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Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy, Dmitry Adamsky

Reviewed by Edward Rhodes

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Missiles blessed with holy water. Strategic bombers consecrated and named for saints. Strategic aircraft conducting aerial processions of the cross over nuclear facilities, with relics of saints and a piece of the true cross aboard. Priests catechizing and baptizing on board deployed ballistic missile submarines. The minister of nuclear affairs describing nuclear engineers as “pious angels of fire.” An honorary doctorate from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute for the church patriarch. Commanders of the Strategic Missile Forces attributing operational successes to the patronage of St. Varvara, and nuclear engineers crediting St. Seraphim for his role in the successful development of the atomic bomb. In Russia today, we observe science, religion, and military power not in an uneasy alliance, but rather in a deep and close embrace.

In this extraordinary piece of research, Dmitry Adamsky provides an incredibly detailed and meticulously documented record of the intertwining of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian military nuclear establishment since the fall of the Soviet Union. The fruit of this relationship, he notes, is the emergence of a shared doctrine of Russian nuclear orthodoxy—a belief that the preservation of Russian orthodoxy requires the maintenance of Russian nuclear power and that the guarantee of Russian nuclear power l

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