Rorate Caeli

"Russophilia", the West and anti-Romanism - by Roberto de Mattei

In 2004, in a dialogue with Senate President Marcello Pera, then-Cardinal Ratzinger identified as a cultural evil of our time the self-hatred of the West (in Without Roots; Europe, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Mondadori, Milan 2004).

One expression of this hatred of the West is "Russophilia," an intellectual tendency that became an international organization on March 14, 2023, with the presentation in Moscow of the "International Movement of Russophiles." Among the 120 representatives from 46 countries, chronicles report the presence of an Italian, Princess Vicky (Vittoria) Alliata di Villafranca, known for her keen interest in the Islamic world. Another well-known figure, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, addressed a warm message to the conference participants, stating, among other things, that "the Russian Federation undeniably stands as the last bastion of civilization against barbarism." The role of the Russian Federation "will be decisive" "in an 'Antiglobalist' Alliance that returns to citizens the power that has been taken from them, and to nations the sovereignty eroded and ceded to the Davos lobby."  

Like any error, Russophilia starts from a truth: the decadence of the West, which has turned its back on its history and values. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has pointed out as responsible for this decay an enemy that, "in recent centuries has attempted to work the intellectual, moral, social disintegration of the unity of the mysterious organism of Christ" (Pius XII, Address of Oct. 12, 1952 to the men of Catholic Action). ...

A Catholic cannot but fight this revolutionary process and desire with all his heart the restoration of a Christian West which, together with an East converted to the true Church, will form a single and universal civilization under the Empire of Christ. The mistake lies in imagining that the instrument of this restoration can be a country that has not yet fully emerged from Communism and that professes a strongly anti-Western and anti-Roman political religion. 

The morally and intellectually corrupt West now exercises political and economic leadership in the world. "Russophiles" do not fight the West's moral intellectual corruption, but its geopolitical leadership. They do not want the West to cleanse itself of its errors, returning to its roots, but to disappear, or be radically downsized. What "Russophiles" call a "multipolar" world is the disappearance of the West's hegemonic role, the end of a "Eurocentric" civilization. And because nature abhors a vacuum, they know and wish for the leadership of the West to be replaced by that of a new international entity: the Eurasian Empire.

Behind every geopolitical reality is a worldview, which, in the case of Russophiles, is "national communism," or "red-brownism." David Bernardini, in a concise study devoted to National-Bolshevism. A Small History of Red-Brownism in Europe (Shake, Milan 2020), has traced the history of this ideological current, going back to the German Weimar Republic, which had its first theorist in Ernest Niekisch (1889-1967), one of the main protagonists of the Bavarian Soviet Revolution in 1919. 

Niekisch and the National Bolsheviks admired the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin and celebrated the Soviet worker untainted by Western civilization. Their enemy was the international system of the Versailles Treaty, an expression of the West's will to dominate. The rejection of the West was linked in them with the rejection of Romanismus, that is, of Latin and Western Romanity. Europe, Romanism, Catholicism, Roman law, the West are for Niekisch all expressions of a single universe, Germany's enemy. The alliance with Bolshevik Russia was considered necessary to save German culture from the domination of Western civilization.

In those same years, the central thesis of the Eurasianist Nikolai Trubeckoj (1890-1938), professor of languages at the University of Vienna, was that the Russian people, like the eastern peoples, were suffering "under the oppressive yoke of the Romano-Germanic"; a yoke that could only be destroyed if Russia put itself at the head of a planetary insurrection with the aim of halting the Westernization process. It had to, in other words, expel from its bosom what Europe-"absolute evil"-had deposited and launch a revolutionary call to arms against the Western powers "to wipe all their culture off the face of the Earth" (N. Trubeckoj, Europe and Humanity, Einaudi, Turin 1982, pp. 66-70).

Stalin seemed to personify National Bolshevism, especially with the "Great Patriotic War" of 1940-1945, but Destalinization and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 reshuffled the cards. In 1993 the Russian National Bolshevik Party was born, founded by Eduard Limonov (1943-2020) and Alexander Dugin, both sons of KGB officials, with the goal of creating a vast Russian empire from Vladivostok to Gibraltar. Sworn enemies were the United States ("the great Satan") and the globalists of Europe united in NATO in the United Nations. In 1998 Dugin and Limonov separated. Dugin founded the Eurasian Party, moving closer to Putin, while Limonov, moved to the opposition and was arrested in 2007, but then in 2014 supported Putin's political strategy in Ukraine.

To justify the February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly referred to the ideology of the "Russian world" (Russkiy Mir), which seeks to aggregate all Russophiles in the world. On July 21, 2007, by his decree, the Russkiy Mir Foundation was established, chaired by Vyacheslav Nikonov, grandson and biographer of that Vjačeslav Molotov, who was the architect with Joachin Ribbentrop of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact. The "Russian world" would have a common political center, the Kremlin, a common language, Russian, and a common Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, working in "symphony" with President Putin of the Russian Federation. The "antiglobalist" horizon of Russophiles is this.

In Italy, the Red-Brown philosophy is promoted by Diego Fusaro, a neo-Marxist intellectual also beloved by some traditionalist Catholics for his support of Andrea Cionci and Alessandro Minutella, who do not recognize the validity of Pope Francis' pontificate.  "Red-Brown," said Fusaro, "is anyone who, aware that today's antagonism is based on the vertical opposition between servants and lords and not on vain horizontal divisions, today rejects right and left" (in Ticinolive, March 20, 2017). Red-Browns, national-communists, Russophiles, divided on many points, are united in their rejection of the Roman dimension of the Catholic Church and Christian Europe. 

Confusion reigns, and Cardinal Ratzinger's words acquire topicality: "There is here a self-hatred of the West which is strange and which can only be regarded as something pathological; the West tries yes in a laudable way to open itself full of understanding to external values, but it no longer loves itself; of its history it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. Europe needs a new--certainly critical and humble--acceptance of itself if it really wants to survive." (Without Roots, cit., pp.70-71)