Pat Buchanan’s column, “Is God Now on Russia’s Side?,” is difficult to read and almost laugh-out-loud funny, as Buchanan was once a staunch anti-communist who served President Reagan as his communications director during the Cold War. Buchanan’s opposition to the Evil Empire, as Reagan correctly called it, has given way to an unseemly embrace of former Soviet KGB colonel Vladimir Putin, the virtual dictator of Russia who served the “Evil Empire” for decades.
Once a sharp thinker, Buchanan argues that Putin is a Christian and Russia is now a Christian nation. We are apparently supposed to ignore, or forgive, Putin’s violations of human rights, including murders of journalists, and the invasion of Ukraine.
There is absolutely no evidence, aside from rhetoric, to suggest that Russia in general and Putin in particular have been converted to Christianity. Instead, what we are witnessing is a massive Russian “active measures” campaign that has ensnared many American conservatives, convincing them that Putin is somehow a legitimate alternative to President Obama’s decadent worldview. It is troubling to see some of these conservatives endorse Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
The term “active measures” refers to influence operations that use agents of influence, disinformation and propaganda.
The main flaw in Buchanan’s argument is the lack of any real evidence that Russia has come to grips with—and disavowed—its Soviet past. To the contrary, Putin laments the passing of the USSR and has put the former KGB, now the FSB, in charge of the power centers in Russia. He celebrates Russian spying on America.
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc defector, says that Russia is “the first intelligence dictatorship in history.” Two brave Russian investigative journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, have captured the nature of the problem in their book, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB.
Buchanan cites pro-family statements by Putin, and anti-gay and pro-life laws passed in Russia. But like the Soviet propaganda and disinformation that Buchanan fought to expose when he worked for Reagan, the Russian rhetoric and legislative maneuvers cannot be considered legitimate. It is a show, designed to mask the dangerous path Russia is on, both domestically and internationally.
Rather than embrace Christianity, the evidence shows Russia has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church, always a tool of Soviet intelligence. As we noted in an AIM Report back in 1984, John Barron’s authoritative book, KGB, said that the KGB’s Directorate 5 is assigned to “clandestinely control religion in the Soviet Union” and to “insure that the Russian Orthodox Church and all other churches serve as instruments of Soviet policy.” Barron added, “The directorate placed KGB officers within the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy and recruits bonafide clergymen as agents. Much of its work is accomplished through the Council on Religious Affairs, which is heavily staffed with retired and disabled KGB officers.”
Nothing has really changed. In fact, the Russian Orthodox Church is even closer to the regime these days, and is still so morally bankrupt that it published a 2014 calendar in honor of Soviet mass murderer Joseph Stalin. Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky has called it “Putin’s Espionage Church,” and devotes a major portion of his book, KGB/FSB’s New Trojan Horse, to its use by the Russian intelligence service.
The scholarly paper, “The Occult Revival in Russia Today and Its Impact on Literature,” demonstrates the existence of something as sinister as the regime’s domination of the church for its own political purposes. It describes how “post-Soviet Russia” has embraced New Age and occult ideas, even what the author, German academic Birgit Menzel, calls “dark” or “evil forces.”
“The occult has always been used for different ends, for purposes that range from benignly spiritual to totalitarian or fascist,” she writes.
Menzel’s detailed article notes the impact of Theosophy on Russia and Russian Marxists. Founded by a Russian mystic named Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), who wrote The Secret Doctrine, Theosophy teaches that man can become God through mystical experiences, and can even perform miracles.
Traditional Christians have a different view. Theosophy, writes Dr. Peter Jones, one of the world’s foremost experts on paganism and the occult, is part of a movement which “plans to eat the Christian church alive in the days ahead.” He says Theosophy is at “the spiritual heart” of the United Nations and notes that the Lucis Trust (originally the Lucifer Trust) is an occult Theosophist group in charge of the United Nations’ Meditation Room.
In Russia, Menzel cites evidence that the Soviet secret police had “special agents for occult matters” who monitored the theosophical society in Russia, several esoteric orders, and even a “secret society” of some kind.
One of many fascinating revelations from Menzel’s well-researched 2007 article is that Aleksandr Dugin, now an adviser to Putin, has incorporated some of these ideas into his theory of “geopolitical Eurasianism,” a revival of the Russian empire that includes Islamic Iran. She writes, “Since 2000, Dugin has moved to the center of political power close to the Putin administration by a deliberate strategy of veiling his mystic-esoteric ideology…”
This is the same Dugin who was photographed meeting with former American Ku Klux Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke in Russia. Duke argues, like many Russian nationalists, that communism was imposed on Russia by a Jewish banker conspiracy.
Robert Zubrin, the author of several articles about Dugin, points out the similarities between the National Socialism of Hitler and Dugin’s original National Bolshevism. He says Dugin gave up on the idea of his own political party so he could become an adviser to Putin’s United Russia Party. For a time, he worked with the Russian Communist Party, the second largest political party in the country next to Putin’s United Russia.
As part of this transformation, Zubrin says, Putin himself became a spokesman for tradition and morality, even though the Russian government “runs the biggest organized human trafficking operation in the world,” kidnapping Russian girls and selling them around the world as prostitutes. “Nobody should be fooled by Putin’s claim of being a defender of conservative morality,” Zubrin says.
“There’s far more depravity in Russia, including homosexual depravity, than there is here,” he says. “In the Russian army, boyish recruits are subject to homosexual rape by officers as a form of hazing, and the regime protects this.”
Equally troubling, there are reports that Dugin’s vision of a resurgent Russia is built in part on the ideas of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), a Satanist who described himself as the “Beast 666,” or Antichrist, of the Book of Revelation. “It [is] worth mentioning that in early 90s the National Bolsheviks and their main ideologist Aleksandr Dugin tried to bring Aleister Crowley’s ideas to wide popular masses in Russia with enviable persistence,” one observer of the Russian political scene noted.
Some analysts say Crowley, who visited Russia twice (in 1898 and in 1913), was a mastermind of an international conspiracy rooted in Satanism, and that he helped the Communists in Russia and his philosophy played a role in the subsequent rise of the Nazis in Germany.
His associates included Walter Duranty, the correspondent for The New York Times who achieved notoriety—and a Pulitzer Prize—for helping cover up the crimes of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, such as his murder of millions of Ukrainians.
As incredible as it seems, S.J. Taylor writes in her book about Duranty, Stalin’s Apologist, that Duranty and Crowley participated in drug-taking Satanic orgies. In a series of rituals conducted in Paris in 1913, Crowley received a “sacrament” from “a certain priest, A.B.,” who Taylor says was Duranty. The sacrament was semen. Taylor said that, during these orgies, verses were chanted, including one consisting of “Blood and semen! Blood and semen!”
In his column on Putin’s alleged Christ-like qualities, Buchanan writes that he was “startled to read” that the newsletter from the social conservative World Council [sic] of Families had hailed Russia as a “pro-family leader” and that the group’s conference this fall was being held in Moscow.
Buchanan asked, “Will Vladimir Putin give the keynote?”
Buchanan failed to notice that the conference has been “suspended,” in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The World Congress of Families says, “The situation in the Ukraine and Crimea (and the resulting U.S. and European sanctions) has raised questions about the travel, logistics, and other matters necessary to plan” the Moscow event.
In other words, the Americans planning to go to Moscow and attend services at Christ the Savior Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church would not be able to spend the Russian rubles that were coming their way.
Those rubles were supposed to be provided by Putin crony Vladimir Yakunin, a former KGB officer like Putin who reportedly stole millions, if not billions, from public expenditures on construction projects related to the Sochi Olympic Games. Some of the stolen funds were used to build a fancy estate for Yakunin that includes a guest house, a servants quarters, a garage for 15 cars, sauna, swimming pool and prayer room.
The World Congress of Families (WCF) has been collaborating with the Russians since at least 2008, when it participated in the World Public Forum, another group founded by Yakunin. Larry Jacobs of the WCF said at the time, “Much credit should be given to Vladimir Yakunin, who has invested his time and resources for the betterment of world civilizations.”
Tell that to the people of Ukraine.