Where Ukraine fits into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘culture war’

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03/16/2022

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. It marks the latest chapter in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s campaign against Ukraine, which began in earnest when Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014. Putin has pursued an increasingly conservative agenda since returning to power in 2011, promoting a narrative which sees “the West as a corrupt, morally decadent liberal world, and Russia as the saviour of Christian and conservative traditional values,” Professor Marlene Laruelle from George Washington University told RN’s Religion and Ethics Report. Experts say Putin is framing Ukraine as the “puppet of the West” to boost support for his actions against the country. The collapse of communism left Russia without a unifying national ideal that could hold its diverse population together, says J. Eugene Clay, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Under Putin’s leadership, traditional family values have come to fill this void. Putin’s conservative agenda has seen the nation adopt an increasingly anti-LGBT stance.

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