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Russia’s Deep-Seated Messianic Complex

Binyamin Rose

Mishpacha, Mar. 15, 2022


Dr. Anna Geifman shocked guests at a Shabbos table last week in Jerusalem with her bold statement that Vladimir Putin sees himself as a messianic figure, and that’s a major driving force behind both his decision to invade Ukraine and his penchant for adventurism in foreign policy.

Had I been at that Shabbos table, I wouldn’t have been shocked. Six years ago, after Putin’s conquest of Crimea in southeast Ukraine had settled in, I heard Dr. Geifman lecture on Russian-style messianism at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University, where she is a senior researcher in the political studies department. (We reported on this in “Putin’s Messianic Ambitions,” Issue #599.)

Dr. Geifman, a Shabbos-observant professor, knows both the turf and the Russian mentality. She grew up in Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad), and moved to Boston in the mid-1970s as a teenager. She keeps close contact with many Russian and Ukrainian friends. In a follow-up interview last week, she rejected theories in the mainstream media that Russian president Vladimir Putin is deranged.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 903)

To view original article, click here

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