Sunday, March 13, 2022


Putin and Rasputin, Lost in a Broken Gavotte

"Poot" in Russian means "path" or "way," so Vladimir Putin might be said to be the "wanderer" or traveller or gypsy.

"Ras" is a prefix that implies taking things apart, disorder, even chaos; so the so-called mad monk Rasputin can be said to have been the disrupter, the one who blew up the path.  And indeed, his "unorthodox" behavior helped to precipitate the revolution, in the eyes of most historians.

"Rasputitsa" means the time of year when the roads are impassible.  The frozen paths of the winter have disintegrated, been taken apart, with the arrival of warmer temperatures and spring rains.  Rasputitsa disrupted the plans of Hitler in 1942; it may disrupt the plans of Putin in 2022.

Like Nicholas and Alexandra, the Tsar Putin has his own Orthodox enablers including the Patriarch Kirill.  In the main they are not devout Christians.  Rather, they participate with the tsar in the propagation of a myth about the Manifest Destiny of Mother Russia; they justify it in part as a reaction to Western decadence.

Now comes a cadre on the American right that also embraces this myth.  We should leave Putin be, they say, because he is far away and because he shares at least our contempt for "wokeness."  The great Russian-born journalist and intellectual Cathy Young cites at least one such who explicitly says that he hates the American Left more than he hates the Russian war criminals.  Through what crazed moral prism must one look to hold such a view?

Putin is finished.  Disease and death, or at least a cage in Lublyanka, must await him when the dust is settled.  But for the Russian people outside the circles of power there must be forgiveness.  This is the only way for them to be re-integrated into the global community, which is in everyone's interest, and it is also the correct moral path, on the simple grounds that if they are to be punished collectively, then he who is without sin should cast the first stone.

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