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Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy


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Table of Contents

Contents and Abstracts1Introduction chapter abstract

This chapter introduces the main phenomenon under scrutiny, outlines research objectives, discusses literature lacunae, and introduces the main arguments, the findings, the structure, and the research method of the book.

2State-Church Relations (1991-2000) chapter abstract

This chapter deals with the state-church relations. It describes social, cultural, and ideational reasons for the entrance of religion into Russian politics in general and the inception of the church-military cooperation in particular. It describes how during this "genesis decade" the quest for religiosity emerged as a grassroots phenomenon within the nuclear complex and the latter entered into a covenant with the ROC.

3Faith-Nuclear Nexus (1991-2000) chapter abstract

This chapter explores the state of the faith-nuclear nexus during the discussed decade. It focuses on the ROC's relations with the nuclear industry, particularly in the closed city of Sarov-the capital of the nuclear weapons complex-and on the first bonds of the Moscow Patriarchate with the corps of the Russian nuclear triad. The chapter describes the introduction of religious ceremonies into the everyday functioning of the nuclear community, the designation of patron saints for nuclear institutions, and the construction of churches in the nuclear weapons industry and in the garrisons of the triad's corps.

4Strategic Mythmaking (1991-2000) chapter abstract

This chapter deals with the emergence of strategic mythology-the reading of divine interpretations into the Russian and Soviet military and nuclear history. It describes a search for a new national and professional identity, which marked the exodus of the Russian strategic community, and Russia as a whole, out of the Soviet era.

5State-Church Relations (2000-2010) chapter abstract

This chapter deals with the state-church relations during the "conversion decade." It describes how religion began playing an increasing role in Russian politics since the 2000s, and when the leadership began flirting with faith, and when a top-down trend supplemented the initial grassroots impulse. It discusses the ROC's influence on Russian foreign and domestic policy, the public and personal religious persona of President Putin, and the church-military relations and describes how the Kremlin restituted church property, introduced the institution of the military clergy, and enhanced the ROC's role in educational, social, and foreign policies.

6Faith-Nuclear Nexus (2000-2010) chapter abstract

This chapter explores the state of the faith-nuclear nexus during the discussed decade. It focuses on the gradual conversion of all the nuclear triad corps and the nuclear weapons industry and describes how the ROC became part and parcel of the nuclear officialdom and catechization and churching peaked in all the services of the nuclear triad by the end of the decade.

7Strategic Mythmaking (2000-2010) chapter abstract

This chapter deals with the evolution of the strategic mythology, up to its maturation to the widespread "Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy" concept, arguing that in order to preserve its Orthodox character, Russia needs to ensure its being a strong nuclear power, and to guarantee its nuclear status, it has to be genuinely Orthodox.

8State-Church Relations (2010-2020) chapter abstract

This chapter deals with the state-church relations. It describes how the bottom-up and top-down tendencies of the "genesis" and "conversion" decades have merged, reaching a peak of clericalization in state-church relations. It describes how religion has gained extraordinary prominence in national ideology and begun playing the most central role in Russian domestic and national security policy, and focuses on the church-military relations.

9Faith-Nuclear Nexus (2010-2020) chapter abstract

This chapter explores the faith-atoms nexus and demonstrates the pinnacle, thus far, of the ecclesiastical penetration into the nuclear industry and the nuclear triad. The chapter describes how the clergy became part and parcel of the military, primarily within the nuclear triad, where the priests have penetrated all levels of command, have been fostering patriotism and morale, and have resumed certain responsibilities within human reliability programs. The clergy have become integrated at the lowest tactical-operational levels across the corps.

10Strategic Mythmaking (2010-2020) chapter abstract

This chapter, dealing with strategic mythology, demonstrates how the latter has been informing the worldview and foreign policy choices of Russian decision makers. It also describes how Putin's religious-ideological-philosophical views have matured and informed geopolitical visions within the Russian strategic community.

11Conclusion chapter abstract

This chapter summarizes the main empirical and theoretical findings, speculates how the Kremlin's emphasis on religious ideology and nuclear weapons may manifest itself in prospective diplomatic and military initiatives, and provides several policy-relevant insights for practitioners seeking to engage Moscow on a host of geopolitical issues.

12Epilogue chapter abstract

This chapter situates the findings in a comparative context, to enable the formulation of a generic typology of faith and strategic affairs and to progress toward a parsimonious model of religious belief-driven modern militaries.

About the Author

Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky is Professor in the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya, Israel.


"Dima Adamsky's Nuclear Orthodoxy is a must read-for laying out how the Orthodox Church has helped to create a new sacred, strategic narrative which puts Russia's defense spending and national-security posture into context."--Nikolas K. Gvosdev, The National Interest
"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 *
"Not prone to culturally essentialist flights of fancy, Adamsky has shown a particular skill for interpreting the peculiar mixture of circumstances, organizations, and socio-cultural dispositions that shapes how militaries conceptualize and operationalize new ways of fighting." -- Jon Askonas * Texas National Security Review *
"Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy...is a groundbreaking analysis exploring the intersection of religion, politics, and strategic affairs in Russia. A cogently argued and remarkably well-sourced analysis that is sure to become a staple in future scholastic research." -- Nathaniel P. Lanaghan * Air & Space Power Journal *
"Adamsky's own background has provided him with a powerful lense to view the subject. The book proves him to be intimately familiar with rituals of faith and military might in post-Soviet Russia, but balances that intimacy with a cold and analytical eye." -- Moscow Defense Brief
"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 *
"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's brilliant journey across Russian political-strategic culture...suggests that western society must appear to the denizens of the Kremlin as chaotic and easily destabilized, while their politics, in contrast, appear to them to be constant and unreachable in the firmament above." -- James J. Wirtz * International Affairs *
"What Adamsky demonstrates is nothing short of a remarkable transformation in Russian military and diplomatic worldview, captured in the term nuclear orthodoxy." -- Robert J. Joustra * Providence *
"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 *
"[An] insightful and meticulously sourced book....Adamsky's work is important because, if his analysis is correct, the trends that he documents have the potential to reshape the Russian nuclear science establishment, the Russian military, and Russia's policy toward nuclear weapons." -- Anya Loukianova Fink * Texas National Security Review *
"Russian Nuclear Orthodoxyis a seminal work on a very important topic. I urge readers to study this well-researched book in order to gain important insights into Russian church-state relations and their impact on the Russian nuclear community." -- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"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 *
"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 *
"Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy...demonstrates convincingly that there are indeed important signs being missed all around us, pointing to a longstanding nexus between the Russian Orthodox Church and the country's nuclear-military-industrial complex. Adamsky's groundbreaking book lays out the largely unstudied history of how a nuclear priesthood emerged in Russia, permeated the units and commands in charge of Russia's nuclear forces, and became an integral part of the nuclear weapons industry." -- Michael Kofman * War on the Rocks *

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