Panicked Russia Is Now Telling Reluctant Soldiers They Will Be Resurrected

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ill-fated decision to invade Ukraine is so unconscionable that his propagandists—including Russian Orthodox church that is tightly controlled by the government—are having to resort to increasingly outlandish methods to recruit more volunteers and comfort brokenhearted families of soldiers who perished in Ukraine.

From the beginning, Putin’s loyal mouthpieces like state TV host Vladimir Solovyov asserted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “holy war,” predicting it would lead to a “global jihad” against the West. Deputy of the State Duma Vyacheslav Nikonov claimed that Russia is “the embodiment of the forces of good” and stated, “This is truly a holy war we're waging and we must win.” Major General Apti Alaudinov, the commander of Chechen forces, who is himself a Muslim, claimed that Russia’s war against Ukraine will lead to the second coming of Christ, describing Moscow’s troops as “the forerunners of Jesus forces.”

Apparently, these assurances are not sufficient to ensure a steady stream of volunteers, much less to calm down the families of fallen soldiers. This month, Archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church Artemiy Vladimirov decided to up the ante and claimed that soldiers fighting on Russia’s side in Ukraine get resurrected after they get killed.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces estimate that the Russian military has suffered 451,730 casualties in the course of war, which includes deaths and injuries. Estimates by the U.S. and British intelligence conclude that Russian casualties exceed 300,000. This further exacerbates Russia’s growing demographic catastrophe and highlights the difficulties faced by the Kremlin in ensuring they have enough men willing to continue this devastating war.

Host of TV channel “Soyuz” Sergey Platonov told Vladimirov that he often speaks to soldiers serving in Ukraine and has been trying to convince them that there is no such thing as death. Describing one of his recent conversations with a Russian soldier, the host proudly said, “Maybe I’m boasting but I was successfully able to explain that death does not exist. He was encouraged by that!”

Vladimirov played along and replied, “In war, there are no unbelievers! When you are facing physical death, every fiber of your soul comes alive. Right now, there are many wonderful testimonies of Christ’s victory over death. My wife sends me many military testimonies and video clips. Before Lent, I watched a video about one Chinese man who participated in the special military operation. A bullet hit him in the stomach, destroying all of his insides. He died from this and then was resurrected.”

Vladimirov continued to spin the tale, claiming, “Saint Luke of Crimea appeared to him and completely healed him, his insides were fully restored. He was baptized along with his relatives, all of them are photographed together, dressed in white clothes, baptized into our Orthodox Church.”

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The Archpriest added that this is not the only miraculous testimony that “Christ is visiting the soldiers who laid down their lives for their brethren, he is visiting them as his brothers, as blessed martyrs.”

Platonov said that Vladimirov’s tale of an alleged physical resurrection is an example of what should be a constant topic of conversation. He surmised, “All of us talk on the Internet, these stories should be constantly told. Death does not exist.”

Vladimirov wholeheartedly agreed, reminiscing about the Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, describing him as one of the first clergymen who united the Russian Orthodox Church with the Defense Ministry. The thesis that “death does not exist” has already been incorporated into multiple state TV programs and even holiday specials, but is now being endowed with new outlandish specifics.

Vladimirov is no stranger to spreading idiosyncratic fibs. In 2019, he claimed to have communicated with Charles Darwin from beyond the grave and alleged that the scientist repented for his theory of evolution and renounced his own hypothesis about the origin of species.

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