Letters to the Editor: Putin’s spiritual defender

Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Moscow in 2020.
(Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik)

To the editor: The support for Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine from Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is reprehensible.

Hitler acknowledged the importance of the church in supporting autocratic powers. As written by William L. Shirer in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” Hitler said before his rise to power that a mass movement needed three techniques: arouse the masses, manipulate them with propaganda and use “spiritual and physical terror.” Shirer wrote that Hitler “stresses at great length in ‘Mein Kampf’ in the futility of a political party’s trying to oppose the churches,” although Hitler forgot this point when he ruled Germany.

Kirill’s collusion with Putin, as shown by your article, should be condemned, although it’s consistent with history. With nearly three-quarters of Russians identifying as Russian Orthodox, with the church and Putin’s religiosity the spiritual and physical terror perpetrated by church and state has horrible consequences for Russians and Ukrainians alike.


Bob Ladendorf, Los Angeles


To the editor: Patriarch Kirill sounds as unhinged as Putin in suggesting that Russia is the salvation of humanity, in opposition to Western influence “symbolized by gay pride parades, same-sex marriage and feminism,” per one scholar.

That is a very strange message coming from a patriarch of an entire church. Manhood and religion have nothing to do with killing and bombing women and children in the name of Russia. Putin is holding a gun over the world’s head, with the threat of nuclear devastation, in his quest to establish hegemony and oppression over land and peoples. Attacking people because they are different, or have different beliefs or sexual orientations, is the act of a fascist or Nazi. It has nothing to do with the love of God.

Chet Chebegia, San Marcos