I have considered writing on the topic of President Putin and an analysis of his conduct and stature according to the principles of Dharma, loosely analogous to ‘right conduct’ in English. However, in my contemplation I came to realise that whilst President Putin the man is a very charismatic figure, he is representative of a greater, overall leadership structure as exists today in the Russian Federation. As Scott – of Saker’s Blog – highlights in his writings, the current Russian leadership is made up of officers of the military and intelligence services of the Russian state, formerly the USSR and now the Russian Federation (however, trained in the Soviet era for the most part). As Scott points out, this ruling class from the security services – the modern day equivalent of the ‘warrior class’ – is unique in this modern era. One may take the current Russian leadership as akin to the Samurai class than reigned over Japan for 900 years and through principles of Dharma prevented the destruction of Japan during the halcyon years of colonialism. Tokugawa Ieyasu himself took the title ‘victor over the southern barbarians’, in reference to the Portuguese, and under his Shogunate the Japanese closed their borders almost entirely and kept their territorial and cultural integrity, at least until the late 1800s and early 1900s.
I see something similar in the qualities of this current Russian leadership. I see something older, in truth, for I see the principles of Dharma as espoused by those Kshatriyas of old, whose training was martial and whose morality lay in the principles of Dharma. Putin, for example, acts very strictly according to the principles of international law, yet his primary motivation is the pragmatic security of his nation rather than the arbitrary laws set down by vested interests. In this sense, whilst setting an example of polite and constructive conduct at the international level, Putin has demonstrated that the laws of god and the duty to one’s people supersede the laws of men.
I would like at this point to highlight that as an outsider I do not have much access to the inner working life of President Putin or his colleagues, not in the sense that a native Russian or a foreign operative might have. My insights come through the writings of Saker, Scott and other learned individuals who educate those of us in the English speaking world regarding the nature of the personalities of the current leadership of Russia. However, I do reflect upon what I have learnt from these learned commentators and from what interviews I have seen of the Russian leadership (translated to English). And, in my great hubris, I have sought to take these reflections and make an assessment according to my own cultural and moral framework.
Dharma means roughly two things if translated into English. One is ‘right conduct’, as in do the right thing in terms of morality, ethics and the laws of god and nature. It can also mean the natural behaviour of an object, thing or entity. For example, the cat’s dharma is to chase the mouse, the leopard’s dharma is to eat meat, the hawk’s dharma is to fly in search of food, the electron’s dharma is to circle the nucleus, the planet’s dharma is to orbit the star, etc. In other words, dharma is the natural conduct of actions in the most natural way. For our purposes, we shall consider Dharma as simply ‘right conduct’ and doing the most natural thing in the most natural way.
Define contemporary Russian state
The contemporary Russian Federation is the core territory of the former Russian Empire. As many Russian experts point out, the contemporary territory of Russia does not comprise the entirety of the greater Russian cultural, political and civilisational space.
Define current leadership of Russian state
Please bear in mind my lack of expertise – I will give only the most cursory of definitions and am aware that it will have considerable errors. The current Russian leadership seems to me to comprise of mid-level officers of the former Soviet military and intelligence services. As far as I can tell, as an outsider, it does not contain the sons of the privileged from the Soviet era, but rather the sons of the working class, namely those people who worked hard for a living and their offspring. These include personalities such as President Putin, Sergei Ivanov and minsters Shoigu and Lavrov (although the foreign minister is from the diplomatic branch of the government).
Contrast with previous leadership of Russian state
Again, apologies in advance for a great lack of knowledge – this is only a short definition and open to revision and correction. The previous national entity of Russia was the USSR and before that the Russian Empire. By all accounts, the coup in November 1917 by the ‘Bolsheviks’ contained a vast majority of people who had extreme hatred towards the traditional, Orthodox (all religions) population of the Russian Empire. The Tsar Nicholas and his family were brutally assassinated (consider that Tsar as protector of the people is the very picture of the ruler according to Dharmic principles, so we see that Dharma and the Orthodox Church seem to have a similar viewpoint on the Tsar). A great and terrible genocide was committed on the ordinary population. The Orthodox Christian Church was persecuted with great animosity. Thus, we conclude that this initial leadership was Adharmic, those who act against and contravention of the principles of Dharma.
As time passed, new figures such as Stalin and Khrushchev came to power and the initial genocide ceased. This period was interspersed by a great war of national liberation. One may conclude that this middle Soviet leadership was unlike the earlier genocidal regime.
The third period in the history of the USSR seems to be the late Soviet period when leaders such as Gorbachev conspired to break up the country and surrender it to the mercies of the western powers. This was followed by looting and plunder of the state after said breakup of the USSR.
One should note that as the USSR suffered and its people were reduced from prosperity to poverty overnight, so too did the global south lose its great champion and protector. While the leadership of the USSR in the middle and late periods was by no means perfect, it did act responsibly and provided a much needed stabilising force against the forces of ‘capitalism’, the new face of the old colonialism, in other words, the same plunderers of all nations by those few who produce little and steal all.
Contrast with principles of Dharma
After much long-winded preparation, I would consider Dharma. The conduct of the current Russian state in nurturing good moral values (and keeping evil away from children), the traditional nature of all humans since the beginning, clearly shows that the leadership are people in whom the principles of Dharma run true. Contrast this with the modern ‘western values’ that turn good to evil and evil to good and run antithesis to all the laws of nature and god and we can see clearly that the Russian leadership live within Dharmic principles.
In truth, I am likely not qualified to discuss Dharma. If you wish to attain greater understanding, I recommend you to the Gita of Krishna, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna on the fields of Kurukshetra during the Mahabharata war. I would note that the translations may not be perfect but you should get a good understanding if you consider your own moral viewpoints, as the principles are universal.
Truth is a core principle of Dharma, both seeking for the greater truth in the universe and telling the truth, in other words being bereft of the trait of lies. Putin, we see clearly, speaks the truth. He says what he does. His team likewise follow this principle.
Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term much abused by one British backed Mohan Das Ghandi. It does not mean ‘non-violence’, it means the least amount of violence. Dharma does not mean running away from evil and injustice, it does not mean sacrificing your nation for sake of some arbitrary reason of ‘non-violence’ or ‘democratic values’ or ‘human rights’ as defined by the western powers and their lackeys. Dharmic ahimsa means taking the action that incurs the least amount of violence. We have seen since the current leadership of the Russian Federation came into power that they have strictly and conscientiously adhered to this principle, be it in Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine or Syria.
Another principle of Dharma is that one should not acquire illegitimate wealth. One need only look at the lifestyles of the former security service personnel in the Russian senior leadership to see that they do not indulge in corruption and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth. This is beyond dispute, despite all accusations to the contrary by those of no moral standing.
A key principle of Dharma is to establish and maintain control over one’s senses. In other words, be not the person who indulges overly in senses, be it food, alcohol, sexual activities or other activities that involve the senses. This is not to say that one need be an ascetic and retreat to the mountains, but only that one maintain balance and not let the senses dominate the person. We see from the conduct, both public and private, of the Russian leadership, that discipline of senses is forged deeply into their character. One hopes that the next generation is made of similar metal.
A somewhat esoteric principle of Dharma is that of purity in thought, speech and deed. In simple terms, this means that do not think evil thoughts. Be good within and without and do not think ill of others. Have no place inside yourself for greed or envy or other such negative emotions. Whilst we cannot get into the heads of the Russian leadership, we can see their exteriors and often enough the outside reflects within. In regards to Putin, we can see clearly the genuine warmth and human feelings of the man. In particular, I recall a documentary in which he was Judo flipped by a young Japanese judo-ka. Such conduct shows a man without ego.
There are many further principles of Dharma, such as all should render services to others, all should avoid greed and selfishness and one should consider all the world and all people as one’s family. I will leave it to you to consider these and other Dharmic principles in the assessment of the leadership of the Russian Federation.
I pose that western assessments of Russia leadership (or anyone for that matter) are irrelevant, as the western leadership and its various levels of control authority and mechanisms are bereft of moral authority for they are at their core nature Adharmic. Therefore, let the people of the world reject this false moral authority. Let all people, including the ordinary people within the western powers, consider that their ancient saints and gurus have more to teach and more wholesome spiritual and moral guidance than these Adharmic demons that call themselves moral authorities.