Monday, April 26, 2021

In New Film, Putin Ally Metropolitan Tikhon Warns Russia Faces Repetition of 1917

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 23 – Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov, perhaps the Orthodox hierarch closest to Vladimir Putin, warns in a new documentary film, “The Ruin of an Empire. A Lesson for Russia,” that liberalism in their country today threatens a repetition of the disastrous revolution of 1917.

            Reviewing this new film, Vladimir Malyshev, a Stoletiye commentator, says that everyone will remember Tikhon’s earlier film, “The Ruin of an Empire. The Byzantine Lesson,” and recognize that in it he also attempted to “connect the dramatic events of the past with the present day” (

            “It is no accident,” the conservative Orthodox commentator says, “that in these two films, there figures the word ‘lesson,’” because these events of the past provide “bitter lessons also for Russia today, over which the very same threat hangs which in the past led to the death of two great empires.”

            Tikhon’s film shows using documents and expert testimony that the events of 1917 happened not because conditions in Russia had so deteriorated that the population had no choice but rather because the intelligentsia in its pursuit of ties with the West inspired the Russian people to revolt, Malyshev says.

            Indeed, for the Russian Orthodox hierarch, “the main cause of the 1917 revolution was the profound betrayal of the thinking matrix of the Russian people.” That occurred first among the elites and the intelligentsia and then spread to the population because of the uncontrolled behavior of the media, education and mass culture.”

            The intelligentsia and its media, Tikhon says, produced “a psychological condition which many psychiatrists living in Russia in that revolutionary period called an induced mass psychosis,” a habit of mind that led people to ignore facts and focus on slanders against the rulers spread by the intelligentsia.

            This process was not accidental, the film says. It was carried through because of the intentions of the intelligentsia which denounced everything connected with the tsarist powers. Something similar, the film suggests, is happening once again with the intelligentsia and the media seeking to destroy the reputation of Russia’s current rulers just as they did a century ago.

            The film cites the words of émigré historian Ivan Solonevich who observed that “Russia was done in by gossip.” And it pointedly suggests that “exactly the same thing” is happening in Russia today with regard to President Vladimir Putin who is being accused of being “a pitiless dictator” and “a protector of the corrupt.”

            Malyshev concludes his review by quoting the great Russian historian Vasily Klyuchevsky who observed that “history is not a teacher but a warden: it does not teach anything to anyone but only punishes those who show they are ignorant of its lessons.” The lessons Russian history provides are harsh, but they must not be ignored.

            The Stoletiye commentator is not the only one drawing these conclusions from Tikhon’s film. For references to some of the many others who are highlighting these ideas, see

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