Putin's destruction of Ukraine is driven by religious fervor -- not lunacy: columnist
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In a column for the Daily Beast, former Wall Street Journal Moscow correspondent A. Craig Copetas said that although there have been some suggestions that Vladimir Putin is suffering some type of mental illness, his invasion of Ukraine is also part and parcel of a religious belief among Russians that dominating the region is part of God's plan.

Admitting that historians may never know to what extent Putin has spiraled into mental illness, Copetas claims there is enough known about Putin from his acolytes to explain his sudden desire to invade Ukraine.

According to the journalist, former U.S. National Security Council director Fiona Hill nailed it when she said of Putin that he is "...increasingly operating emotionally. It’s reestablishing dominance over what Russia sees as the Russian Imperium. We’re treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again.”

Writing, "The Imperial Kremlin has two masters, one temporal, the other spiritual. The tsar and the Russian Patriarch of All Moscow and All Rus. The tsar and his hierophant-in-chief worked and lived and ruled in tandem. 'There’s no difference between the secular realm and the spiritual realm,' explains the Byzantine and Russian historian Henry Hopwood-Phillips. 'The tsar and the patriarch are meant to occupy the same body and the same mystical mind. That’s the anvil of Russia’s domestic Byzantine statecraft,'" Copetas contributed, "And Putin’s hammer is wielded by God."

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According to Russian Orthodox bishop Patriarch Kirill, a supporter of Putin's invasion, "Let God save the Russian soil. When I say Russian, I use an ancient expression from the chronicles of where Russian soil started, which includes the Ukraine and Belarus. God forbid that the evil forces that have always fought against the unity of Russia and the Russian church get the upper hand in brotherly Ukraine.”

Copetas added, "Kirill’s frequent pronouncements in support of Putin’s destruction of Ukraine are not gibberish and, for more Russians than many in the West might want to believe, it’s not lunacy."

Writing Putin is "desperately trying to recapture a romanticized heyday," the columnist quoted Russian historian Hopwood-Phillips, who added, "Putin looks to be suffering deep melancholy,” reckons Hopwood-Phillips. “His consciousness is still floating in the 17th century, and 44 million Ukrainians are paying the price.”

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