"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Bombs Away!

It has, for two decades now, often been remarked upon that the Russian Orthodox Church has gone hand-in-hand with the military adventures of Putin--whether in Syria, the invasion of Ukraine, the invasion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or other parts of the former Soviet Union. (In this it repeats in different fashion the role it played in another context--that of the "great patriotic war" of 1941-45.) But that relationship has not been systematically studied in English in the way it is in this forthcoming book: Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy by Dmitry Adamsky (Stanford UP, 2019), 376pp.

About this book the publisher tells us this:
A nuclear priesthood has arisen in Russia. From portable churches to the consecration of weapons systems, the Russian Orthodox Church has been integrated into every facet of the armed forces to become a vital part of Russian national security, politics, and identity. This extraordinary intertwining of church and military is nowhere more visible than in the nuclear weapons community, where the priesthood has penetrated all levels of command and the Church has positioned itself as a guardian of the state's nuclear potential. Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy considers how, since the Soviet collapse in 1991, the Church has worked its way into the nuclear forces, the most significant wing of one of the world's most powerful military organizations.
Dmitry Adamsky describes how the Orthodox faith has merged with Russian national identity as the Church continues to expand its influence on foreign and domestic politics. The Church both legitimizes and influences Moscow's assertive national security strategy in the twenty-first century. This book sheds light on the role of faith in modern militaries and highlights the implications of this phenomenon for international security. Ultimately, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy interrogates the implications of the confluence of religion and security for other members of the nuclear club, beyond Russia.

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