizens frequently saying in conversation "Bozhe moi" (Oh my god!) and "Gospodi!" (Oh Lord!). These religious compatriots of mine were of the opinion that such expressions were censured in the Soviet Union and their public utterance would possibly result in the direst of consequences. And more closer to home, as it were, my own wife was christened into the Orthodox Faith shortly after her birth, even though her family was most definitely Bolshevik. (Her maternal grandfather, who lived to a very old age, had been a Red Guard in Petrograd.) My wife went through the quite normal routine of being a Pioneer then a member of Komsomol when she was in higher education, finally becoming a party member one year before the old Communist Party ceased to exist. She has had no religious instruction at all, very seldom visits a church, yet considers herself to be an Orthodox Christian. She also insisted that our three children be baptized into the Russian Orthodox Faith.

    In short, for my wife and, I should imagine, for very many of her compatriots as well, including, no doubt, Vladimir Putin, the Russian Orthodox faith is simply an expression of her national identity.
  4. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    Alexander and ME have pretty much nailed it, I think.

    I am certain that Putin's religious beliefs are real. In a recent book I read ("Putin" by Hutchins), it says that he spends a couple of hours every week praying in a chapel. The hierarchs are much happier with him than with Yeltsin, who in contrast very rarely and irregularly turned up at a Church.

    AFAIK according to Putin himself, he found real faith when his dacha burned down in... 1995 or 1996, I believe it was. It had apparently been a close shave.
  5. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I remember when they re-interred in the cathedral at Sts. Peter and Paul fortress in S. Petersburg the remains that had been identified as those of the murdered Romanovs, which had been found down an old mine near Ekaterinburg, it was commented upon by some members of the foreign press that many members of the then government that attended the church service seemed unaware and hesitant as regards what to do during the church service. Russian Orthodox services tend to be much longer than Western Christian ones - I've never been to one that has lasted less than 2 hours - everybody stands the whole time and there are occasions when one crosses oneself or responds to the priest, and in Old Church Slavonic at that.

    Nowadays, Putin and Medvedev, together with their wives, seem very much au fait with the Orthodox Church liturgy whenever their attendance at church at the lengthy Christmas and Easter vigils is televised
  6. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    As an agnostic-atheist who is rather indifferent to religious questions, I am fascinated by the religiosity of powerful men. I suppose it gives them some inner peace and bearings, a sense of mission for the weighty decisions they make every day.
  7. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Well it certainly must have given former British Prime Minister and war criminal Tony Blair peace of mind; likewise former US president George W. Bush.
  8. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    I was also thinking of them!
  9. Dmitry B.

    Dmitry B. Dead Soul

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    This is an interesting discussion. In recent years, we only saw Putin inside the church attending services. For a person of Soviet background, he was remarkably educated about the Orthodox rituals: he did not shake hands with the Patriarch, but greeted him in an Orthodox way, he knew when to cross himself and how to approach an icon etc. In a recent annual "endless intertview" with journalists, he said that his ancestros stemmed from a village where everyone was religious (Orthodox Christians). However, his religion is modern, "comfortable": in the early 2000s, giving an interview to NG Religii (a supplement to Nezavisimaya Gazeta) Putin said that modern religion should be "udobnaya" comfortable. That jives very well with the idea of making religion "fashioanble" (an idea propagated since the 1990s by Ivan Okhlobystin and other "glamorous" New Orthodox Christians - mundane figures). I think it is better than open hostility to Orthodoxy and ultimately, to all Christianity shown by the majority of the liberal leaders of Bolotnaya type. But certainly this is no "theocracy", as one might conclude from Western reports.
  10. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    For your reading pleasure:

    "Looks like that many Christians forgot that Russian Orthodox Church was and is controlled by KGB. Their priests were and are KGB agents. Yes, they want to conquer world, not with Russian Christianity but with long range planned Russian Communism which they exported successfully with Communist religion "Theory of Evolution" to the West. Now they are pretending that they are good guys with their phony Christianity. Wolf change clothing but never his nature and useful idiots getting hooked on this Putin's "Christianity" hoax."

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/3038716/posts
  11. Kolokol

    Kolokol Office Registrar (13th class)

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    In Russia, religion gets you.
  12. Jon Hellevig

    Jon Hellevig Citizen

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    test
    AKarlin likes this.

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