Nietzsche, Putin and the spirit of Russia

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Nietzsche exalted Russia as a dark, patient, durable power that promised a lot more than what he saw as the weak and decaying Europe. The ideas driving Putin’s war against Ukraine are a lot more Nietzschean, and European, than many like to admit, argues John Milbank.  In one of his last works, The Anti-Christ, Nietzsche declares Russia to be ‘the only power that has durability in it, which can wait, which can still produce something…the antithesis of that pitiable European petty-state politics and nervousness, with which the foundation of the German Reich has entered its crucial phase…’. Earlier, in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche had already made the same claim that only Russia possessed a real collective and institution-building will, whereas liberalism and democracy, which allow and celebrate passive weakness, were causing European institutions to disintegrate. These and other comments now seem prescient, demonstrating th…

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