Vladimir Putin made headlines with his condemnation of Western wokeness in an address to the Russian people this week. But while Putin may have been right in his critiques, we should be wary of giving him too much credit. After all, Putin started his career as a spy/intelligence officer for the Soviet KGB.
Some conservatives are too apt to be enthusiastic about Putin, perhaps because our leaders at home are so weak and silly and masculinity is so often attacked that it seems refreshing to see a strong male leader. There are different kinds of strength, however; many strong men in history, like Joseph Stalin, were also evil and destructive. Considering that Putin is prosecuting an invasion of another country that has claimed the lives of over 200,000 Ukrainians and Russians, and considering his KGB past, Putin might well be trying to fool both his people and foreigners with propaganda.
In the same speech where he announced the suspension of Russia’s last nuclear treaty with the U.S., Putin warned that the West is headed for “spiritual catastrophe,” as PJ Media’s Robert Spencer reported. Putin particularly called out the Church of England’s recent embrace of radical LGBTQ ideology. “The Anglican Church,” he said, “is considering a gender-neutral God. May God forgive them for they know not what they do.” Putin’s reference to Christ’s words in the Gospel (Luke 23:34) was well-put, but I cannot help but be reminded of when the devil quotes Scripture to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
The Russian president wasn’t done with his observations on Western wokeness, though. “Look at what they do with their own peoples: the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, and the abuse of children are declared the norm,” Putin said. “And priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.” All true, sadly.
Putin isn’t the only Russian leader to slam the West’s anti-Christian policies. The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill recently declared, “We have entered into a struggle that has not a physical, but a metaphysical significance… If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behavior, the human civilization will end there.” If only Western clerics would state the same truth.
The question is, can we trust Putin and the Patriarch to be sincere? What is the background that might make their truth-telling suspect?
Putin launched his political career by serving as a Soviet KGB foreign intelligence officer. Britannica says:
[He] served 15 years as a foreign intelligence officer for the KGB (Committee for State Security), including six years in Dresden, East Germany. In 1990 he retired from active KGB service with the rank of lieutenant colonel and returned to Russia to become prorector of Leningrad State University with responsibility for the institution’s external relations.
More bluntly put, he was a spy for the murderous and dishonest Soviet regime, trained to do its dirty work and lie effectively about it to non-Russians. Is there any evidence that Putin is not putting those same skills to work now?
Putin even reportedly said in 2016, while suggesting that the now-discredited Steele dossier was fake, “I was an intelligence officer myself, and I know how dossiers are made up.” Even Kirill reportedly did intelligence work for the KGB in the 1970s, based on Swiss records; it is possible that he, like Putin, was a Soviet spy.
And Soviet spies only told the truth when it served their own corrupt ends.