Sunday, May 16, 2021

Nevsky’s Lesson is that the West is a Greater Threat to Russia than the East, Volodin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 15 – Russians are focusing on the life of Alexander Nevsky now not just because this is his 800th anniversary of his birth but because he understood what Russians do today, that the West is a greater threat than the East and that some enemies need to be combatted by force or arms while others by diplomacy, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin says.

            Nevsky chose to form an alliance with the Mongol horde so that he could defeat the Teutonic knights, a choice which “defined the development of Russian statehood.” Had he made a different choice, Russia would have been a very different place if it had existed at all, he says ( reposted at

            The 13th century Russian price defeated both powers, the first “by force of arms,” the second by “diplomatic cleverness.” But he clearly felt that “the main danger came from the West and threatened the spiritual death of the people and its loss of independence.” The Mongol khan did not represent an equivalent threat to Russian identity.

            “The great contribution of Aleksandr Nevsky,” Volodin says, “is that he destroyed the plans of the enemies and did not allow the vector of the civilizational development of Russia to be changed.” He thus becomes both by his judgment and by his actions a figure for emulation by Russians today.

            According to Volodin, Russia now has been challenged again. “A different time and a different opponent,” one who comes not with a sword but with information networks that threaten that which makes Russia Russia. And this new Western threat imposes its own kind of demand for tribute with sanctions that resemble what the Mongol horde did.

            The West hasn’t learned anything from history, the speaker says. “If they had learned, they would know that Russia comes out of all such tests stronger than it was when it went in.” That was true in Nevsky’s time and it will be true now, Volodin suggests.

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