Imperialism, Geopolitics and Religion: The Split Between Moscow and Constantinople

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

A very serious rift regarding Ukraine is now developing between the Ecumenical (Universal) Patriarchate of Constantinople and the biggest and more powerful among the Orthodox Christian Churches, the Russian one.

The immediate reason lies on the decision of Constantinople to recognize an independent (from Moscow), Autocephalous Ukrainian Church, directly affiliated to Constantinople. Kiev is the birth place, the cradle of the Russian Orthodoxy, and its church belonged to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate for many centuries.

This decision coincides and is related to the serious crisis in Ukraine, with this country having become the theater of bloody civil war and forefront of Cold War II, as a result of a US-supported armed coup in Kiev, with the help of Nazi militias. After provoking the crisis in Ukraine, Americans used it to launch Cold War II and destroy relations between Europe and Russia.

Destroying Greek-Russian relations

Now, Americans want to use their influence in Greece and Constantinople to destroy relations between the Greek and the Russian world, which remains a strategic, long-term aim of their policy. This is a very important goal per se, parallel to their “Ukrainian” aims.

The destruction of any relations between Greece and Russia, and also of the image of Greece in Russia and of Russia in Greece, has been one of the most important strategic aims of the British Empire for the last two to three centuries and, also, of the US policy after 1946. They don’t even hide it. Their think tanks call both Greece and Cyprus “Trojan horses” of Moscow.

This western strategy has become more important and relevant today, for at least two reasons. Greece remains always a debt colony in a “death spiral”, so it may revolt again like it did in 2015 and turn to Russia for help. The question of the international orientation of the country may also be put again on the agenda, in case of EU dissolution.The second reason is that the most absolute control of the Balkans is necessary to wage (or threaten to wage) war against Russia. The most absolute control of Cyprus is necessary for any new, major campaign in the Middle East. Any Russian influence, even a remote one, in those two countries must be neutralized by all means.

The most serious shock for Orthodoxy since 1453

Given what we already described, a harsh reaction from the Moscow Patriarchate was absolutely predictable and it did happen.

From time to time there have been quarrels inside the Orthodox world. But all that were intra-family, secondary ones. Now we are in front of a probable “divorce”, of a schism, which, if finalized, may represent the biggest shock Orthodoxy suffered since 1453, when Turks occupied Constantinople. The homogeneity of the Orthodox world will be also badly affected, as it is very probable that each one of the 14 existing Orthodox Churches will adopt a position of its own.

A (not so hidden) geopolitical agenda

Both sides advance various canonical and ecclesiastical arguments, to defend their respective positions. We are not going to examine them here. We will instead focus on the accompanying geopolitical factors.

This ecclesiastical crisis is closely connected and interrelated with two strong geopolitical tendencies;

– Cold War II, with Ukraine as its forefront

– The rise of a totalitarian Empire of Finance, in the context of a deep transformation of the neoliberal era

The Greek “experiment’ since 2010, must be understood in the context of this rise. The Empire is trying systematically to “abduct” Greek institutions, political forces, symbols, even resistance or revolt symbols and subjects, using them against the meaning of the identities they bear and against Greek national interests. (It is approximatively what happened in the USSR case, when they were able to introduce western software into the minds of the Gorbachev leadership thus provoking the collapse of the structure, much in the way auto-immune diseases are acting).

The War of (on) Civilizations and the Orthodox religion

All that has created very favorable conditions to accelerate the attack against both Orthodox countries and Churches by trying to isolate them, to split them and, if possible, abduct them or their leaders and transform them into tools of hostile to them forces.

We don’t write all that out of our imagination or emitting hypotheses. Nobody else than Samuel Huntington himself has repeatedly described Orthodox Christians as the enemies No2 (the first being Islam and all the others follow, as his world has only ennemies!)

He is the most prominent, deep and influential among Neocon theoreticians of US-Israeli Imperialism and the rising totalitarianism. Huntington is using religion as his exclusive criterion to “classify” civilizations and to structure and “justify” his neo-imperialistic, racist project for a world dictatorship after the end of the Cold War.

Huntington, a close fellow of Kissinger, has been the architect of “urbanization” of Vietnam by bombing its peasants. In 1975, he was one of the main proponents of Neoliberalism to the Trilateral Committee. His ideas have inspired a dozen or so catastrophic wars in the Middle East and they continue to inspire many of the policies of the Trump administration and of the activities of people like Steve Bannon.

His ideas represent the transition from “democratic” to clearly totalitarian Imperialism. This is creating to him some problems, as he has to use the language and ideology of the democratic bourgeois regime to express totalitarian ideas. This is becoming very clear when he speaks about Greece. To classify the country of Aristotle, Plato, Pericles and the Acropolis, whose language was used to write, for the first time in History, the words Freedom, Logos, Democracy, to the group of “inferior barbarians”, as he is portraying everybody except the West, you risk to appear simply ridiculous.

Obviously, this is not the only problem Huntington is facing with Greece and Greeks. The second one is they happen to inhabit an extremely important strategic place in Eastern Mediterranean. The third is they like from time to time to create havoc with their “anarchic” behavior and their resistance to Empires. like with their unparrallel resistance to Nazis.

Huntington admits the difficulty when he is writing that Greece represents an “anomaly”. He invents the term “Slav-Orthodox” world, in order to avoid as much as possible putting together the symbolic values of the countries of Aristotle and of Dostoyevski, thus ruining his whole racist construction.

As we already said those are not just simple ideas, but they serve to inspire the wars in the Middle East or the return of the nuclear threats. In the case of Greece, the bail-out programs create the conditions of a Greece (and Cyprus) without Greeks”, thus resolving the Huntingtonian problem of the Greek “anomaly”.

Now Greece has crossed the stage of purely economic-political catastrophe and is in the phase of its geopolitical destruction, which includes the destruction of any relationship with traditional potential allies or friends, like Russia.

Before the end of the Greek drama, the victim has to be totally isolated and in a state of such impotence and despair, to ask himself for his execution, like Mr. K. in Kafka’s trial.