At the Gates of Hell. How the Russian Orthodox Church Got Free and Sold its Soul to Putin's Regime

Ksenia Luchenko

For decades, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was perceived by many as a force capable of fostering positive societal change. Despite being founded during Stalin’s time and being infiltrated by KGB agents, during the Perestroika and the first post-Soviet years the Church often functioned more as a pacifier and a gateway to a more liberal worldview—specifically, a world where individuals have the right to believe as they choose. It offered its help in finding a peaceful resolution in political conflicts, it sometimes opposed the views from the state, and it could be construed as an independent social institution.

However, in the last 25 years, and especially after patriarch Kirill assumed power, everything changed. As of 2023, the ROC has essentially become at one with Putin's state—moreover, it has become one of its ideological pinnacles, a proclaimed custodian of so-called “traditional values”. The Church is deeply entwined with the propagation of militarism, homophobia, and national hatred, it promotes the idea of Putin as a new Czar, plus the Patriarch openly condones war crimes, arguing that they are conducted both  in good faith and in God’s name. Ksenia Luchenko has been following the internal politics of the Church and writing about its relationship with the Russian state for the last 25 years. In this book, she explains this horrific transformation and tells a harrowing story of  how a once liberal institution has evolved into a breeding ground for monstrous ideologies.

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GENRE

Non-fiction, investigative journalism

STATUS

Full text to be delivered in October 2024

SAMPLES

Sample translation to be available in May 2024

RIGHTS

Rights available for all languages

AUTHOR

As a journalist and researcher, Ksenia Luchenko has been writing about the Russian Orthodox Church, its internal politics, its hierarchs and its flocks for the past 25 years. She is the author of several dozen journalistic and scholarly articles on religious life in post-Soviet Russia and the role of Orthodoxy in the formation of the Putin regime. Her work has been published in the most respected Russian independent media, ranging from news outlets like Meduza to think tanks like Carnegie Center; she has also written several books, including one about the lives of wives of Russian priests. Having a PhD in philology, she has also been very active as an educator: Luchenko served as the dean of the Department of Media Communications at the Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences and head of the Department of Theory and Practice of Media Communications at the School of Public Policy of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. These days, she is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a co-founder of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a new humanitarian university based in Montenegro.

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