As a Christian I am very mindful that there are spiritual strengths and powers often lurking behind the political events of this world. Jesus made us very aware of this influence during his ministry in Galilee (Mark 1:39), and in his dealings with the power elite in Jerusalem whom he described as children of Satan (John 8:43-44). Scratch the surface of most countries today and you will see the same influence. Here are a few examples:
From personal experience I can tell you that most of the Central Asian “Stan” countries are Islamic on the surface but deeply influenced by black magic and pre-Islamic occult/shamanistic practices behind this religious veneer. Most Tajiks do not practice formal Islam at all but are heavily involved in the original pre-Islamic folk superstitions and low-key Zoroastrianism. Turkmen people are great believers in trinkets and amulets which are widely sold in markets to ward off evil spirits, to summon good spirits and to protect their new owners from various troubles and misfortunes. I personally spoke to people in Kyrgyzstan in 2016 who verified this widespread belief in the occult as their true religion. India is also riddled with demonic influence right up to the highest levels of society. I know; I lived there for a year and confronted demon possessed people on multiple occasions. The Shinto practices in Japan do likewise to their culture. The New Age movement and the fanatical push to enshrine sexual perversion as the highest legal value in the Western world are two of many manifestations of the occult in our midst.
But what of Russia?
First, some background. Russia is not really a European country. It’s not Asian either. It’s a geographically and culturally insecure blend of the two, a uniquely hybrid civilization. It looks to the west for acceptance and equality but finds only rejection, and rightly so given its deep autocratic roots. It looks to the east for its grass-roots culture and spirituality, but more on that in a minute.
It is also slowly vanishing. Its population drops by about 0.5% every year every year because of its shockingly low birth rate, and this rate of decline is accelerating. There are now more abortions than live births. Substance abuse is at astronomical levels. It is deeply corrupt from the bottom to the top and has always been run by a ruthless mafia gang regardless of the style of leadership. Family formation is pathetic while divorce is high. Over one million citizens have AIDS, and the rates are growing at 10-15% a year. There is no rule of law and there never has been. Its health stats are some of the world’s worst. This list is the depressing legacy of an Atheistic Communism that saw its government murder or starve some 20 million of its own citizens! Before the end of this century, Russia will cease to exist as we know it. It’s a culture that has lost hope.
These cultural statistics give you an indication of what is happening in the spiritual realm under the surface, behind the curtain. Demonic forces are at work in this land.
To make matters worse, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is trapped in an outdated cultural expression and incapable of change. It is deeply intolerant of other faiths and sees itself as the only legitimate expression of Christianity with all other denominations being invalid or sectarian. It was birthed in blood a thousand years ago when the king of Kiev converted and then forced all his subjects to do the same on pain of death. The ROC is deeply tied to the state, giving Putin legitimacy for his bloodthirsty overseas campaigns and his domestic agenda of tyranny, as long as the state enhances the ROC’s power. It’s head, Patriarch Kirill, endorsed the invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities being perpetrated by Putin, even though many under him condemned it. Only 6-10% of Russians have anything to do with the church, so its spiritual life is very weak, but its cultural and political influence is still strong.
The Occult is all-pervasive
In contrast to the poor state of Orthodox Christianity, tens of millions of Russian consult occult practitioners on a monthly or even weekly basis. Even the Moscow Times has produced articles on the resurgence of witchcraft in Russia. This has deep pre-Christian roots in the old Slavic culture that has lingered to this day, just as I noted above for neighbouring parts of Central Asia. In his seminal study of Russian folk culture, Ivan the Fool, Andrei Sinyavsky detailed a pervasive Tsarist-era belief in superstition, magic and pagan gods, as well as the widespread popularity of sorcerers and faith healers: In Old Russia, almost everyone resorted to elementary magic for help, wrote Sinyavsky. Magic was used on a daily basis. This is the fertile, demonically saturated, ground from which sprung their most famous mystical practitioner, Grigori Rasputin, personal confidant of Tsar Nicholas. His rise was partly attributed to his demonic mystical powers and partly by the fact that many of the aristocracy at the time were intensely curious about the occult and the supernatural.
Fast forwarding straight past the era of Communistic Atheistic suppression of all religion, I recently came across a 2015 New Humanist article on the role of the occult in Russia, where they noted the resurgence of widespread belief in, and engagement with the occult since the fall of Communism. The article said, and I quote: In 2010, a psychologist with the Russian Academy of Sciences cited World Health Organisation data that indicated there were more occult/faith healers (800,000) in Russia than professional doctors (640,000). And Russians are putting their money where their faith is. In 2013, the country’s leading cardiologist complained that his fellow citizens spend almost £20 billion every year on magical and paranormal services. This, the astonished surgeon pointed out, is almost twice the amount Russians spend on foreign medical care. Another statistic is perhaps even more revealing: Russia’s Academy of Sciences estimates that 67% of all Russian women have at some time sought help from a “psychic or sorcerer”. The figure for Russian men is one in four.
If true, this would mean one in 170 Russians is a professional occultist, with Anatoly Kashpirovsky being the most famous of them all. Russia is more heavily influenced by the occult, shamanism, psychics, witches, and sorcerers than almost any nation on earth! To further quote from the New Humanist article, Nikolai Naritsyn, a Moscow-based psychoanalyst who has written on the subject, says that the average Russian is completely confused and disorientated by modern life. And when they ask Where do financial crises come from? What do the laws they pass in parliament mean? Why has my salary been halved? To find his solutions, his truth, he heads to witches and wizards.
The occult should be seen as the true religion of Russia.
What About The Government?
Does the government dabble in the occult? Although we don’t have any concrete evidence, The Humanist journalist interviewed Valeriya Karat, a high-profile sorceress in Moscow, who boasted that she often gets secret visits from government officials. They come in the middle of the night so that no one will see them. I can’t name names, of course, but Russian government officials always consult sorcerers before taking major decisions. Marina, another Moscow based sorceress says that whenever there are big international talks going on, Russia always brings a psychic or witch along to influence things.
Is Putin personally influenced by these occult practices? Yes! The most influential Russian academic of this century, and the man they call Putin’s brain, Alexander Dugin, is as well-versed in the writings of early 20th century British occultists as he is in modern political theory. The New Humanist article says Dugin has a long and documented involvement in the occult. In the 1980s, he is reported to have been a member of the Moscow-based “Black Order of the SS”, a group of intellectuals fascinated with both mysticism and Nazism, as well as – according to former members of the circle – experiments with drugs and sex magic. Later, Dugin took his interest in the occult to a new level. In the early 1990s, he became editor of the Eurasian magazine Elementy. The front cover of the magazine’s second issue featured a portrait of Baphomet, the goat god who is also the symbol of the US-based Church of Satan. Dugin frequently wrote about the occult within the pages of Elementy, as well as praising the “spiritual and transcendental side of fascism”.
Dugin, ever the militant nationalist, also believes that the Ukraine should not exist as anything but part of Greater Russia. He is the reason why Putin invaded. Dugin gave Putin the intellectual justification to invade, while Patriarch Kirill gave him the spiritual justification to invade. Putin’s own ridiculously inflated ego gave him the political justification to invade. This terrible war is all just another page in the long and depressing story of demonic influence over the Russian civilisation.
Putin’s beliefs have now evolved into a belief in the manifest destiny of the Russian Orthodox civilisation to go forth and re-establish the true greatness of “Christian civilisation”. That’s just code for enhancing the power of the Russian state. Think of it as Attila the Hun (Putin) teaming up with a witch doctor (Dugin) and a corrupt priest (Kirill) to kill and conquer. Satan and his army of demons are loving this as their Jesus himself told us that their mission is to steal, kill and destroy humans (John 10:10). And they use humans to do their dirty work. John 10:10 is a perfect description of what Satan, through his human proxy Russia, Is doing in the Ukraine right now.
How will this end? I believe the words of our Lord are prophetic when he said to his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. That includes Russia. He said to pray that his Kingdom would come to the earth just as it is in Heaven. Prayer is the key. Only prayer, love, grace, mercy and the Holy Spirit of Christ can set this nation free of its demonic shackles. This process is beyond our lifetimes, but it WILL happen. The events of 2022 have only sped the process up as the global body of Christ has been awakened to intercede for this broken part of the world.