On March 28th, 2023, I had the opportunity to present my work on Russian political theology at the “Political Theologies after Christendom” conference at New College at the University of Oxford, UK. My presentation covered the development of the idea of the “Katechon,” first devised by St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians, later to be politicized and “Nazified” by Carl Schmitt, only to be now invoked by the fascist Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin. The later sees the Russian Empire, and the current Russian Federation, as the “restrainer” of the Anti-Christ, i.e., the collective West and most specifically, the United States of America. Thinking of Russia as having such a God-bearing mission transforms Russia’s genocidal war of aggression against Ukraine into a soteriological project sanctioned by God: a perverse justification for mass slaughter, rape, and child abduction.
The conference was a wonderful experience. I had the great pleasure to be in the presence of some of the most profound scholars, many of whom came from Ukraine and Russia. Our discussions were lively, well-informed, and intellectually stimulating. Thank you Marietta van der Tol and Sophia Johnson for coordinating the event and New College/Oxford for hosting us.