Russia: An Exemplar of Christian Nationalism?Robert Hampton
Many on the Right seem to think that Christian nationalism is the path forward for our movement. They look to Hungary, Poland, and Russia as evidence that putting Christian identity at the forefront of our cause is the best way to attract the masses and restore white civilization to its rightful glory.
Christian nationalists see institutional Christianity as our natural ally and wish for state and church to be joined as one in leading their people to greatness. Russia is held up as an exemplar of this model, as Vladimir Putin’s government works closely with the Orthodox Church and strongly emphasizes the Orthodox character of its nation.
Russia has implemented many socially conservative policies, such as banning gay propaganda directed at children, which Western nationalists admire, and Putin often presents himself as the great defender of traditional values. Putin also frequently condemns the immorality of the West and its abandonment of Christianity, offering Russia as the conservative alternative to secular liberalism. Politico even once declared Russia the “leader of the Global Christian Right” due to Putin’s close relationship with the Orthodox Church and its socially conservative policies.
But the ideal of Russia as the Christian nationalist state par excellence isn’t based in reality. Russian society is hardly full of zealous Orthodox devotees, and the Orthodox Church isn’t the social bulwark Putin’s Right-wing admirers like to imagine it is. The case of Russia is instructive about many of the issues that would be faced in adopting Christian nationalism for the Anglo-American sphere, and why we need to make our own path.
In spite of the Russian Orthodox Church’s strenuous efforts, it cannot get the vast majority of Russians to attend mass. Seventy-one percent of Russians are Orthodox, yet only six percent of the Russian Orthodox attend church regularly, only fifteen percent say religion is important in their lives, eighteen percent pray daily, and just twenty-six percent are very certain God exists. In comparison, forty-seven percent of Christians in godless America attend church weekly, sixty-eight percent say religion is very important in their lives, another twenty-five percent say it is somewhat important in their lives, sixty-eight percent of American Christians pray daily, and eighty percent are absolutely certain God exists. Even though Christian nationalists emphasize that we have to turn to God to save our civilization, America is far more godly than Russia, and yet no one would celebrate our society as a paragon of traditional values.
However, neither is Russia. While the Orthodox Church positions itself as the moral guardian of its country in the way Christian nationalists desire, Russians don’t follow its lead. The Church has urged a ban on abortion to no avail, and in fact the nation has the highest abortion rate in the world, according to the United Nations. The Moscow Times attributes this factor to the Church’s “fleeting influence” in Russia, a fact that cannot be helped even with the full support of the state.
Christian nationalists argue that we need a strong church to combat the social disintegration and anti-social pathologies of our time. Unfortunately, the Russian Orthodox Church does not provide this defense. Sexually-transmitted diseases run rampant in the country. Right now, Russia suffers from a horrible HIV epidemic and had the third most new cases in the world in 2015 – behind only South Africa and Nigeria. More than half a million Russians are infected with HIV, and the country accounted for over two-thirds of new cases in Europe in 2015. Russia has the third-highest suicide rate in the world, and is the leader for self-murder among males alone. Among Russian men, the annual suicide rate is 48.3 per hundred thousand people. Most disturbing is the high suicide rate among Russian youths, with the nation having one of the highest rates in Europe for this age demographic. Russia also has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, with eight hundred ninety-five divorces per every thousand marriages registered in 2016. Alcoholism plagues the nation and contributes to the large number of Russian men who never make it to 55: twenty-five percent of Russian men die before their 55th birthday.
The purpose of religion is to give man meaning and moral structure, but it appears the Orthodox Church has failed in this regard. Moreover, the Orthodox Church feels greatly threatened by patriotic Russians turning to Slavic neo-paganism, known as Rodnovery. In fact, the Church views Rodnovery as a bigger threat than atheism. Rodnovery is popular among the military and police, frightening Orthodox leaders who want to keep the nation’s defenders Christian. Even though the Russian Church is far more friendly to nationalism and other Right-wing ideas than are the Catholic Church and the mainline Protestants, it appears to be losing its appeal among many nationalists in the country.
Rodnovery’s prevalence within the very sectors that a muscular, nationalist Christianity should appeal to – such as the military and ethnonationalist activists – reveals that the faith Christian nationalists desire is struggling to retain the very core demographics our movement seeks to win over. The pagan temptation will still remain even when patriotic young men are offered the most Right-wing version of Christianity there is at the present time.
Catholics may respond that Russia’s failures to build the ideal Christian state stem from its own particular faith, and that a muscular, state-backed Catholicism would bring the masses back to the Church. That would be a misguided opinion as well. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán never fails to proclaim his commitment to illiberal Christian democracy and how his country defends its Christian identity. However, the state of religious devotion in Hungary is similar to its condition in Russia. Only twelve percent of Hungarians attend mass regularly, fifteen percent say religion is very important in their lives, and sixteen percent pray daily. Just forty-three percent of Hungarians say being Catholic is important to their national identity. This is actually lower than Russia’s fifty-seven percent, yet it should be noted that this is probably due to Hungary’s sizable Protestant minority. Orbán himself is a Calvinist.
The Polish are more likely to emphasize Catholicism’s importance to their national identity. Additionally, church attendance and the importance ascribed to religion is higher in Poland – but still lower than in “godless” America.
There is another problem that faces Catholic nationalists: the Church’s opposition to immigration restriction. I noted in my last article on this subject how clerical leaders in both Poland and Hungary criticize their nationalist governments for not taking in more migrants. The Orthodox Church has actually expressed support for Putin’s immigration restrictions – an unthinkable position for the vast majority of Catholic bishops.
The point of this article is not to denigrate Christianity or say that we all need to become pagans. Instead, I wish to correct some of the delusions Christian nationalists have. There is no state that empowers its church more than Russia does. There is also no church more amenable to nationalism today than Russian Orthodoxy. Yet it still can’t bring people back to church or eliminate the social ills that plague modern white men. Nor can it convince soldiers, policemen, star athletes, and diehard nationalists to resist paganism or secularism.
Russia’s nationalism also does not come from internal forces, but from the external forces of the state and society. This is a lesson for those Christian nationalists who hope for “based” bishops to arise and raise crusader armies to wage war against liberal modernity. As Greg Johnson has argued many times, the churches will only come to accept our ideas when we ourselves have real power. The Russian Orthodox Church’s stance on immigration is a testament to that argument.
In America, we have no Christian institutions that are open to our ideas. The Catholic Church’s swift condemnation of the Covington Catholic High School boys should dissuade us from any delusions that these institutions will ever be on our side before we come to power. So even though we are a far more Christian country than Russia, we have many social ills and ethnomasochism reigns supreme. A Christian revival will not change this, and there is no indication that Christian institutions will suddenly embrace our cause. Our movement must appeal to Christians – but we must insist that racial and national identity come first.
The Church will not help us in our fight, and it is not the magic elixir to halt social degeneration. Just look at Russia.
Thanks, this is a useful article. Many on the Right in America or Western Europe who haven’t spent significant time in Eastern Europe or Russia believe that the reason these countries tend to be more conservative and nationalist is because the people there are very religious; the reality is quite different, as anyone who has been there knows. And these statistics support that notion. People in the East DO tend to be more nationalist and conservative, but I would argue that this is a sense of identity that is more derived from history and culture than it is from religious guidance, at least for most people.
Of course, one counter-argument a Christian nationalist could make is that the problem isn’t the churches, but rather democracy, since even in Russia today, the Church is forced to work within a liberal framework. In a theocracy, it could simply compel people to obey its will. But personally I have no desire to live in a theocracy (and things don’t seem to be going that well in Iran, either), and I don’t think there’s any country in the West today that would tolerate it, anyway.
Interesting and enlightening article. Thanks.
First thank you. Excellent article.
“The point of this article is not to denigrate Christianity or say that we all need to become pagans.”
No. But we should do whatever it takes. Even scraping Christianity. If it is not efficient, then scrap it.
At least 1.5 mil Muslims in Moscow talk, Russian Orthodox church has no reaction.
Ukrainians want their own national church. The Russian Patriarch goes apoplectic and begs for war.
The Christian nationalists are a thing of the past and already thrown under the bus by the Church (and the Monarchy).
The author of this article is somewhat inaccurate in saying that Church leaders in Hungary have been opposing the government’s stance on immigration. There are some bishops who have done this, but generally the Hungarian Church has backed the government on this, such as Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo of Szeged, who openly disagreed with Pope Francis during the start of the migrant crisis in 2015. See: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/pope-francis-is-wrong-in-appealing-for-aid-to-sea-of-refugees-this-is-actually-a-muslim-invasion-of-europe-says-hungarian-bishop/64104.htm
good article, however I would point out Putin supports immigration and Russia currently has large numbers of steppe Muslims moving into major cities. So the orthodox church is ahead of the state on that regard.
As a Russian speaker I would like to point out some issues I find with this article.
First major problem is that it views the religions prevalent in a society as being essentially interchangeable on the basis of how well they can perform their role in achieving some practical benefit. While this view is understandable from the perspective of the Nietzschean evolutionist type of world view, it’s not going to be tenable to either Christians, who do not see their religion as being a franchise you could just choose over another like at a market, nor in the long run to pagans to whom their belief system is being put forward as nothing but a tool to achieve some socio-political ends and not something that represents some sacred, transcendental truth about the nature of reality itself.
The problem with the alternative to Orthodoxy in Russia is that there is neither a living pre-Christian tradition (like the Zoroastrians in Islamic theocratic Iran) nor even substantial historiographical evidence left of one that existed in the past. At least in the West you have a good idea of what the pre-Christian pagan religions of Antiquity by and large represented in terms of beliefs, rituals, morals and prescriptive behaviors. In Russia however, the nature of the pre-Christian tribal Slavic cults is very much obscured by time, with only archeological remains providing any sort of evidence from which concrete conclusions can be painstakingly drawn. By comparison even Wiccans can draw on a better preserved legacy left by the Celts.
This leads to the second problem. Rodnovery generally reject academic discourse which could have benefited to accomplishing some kind of rationally tenable reconstruction of the belief systems of Ancient Slavs. But accepting this path would probably mean abandoning many positions which draw people to these pagan circles in the beginning. If you look at the books that circulate around their circles, they are essentially authored by certain types who claim to have some sort of unique knowledge they received from ancestral spirits and some such. Uh huh. In reality it’s nothing but high fantasy tinged with commonplace occult concepts (e.g. from Theosophy) which invariably incorporates some SS iconography like the Sun wheel and runic division symbols (which were of course originally Slavic before being stolen by those dastardly Germans). A large part of their world outlook and practice seems to be lifted straight from Orthodoxy even as they claim to oppose it, usually under the claim that the ancient Slavs had come up with it first. A notion popular amongst them is that Christ is really some ancient proto Slavic god (similar to Irminus), which of course makes it very confusing where Christianity ends and paganism begins. I think most of you spot the pattern here, which is basically a variation on negroes’ hilarious attempts to claim “we wuz kangs”. All of this of course leads to a vast amount of fractions and denominations within the pagan circles of various degrees of cultishness, de facto consigning them to an extremely fringe position with little social appeal. Pagan identity in Russia is more united by its opposition to mainstream Christianity rather than positive values of their own. There might be some pagans among the security forces and soldiers but I would expect their numbers to be rather few and looked down upon as more than a little weird by the rest.
Orthodoxy on the other hand has a 2000 year experience in dealing with practical problems, either as they have arisen in terms of the church structure as a whole or in the private lives of individuals. Classical Russian literature, not just Dostoyevsky, is replete with Christian themes and moral concepts. The influence of Orthodoxy on creating modern Russian national identity can’t be overstated, after all they had the rein to do so for nearly a millenium. In other words, the Church not only has a knack of maintaining the unity of its own internal structure in face of foreign and domestic persecutions, but also provides a metaphysical foundation for the ideology held by the Russian political complex, regardless of who may nominally be in charge. This does not mean the Orthodox Church is blameless or without deep structural problems of its own (clerical pedophilia/homosexuality is as much a problem as in the RCC, just better concealed), but rather that they have shown themselves better at providing for the people’s spiritual needs than the pagans did so far.
I think what the author needs to look at is whether or not deeply devout Pagan families or Christian families do better than “normal” atheistic families. Are rates of alcoholism and divorce lesser in such households or do they remain the same? This would be the crux of the issue. The people who engage in fruitless lifestyles will eventually degrade and die out, and the people who raise large, healthy prosperous families are the ones who will in the long run multiply. Does either Orthodox Christianity or Slavic Paganism provide the grounds for the former to diminish and the latter to thrive? That is the question of the age. In my view, demography is destiny. To the extent that either of them can succeed in this task within their group, the question of their relevance won’t be put under debate, regardless of whether one is a Christian, atheist or a Pagan.
“First major problem is that it views the religions prevalent in a society as being essentially interchangeable on the basis of how well they can perform their role in achieving some practical benefit.”
Excellent point. I get increasingly annoyed at people who argue either for or against Christianity on the basis of its ‘social usefulness’ or ‘efficiency’, and measuring it by some utilitarian yardstick. The arguments for resurrecting paganism (made my many white nationalists) almost have nothing to do with the truth claims of said traditions, and more with fulfilling, like you said, some practical benefit.
Another point you might add (and which seems quite pertinent) is that Russia went through almost a century of having religious belief violently stamped out of its people. I’m sure it plays no small part in the lack of religious observance among Russians today.
“First major problem is that it views the religions prevalent in a society as being essentially interchangeable on the basis of how well they can perform their role in achieving some practical benefit.”
Whether that is a problem rather depends upon one’s own perspective. At a time when atheism and anti-clericalism were widespread in France, the novelist Honore de Balzac depicted the Catholic clergy with great sympathy.
Asked by a society lady surprised by his clerical views whether he really believed that the Catholic religion was literally true, he answered that the question seemed to him unimportant; what mattered was whether it was useful, in promoting virtue and repressing vice.
I cannot help thinking that he had a point.
To use an imperfect analogy, that would be like saying if the chemical principles behind the working of an engine do not matter as long as the car runs well. If the metaphysical and moral principles behind a religion are wrong (the latter in relation to the racial character of its adherents), it can’t be the foundation of a healthy, positive social order. If we assume the negation of this to be true, then the current social paradigm of globalized consumerism is perfectly acceptable, because it has shown itself to “work” thus far.
It is not my purpose here to entirely discount the practical influence of a religion, but rather to emphasize the extent of its role within its particular affiliation (which would be in line with the position held by its adherents), as opposed to the officially imposed ideology of the ruling class. This is because if we were to gauge a prevailing system of beliefs and values on the basis of how historically successful it is at a given point, then this would be a hell of a crooked yardstick. Evil types of men and wicked ideas have a tendency to gain the upper hand in the course of history (without exception in Paganism and Christianity!). I believe the first few chapters of Plato’s Republic discuss this issue along similar lines.
Your position makes sense, but I think one other point should be made. Ultimately, it can only be conceded that the perspective with the most scientific legitimacy is atheistic. A religion cannot be evaluated within the context of that religion, or any other. In the former case it can only be evaluated positively, in the latter negatively, and an inter-religious perspective lacks any capacity to evaluate a religion at all. A religion can only be evaluated from an atheistic perspective. This is the only context in which it can be determined whether a religion diminishes fruitless lifestyles and promotes healthy ones or not. This also requires observing the practical consequences of a religion’s application, as predicting them, even rationally, is insufficient. The same principle applies to ideology, which is merely modern or lesser religion. There is no reason this intuitive virtue or vice can’t be applied to Honore de Balzac’s philosophy. I think he’s right.
“In America, we have no Christian institutions that are open to our ideas.”
Sadly, I think that is true for the entire white world.
None of the modern “Christians” listen to what Jesus SAID in the Gospels or what was written in Epistles. They have the SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE at that is purely (((THEIR PROPAGANDA)))
Many WNs that I have met think Orthodoxy is the answer. Well, at least here in America, Orthodox Churches have been LEFTIST and ANTI-GUN since at least the late 1960s.
Our ancestral religions have all been a great force for COMMUNITY and an orderly society.
What the Moslems called “Hinduism” which our ancestors, who founded the faith called “SANTANA DHARMA” is replete with the ideas of RACE and RACIAL SURVIVAL.
And that was written SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO.
We DO need religion, that is just the human condition.
As they wrote:
From the corruption of women proceeds the confusion of races;
from the confusion of races, the loss of memory;
from the loss of memory, all understanding;
and from this — all evil.
Indian Mythology by Veronica Ions, London, 1967
The kali yuga, or age of degeneration, is the one through which we are now passing. Dharma is one-legged and helpless, and . . . virtue has vanished. In this age, lasting 432,000 years [numerologically equal to 9, a number symbolizing completion], during which the deity is black, the majority of men are sudras or slaves. They are wicked, quarrelsome and beggar-like, and they are unlucky because they deserve no luck. They value what is degraded, eat voraciously and indiscriminately, and live in cities filled with thieves. They are dominated by their women folk, who are shallow, garrulous and lascivious, bearing too many children. They are oppressed by their kings and by the ravages of nature. Their misery can only end with the coming of Kalki, the destroyer [of foulness; the 10th and final MahaAvatara]
The Kali Yuga age is drawing to a close but the time until it does will be QUITE er VIBRANT.
The One Who Comes Back
When justice is crushed, when evil rules supreme, then I come.
For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born in age after age.
Great article. A few years ago I got into an argument with a Christian white nationalist who was always praising Russia and claiming it was their religiousity that made them so based. I pointed out some of the same data here and he was absolutely shocked. His only retort was that Christianity was “growing robustly” whereas it was declining in the west. But it’s all relative; just because an increase of 1% to 8% is an eightfold increase does not mean it’s a meaningful increase, for instance.
The big problem is all the nations are infiltrated and taken over internally at the government and international government level. All of them have NGOs in them promoting and arranging UN Agenda 2030 goals. The same thing is being played out in all of these nations, its just different parts of it, to different levels of the goals. Smart cities, resilient cities, sanctuary cities, 5g and the rest.
Good article. It appears Eastern Christianity cannot provide a panacea for our own societal ills. The established Western Churches, both Protestant and Catholic, have no interest or intention of saving what remains of so called ‘Christian Civilization’, we need to accept that uncomfortable fact. It is infuriating to observe all the pastors and bishops working like reflexive robots to destroy the people, race and civilization which historically provided the framework for their churches to flourish. It is almost incomprehensible, but that’s the way it is. Our only alternative is to work more tirelessly than our enemies, and promote the historical and scientific truths that are currently suppressed. If sincere traditional and nationalist Christians wish to join our ranks, fine, we can welcome and work with them.
If you wish to know how cucked Orthodox Christianity really is, go read “The Orthodox Church” by Timothy Ware.
I’ll “greentext” an important section for you:
> be two traditionalist Russian brothers
> be heirs to the throne
> have a third evil brother who wishes to kill you to usurp the throne
> two “good” brothers convert to Orthodox Christianity
> the third “evil” brother doesn’t
> two “good” brothers realize the non-Christian relative will kill them to take power
> two “good” brothers are so moved by Jesus Christ’s philosophy of non-violence and pacifism that they decide to literally “resist not the evil-doer” and offer no resistance to their evil brothers’ attempt on their lives
> the evil brother kills them and takes power
> the two “good” brothers are heralded as ideal Christians by a book explicitly promoted by Orthodox Christianity
I was given this book by an Orthodox Christian priest after speaking to him after vespers. Its the real deal. This isn’t some “pagan” conspiracy to “discredit Christianity”. It is literally their own words from a book that they themselves promote.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleister Crowley, and Julius Evola were 100% correct in their characterization of Christianity as slave morality.
Very interesting. A similar legend there is in Romania. With two evil shepherds killing the third one, even the third already knows about. It is estimated to exist from the twelve or thirteen century. Now it is clear that it has Christian origins, since the time of conversion to Christianity.
I call bullshit. The NT clearly differentiates between worldly and spiritual affairs (“Render unto Cesar…”) and fully acknowledges the necessarily dirty, bloody and Machiavellian nature of the former. You also engage in strawmanning when trotting around that tired old horse “pacifism”, completely ignoring the wrathful and burning nature of God and Christ in dozens of instances (what a Kabbalist would call Geburah).
Referencing the literal satanist and child murderer Crowley doesn’t exactly strenghten the argument, either, and Nietzsche and especially Evola had much more nuanced opinions on the matter than you let on.
You didn’t refute a single point I made.
The book in question is literally peomoted by the Eastern Orthodox churches here in America.
The two Christian-convert brothers did literally allow their evil pagan brother to murder them to usurp their power because they were inspired by Jesus Christ in the NT.
Evola’s position on Christianity is that it’s a degenerative religion that’s corrupted European Civilization and is emblematic of the current decline / Kali Yuga. He speaks of this quite clearly in “The Doctrine Of Awakening”— forget where exactly, but it’s one of the earlier chapters. He also clarified, in “The Path Of Cinnabar” what he meant in earlier works wherein he seemingly endorsed certain aspects of Roman Catholicism. TL;DR: “I don’t really support Catholicism and agree only with some of its ideas in the vaguest ad most heretical sense possible”.
A big problem with Evola is that his style of writing makes it hard to decipher what exactly he’s going on about unless you own most of his books and really dig deep— but one can’t classiffy The Baron as anything but throughly anti-Christian in every possible sense.
As far as Crowley, there’s no evidence that he ever ate or molested anyone. Evola himself was somewhat a fan of his and released several bootleg translated versions of some of his works (e.g., Liber Aleph) to the Italian public personally.
Both Crowley and Evola has the same position on the Roman Catholic Church— with Crowley taking a more radical approach as a result of Mussolini’s Laterian Accords.
Maybe it wasn’t the church that failed the Russians but the other way around. They just aren’t being pious enough when it would be the best thing for them.
Similarly,there have been nationalists here for a long time but they haven’t inspired the masses to become nationalistic yet, even though it would definitely be in their best interests.
What causes this kind of perversity is very mysterious.
While I’m no diehard Orthodox fanatic, this article is very flawed on a number of levels.
* First, while absolute numbers are cited, trends are not. Just to take one example, while abortion rates in Russia are still relatively high by international standards, they have plummeted to 20-25% of late Soviet/1990s levels. This has coincided with (note that I am not claiming it was directly caused by) with religious revival.
* Rodnovery are a marginal cult.
* More general note: The US directly promotes Christian genocide in the Middle East, with the loud and frenetic support of its evangelical Ziocrazies. Set against this, church attendance rates are an irrelevant detail. This cannot be godly, by definition. It is Satanic.
Leaders wanting to restore the popularity of an old religion are putting the cart in front of the horse. If you want Orthodox Christianity or any other religion to be as popular as it was many generations ago, it stands to reason that you have to recreate the caliber and nature of the folk out of whom it developed. (I hope this is not rocket science to anyone here.)
Religions can’t last forever. They were not meant to. They are a reflection of the qualities inherent in the majority of the population. Religion can’t make you into something you no longer are; the people in charge try, but it all fails down the line because you are no longer the same people you were 100 or 1000 years ago. May as well try to restore aristocracy with its father knows best attitude applied to an entire people. It is not going to happen. The quality of white people has changed.
Im a calvinist Christian and I love muh Bible and muh Jesus and muh Trinity and muh reformers! Yet I fail to see what religion really has to offer in the struggle for European survival. I mean what? What we need is solidarity, loyalty to our good cause and courage against the enemies of our survival. Dragging religious beliefs into this here fight is truly counterproductive. It only gives a very amateurish feel to the whole thing. Lots of people are Christians but I don’t want them living in my white country, lots of people are pagans but I don’t want them in my country either. I want me and my people living in my country. No matter what any of us believes to be supernatural truth. The days of religious national conformity are long since past. No need to bring them back!
I’m Roman Catholic and Polish nationalist and I have one request: please, don’t call “our” government ‘nationalist’, because ruling party in Poland (PiS) isn’t nationalist anymore, they are centre-right ZOG puppets and they officially declare anti-nationalism. Real nationalists in Poland are movements like Szturmowcy, National Revival of Poland (NOP), Niklot, NS Zadruga, Autonomous Nationalist groups and similar smaller movements.
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