The Washington Post recently succinctly stated that Putin has been “Building for years, his crafted image as a right-wing Christian leader [that] is finding its most potent outlet in the horrific war in Ukraine…”
That goes a long way toward explaining why at a recent white supremacy rally that Marjorie Taylor Greene and her fellow rabid white-firsters attended, the crowd was yelling “Putin, Putin, Putin” at times.
The Post article noted that
“In the world view he [Putin] espouses, Ukraine’s push to link up with NATO and the European Union is not just a military threat but also a moral one. His war is a holy mission, one meant to stop a brother nation from moving too close to the vice-ridden, atheistic, LBGT-supporting, gender-rights loving West that wants to corrupt Orthodox, conservative Christian mores.”
Putin said just before the February 24 invasion, “They sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature,”
The Post article provides context to the relationship of Putin and the arch-conservative Russian Orthodox Church:
“In Moscow, Putin appears to have coordinated the public selling of the war with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Kirill, according to Religion News Service (RNS), spoke to Russian military leaders just hours before the assault on Ukraine began, and hailed Putin for his “high and responsible service to the people of Russia.”
The fanatical rantings of Ginni Thomas in her emails to Mark Meadows is a tight fit with Putin and the assertion of “traditional” church values. This is true for most of the Republican Party now, certainly those who believe the West, as in the United States, has moved to embrace social values that are “degenerate.”
Why would right-wingers be sympathetic to Putin? Because he represents an authoritarian enforcer of church social viewpoints, allegedly grounded in the Christian faith, willing to take on the “decadent” West. He is the white savior heading a triangle of state-military/Christianity/and family “values.” Not to be forgotten, he is the upholder of the white “race.”
Much of the right-wing we saw in despicable action at the Supreme Court hearings prefer Putin’s values and totalitarian rule to the “illiberal” values of the West.
As a recent article in “The Conversation” described the importance of the near merger of the Russian State and the Russian Orthodox Church:
Kirill has also promoted an influential critique of Western liberalism, consumerism and individualism, contrasted with Russian “traditional values.” This idea argues that human rights are not universal, but a product of Western culture, especially when extended to LGBTQ people. The patriarch also helped develop the idea of the “Russian world”: a soft power ideology that promotes Russian civilization, ties to Russian-speakers around the world, and greater Russian influence on Ukraine and Belarus.
Although 70%-75% of Russians consider themselves Orthodox, only a small percentage are active in church life. Kirill has sought to “re-church” society by asserting that Russian Orthodoxy is central to Russian identity, patriotism and cohesion – and a strong Russian state. He has also created a highly centralized church bureaucracy that mirrors Putin’s and stifles dissenting voices.
This is central to Christian authoritarianism, and one of the main reasons that many evangelicals see Putin as a savior against “liberal values.” Look at a state like Texas and see how neatly it fits into the “moral values” espoused by a Putin-Kirill Russia.
One of the most appalling facets of US right-wingers is their embracing of the de facto merger of the Russian State and the Russian Orthodox Church. It should not be forgotten that the likes of Ginni Thomas would like to see the US as a theological Christian state imposing “Godly” Russian values on the nation. Some might call it treason.