The Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP), a Kremlin-controlled organization and a known tool within the Russian hybrid warfare toolkit, held the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on March 27 and 28 and approved an ideological and policy document tying several Kremlin ideological narratives together in an apparent effort to form a wider nationalist ideology around the war in Ukraine and Russia’s expansionist future.

ROC MP Head Patriarch Kirill, reportedly himself a former Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB) officer and a known staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, chaired the congress of the World Russian People's Council that approved the document, and Kirill likely coordinated the document’s ideological narrative and policy recommendations with the Kremlin.

Advertisement

The document, "The Present and Future of the Russian World,” addresses Russian legislative and executive authorities with specific calls to amend Russian policy documents and laws. These calls are likely either attempts to socialize desired Kremlin policies among Russians before their implementation or to test public reactions to policies that Kremlin officials are currently considering.

Putin and Kremlin officials have gradually attempted to elaborate on amorphous ideological narratives about the war in Ukraine and their envisioned geopolitical confrontation with the West since the start of the full-scale invasion, and the ROC MP appears to be offering a more coherent ideological framework for Russians.

Moscow Potentially Spying Through ‘Shadow Fleets’: Swedish Navy Chief
Other Topics of Interest

Moscow Potentially Spying Through ‘Shadow Fleets’: Swedish Navy Chief

The official said Sweden is now closely monitoring the ships Russia has used to bypass oil sanctions after spotting “antennas and masts” atypical of fishing vessels.

The ROC MP released the document a week after the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack and roughly a month before the start of the Orthodox Easter Holy Week, and likely aims to seize on heightened anxieties following the terrorist attack and increased Russian Orthodoxy observance to garner support for its desired ultranationalist policies and ideological vision.

The ROC MP intensified Kremlin rhetoric about Russia’s war in Ukraine and cast it as an existential and civilizational “holy war,” a significant inflection for Russian authorities who have so far carefully avoided officially framing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as any kind of “war.” The ROC MP called Putin’s “special military operation” a holy war (Svyashennaya Voyna) and a new stage in the Russian people’s struggle for “national liberation...in southwestern Russia,” referencing eastern and southeastern Ukraine.

Advertisement

The ROC MP claimed that the Russian people are defending their lives, freedom, and statehood; their civilizational, religious, national, and cultural identity; and their right to live within the borders of a single Russian state by waging Putin’s war of conquest in Ukraine.

The ROC MP argued that the war in Ukraine is a holy war because Russia is defending “Holy Russia” and the world from the onslaught of globalism and the victory of the West, which has fallen into Satanism.

The ROC MP asserted that the war in Ukraine will conclude with Russia seizing exclusive influence over the entire territory of modern Ukraine and the exclusion of any Ukrainian government that the Kremlin determines to be hostile to Russia.

The ROC MP’s description of Russian goals is in line with repeated Kremlin statements indicating that Putin retains his objective to destroy Ukrainian sovereignty and statehood. The ROC MP’s use and description of the holy war in Ukraine is also consistent with Kremlin efforts to frame the war as an existential national struggle against Ukraine and the collective West but notably expands the alleged threats that defeat in Ukraine poses for Russians.

Advertisement

The term “holy war” may also conjure allusions to the Great Patriotic War (the Second World War), as the Soviet Union’s unofficial war anthem shared the same name, and the Kremlin has routinely invoked the mythos of the Great Patriotic War to generate domestic support for the war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has continued to stress that the war in Ukraine is a “special military operation,” however, and the ROC MP’s direct acknowledgment of the conflict as a holy war may elicit support from Russians who have found the Kremlin’s comparatively restrained rhetoric uninspiring. The ROC MP did not define the holy war as a purely Orthodox concept and instead tied it to the Kremlin’s purposefully broad conception of who is a part of the Russian nation and Russkiy Mir (Russian World).

Ukrainian victory does not pose these existential threats, however, as Ukraine’s struggle to restore its territorial integrity, return its people, and defend its national identity does not infringe on Russian identity, statehood, or territorial integrity.

Advertisement

The ROC MP called for the codification of elements of the Russkiy Mir and may be gauging public support for the formal inclusion of ethnic Ukrainians and Belarusians in the Kremlin’s concept of the Russian nation. The ROC MP stated that Russia is the “creator, support, and defender” of the Russkiy Mir and that the Russkiy Mir is a “spiritual, cultural, and civilizational phenomenon” that transcends the borders of the Russian Federation and historical Russian lands and encompasses everyone that values Russian traditions and culture.

The ROC MP claimed the Russkiy Mir’s mission is to destroy and prevent efforts to establish “universal hegemony in the world” and that the reunification of the “Russian nation” should be one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy.

The ROC MP stated that Russia should return to the “trinity doctrine” of the Russian nation, which falsely asserts that the “Russian nation” is comprised of sub-groups of ethnic Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians whom Russia should reunify.

The ROC MP called on Russia to codify the “trinity doctrine” in law, make it an “integral part” of the Russian legal system, include it in the “normative list” of Russian spiritual and moral values, and give the concept legal protection.

Putin and other Kremlin officials have consistently invoked similar claims about the “Russian people” and Russkiy Mir since before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine as a means to justify Russian aggression against Ukraine while undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and denying the existence of a Ukrainian ethnic identity. The ROC MP may be gauging the response to the idea of codifying the “trinity doctrine” on the Kremlin’s orders. The Kremlin may codify this doctrine as official Russian policy.

Advertisement

The ROC MP heavily emphasized Russia’s need for traditional family values and an updated migration policy to counter Russia’s ongoing demographic crisis. The ROC MP labeled Russia’s demographic crisis as Russia’s main existential threat and characterized steady demographic growth as a critical national security priority. The ROC MP asserted that Russia should aim to grow its population to 600 million people (a roughly 450 million increase) in the next 100 years and laid out a series of measures that it envisions would allow Russia to achieve this monumental task.

The ROC MP called for the revival of the “traditional large family” and traditional family values in Russia – echoing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s emphasis on 2024 as the “Year of the Family” in recent major national addresses. The ROC MP claimed that the Russian government should recognize the family and its well-being as Russia’s “main national development goal” and a “strategic national priority” and should amend Russia’s main strategic planning documents to reflect this. The ROC MP called on Russian popular culture to create a “cult of the family” in society and suggested various economic benefits the state should enact to encourage larger families.

Advertisement

The ROC MP claimed that a new state migration policy is also key to an “effective” demographic policy. The ROC MP complained that migrants who do not speak Russian, do not understand Russian history and culture, and cannot integrate into Russian society are “deforming” Russia’s unified legal, cultural, and linguistic space. The ROC MP alleged that the “uncontrolled” influx of migrant labor decreases the “indigenous” population’s wages and access to jobs and that “closed ethnic enclaves” are “breeding grounds” for corruption, organized crime, extremism, and terrorism.

The ROC MP offered a series of policy recommendations that Russia should prioritize in a new migration policy, including “significant” restrictions on low-skilled foreign laborers, guarantees of employment and high incomes for Russian citizens, protections of the rights and interests of ethnic Russians, and other indigenous peoples of Russia, the mass repatriation of "compatriots” to Russia, and the relocation of highly-skilled foreign specialists who are loyal to Russia and ready to integrate into Russian society.

The ROC MP’s demographic and migration policy suggestions continue to highlight how the Kremlin struggles with inconsistent and contradictory policies concerning migrants and the interests of its ultranationalist population. Select Russian officials and ultranationalist voices have recently called for Russia to enact anti-migrant policies following the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, but ISW continues to assess that Russia is unlikely to introduce any restrictions that would reduce the number of migrants in Russia given that Russia continues to heavily rely on migrants to offset domestic labor shortages and for force generation efforts.

Putin asserted in December 2023 that Russia’s “compatriots abroad” are those who have historical, cultural, or linguistic ties to Russia, and the ROC MP appears to suggest that the repatriation of such “compatriots” to Russia could be a large resource Russia could tap into to solve its demographic crisis. Some of the ROC MP’s other policy recommendations, however, contradictorily seek to restrict some of the very migrants that would fall under Putin’s definition of “compatriots abroad.” The ROC MP’s approach to the Russkiy Mir appears to be at odds with Putin’s previous definition of Russkiy Mir which posits a diverse and inclusive Russian civic nationalism.

The ROC MP appears to be combining previously parallel Kremlin narrative efforts into a relatively cohesive ideology focusing on national identity and demographic resurgence that promises Russians a period of national rejuvenation in exchange for social and civic duties.

The ROC MP highlighted that “the restoration of the unity of the Russian people” through the war in Ukraine is a key condition for Russia’s survival and successful development throughout the 21st century. This call for restoration amounts to the full-scale destruction of the Ukrainian nation and its envelopment into Russia.

The ROC MP aims to also envelop ethnic Belarusians into the Russian nation through its conception of the “trinity doctrine” while also massively repatriating other “compatriots” abroad. The ROC MP’s calls for Russians to assume the responsibility for steadily increasing birth rates and averting demographic catastrophe similarly promises Russians that Russian sovereignty and identity will persist in the 21st century.

These efforts to expand Russia’s control over those it considers to be a part of the Russkiy Mir, whether through mass repatriation or forceful means like Russia’s war of conquest in Ukraine, serve the same purpose as the calls for Russians to increase birth rates — increasing Russia’s overall population with people that ultranationalists consider to be “Russian.”

The ROC MP argued that the establishment of a stable and sovereign Russkiy Mir under the Russian state will lead to economic opportunity and Russia’s role as one of the leading centers of a multipolar world order. The ROC MP stated that the typical embodiment of the Russkiy Mir after the promised national rejuvenation would be a Russian family with three or more children and their own single-family home, offering ordinary Russians future socioeconomic benefits in exchange for sacrifices made now in backing the ROC MP’s suggested ultranationalist ideology and achieving Russia’s “unification” with Ukraine and Belarus.

The ROC MP’s suggested ideology explicitly ties Russian national security to the preservation of an imagined and disputed Russian nation and Russian demographic growth, offering the Kremlin expanded justifications for acts of aggression against neighboring countries and the West in the name of protecting the overall size and growth of the imagined Russkiy Mir.

The Kremlin may choose not to fully align itself publicly with the ultranationalist ideology that the ROC MP has proposed at this time but will highly likely borrow from and leverage it to generate support for the war effort in Ukraine and any future acts of aggression against Russia’s neighbors and the West.

See the original here.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (14)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
D.G
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Kirill is de duivel verkleedt als non.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
ttt
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

go ahead love to see that shangri la coming into place if it doesn't work out it's the west's fault

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Mark
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@DB, the russian orthodox church is an undercover spy organization masquerading as a church and fooling russian civilians that it is a church. A tree is known by its fruit.

10 commandments of russian orthodox church
1) Thou shalt have no other gods besides bunker rat vladolf putler.
2) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to the truth, nor believe it.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the SMO simply as "war", but rather as a "holey war".
4) Remember to keep every day holey, the more holes the better.
5) Honor thy tsar and bunker rat vladolf putler: that thy days may be long upon the land which the tsar thy god has stolen.
6) Thou shalt kill.
7) Thou shalt rape.
8) Thou shalt steal, especially toilets, washing machines and children.
9) Thou shalt lie and bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10) Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's country, land, house, wife, manservant, maidservant, ox, ass, and any thing that is thy neighbor's.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Mark
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

They spelled "holy" wrong, they actually meant holey (full of holes). Their arguments and propaganda are full of holes, russia is full of holes and so is their stupid war. They are becoming more holey by the day and after the war they will have more holes than a sieve.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Mouse & @lobo, You folks hit the nail on the head with your posts. 



Falsely leveraging religion is time proven method for devious despots to manipulate naive sheep. Some folks have a hard time separating a conman 'pied piper' of evil intent, from a pious person that believes and lives their religious teachings.



There is nothing moral about putin, putinrump or the shah of Iran.

Yet each hypocritically hocks bastardized versions of religions to condone their crimes.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Dimitry Merdevedev
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Bunch of nutters and fraudsters

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Justin
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

No surprise, kgbist, communist Putin has money to buy church. Controlling church helps brainwashing stupid Russian people.
Who can't be controlled and brainwashed get killed or jailed.
Monster leader of the monster country.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Thomas Peters
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Putin's unprovoked "war of imperial expansion" is about as "Holy" as Russia's zombie "church".

In other words, not much.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Lobo
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

What we have here with the Russian Orthodox Church is the promotion and support for mass murder, torture, rape and child killing and mutilation on a very large scale. This church leader and the church it's self is not doing the work of God but rather the work of Satan. These fake Christians do the work of evil while pretending to be holy people doing the good work of God. We have millions just like them here in the USA that promote a fake and evil version of Christianity which is neither Christian or good but fundamentally evil and Fascist with hatred of others that are not white or buy into their flawed religious views that have been corrupted by the Fascist former president Trump. This guy is not close to being a real Christian but he has totally corrupted Evangelical Christians and the republican party. How these former Christians could be so mislead I can not wrap my mind around. All of us must stand firm for Democracy and the rule of law and not let these Fascist get control over us but fight with all our might for Truth against Fascist lies. A major part of this if full support for Ukraine which should have happened some time ago for helping Ukraine is not charity but should Ukraine fall other nations will be next. Standing with Ukraine will is to also save ourselves. Ukraine is leading the fight and the least we can do is give them the weapons they need and the brave Ukraine warriors and people will carry the fight to Russia and they will prevail.

John2
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Lobo, Yes........Kirril/Putin pose as guardians of Wholly Russia and convince many conservatives in the US that 'things are better in Russian Orthodoxy'. . . but still no international Church call-out of the hypocrisy. Putin can hardly be said to be faithful in marriage anymore than Trump. . . or Biden.( He ran off with his friend's wife! )
Abortion is sky high in Russia too and has been for decades, along with increased use and production of porn, alcoholism and drugs use. That was before the blessing of mass-slaughter of innocents in the name of Jesus Christ. . . a great blasphemy by an KGB sanctioned cleric! At least the West hasn't done that. . . but don't forget, the nature of Satan is that he has a hoof in all camps. This is a spiritual war and the slaughter of innocents must cease immediately. Russia must withdraw and stay within its internationally agreed borders.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
litterly everybody else
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

look at the photo
these two are holding hands in a really strange way
what a hanky panky for socalled familyvalues, killing thousands of families in Ukraine
vladolf putler must be really frustrated he wasnt on his brokeback mountain holigays with sergay shoigu in the siberian woods

Polska👻
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@litterly everybody else, notice the shorty no hatter giving the white mad hatter some roubles there. Ofcourse for some propoganda blessing, so cute.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John2
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

It is foolish to minimise the spiritual element in this unjust and merciless invasion. Kirril himself stands accused of blasphemy for he has blessed the war and the soldiers in it in the name of Jesus Christ. That, along with his harmonious relations with Putin, has suggested to many that what we are dealing with is a case of demonic possession. Since the West is hardly free of demons we are now faced with a situation of Satan seeming to be divided against himself! If so, his houses must fall. One saving grace is that the West does not wage war in the name of Jesus Christ and in supporting Ukraine it is defending not only Ukraine but its own existence. I write this for those who can distinguish pearls from grains of corn.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Bob Boomhauer
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Men in silly hats pretending to communicate with "God". Fkn religtard clown.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Apfel
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

The communist jokers.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Mouse
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Russia’s colonization insanity has reached full circle.

1/ Man puts on a white dress and claims to understand God’s intentions.
2/ Delusional man in dress claims that people of his own ethnicity are spiritual, cultural and civilizational superior to people of different descent.
3/ Man in dress blesses colonial wars, calls them ‘holy wars’ and claims that the aggression towards other people will ultimately create a better world.
4/ Man in dress ignores the loss of lives and claims that those who are violent towards people of a different descent, will be forgiven by God.
5/ Man in dress understands that after the bloodshed, the newly acquired lands will be rather empty and claims it is God’s wish that women have more children.

We’ve seen this dynamic many times before and still nations like Brasil, India and South Africa don’t recognize what is happening here. Is it so hard to recognize colonization, when those that are being colonized are not black, but white?

Bob Boomehauer
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Mouse, Well said!

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png