“No man can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Mt. 6:24)

Putin ordered the hit on Nemtsov as he has done on seven others: Paul Khlebnikov, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Anastasiya Baburova, Stanislav Markelov. Putin, the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world, is nothing but a serial killer. He would have done Stalin proud as a KGB-politician where reason, commonsense, honesty, incorruptibility and freedom of speech are eschewed for the more brutal political arts of deception, corruption, dishonesty, propaganda, and murder. It is baggage Russians just can’t seem to get rid of. From its founding under Peter the Great to the present day, Christian morality has had little or nothing to do with Russian governance. Power alone is worshipped. Truth, Goodness, Wisdom, Temperance, Simplicity—these have had no influence on Russian life whatsoever. The only honest leader Russia has seen in many centuries was himself a victim of these evil forces—Mikhail Gorbachev.

The root problem is the Orthodox Church. Historically, it has made a pact with the devil. The Kremlin says “Don’t enter politics, and as a reward we’ll let you continue to hold your (poorly) attended services. Just don’t mix politics and religion—and your future will be secure .” To which the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, historically, has willingly and obediently responded with an enthusiastic Yes! And so, in exchange for a bit of earthly power, the Russian Orthodox Church has closed its eyes to oppression, corruption, cruelty, dishonesty, and murderous domestic and foreign policies. Instead of allowing religion to change the hearts of men, so that a new society can emerge, one devoted to the entire nation’s spiritual and material well-being, it has allowed evil to flourish, mistakenly thinking that its true power comes from man and not from God.

Without strict morality, no government—or church—can lead its people well and truly. We in America like to point fingers at other countries or leaders while ignoring the overwhelming stench of corruption everywhere present. The Republican Party, for example, is brazenly corrupt, being nothing but the hand-maiden of the 1% richest in the land. (As one example, it has sided with Corporate America in its campaign against the idea of climate change, so corporations won’t have to spend money to eliminate pollution. The welfare of the US and the world counts for nothing here. Naturally the biggest polluters reward their servants handsomely come re-election time. And so it goes in American politics.) Moreover, the only religion that seems to gain adherents today in America is the religion of complicity with evil, the religion of gross ignorance, and the religion that talks of Christ but in practice embraces the (d)evil in the guise of Avarice, which issues into mere Power—power to serve the richest 1%.

Russia, situated as she is between the East and West, could have proved to be inestimably powerful in a good way as a mediating force between two different, and often competing, world-views. Instead, her rulers—evil almost to a man (or woman)—have thought only in terms of increasing their own mundane power and wealth. Sadly, the Russian Orthodox Church could have played a world-historic role in Russia as the guarantor of Virtue and Wisdom, with all that that implies politically. Instead, it sold its soul to the devil for a handshake and little more.

Len Sive Jr.