A nuclear priesthood has arisen in Russia. From portable churches to the consecration of weapons systems, the Russian Orthodox Church has been integrated into every facet of the armed forces to become a vital part of Russian national security, politics, and identity. This extraordinary intertwining of church and military is nowhere more visible than in the nuclear weapons community, where the priesthood has penetrated all levels of command and the Church has positioned itself as a guardian of the state's nuclear potential. Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy considers how, since the Soviet collapse in 1991, the Church has worked its way into the nuclear forces, the most significant wing of one of the world's most powerful military organizations.
Dmitry Adamsky describes how the Orthodox faith has merged with Russian national identity as the Church continues to expand its influence on foreign and domestic politics. The Church both legitimizes and influences Moscow's assertive national security strategy in the twenty-first century. This book sheds light on the role of faith in modern militaries and highlights the implications of this phenomenon for international security. Ultimately, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy interrogates the implications of the confluence of religion and security for other members of the nuclear club, beyond Russia.
About the author
Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky is Professor in the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya, Israel.
"Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy is an extraordinary book that changes the way we think about the world, the use of nuclear weapons, and the role of religion in modern warfare."
—Stephen Peter Rosen, Harvard University
"Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy is an outstanding account of how religion came to shape one of the most important security apparatuses of our times, Russia's nuclear forces. Dmitry Adamsky describes in riveting detail how the Orthodox Church, once banned from the armed forces entirely, came to influence the symbols, practices, and beliefs of Russian soldiers. Enthusiasts of Russian politics, security studies, or religion and politics, will delight in this book."
—Ron E. Hassner, University of California, Berkeley
"Dmitry Adamsky has given us a richly documented analysis of the post-Soviet nexus between religion, nationalism, and nuclear weapons in Russia. This highly original book throws new light on an intriguing development that has far-reaching implications for Russia's domestic politics as well as its national security policy. An important, pioneering work!"
—David Holloway, Stanford University
"No one but Dmitry Adamsky, with his scholarly persistence and ingenuity, his literary skill, and his insight into Russia's history, culture, and military mentality could have written this extraordinary book. Religion intersects with strategy in many ways, but this is a case that will astonish (and in some cases alarm) Western readers including some of the most sophisticated ones. A magnificent, fascinating, and altogether unique study."
—Eliot A. Cohen, Johns Hopkins University
"Adamsky has written a highly readable and informative book on a woefully understudied topic...To its great credit, the study goes well beyond the organizational aspects of the 'churchification' of the Russian military. Adamsky asks important questions regarding the tension between the generally peace-loving nature of Christianity and the glorification of the military that is found in the 21st century conception of Russian nuclear orthodoxy."
—Dmitry Gorenburg, Harvard Davis Center; Russia Matters
"Adamsky's Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy... should become required reading for all those involved in relations with Moscow and especially those in the Western security community....Adamsky has amassed so much evidence of Orthodoxy playing a role in the strategic nuclear community in Moscow that no Western analyst concerned about the possibility of a nuclear conflict can afford to ignore his findings or the light they throw on the thinking of Russian leaders and commanders."
—Paul Goble, Eurasia Daily Monitor