Russia believed the West was weak and decadent. So it invaded.

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  29 comments

Russia believed the West was weak and decadent. So it invaded.
In his sermon approximately two weeks into the war, on March 6, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church justified the invasion of Ukraine as necessary to defend Orthodox Christians against Western values and gay pride parades. On March 24, during a meeting with young artists, Russian President Vladimir Putin complained about cancel culture, arguing that much as J.K. Rowling had been criticized for her opposition to transgender rights, the West was now “trying to cancel a whole 1,000-year...

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www.washingtonpost.com   /politics/2022/04/15/putin-patriarch-ukraine-culture-power-decline/

Russia believed the West was weak and decadent. So it invaded.


Kristina Stoeckl, Dmitry Uzlaner 7-8 minutes   4/15/2022





In recent weeks, many analysts — especially those trying to find a logical justification for the Russian war in Ukraine —   have argued   that the Kremlin was reacting to a perceived threat from NATO encroachment and the Western alliance’s push into Russia’s sphere of influence.

While that may be so, such explanations miss an important point. The Russian conservative elites currently in power supported war because they see Western power as decadent and declining. This image of the West allows Russia to feel strong and invincible.


Gay parades and cancel culture

In his sermon approximately two weeks into the war, on March 6, the   patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church   justified the invasion of Ukraine as necessary to defend Orthodox Christians against Western values and   gay pride parades . On March 24, during a meeting with young artists, Russian President Vladimir Putin complained about   cancel culture , arguing that much as J.K. Rowling had been criticized for her opposition to transgender rights, the West was now “trying to cancel a whole 1,000-year culture, our people … Russian writers and books are now canceled.”

Russia presents itself as being at the forefront of the   global culture wars , leading the resistance to liberal values. Russian anti-Westernism has religious implications: According to its own narrative, Russia is guarding true Christian faith, as embodied in the Eastern Orthodox church, from Western attempts to distort it, whether through Marxism in the 20th century or liberalism in the 21st.

Ukraine plays an important role in this story. It is depicted as part of the “ Russian world ,” the cradle of Russian civilization, which for many centuries was centered not around Moscow but around Kyiv, capital of today’s Ukraine. Ukraine’s choice to orient itself toward the West and reconcile a Slavic Orthodox identity with liberal democratic values is thus dangerous to this Russian vision of itself.

Global Christian right

The arguments about gender freedoms and cancel culture that we hear today from Patriarch Kirill and Putin are nothing genuinely Russian. They derive from a global Christian right ideology, which Russian conservatives learned about in the 1990s.

Right after the end of the Cold War, Christian right activists, especially from the United States, flocked into Russia; among them were   Focus on the Family ,   CoMission   and the   World Congress of Families . From the 1990s onward, Russian conservatives have argued that the frustrations of their society falling apart result from painful liberal socioeconomic reforms. Their argument combines elements of a late-Soviet conservative social ethos, Russian Orthodox traditionalism and huge transnational influences.

Today’s Russian discourse on traditional values is a hybrid of Christian right ideas from the global culture wars and nostalgia about Russia’s great Soviet and even greater imperial and Orthodox Christian past.

The whimsical West

This type of Russian cultural conservatism was marginal until around 2010, when it started to migrate to the center of Russian political life — decisively so during Putin’s third term as president. For Putin, the traditional values discourse was a good pretext for political repression — exemplified in the treatment of Pussy Riot — and a shield against rising opposition, which demanded more freedoms.

Traditional values and the defense of Christianity were a suitable foundation for the new Russian foreign policy mission: becoming the leader of those countries and actors that were not, were no longer or had never wanted to be “liberal.”

In the process of “learning” the global culture wars, Russian conservatives not only defined their national identity in relation to a global Christian conservatism, but also acquired a precise vision of the West as spiritually hollow and failing. Christian conservatives flocking to Russia conveyed an image of the West that was torn, weak and doomed, because it no longer had children, no longer had values, and did not even distinguish between men and women. As a result, many   Christian conservatives   from the United States and Europe   looked to Russia with hope .

Christian conservatives’ image of a failing and doomed West began to dominate views of Russian conservative elites during the late 2000s. But Russian elites saw their Western conservative partners as part of that failing West: they too were weak and pitiful heralds of a   West in decline .

Russian triumphalism

This account of the West helped give birth to a new Russian triumphalism. Russian media filled with TV shows and “documentaries” on “ Gayropa ” and “ Sodom .” These shows conjured up a caricature of weak “gayish” Western males and women who lost their femininity by competing with men in spheres where they could achieve nothing serious.

Russian   media frequently stressed   the oddity that many Western democracies nominated women as defense ministers, as if that was the ultimate proof that the West has lost its ability to defend itself. In this collective image of a weak West,   Russia depicted itself   (to the inside and outside) as the country of strength, the bulwark of traditional families: with strong men, fertile women and   children properly guarded   against subversive homosexual propaganda.

This image is without any   empirical foundation , but that was not important. It resulted in an internal perception of Russia as world messiah and   a force   preventing the world from sliding into the chaos of evil, with a special mission of saving the world from liberal depravities. The Patriarch’s March 6 sermon expressed precisely that worldview.

Fascinated by this flattering vision of Russia, elites, it seems, overestimated the nation’s strength and   underestimated Ukraine ’s. The Kremlin also appears to have underestimated the strength and unity of the collective West, which appears not as corrupted and not as weak as Russia imagined. Pointedly, J.K.   Rowling , whom Putin mentioned as a victim of Western cancel culture, refused his characterization and accused Putin of killing civilians instead.

Kristina Stoeckl   (@StoecklKristina) is professor of sociology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). She was supported for this article by participation as Senior Fellow in the “Orthodoxy and Human Rights” project sponsored by Fordham University's Orthodox Christian Studies Center, and generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and Leadership 100.

Dmitry Uzlaner is a senior postdoctoral fellow at the University of Innsbruck (Austria).


Together they have   studied   Russian moral conservatism and connections between the American Christian Right and the Russian Orthodox Church and are authors of “ The Moralist International: Russia in the Global Culture Wars ” (Fordham University Press, 2022).




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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago
Today’s Russian discourse on traditional values is a hybrid of Christian right ideas from the global culture wars and nostalgia about Russia’s great Soviet and even greater imperial and Orthodox Christian past.

The whimsical West

This type of Russian cultural conservatism was marginal until around 2010, when it started to migrate to the center of Russian political life — decisively so during Putin’s third term as president. For Putin, the traditional values discourse was a good pretext for political repression — exemplified in the treatment of Pussy Riot — and a shield against rising opposition, which demanded more freedoms.

Traditional values and the defense of Christianity were a suitable foundation for the new Russian foreign policy mission: becoming the leader of those countries and actors that were not, were no longer or had never wanted to be “liberal.”

The evidence mounts that Russia is carrying the banner for the global far right/white supremacy/theocracy movements. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
1.1  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

No, Russia is doing the bidding of Putin, period.

Whatever spin being put on this by anyone that is not Putin is just added garbage for the ever hungry media and talking heads.

But that is all that our media is good for now- reporting garbage that is over interpreted, repackaged, recycled, and sent everywhere.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Ender  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    one month ago

There was an article yesterday that showed the people arrested in Germany for planning on blowing up the electric grid were fans of putin.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    one month ago

Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan was then “walk right in” sign.   Lucky Zelenskyy didn’t folllow Biden’s advice and stayed and fought.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago

To get back on topic -

Traditional values and the defense of Christianity were a suitable foundation for the new Russian foreign policy mission: becoming the leader of those countries and actors that were not, were no longer or had never wanted to be “liberal.”

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago

Like donald pulled out of Syria and gave the Russians our military bases?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
2.2.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ender @2.2    one month ago

Like donald pulled out of Syria and gave the Russians our military bases?

How long did you want to stay and hold them?

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Ender  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.1    one month ago

So tell me why it was ok for donald to withdraw from there, abandon the Kurds and let Russia take our bases yet Biden fucked up because he left Afghanistan, when donald had set up the withdraw to begin with...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.3  Texan1211  replied to  Ender @2.2.2    one month ago
Biden fucked up because he left Afghanistan, when donald had set up the withdraw to begin with.

I saw no one bitching because Biden left, what people were upset about was HOW it was all handled. If you think it all went just peachy, then that is your opinion and many people disagree with it.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
2.2.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ender @2.2.2    one month ago
So tell me why it was ok for donald to withdraw from there,

I think that Trump acted rashly and betrayed the Kurds.  I supported the Kurds during Operation Provide Comfort II in Northern Iraq and grew to admire them.

Again, how long did you want us to remain in Syria.  

Biden fucked up because he left Afghanistan, when donald had set up the withdraw to begin with...

I think that both the manor that Trump used to negotiate the departure and the way that Biden executed it were wrong, however we had lost Afghanistan years before.  

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.5  Ender  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.4    one month ago

Yes, he betrayed the people that were on our side. I am not a fan of nation building like we tried to do in Afghanistan. It never works. Yet if we withdraw from everywhere and become isolationist like donald wanted, that leaves a gap for another country like Russia to step in and take over.

We have bases around the world for a reason.

And I say this and it is always taken with a snide remark yet no matter who would have been in charge, leaving Afghanistan would always be a cluster fuck.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
2.2.6  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ender @2.2.5    one month ago
I am not a fan of nation building like we tried to do in Afghanistan. It never works.

You got that right.  The original mission there was to kill/capture as many al-Qaeda as possible and punish the Taliban for harboring them.  That mission was accomplished within a year and we had lost around 65 service members.  Bush changed the mission to nation building and Obama doubled down on that.  

We have bases around the world for a reason.

Yes, I served 13 of my 24 years out of the country.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.7  Ender  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.6    one month ago

Thanks for your service. What branch were you in?

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Expert
2.2.8  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ender @2.2.7    one month ago

It was my pleasure to serve in the US Army.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.9  Ender  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @2.2.8    one month ago

Ah, thanks. I was an Air Force brat. Never served myself.

When I was a teen decided I would be like a hippy and if they ever drafted me I would burn my draft card...

Funny what age and growing up will do to change perspective.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.2.10  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ender @2.2    one month ago
ave the Russians our military bases?

Out of curiosity, in what world was our engagement in Syria and Afghanistan on the same level? Did you hurt yourself stretching  to equate the two?   Just insane

For starters, you can't possibly believe the complaint against Biden is that the Taliban took over abandoned airfields and bases. No one could possibly believe that. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.11  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.10    one month ago

What are you even trying to say.

You were complaining about fuckups and I showed one.

I noticed you changed from asking me what bases Russia took over to saying I was making some weird comparison. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago
Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan

Really, I imagine, that is all it took for the Russians to know Biden and the US was no longer threat.  To think that Russia and China didn't notice would be an admission of pure ignorance.  They saw and they acted knowing full well that the US doesn't have any true leadership and NATO won't do anything unless the US takes point. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.3.1  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3    one month ago

So leaving Afghanistan was a sign of weakness?

Good to know as donald put the wheels in motion....

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.3.1    one month ago
So leaving Afghanistan was a sign of weakness?

The way it was conducted....yes.  

Good to know as donald put the wheels in motion....

then Biden stepped in and fucked it up.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.3.3  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3.2    one month ago

And if donald were in office, the left would be saying he fucked it up...

It gets me that some of you all think there could have been any way that would have been a smooth operation.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3.4  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.3.3    one month ago
And if donald were in office

Well, he wasn't so that's a moot point.

the left would be saying he fucked it up

hell, they cry if he blinks too many times.

It gets me that some of you all think there could have been any way that would have been a smooth operation.

There was a smooth operation in action.  This was all Biden's decision making.

In April, I made the decision to end this war.  As part of that decision, we set the date of August 31st for American troops to withdraw. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.3.5  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3.4    one month ago

So the military had no say in it at all? He was just throwing out decisions and didn't consult any generals or higher ups....

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3.6  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.3.5    one month ago

The military had brought up it's concerns.  And in true Democrat fashion they were discarded.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.3.7  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3.6    one month ago

I fail to see what looks like a speech has to do with it.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3.8  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.3.7    one month ago

The point is, Biden made the decision.  Eliminating any chances of blame being placed on any other administration but his.  13 Dead Servicemembers, loss of $500,000,000 of military hardware and equipment.  Millions spent to send US Forces back in on emergency deployment.  All on the Biden Administration because they couldn't wait.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.3.9  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.3.8    one month ago

Of course but he didn't make them alone. Funny you all say he has handlers and cannot think for himself yet with this, all of his cognitive abilities were there and he did it all...

I thought he actually extended the time frame to leave.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
PhD Guide
2.3.10  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.3.9    one month ago
Of course but he didn't make them alone.

of course he didn't.  The man can barely walk without assistance.

Funny you all say he has handlers and cannot think for himself yet with this, all of his cognitive abilities were there and he did it all.

According to the WH Statement I linked he did.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     one month ago

It seems that Kirill is a pupet of Putin's. Close to 300 Orthodox priests in Russia have denounced the invasion of Ukraine as have Orthodox Christians throughout eastern Europe. 

 
 

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