“Tomorrow I leave this land of hope and return to our Western countries – the countries of despair,” wrote George Bernard Shaw as he prepared to depart Stalin’s Soviet Union in 1931. Many Western intellectuals idolized the USSR as a viable economic alternative to the free market – and a certain variety of Western Catholic now sees Vladimir Putin as the leader of an analogous movement. At the Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website, Stefano Magni writes:
[I]t is in popular Catholic culture that Putinism is conquering hearts and minds. … Just why are practicing Catholics calling Radio Maria and saying that they trust “only” a Marxist-Leninist website? Thankfully, these Catholics did not sudden became Marxist – but they are attracted by Putin and what they believe he represents. …
As in Soviet times, Russia ceased to be a nation and became an idea. Putinism does not compare real entities and economic systems. Instead, it spreads the idea that Putin upholds Christian values against the advance of Western “materialism” – which is defined as the free-market economy. It’s still the search for a Third Way between socialism and the free market which is motivating Catholic Putinism. Once fascism was defeated and the Christian Democrat version of distributism faltered, Putin became the new hope for all those still in search of a hybrid economic system. All his faults – his personal corruption, political violence, and military adventurism – are denied … or sometimes admitted, then quickly forgiven. Occasionally, they are justified in the name of this new hope.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
You can read his full article here.
(Photo credit: www.Kremlin.ru. CC BY 4.0.)