The Evil Empire isn’t a computer game, or an HBO TV show. Nor yet is it a relic of the Cold War that Ronald Reagan, Margret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II dismantled through the 1980s.
Instead, it’s alive, but not quite healthy under the leadership of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
“What we are seeing in Russia is a resurgence of imperialism and nationalism in its most dangerous form,” says chess champion Gary Kasparov according to the EU Observer. “Just read what Putin has been saying in his [anti-West] speeches in the past year”.
The Observer notes that Kasparov, an exiled Russian, now living in Brussels, compares Putin’s rhetoric and tactics to those used by Hitler who teased ethnic Germans into violent protests in states sharing a border with Germany.
While technically it would not correct to tag the Obama administration with appeasement of Russia per se, they certainly have not been aggressive in pursuing the interests of Europe and the United States, which by the way are one and the same.
As Fox News notes Russian planes have been intercepted over foreign territory, Russian spies have snatched foreign nationals to Moscow and Russian submarines have been discovered in Swedish waters. Russia is also suspected of poisoning former state security officer Alexander Litvinenko living in exile in the UK.
In 2008 Sarah Palin tried to warn the Democrat foreign policy think tank Saturday Night Live about Russia’s aggressive intentions. She knew about them because at the time Russian strategic bombers were making incursions above Alaska almost daily while she was Alaska’s governor, as I noted at the time.
As head of the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney told us on Ransom Notes Radio, Putin carries deep psychological scars over the breakup of the old Soviet Union. After all, Putin was a KGB officer, Russia’s foreign intelligence service, and as such Putin was steeped in the ideology that America must be overthrown.
Russians have always had a deep messianic impulse that they would provide salvation for the whole world. And the messianic tied neatly into Marxist theory of the inevitability of communism.
Just because communism failed however, doesn’t mean that Russia’s messianic fervor has lost its appeal.
That appeal can best be understood in terms of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has been the biggest beneficiary of Putin’s largess.
“Both the Kremlin and the church have benefited from resuming their centuries-old alliance,” says the Globe and Mail. “Early in Mr. Putin’s rule, a law was passed returning all church property that had been seized during the Soviet era, almost surely making the Moscow Patriarchate the largest landowner in Russia. State-owned energy companies have contributed billions of rubles to the reconstruction of churches around the country.”
In return the church has been a strong advocate of the state.
In the Globe and Mail article, a Russian Orthodox priest Alexey Kulberg of Yekaterinburg, the Siberian city where the last Czar and his family was murdered says: “The President’s ideology for developing Russia coincides with the direction of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
The direction historically has been messianic, nationalistic and menacing.
So it should surprise no one that those qualities are mimicked in Vladimir Putin as he builds a new Evil Empire out of the remains of the old one.