Putin compares himself to Jesus promoting 'traditional' values against the 'Satanic' West

Putin compares himself to Jesus promoting 'traditional' values against the 'Satanic' West

Watch: 'Make Putin pay': Ukrainian MP calls for allies to use Russian assets to fund Ukraine's side

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 09/04/2024

- 16:16

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared himself to Jesus Christ in a series of addresses this week in which he detailed his crusade against the West's "Satanic" values.

Speaking to children via video call to mark the opening of a number of youth centres near Moscow, the premier quoted several bible passages - which follows his previous drawing of parallels between his 'mission' to protect Russian kids from what he called the creeping influence of the West and Jesus calling on Peter and Andrew to spread the word of God.

While in a meeting with senior Russian officials, Putin said: "Do you remember how Jesus came to Galilee and saw the fishermen beside the Sea of Galilee?

"One was catching fish, another was fixing his net. And he said to them: 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men, fishers of human souls.' They became his evangelists, his students.

Putin and Botticelli's Jesus

Putin drew parallels between himself and Jesus Christ, and was seen blessing himself ahead of Easter festivities in Moscow


"This was very important at a time when world religions were developing... but it is no less current now, when we must defend our traditional values, our culture, our traditions and our history - this is very important for the future of the country.

The spiritual speeches mark the latest in a string of examples of Putin mixing church and state to advance his messaging.

And while Putin claimed he did not want to share a Christian-only message at the meeting last week - where he referenced Russia's four "traditional religions" of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism - he has invoked deeply Christian imagery to prop up his country's continued onslaught in Ukraine.

In 2022, just over seven months after the start of the invasion, Putin described the West as "Satanic" and rejected its liberalism which he claimed had turned it away from the "traditional" and "religious" values enjoyed in Russia.



Putin and close ally Patriarch Kirill have invoked heavy religious messaging in support of the war in Ukraine


And the president counts senior Orthodox Christian officials and institutions among his allies; the head of the church, Patriarch Kirill - who has called Putin's long reign a "miracle of God" - has said the war in Ukraine was a battle against the "forces of evil" in which Russia fights against the "Antichrist".

State media in Russia has claimed Kirill's appearance at a Moscow hospital prompted the appearance of the Virgin Mary, while the Patriarch has claimed Russian soldiers who die in Ukraine would have all their sins forgiven.

Russian soldiers have been displayed with halos and bearing crosses in wartime propaganda posters in Moscow, while the capital's Orthodox patriarchate have described the campaign as a struggle for "national liberation" in "South-Western Russia" instead of Ukraine.

And anti-war religious figures have seen harsh punishments - Ioann Burdin, a Russian priest who was fined and banned from hosting services after calling for peace in 2022, told opposition website Sota that the Russian church had "stopped bringing Christ to people and stopped preaching love", and claimed church services in the country more closely resembled political meetings than religious ceremonies.

While Alexey Uminsky was banned from working in a Moscow church - where he had served for 30 years - for refusing to read a pro-war prayer.

Critics have said Putin's enthusiasm for war means he is lying when he claims to believe in God; indeed, his desire to publicise his faith in recent years does not square neatly with his rise to power in the officially atheist Soviet Union and East Germany.

The president has claimed his mother baptised him in secret in his youth - against his communist father's wishes.

But his Christian leanings have been publicised for over a decade - in 2013, Putin introduced quasi-blasphemy laws which criminalised the "insult" of religious believers' feelings - a move which would have been unthinkable two decades prior.

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