Russia fighting 'holy war' against the West says Aleksandr Dugin
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The invasion of Ukraine is the “final apocalyptic battle against the antichrist”, an ally of Putin has said, as he called for the destruction of the “Satanic West”. Referring to comments made by the leader of the Chechen Republic in October that “Satanism is openly acting against Russia”, political analyst Alexander Dugin told Putin’s state media that the operation in Ukraine is a “holy battle”. Dugin’s comments reflect a tactical change in rhetoric among the Russian elite as they look to justify the difficult and costly invasion of Ukraine to a population that appears increasingly opposed to their intervention.
His comments come as reports have emerged that Russian commanders are fleeing the city of Kherson in the south ahead of an imminent Ukrainian attack, despite the region being of vital importance to the trajectory of the war.
Dugin said: “It is a holy war. It is no coincidence it has been declared a jihad. It is a holy battle against the Satanic West.
“And in principle, if Kadyrov can find the courage to say this openly, I do not think we should hesitate to do either.
“It is an Orthodox battle, a final apocalyptic, eschatological battle of Orthodox Christian Russia, holy Russia, against the antichrist.
“That is the point of this special military operation!”
The Russian political analyst was referring to comments made by Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic and a longstanding ally of Putin on October 25.
Speaking on Telegram, Kadyrov launched into a diatribe against western atheism and same-sex relationships, branding it an “abomination”.
He said: “Indeed, there, in the West, Satanism is openly acting against Russia. Satanic democracy is when the rights of atheists are protected, but believers are offended. Or when traditional couples are deprived of children and transferred to same-sex families. Intentionally same-sex, not by chance.
“And in Europe they swallowed it. They consider it modern, civilised. The more liberated the topic ‘below the belt’, the better for them.
“And I see degradation and Satanism in this. And I’d rather fight it in the bud there than let this abomination envelop our Motherland here.”
Since his comments, Moscow has repeatedly attempted to frame their invasion as a holy war. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that by fighting in the “special military operation”, Russian soldiers were washing away all sins.
Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the Russian Security Council, said its troops need to carry out the urgent “de-Satanisation” of Ukraine.
Speaking to the Russian state-owned newspaper Arguments and Facts, he said: “If we talk about the origins of occultism and sectarianism, then I note that the ‘Church of Satan’, which has spread across Ukraine, is one of the officially registered religions in the United States.
“I believe that with the continuation of the special military operation, it becomes more and more urgent to carry out the de-Satanisation of Ukraine.”
Pavlov’s remarks were refuted by the High Priest of the Church of Satan Magus Peter H Gilmore, who said there was no elevated following of his movement in Ukraine.
Putin himself has also decried the “Satanism” engulfing the West on multiple occasions since Ukraine began sweeping counterassaults on Russian forces, pushing them deeper into their occupied territory.
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The transparent attempt to justify the war comes during a turbulent period for Russian forces in Ukraine as the last battles are set to take place before the arrival of winter, when it will become difficult to operate on sodden ground.
Reports have suggested “demoralised and leaderless” Russian conscripts in the strategic port of Kherson have been abandoned by their commanders to face the incoming Ukrainian forces.
Despite the importance of the region – it was one of the first areas occupied by Russian soldiers and has served as a paramount route into Ukraine from Crimea, through which soldiers and equipment supplies have been pushed – a western official reported that commanders have “decided that Kherson isn’t worth fighting [for]”.
Videos on social media show that checkpoints have been left unmanned and the Russian flag has been lowered from the main administrative building. A clip on Telegram also showed a Russian-installed official telling civilians “everything is fully under control” as he appears to be fleeing in a car.
Deputy head of the Kherson military-civilian administration Kirill Stremousov was also filmed in the front seat of a car filled with suitcases and bags declaring that life was “continuing as normal”.
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