Written by Vladimir Moss



      On December 25, 1991, while the Americans were celebrating Western Christmas, the communist red flag came down for the last time over the Kremlin and the red, white and blue of Russia, which had also been Russia’s pre-revolutionary flag, was raised in its stead. A few days later, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, “referred to the implosion of the Soviet Union in a year that had seen ‘changes of almost biblical proportions,’ declared that ‘by the grace of God, America won the Cold War,’ and announced the dawning of a new world order. ‘A world once divided into two armed camps,’ Bush told the joint session of the US Senate and House of Representatives, ‘now recognizes one sole and preeminent power, the United States of America.’ The audience exploded in applause…”[1] 

     For the third time in seventy years the United States bestrode the globe like a colossus. All three victories – those of 1918, 1945 and 1991 - can plausibly be claimed to have been victories of American democracy over one or another species of totalitarianism. But the differences between them were important. In 1918 the proto-totalitarian state of Germany had been defeated, but it had been the Europeans who had borne the main brunt of the war, while Germany herself had been neither occupied, nor purged of her totalitarian spirit, which went on to grow in fierceness under Hitler, necessitating a second world war. Moreover, a new totalitarian empire, that of Soviet Russia, had been growing with equal speed and ferocity… In 1945 America’s share in the final victory was much larger, and the demons of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were finally exorcised. But Germany’s loss had been the Soviet Union’s gain; and that empire was now at the height of its powers and more than ever dangerous, making the Cold War inevitable (the only alternative was a hot war, which thankfully was avoided). In that war, America’s share in the victory was larger still: the other western powers had contributed a little, but not much by comparison. Moreover, by 1991 none of the old totalitarian powers was left standing and only China, which had nipped the democratic virus in the bud on Tiananmen Square, appeared as a possible future rival of the all-conquering American colossus. 

     But there were disturbing resemblances between 1918 and 1991. Once again, the defeated power had not been occupied, nor its totalitarian spirit exorcised. As in 1918, so in 1991, the defeated power felt that it had been “stabbed in the back”, betrayed by foreign and domestic enemies. To make things worse, it was still a nuclear power. In December, 1994 Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the United Kingdom signed “the Budapest Memorandum”, thereby guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Belarus’ and Kazakhstan in exchange for giving their nuclear weapons to Russia. This solved the problem of nuclear proliferation that had so worried the Americans. But it gave Russia still more power to blackmail its neighbours. And, as events in 2014 were to prove, Ukraine’s territorial guarantees (like Czechoslovakia’s in 1938) were not worth the paper they were written on…

     Scott D. Sagan writes: “In 1947, the American diplomat George Kennan outlined a strategy for the ‘patient but firm and vigilant containment’ of the Soviet Union… He predicted that such a policy would eventually lead to ‘either the breakup or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.’ He was right.”[2]

     But was he really right? The Soviet Union “mellowed” in its later years in that it killed and tortured fewer people; but from the perspective of 2020 it is difficult to say that Sovietism has really disappeared. In fact, the evil spirit laid in it at its very foundation has not only not disappeared, but appears to have mutated into a new, but no less virulent power. Nor could it be otherwise. For evil spirits do not “mellow”, nor can they be “contained” indefinitely: if they are not to break out again; they must be exorcised

     The Soviet Union appeared to be dead… But could “the Long War”, in Philip Bobbitt’s phrase, between democracy and totalitarianism really be over? Was there not a final battle still to be fought, whose consequences this time would surely be a nuclear holocaust wiping out most of humanity? As President Bush soberly noted, the prospects for such a war had dramatically receded, but they had not gone away completely… They had not gone away, fundamentally, because of the wrath of man, on the one hand: those still imbued with the spirit of Soviet Russia were burning to avenge its defeat in the Cold War. And on the other hand, because the wrath of God had not been expiated through repentance for the terrible, unprecedented sins of the Soviet period…

     In the euphoria of this great, but incomplete and inevitably temporary triumph over evil, it was necessary to recall the words of the Apocalypse concerning the red beast: “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wounded was healed. And all the earth marvelled and followed the beast” (Revelation 13.3). The beast has been wounded, but it is not yet dead…


     The point is: final victory can never be defined in purely material terms, either in its causes or in its essence. In our materialist age, it is tempting to see economic or technological factors as the causes of victory in war. Certainly, there is no denying that technological factors have been important in past wars. We think of the “Greek fire” used so successfully by the Byzantines against the Persians and Muslims; and the horsemanship displayed by the Mongols against the Russians in the thirteenth century; and the long bow used by the English against the French in the Hundred Years’ War; and the heavy cannon invented by the Hungarian Urban and equally successfully used by the Muslims against the Byzantines in 1453; and the copper plating giving extra speed to the British ships in the Napoleonic Wars; and the railways used so effectively by Bismarck against the French at Sedan; and the Maxim gun used by the British to slaughter the Sudanese at Obdurman; and the German use of tanks in World War Two; and the British use of radar and Turing’s computer to crack the German enigma code in the same war…

     Nevertheless, material factors are never as important as spiritual or psychological ones – morale, patriotism and faith. For “some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 19.7). The Vietnamese defeated the Americans largely through their superior discipline and morale, in spite of being far inferior in technological and economic resources. And in general American patriotism flagged in the 1970s, allowing the Soviets to gain a series of victories in the Third World. But the West recovered confidence under Reagan and Thatcher, and in the late 1980s the Soviets began to lose faith in their own system…

     Material advantages create the opportunity, and morale consolidates that advantage, or even reverses the material deficit. But final victory in war is attained only in two ways: either by completely destroying the enemy, or by converting him to your side. There is no third way: a victory attained in any other way is no real victory, but only a battle won, which may end in final victory – or in defeat. The victory of the West over the Soviet Union in the Cold War in 1989-91 was one such inconclusive victory, a battle won that may yet end in final defeat in the long war that began in 1917, but has not come to an end yet...

     The victories won by annihilation of the enemy are many. One of the most famous in ancient times was Rome’s victory over Carthage. The Romans so respected their enemies, who had dealt them their worst ever defeat at Carrhae that they did not stop at reversing that defeat and defeating them at Zama in 202 B.C., but declared: Cartago delenda est, “Carthage must be destroyed”. And Carthage was destroyed – completely – in 146 B.C.  It never rose again.

     Another victory by annihilation was the Allies’ conquest of Germany in 1945. The victory over the Kaiser’s Germany in 1918 had been incomplete. No Allied army stepped foot in Germany; its economic and war-making potential, though damaged, was not destroyed. Most important, the Germans did not feel defeated; they felt they had been “stabbed in the back”. Reparations were insufficient to repay the losses suffered by the Western powers, especially France. By the time Hitler came to power, they had been remitted completely. So the still living snake was able to rise again because the seat of its power – its head – had not been crushed. That took place only in 1945, when Nazi power was crushed utterly, as was its capital. This was a real “twilight of the gods”. The false gods of German nationalism had been truly destroyed. And the population was converted to a new god – democracy.

     Victories by conversion are much rarer and, of course, much greater from a moral point of view. Such a victory was the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great over the pagan Danes under King Guthrum in 878. Alfred defeated the Danes in battle at Ethandune; but, knowing that his victory could not be final, and that his enemy still occupied the whole of East Anglia, he offered him something quite different: baptism into the Orthodox Church (Alfred became Guthrum’s sponsor), followed by a twelve-day baptismal feast and the present of the whole of East Anglia as a baptismal gift. Nor was this a superficial charade. The Danes remained Christian, and were fully integrated into Orthodox England…

     In the Cold War the enemy was neither crushed nor converted. It was a very long war, beginning soon after World War Two, in which many millions died around the globe. And yet the main antagonists – the NATO allies and the Soviet Union – never fired a single shot against each other in anger (if we exclude the shooting down of the U-2 plane in 1960), preferring instead to fight by proxy and by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Nor did the supposed victors ever set foot on Soviet soil. The Communist enemy simply melted away, changing its name and its ideology at the same time…

     Not having occupied the communist homeland, the victors were able to make only a feeble attempt to convert them. By contrast, the Germans after 1945 were subjected to a denazification programme which took time to produce the necessary good fruits – real repentance for the horrors of Nazism – but eventually did produce them. Moreover, they were given a vast sum of money in the Marshall Plan that helped them rebuild their economy and become again a prosperous and peaceful nation. But there was no decommunization programme in Eastern Europe after 1991, and the people, after making a fitful start at repentance for the unprecedented crimes of the Soviet period after the fall of communism, now appear to be indulging in an orgy of self-justification. Not a single Communist leader or Gulag commandant was brought to trial for his crimes.

     As for economic aid, there was some of it, but – with the exception of the aid given to the former East Germany by West Germany – it came nowhere near the levels needed or asked for – and so generously provided by the Americans in 1948. Thus, as Simon Jenkins writes, “There was no lowering of tariffs or other barriers to trade with the east, and therefore little stimulus to growth in the post-communist economies. Brussels lobbyists opposed any inrush of low-cost produce, especially food, into the EEC’s protected markets. Despite initial pleas from Gorbachev, there was no new Marshall Aid, nor substantial inward investment, at least until former communist states joined the EU. At the same time there was a torrent of low-cost labour migrating westwards, bleeding the east of talent and further aiding the west’s economies.

     “More dangerous was an instant NATO welcome to Russia’s former Warsaw Pact allies. Those republics closest to Russia, such as Belarus, Ukraine and the central Asian ‘stans’, formed a Commonwealth of Independent State under Moscow’s aegis. But the Baltic states together with Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary turned their backs on the east and began negotiations with NATO as guarantor of their future security. There is no doubt this is what these countries wanted, but the alacrity with which NATO seemed ready to advance its frontier eastwards rubbed salt into the gaping wound of Russia’s national pride. Yeltsin pleaded with the west to hold back, describing NATO’s expansion as ‘a major political mistake’. He warned that ‘the flames of war could burst out across the whole of Europe’. He was ignored. In this respect, there was an ominous sense of the cold war’s demise replicating the casual triumphalism of Versailles…”[3] 

      “In 1999,” writes Simon Jenkins, “Yeltsin anointed a former Leningrad KGB boss, Vladimir Putin, as his successor. The contrast was total. Putin was the epitome of a tough, communist-era apparatchik. The ex-intelligence officer had no time for the niceties of democracy, but a keen sense of the need to restore Russian pride. He would issue pictures of himself hunting and bare-chested on horseback. His court of oligarchs made sure he secured as much overseas wealth as they had [Putin is now probably the richest man in the world]. Putin’s policies, endorsed at increasingly rigged elections, made no mention of civil rights or market economics. He was a populist and a nationalist, his pledge merely to restore Russia’s integrity and self-confidence. Opponents were bribed, imprisoned or killed. The west might have felt able to humour and torment Yeltsin. It now faced the pastiche tsar of a macho state. That Russia’s economy was debilitated was irrelevant. Dictatorship thrives on poverty.”[4]

     Putin has openly declared his intent to avenge Russia’s defeat in the Cold War, just as Hitler set out to avenge Germany’s defeat in World War One. He is able to say this because Communism was not truly defeated in the Cold War. Its leaders were not tried and punished, its ideology not exposed for the fraud it undoubtedly is.

     As for Putin’s new – or rather, old – ideology of Fascist-style nationalism, it is even admired in the West, even by many Orthodox Christians, who mistake his Communist Christianity mixed with neo-Soviet patriotism for the real thing and regard Putin himself as “the new Constantine”. Putin’s secret service agents have retained their stranglehold over the Orthodox Church and Russia’s foreign embassies and very many of her emigres. Thus the Orthodox Church under Patriarch Cyril (KGB “Agent Mikhailov”) glorifies the victory of Stalin and militant atheism in 1945 as something to be celebrated on a par with Christ’s Resurrection!

     Just as the incomplete and mismanaged victory celebrated at Versailles in 1919 led to the rise of an avenging angel in the form of Hitler, so the incomplete and mismanaged victory over Communism in 1991 has given birth to another avenging angel in the form of Putin, whose murderous desires only a truly useless idiot can fail to see. But he knows that he can achieve final victory only by completely annihilating his opponent. That is why he gives full rein to his propagandist, Alexander Dugin (who likes to say: “Putin is all!”), when he calls for “the closing downof America” as “our religious duty”. [5]Dmitri Kiselev, another Putinist propagandist, appeared to rejoice on TV when speaking about the reduction of the West to ashes. These men know that their and their master’s goal – final victory over the West – can only be achieved by the West’s complete destruction. Putin himself has made it quite clear that he is prepared to use the nuclear option if he feels threatened – although it is he, of course, that is the real threatener. The only way in which he could achieve final victory over the West without an annihilatory war is by destroying its last values and the last remnants of its will to live through his hidden support for Cultural Marxism, that deadly mutant of Leninist Marxism which is well on the way to destroying America today (in 2020), so bringing about the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elder Ignaty of Harbin: What began in Russia will end in America. 

     All this leads us to believe that the Cold War was only a phase of a long, still-uncompleted struggle, the final resolution of which is still in the future. And it is by no means certain who will win. For it is possible to win all the battles in a war while losing the last, ultimately decisive one…

     Even if Communism in its new, Fascist mutation loses the final battle of this coming war, a deep and long-lasting peace is guaranteed only if the whole Enlightenment philosophy that gave birth not only to Communism, but also to Fascism and Democracy, is renounced by both victors and losers. The only teaching which does not simply oppose this triple-headed monster but conquers and destroys it is the Orthodox Christian Faith. For “this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (I John 5.5). It was the renunciation of that faith by Russia in 1917 that set in motion the long cycle of extremely bloody and inconclusive wars that we have witnessed over the last century. Only the resurrection of that faith, and the true repentance of Russia, will bring the final victory and true peace on earth, God’s good will among men…


June 25 / July 8, 2020.

[1] Serhii Plokhy, The Last Empire. The Final Days of the Soviet Union, London: Oneworld Publications, 2015, pp. xxvii-xxviii.

[2] Sagan, The Korean Missile Crisis”, Foreign Affairs, November/December, 2017, p. 82.

[3] Jenkins, A Short History of Europe, London: Weidenfels & Nicholson, 2018, pp. 288-289.

[4] Jenkins, op. cit., p. 293.

[5] Dugin, Absoliutnaia Rodina (The Absolute Homeland)Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999, p. 658.

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