Putin’s covert war on western decadence

‘This is a state that cynically uses Orthodox Christianity as a surrogate ideology to prop up its authority,’ argues Brian Whitmore, author of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s influential blog The Power Vertical. ‘It’s a state where fealty to the Orthodox church, or at least publicly proclaiming fealty, becomes a surrogate for patriotism… and it’s a state where challenging the authority of the church is akin to an act of treason.’

The state-sponsored culture of prudery extends to the Kremlin’s latest recruits. Russia’s newly appointed children’s rights commissioner Anna Kuznetsova is the wife of a priest (Orthodox priests have to be married, otherwise they must become monks) and she appears to believe in a theory called telegony, which holds that every sexual partner a woman has ever had can physically and emotionally influence a child she gives birth to.

‘If a woman has several partners, there is a significant chance of a baby being born weakened due to the mixing of information,’ Kuznetsova told the Penza Medical Portal in 2009. ‘This fact has an especially strong influence on the morals of a future child.’ (She now says she has no recollection of making the remarks.) Kuznetsova has also been accused of being a member of a VKontakte group devoted to denouncing Aids as ‘the greatest fraud of the 20th century’.