Putin’s Astonishing Christian Speech to Christian Nationalist Movement in Russia (WRPC)

Putin: ‘Western elites are like a batty old woman who is out of control, a danger to herself, and those around her.’

This article from our archives was first published on RI in December 2023

Tuesday at the Kremlin, to a 6000 strong assembly of delegates to the World Russian People’s Council (WRPC), which is led by the head of the Russian Church, Patriarch Kirill, Vladimir Putin delivered one of his harshest and most truthful indictments of the evil, corrupt nature of the elites who rule in the West, and presented his alternative vision for Russia, and the world’s future.

Putin's full speech, in Russian. The opening and crowd shots during the speech show the venue, the Patriarch officiating, and the large number of bishops, clerics, and military in attendance.

Over the past 18 months, the Russian president’s, and other top Russian political figures’, criticisms of the ruling West’s elites has become ever more strident, the most memorable example, which generated much applause from conservatives in the West, was in October last year when he described them, entirely accurately, as ‘satanic’, a view more and more honest men in the West, particularly Christians, are arriving at. Perhaps the Kremlin panjandrums are waking to the fact that these tongue lashings are well-received by many beleaguered denizens of Wokestan, and are warming to the theme.

The headline of this article is slightly misleading, because the main thrust of the speech was not about Christianity, but it was very Christian nonetheless because of a few things he included in it, and because of the context in which it was given, addressing a strongly Christian, patriotic gathering, with Patriarch Kirill as the master of ceremonies, because of the nature and role of the WRPC, and the strong Christian appeals coming from the speakers who followed, for which the President remained present, and to which he added his commentary.

The whole setting on Tuesday, with its plainly Christian atmosphere, serves as a metaphor for Russia’s tortured path to finding a national ideology, with Christianity being the obvious solution, sitting right there in plain sight, in historical continuity. There is nothing on the ideological landscape which even comes close to competing with it in the Russian space. It is almost as if with each passing address, Mr. Putin tiptoes closer to speaking the full Christian truth, if only because nothing else explains international political events better.

This article will explain what exactly the WRPC is, and why it is important, but first, the speech. In terms of stridency Tuesday's ranks in the top 3 of Putin blasting Western elites. At its start, Putin emerged swinging.

 A Russian transcript is available on the Kremlin’s site, and is generally understandable, with a few glitches, using Google Translate. The transcript includes not just Putin’s remarks, but also the Patriarch’s, and two other speakers, a prominent member of Russia’s parliament, Petr Tolstoy, and a woman, relatively unknown heretofore in Russia, Maria Popova, from the Yaroslavl region, who spoke simply as the mother of 10 children, about the need to ban abortion and for large families. Hers was an excellent short speech, and there is a good write up of it, in Russian, here. Indeed, all of the three other speakers made dramatic appeals to the President to ban abortion. Russian Faith has written about Maria Popova before because its editor, Fr. Joseph Gleason, lives in Yaroslavl region and got to know her there.

Russia’s schizophrenic handling of the abortion issue is too complex to get into here, and deserves a separate article. Suffice it to say that despite taking a dramatically Christian turn, and endorsing more and more Christian ideas and policies, the government still allows and funds this terrible sin, and it remains extremely common. Russian Christians are aghast at the government’s foot-dragging on this issue, and there is a robust and active grass-roots anti-abortion movement across the country. Prominent Christians and the powerful church itself point out again and again that God will not bestow His grace on a country which allows this evil, Mollochian practice, based in fact on satanic ritual sacrifice of infants to the Devil himself. A dramatic clash between long-standing practice and norms and this country’s rapidly growing, conservative Christian ideology is in the works. Let us pray that this plague is soon removed from Russian life, that the society at large understands and repents from this sin, and begs God mercy for their bloody past.

Putin’s main message, delivered at the start, was that the elites in power in the West are clearly evil, bent on dictatorship, world domination, conquest, on the destruction of humanity and freedom, and that Russia is the main force blocking them with an alternative, humane vision of how the world should be ordered, and that Russia is, literally the last hope of the world to save it from this evil. He used a choice metaphor to describe this Western hegemonic dictatorship - comparing it to a ‘batty and decrepit old woman’ who has ‘lost control of herself’ and is a ‘danger to those around her.’ Nicely put.

He went on to say that this is not just his, and Russia’s opinion, but that a majority of the world regards the batty old broad the same way. He bashed the West’s ‘ruling elites’, as ‘racist, neo-colonialist’, and bent on a ‘cruel scheme of total depersonalization, division, repression, and exploitation.’, calling their anti-Russian propaganda ‘that old barrel organ.’, and their true goal, ‘to dismember and plunder Russia.’

Later in the speech he blasted Western cancel culture, saying that liberal ideology had demolished liberal arts learning in Western universities, rendering them ‘primitive’ in comparison to what they once were, and what they are today in Russia. He deplored ‘gender science, and the like’, calling them ‘pseudosciences’. He also extolled Russia’s success in withstanding sanctions (it’s economy has actually grown and been stimulated by them), saying, the West’s economic ‘blitzkrieg has failed.’

The next part dealt with the fact that Russia is a multi-ethnic conglomerate. Putin asserted that because it is impossible for the West to defeat Russia militarily, the West will likely try to destabilize her by stoking inter-ethnic conflict, as indeed, it has been doing since Soviet times, stoking Islamic separatism and radicalism in Russia’s south, and has done very successfully in the Ukraine. 

Here, Putin gave a serious warning - that any further attempts to do so will be interpreted as an ‘act of aggression’, and that Russia will respond ‘accordingly’. He described Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus as a single, ‘triune’, people, which its enemies have been trying to turn against each other for centuries, and that Russia will not allow this to happen in the future.

He then explained the idea that, while Russia is multi-ethnic, ethnic Russians, who make up about 80% of the population, are the ‘state-forming’ ethnicity, and that it is their language, culture, and religion which define the country, and that other ethnicities must endorse this, while also being free to maintain their own culture and traditions.

I won’t summarize the rest of the speech - it is about the need for tradition, economic freedom and initiative, large families, sovereignty, and other themes he has sounded many times before. It isn’t long, lasting about 20 minutes, and makes for good reading. He spoke at length about the importance of family, calling it the foundation of society, and a source of morality and spirituality. 

The speech was Christian because he repeatedly brought Christian ideas into it. At one point he quoted the early church father St. Gregory the theologian on the virtue of patriotism:

“Honoring your mother is a holy thing. But everyone has their own mother, and the common mother is the Motherland.”

He digressed on the question of separation of church and state, pointing out that in fact it’s not a great idea: 

It’s impossible to separate the church from society and man. With this I completely agree. And therefore I reiterate the importance of religion in education and upbringing of our youth and, of course, in strengthening spiritual, moral, family values. This is of eternal importance, the participation of our priests.

He stressed that he strongly believed that the church had an essential role to play in educating your people, calling this ‘essential’.

He thanked the Patriarch profusely for the work the church does in society, and for the spiritual support it provides to those fighting in the trenches of Ukraine, with the gracious Russian compliment ‘I bow deeply to you’, which is often used to express ‘you are very admirable.’

The speech which raised eyebrows the most was the Patriarch’s, which followed Putin’s. He spoke very bluntly about two things - the social problems and dangers caused by large-scale economic migration into Russia from Central Asia, and the importance of banning abortion. Like the West, Russia imports many millions of ‘guest workers’, with many of them receiving passports, with many of the same negative social results one sees in the West. What surprised observers was how blunt the Patriarch was about it. He also stressed that this was a threat to Russia’s Christian culture.

The Western analog of the demographic represented by the WRPC, is plainly American Christian nationalist. Strong and serious in their faith, patriotic, resolutely opposed to globalism, intent on defending their traditional way of life against encroachment at home and abroad, and strongly anti-migrant, which partly explains why the Patriarch spoke on the matter. Perhaps he felt he should because this topic is boiling over among Russian conservatives, much as it is in the West.

Yes, Russia has a serious migrant worker problem, and one of the roots of it is the same as in the West, i.e. economic elites are vitally interested in cheap labor, and make a lot of money off of it. Like many BRICs economies, and contrary to Western media spin, the Russian economy is developing rapidly, with voracious appetite for cheap labor - especially in construction, which is booming, and most noticeably in the low-end service sector. Visitors to Moscow and other big cities will immediately notice that most taxi drivers, street crews, janitors, etc. are from Central Asia, and that fleets of fearless, Evel Knievel Asiatic kamikaze couriers on electric bikes making deliveries for Russia’s booming online commerce sector fill the streets and sidewalks.

What is the World Russian People’s Council (WRPC)?

While it has existed since the early 1990s, it has been revitalized over the past 5 years as a broad-based social-political movement which reflects the more conservative, Christian ideas in Russian society, with many dozens of Russian cities and 10s of 1000s of active members across the country. While titularly led by the Patriarch, the nuts and bolts organizational issues are managed by the conservative Christian monarchist Russian entrepreneur and philanthropist Konstantin Malofeev, who is the deputy chairman.

The idea of the WRPC is to gather Russians from all over Russia, and around the world to debate and discuss what Russia’s future should be - as a country, a society, and what role it should play in world affairs. It has always had a strong Christian tendency, as it was founded by Patriarch Kirill’s predecessor, Patriarch Alexei.

Malofeev is best known in Russia for creating the Tsargrad TV Channel, which reflects his own conservative views, which are shared by a small (perhaps 15%) but very active and influential segment of Russian society. A substantial operation with over 150 employees, Tsargrad has substantial influence in Russian politics and society because they produce a very professional and high quality product which effectively expresses a Christian conservative view on many daily political and social issues. It is staunchly patriotic, anti-immigrant, and pro-Christian, and its show hosts are some of the best known, and liked, personalities in the country.

Before starting Tsargrad, Malofeev made a fortune in investment banking rumored to exceed $1 billion. He has devoted the last 12 years or so to giving his fortune away to charities, almost entirely Christian, supporting his TV channel, and running and funding political projects like the WRPC. He is the largest Christian philanthropist in Russia, supporting a multitude of causes. He is also an author, recently having published a major 3-volume book arguing for monarchy and the virtues of Russia returning to being an avowedly Orthodox Christian empire as it was under the Tsars. Here are two good articles in English with more information about the WRPC and Malofeev.

Western media elites despise and demonize Malofeev, because he stands against everything they believe in. At the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2014, he was sanctioned by the US and EU for allegedly providing financial support to the breakaway Donbass republics, an allegation Malofeev denies. To get a sense of the man, here is a video of him debating a Sky News journalist in English in the studios of his TV channel. It is entertaining.

The moral double standard of Western elites is a recurring theme among Russian elites, especially in light of the Gaza human rights catastrophe

Putin didn’t mention this directly in his speech, but he has elsewhere at length, as have other senior Russian spokesmen like Mr. Lavrov and his charismatic spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, and it was clearly implied. Russia’s boisterous political talk shows, which clog the airwaves, day and evening, in exuberant propaganda overkill, are overflowing with this theme.

Russian public opinion, both on the streets and also in the lofty reaches of higher officialdom is one of shock and outrage at the genocide and ethic cleansing unfolding in Gaza, chronicled daily in gory detail on everyone’s smartphones. Russians are acutely aware of, again, a nigh satanic hypocrisy of Western elites, who worked themselves into a fit of righteous indignation at civilian casualties on the Ukrainian side, which Russian forces assiduously try to minimize, often a direct cost of lives of Russian soldiers. These same elites, then downplay deliberate and gratuitous murdering of women and children in Gaza, shrugging their shoulders, claiming these obvious war crimes are unavoidable and morally acceptable, just as they did in closing their eyes to the Ukrainian military murdering women and children in Donbass.

There is much talk in the West about how the Gaza debacle is fundamentally altering public perception of Zionism and the Zionist forces which rule Israel and completely control Western political and media elites. Similarly, the Gaza abomination has galvanized Russian perceptions of Western elites. With every turn of the wheel, the mask is slipping, and Russians, both on the street and in the Kremlin, are beginning to see things for what they are, much as people are in the West.

About the venue

The WRPC congress was held at the enormous State Kremlin Palace (Wiki) inside the walls, with a lavish folk and patriotic inspired concert after the proceedings which greatly pleased the overflow audience. It was all very grand and Christian and very Russian, a seeming harbinger of what Russia is slowly, torturously moving towards.

  • Shqip
  • العربية
  • English
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Italiano
  • Português
  • Русский
  • Español