Some in Ukraine refer not only to nationalism but to religion and the heritage of the West in order to identify with Latin Christendom. This is both a lie and a wicked justification for political maneuvers.
Russian Cossacks, in many ways traitors to the ideals of their forebears are now the brown-shirts of Russia, Orthodox shock troops that terrorise political and religious dissidents. Putin has unleashed them in the Donbass.
But of course the West led by the United States has unleashed everything from fascist militias to Chechen jihadis.
Putin has in a most evil and heretical fashion utilized Eastern Orthodoxy as a rallying point for his nation. He's capitalising on the long history of hostility to and betrayal by the West. The West represents apostasy to the Orthodox world. They blame the Papacy for both the Great Schism and the Enlightenment. In a sense they're right but the same apostate reality applies to them. They may have avoided Scholasticism and the Enlightenment but they did not avoid Sacralism and the denial of Scriptural Authority. They're more or less caught in the same trap. They have the same cancer.
American Evangelicals have happily embraced such Sacralism and labour to impose it on American society. But in Russia the tables are turned and Evangelicals are viewed as a potential Fifth Column. They are perceived as subversive, agents of Western influence and political schemes. Their organisations are suspect looked upon as a way to funnel money and influence into the society.
Sadly it must be said that even a cursory perusal of American mission and support ministries that operate in Russia demonstrate these organisations (which are funneling money into Russia) are very biased against Moscow. Their bias is not rooted in a hostility to an Anti-Christian state (as in China for example) but in their allegiance to and support of American policy vis-à-vis Russia. This is devastating to the integrity of these Churches as well as the Western organisations that support them. To the outsider it doesn't look like the Gospel is the chief end but a component in a larger imperial agenda. Like it or not there is a great deal of historical precedent for this.
The tensions and now open war have generated a dangerous and destructive polarity. It's tragic that Baptists who have long existed in Russia and in particular Ukraine are now suffering the price... the heavy hand of the state and Cossack thugs.
War unleashes wicked passions and bent commitments. Nations and societies are destroyed and even worse congregations are decimated, factionalised and eradicated. Don't think it would be any different here. If the Orthodox were playing a larger part in American society you can be sure Protestant-based militias would be viewing them as a threat and taking action.
The US began a course of expansion in 1989, quickly reunifying Germany and expanding NATO. Russia was destabilised politically and economically. The US began to encircle Russia, hem it in and break it apart. This trend has only been slightly arrested by Putin's interventions. And yet US/NATO marches on as we've seen with the recent addition of Montenegro, yet another stab in Russia's eye.
The plan has been to ensure that Russia will never rise again. This goes back to the larger plan on the part of the United States to maintain unipolar dominance and prevent the world from reverting back to historical polarities and spheres. The Cold War was itself a false dichotomisation of the world, a historical anomaly. The Unipolar vision of the United States is both artificial and unprecedented. Not since Babel itself has such an undertaking even been dreamed of.
Putin of course embraces a different narrative regarding the end of the USSR and has made a determined attempt to thwart what he views as a US betrayal. Putin's an evil character to be sure, but there's something to what he says. The fall of the USSR has been mythologised in the West and without a doubt the US broke every promise made to Gorbachev and has worked to subvert and destroy the remnants of Russian power and influence.
For Putin the stakes are titanic. Russia is reverting to its role as the Third Rome or even Byzantium standing firm and waging war against the Western/Papal Antichrist (which includes both Protestantism and the Enlightenment). He loves his country and heritage as much as anyone else does their own and perhaps feels it an even deeper level. This does not excuse the actions of his corrupt regime and the violence it now wields.
Nor does it excuse Western imperialism and its war machine. Woe to those who stir the fires of war. Many innocents including many of Christ's sheep are caught in the middle. Woe to those who bring strife and bloodshed who dare to raise the knife in defiance. They unleash the cyclone of violence. Those who live by the sword will die by it.
From Libya to Syria to Ukraine, Yemen and many other lands wars have been sparked and fanned by exterior forces scheming and playing their games of conquest. It's the Devil's work to be sure.
We are on the cusp of such violence in the United States. Even now there are many wicked fools who dream of starting a war having no idea what it is they will unleash. And it doesn't long before ideals are tossed out, and it's all about violence for the sake of violence and a raging vengeance. They hope to open a fountain of pure and clean water but find themselves drowning in a cesspool.
Woe to those who take up the sword. Woe to those who start wars. Woe to the schemers and sowers of discord. They are an abomination.