Disclaimer: In some of our articles, especially under the Modern Issues section, we present readers with challenging issues to examine, reflect upon and research. The material is neither supported nor rejected by us, and no one is responsible for its content, other than the original source. Therefore readers are requested not to make any complaints, but to take time to reflect on the material from an Orthodox perspective.

“The Eurasian Project for the Development of Post-Soviet Russia in the Context of the Russian Religious-Philosophical Tradition”

Archpriest George Mitrofanov, Professor of St. Petersburg Theological Academy

Already in the first response of Russian religious philosophers to emergence of the Eurasian collections was marked with tempting “novelty” ideology of Eurasianism, clearly contrasted with its entire previous national and Orthodox-oriented trunk stream of Russian religious and philosophical thought and at the same time in a mental worldview simplistically allying this ideology with with organically perceived communism as a revolutionary-radical tradition of Russian social thought.

“The Eurasian generation, which grew up during the war and revolution, does not feel related to our religious generation and does not want to continue its covenants,” noted Berdyaev. “… It’s will is directed toward simplification, towards elementalization, to everyday forms of Orthodoxy, to traditionalism, timid and suspicious of all religious creativity.”

Considering ideocratic establishment of the state as the supreme goal of ethno-cultural development of the Eurasian civilization, Eurasians essentially came to calling the association apocalyptic notion of the State-Church, which should be totally strengthen in the vast expanses of the Eurasian continent.

The most popular in Europe Russian philosopher N.A. Berdyaev and most respected in the Orthodox world Russian theologian, Archpriest George Florovsky, so in  different in many ways, come to strikingly consonant with the conclusions regarding false religious myths Eurasian ideocratic “Leviathan” which carry the clear stamp of Antichrist.

“Eurasian ideology asserts that the state is a becoming, not perfected Church,” wrote Berdyaev: “Thus, a principled monism is established in the understanding of relations between the Church and the state and the state is understood as a function and organ of the Church, the state acquires a comprehensive significance. The fundamental dualism of the two orders – the Church and the state, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar, which will remain until the end of the world, is not recognized, is erased, as it has been already many times in the history of Christianity. This is one of the eternal temptations beset the Christian world, and on this basis born utopia, take a variety of forms – from papal and imperial theocracy to Communism and Eurasian … Eurasians don’t call it a theocracy, but ideocracy. Ideocracy is the rule of the chosen ruling stratum, claiming to be the bearer of a true communist ideology. Formally, this is very much like communism. Communism also is ideocracy, the dominance of the ruling class picked up, claiming to be the true bearer of the communist ideology, the ideas of ??the proletariat … utopian etatism of Eurasians leads them to the false and dangerous idea that ideocratic the state should take over the organization of all life, that is, organization of the whole culture, thinking, creativity, organization and souls of men, which is the task of the Church. This is also the task of the communist state, which assumes itself as the Church and replaces the Church.”2

“In Eurasian “state maximalism” there is a sharp and blasphemous temptation,” Archpriest George Florovsky emphasized: “The Eurasian interpretation all the time remains unclear, what is a culture (or “cultural-subject”) – becoming a church or becoming a state … Seems in Eurasian thought sequence recognizing in the state and only in it the people and their constituent lower “conciliar” persons are attached and united to Christ? Such assumption is sinister, but the real ghost rises over Eurasianism as a shadow of the Great Beast … In the final analysis, for the Eurasians Church in the state, not the state of the Church, – ecclesia in re publica, ne res publica in ecclesia. Of these formulas, which began to appear in all severity even at the time of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine, the Eurasians choose the first in their inner will. ”

To a certain extent, the Eurasianists, sensing the utopian nature of the ideological chimera of the ideocratic state, tried to justify its viability and prospects for the novelty, mostly seeming, and the successes, for the most part imaginary, of the Bolshevik dictatorship in Russia.

Reflecting on the ideological and ethical negligence confusion which often pushed intellectually gifted and patriotic followers of Eurasianism to the recognition of the communist regime, Archpriest George Florovsky discovered the root cause of these features of the Eurasian ideology in the deep alienation of its fundamental theoretical principles from the church world. It is these theoretical principles that inevitably prompted the Eurasians to view the religious life of peoples, regardless of its doctrinal content, as just one of the features of the “developmental” of a particular nation.

“The Eurasianists feel and define themselves as “the recognizers of Russian cultural originality,” wrote Archpriest George Florovsky: “… They open their originality everywhere, from “place of development” to the religious sphere. With great attention they depict in detail “geographical features of Russia”, emphasize the ethnic composition, without forgetting even the peculiarities of the racial coefficient of haemagglutination of the peoples of the Eurasian continent. They are busy with the morphology of Russia-Eurasia and this takes all their attention. The geographical unity and originality of the “Eurasian” territory amazes them so much that in their representations the real subject of the historical process and formation is, as it were, territory, not even nations. Therefore, the history of the Russian people is dissolving for them in the history of Eurasia as a kind of environment and “place of development” … And just as the “common principle of life” is realized in the plurality of species and “local” types, and only in them, and “religious principles” get a diverse expression for “local development” and only in the aggregate of these “local” expressions can be realized. “Religious principles” are thus introduced into the cultural-type identity, in the multiplicity of “local clothes,” in each type in their own”4.

In the desire of Eurasianism to justify communism for his efforts to reverse the spiritual and historical development of Russia and to direct it toward pagan Asia, Archpriest George Florovsky rightly saw the manifestation not only of an anti-European Christian but also of an anti-Orthodox Russian character both of the Eurasian and communist ideologies.

“On the relationship with Asia, both blood and spiritual, the Eurasianists always speak with enthusiasm and even rapture, and in this rise both Russian and Orthodox features are drowning,” emphasized Archpriest George Florovsky. “In the Soviet modernity, from the internationalist scenery, the Eurasians saw for the first time “spontaneous national identity and a non-European, semi-Asian face of Russia-Eurasia”, saw “a genuine, historical, ancient, not invented “slavic” but the real Russian-Turanian Russia-Eurasia, the successor of the great heritage of Genghis Khan” … Actually, the Eurasianists are trying to establish some kind of religious unity of Eurasia, in a strange way, without removing the borders in the faith. They do not stop at the rule of religious tolerance. They are in a hurry to bring not only a religious-moral, but also religious-mystical basis. So is created the seductive and deceptive theory of “potential Orthodoxy”. In Eurasianism, there was a certain pink tale about paganism, and it also completely forgot the fundamental difference between “paganism” pre-Christian and “paganism” after the Christian. Here, after all, there is not one chronological difference: in preserving their “pagan” appearance after Christ, historical subjects not only mystically, metaphysically, but also empirically manifest and exercise an indisputable opposition to the truth. “5

Archpriest George Florovsky emphasized that the anti-Western, Asian-naturalistic pathos characteristic of Eurasianism opposed this ideology not only to the Europe oriented Russian culture of the imperial period, but to the entire preceding Russian Orthodox culture, which grew on the basis of the Byzantine-Imperial legacy rather than the Mongolian-Horde.

“Geographically and biologically it is not so difficult to draw the western border of Russia, maybe even build a wall on it,” said Archpriest George Florovsky. “It is hardly so easy and simple to divide Russia and Europe in the spiritual-historical dynamics; and it is hardly necessary. It must be firmly remembered that the name of Christ connects Russia and Europe, no matter how distorted and even slandered in the West. There is a deep and unsettled religious border between Russia and the West, but it does not eliminate the inner mystical-metaphysical contiguity and the circular Christian bail. Russia as a living successor to Byzantium will remain an Orthodox East for the non-Orthodox but Christian West within a single cultural and historical cycle … “The Mongolian legacy, the Eurasian statehood” obscures the “Byzantine heritage, Orthodox statehood” in Eurasian schemes. And at the same time, the Eurasianists do not feel that Russia was not the only “system of ideas” from Byzantium, but the richness of Church life. This is a gift, an assignment, and a vocation. This gift is given and determined by the “historical mission” of Russia in the perspectives of cultural life, not with the Eurasian “flesh” and not with a hostile face.”6

Emphasized by the Eurasians as the most important attribute of the Orthodox-Russian essence of their ideology, its anti-Western and anti-Catholic sentiment was by no means a sign of a profound churching of Eurasian views. But, being very in tune with the class and xenophobic obsession of National Bolshevism, this orientation of Eurasianism is another eloquent testimony to the ideological alienation of this ideology from the fundamental values ??of both Russian and international Christian culture.

“The Eurasians are not faithful to the Russian idea, they break with the best traditions of our religious-national thought. They take a step back in comparison with Khomyakov and Dostoevsky, and in this they are spiritual reactionaries. They are particularists, opponents of Russian all-humanity and universality, opponents of the spirit of Dostoevsky,” wrote N. A. Berdyaev. “…The attitude of the Eurasianists to the West and Western Christianity is fundamentally false and unchristian. Cultivating dislike and disgust for other nations is a sin in which one should repent. Nations, races, cultural worlds can not be exceptional carriers of evil and lies. This is not a Christian point of view. Christianity does not allow such a geographical and ethnographic spread of good and evil, light and darkness. In the face of God, good and evil, truth and lies are not divided into the East and the West, Asia and Europe. Christianity, and not the people of the nineteenth century, brought to the world the consciousness that there is no Hellene and Jew. Hatred of Western Christianity, Catholicism is sin and homicide, denial of the soul of Western peoples, rejection of the sources of their life and salvation.”7

The identification of “Eurasian Russianness” and the Orthodox ecclesiastical character characteristic of Eurasians conditioned the prevalence of nationalism in the Eurasian ideology of a pagan spiritual nature. “There is a love for the Fatherland righteous and holy, and it is salutary and effective,” said Archpriest George Florovsky. “And there is a sinful love, and this love is an abomination to the Lord, and, perhaps, indifference is preferable to serving the “ideal of Sodom.” Moscow the Third Rome and Moscow the Third International – are not two equal, though, and polar forms of national impulse, and – are two abyses… And we must “test the spirits”, even when they are in the form of an angel from heaven… In the days of trial, tribulation and distress This must be remembered, perhaps even more firmly and unswervingly, than in the days of abundance, glory and power of the earth … In order not to take up the evil work, – for the construction of the Tower of Babel “8.

Made by the European-educated intellectuals of Russian abroad and focused on the recent ideological “achievements” of fascism, which has been successfully challenged in communism place “the ruler of the people’s minds” in Europe, Eurasianism could largely contribute to the transformation kneaded with homegrown xenophobia Stalinist national communism within a reasonable organic-Eurasian and the “orthodox” -language worldview of communism and fascism. The ominous prospect of such an ideological mutation of communism that could delay its ideological destruction and thereby plunge Russia into a new spiritual and historical catastrophe, a presentiment of some Russian religious philosophers as early as the 1930s.

“In Russia tomorrow there are many elements that would be specially adapted to turn a red catastrophe of red fascism, ending in a new, nationalistic militant fascism, Eurasian in the expression of one’s own face and Orthodox in the spirit of domestic confession; One-party, historiosophy, which is compulsory for all citizens, with Asian contempt for the individual and with a fierce denial of all freedom in the name of the titanic missionism of one sixth world, which has just revived the sacred name of Russia on its territory,” wrote F.A. Stepun. “To serve such fascism there will be: .. incalculable economic wealth in Russia, one of the most powerful armies in the world, a huge organizational experience of the GPU, a very big psychological resources of offended national pride, the habit of the entire population is naturally divided by the representatives of the ruling on the selection and obedient herd of slaves, with only thirst in their souls, that they be left alone and arrange a decent external life for them.”9

Eurasian mutated communist renovationism trying to convince the contemporary Orthodox Christians in Russia and for the salvation of the Orthodox Church a new, this time it was not just a communist, but communo-“orthodox” Eurasian totalitarian state, and thus runs the risk of condemning the Church for new, “which can not only kill the body, But also the soul of” Russian Christians historical trials.

“How not Bolshevism is not vile, you can think of something even more vile – Bolshevism in the name of Christ,” stressed Fedotov about Eurasianism, who had revealed to him modern times and as if foreseeing the spiritual and historical temptations of Russia in the 1990-2000s. “GPU techniques in the service of the Church would be a thousand times more disgusting than the same methods in the service of atheism, because there is an inner affinity between ends and means, between faith and life, between the idea and the policy … Eurasianism in power, the control of the Bolshevik system, even Bolshevism could be rehabilitated “10.

So deeply and comprehensively analysis of the anti-Christian essence of Eurasianism and, most importantly, at the initial stage of the formation of a new totalitarian ideology managed to recognize the impending prospect of the Eurasian religious and naturalistic pseudomorphoses Communism representatives of Russian religious and philosophical thought in the first half of the twentieth century were able to prevent future Orthodox thinking participants of spiritually-historical revival of Russia on border of XX-XXI centuries about the on Russian Church and the Russian culture the new danger of religious-ideological Eurasian yoke.

Archpriest George Mitrofanov



1 Бердяев Н.А. Евразийцы. Россия между Европой и Азией: Евразийский соблазн. Антология. М., 1993, с.298-299.

2 Бердяев Н.А., Указ. соч. с.302-303.

3 Флоровский Георгий., Евразийский соблазн. Из прошлого русской мысли. М.,.1998. с.338-339.

4 Там же, с.327-328.

5 .Там же, с.334-335.

6 Там же, с.333, 337.

7 Бердяев Н.А. Указ. соч., с.294-295.

8 Флоровский Георгий. О патриотизме праведном и греховном. Из прошлого русской мысли. М., 1998, с.143.

9 Степун Ф.А. О свободе. Чаемая Россия. СПб., 1999, с.273-274.

10 Федотов Г.П. Правда побежденных. Судьба и грехи России. Избранные статьи по философии русской истории культуры. СПб., 1991, т.1, с.29.

Download PDF