Long Live Vladimir Putin
This article gives you, together with some Orthodox triumphalism probably exaggerated, some interesting snippets about the reality of our times: as in Russia 25,000 churches are restored or newly built in 25 years, the US Government is investigating whether the participation of US pro-lifers in their private capacity to a pro-life, pro-family event is in violation of the sanctions against Russia.
And truly, it seems difficult to deny that Russia is the only Western Country where Christianity is still officially written large, and most certainly the only Western Country whose leader actively promotes it rather than trying to destroy it.
This is the more notable, as Putin is still dealing with a deeply secularised country – hence the exaggerated enthusiasm of the Orthodox -; a country that seems to accept, more than approve, Putin's more and more obvious Christian stance. Another leader would acquiesce to the opinion of the vast majority, and promote abortion and godlessness as in Soviet times. Not Putin. Putin actively goes against the grain of his own people, and tries to help the rebirth of a real Christian nation as much as he can and, very clearly, as fast as he thinks prudent. I go as far as to say that I have the feeling if he felt his grasp on the country is strong enough, he would move decisively and ban abortion altogether. Not something he would survive today, I think; not in 2014, and probably not in 2024, either.
This leads us to another paradox: pro-life movements gain traction in North America and Western Europe, but are still systematically opposed by the ruling political classes; at the same time they seem to me very feeble in Russia (I say this based on anecdotical evidence only), but over there they have a rather strong champion at the top.
Armchair generals and Sunday afternoon geopolitical experts will now, no doubt, lament the fact that Putin has not (yet) banned abortion. But again, he has not come to be the leader of his Country – and a boon for Christianity with that – by being an armchair general and Sunday afternoon geopolitical expert.
I have little doubt that his Christian feelings are sincere: firstly because they are clearly countercultural among his own people, and secondly because the phenomenon that seems at play here (the death of a beloved, devout Christian as trigger of a Christian conversion) is well-known and not at all infrequent. Mussolini (apologies: Il Duce) followed the same path.
As we pray for the conversion of Russia, we should pray that this intelligent, perceptive man may embrace his Christian values more and more as he gets older, and slowly guide his Country, almost mortally wounded by Communism, to a recovery of, at least, its old Christian tradition.
Long live Vladimir Putin. May he grow in wisdom and power *, and show to the West the error of its ways.
* No, democracy is not my religion. Christianity is.