Putin: Not as nice as he looks. Photo credit: Indigo Red.

The other day I wrote about the nuttiness of the Russophobia that has run amok since the U.S. election. Now, on the off chance that some people are not clear about what is going on these days in the land of the Big Rock Vodka Mountains, here’s a rather eloquent explanation from Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister with Syriza, the country’s ruling leftist party, that puts a lot of puzzle pieces together.

Obviously Greece is geographically close to Russia but — what most writers and “experts” miss — it also shares a spiritual geography via the extremely complicated conduit known as the Orthodox Church. How fraught could that be, you ask?

We are talking about a religion which is in many ways far to the right of the Roman Catholic Church (yes, that is possible) owing to the fact it never went through the transformation caused by first Martin Luther’s Reformation and then the Second Vatican Council, which notably was nice enough to lift off of world Jewry eternal condemnation for killing Jesus.

As we approach the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, it’s important to recall that along with all the excitement caused by the the worldwide socialist movement, the other side of the coin was the huge number of pogroms incited by the Black Hundreds, who were an eerie forerunner of the Nazis.

Those forces have been allowed to regroup under Vladimir Putin and form part of his base and have formulated international connections with the Greek’s right-wing Golden Dawn party, Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France (which received multiple millions of dollars from Moscow prior to their last elections), and other far-right European parties.

A useful historical analogy would be the New York Catholic Archdiocese at the midpoint of the last century, and the way that the Archbishops worked in tandem with political machines under the auspices of anti-Communism. That match made in hell led to the firing of anti-racist schoolteachers and professors (such as the Foner brothers) from public education institutes.

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