A Gem (or rather, a Ring) from Lucas

The demented Russophobe Edward Lucas has surpassed even his own stellar record of profound insights about the evil empire, this time explicitly comparing Russia to Mordor (the land of shadow in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) from his Yahoo! list.

Quoted below in its entirety for laughs.

The British author JRR Tolkien always hated any attempt to compare his fantasy world of Middle Earth to contemporary political systems. Yet his books were hugely popular in eastern Europe during the years of communist captivity. The “scouring of the Shire”, in which a prosperous agricultural economy is reduced to destitution and misery by the activities of the “gatherers” and “sharers” bears an uncanny resemblance to the collectivisation of the Baltic states in the early years of Soviet occupation. “A lot of gathering, and precious little sharing” says a hobbit dourly.

But as the skies darken once again over the European continent (or Middle Earth if you prefer) , the temptation to find analogies in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is overwhelming. Mordor is clearly the Russian Federation, ruled by the demonic overlord Sauron (Putin). His email address, to give a contemporary note, might be [email protected] (the suffix is for Middle Earth). The threat from Mordor—symbolised by the Ring—is the combination of dirty money and authoritarian political thinking.

And Sauron’s henchmen the Orcs are clearly the murderous goons of the old KGB. The new twist—the Uruk-Hai, is the mutation of the old Soviet intelligence service with organised crime and big business. Sauron’s allies—the Nazgul—are the Siloviki, the sinister chieftains of the Kremlin’s authoritarian capitalist system. Like the Nazgul, we seldom see their faces.

And what of the opposition? One candidate for Frodo couild Mart Laar, Estonia’s irrepresible former prime minister and someone who has consistently seen clearly the threat from Mordor and what to do about it. His faithful sidekick could be Sasha Vondra, the equally prescient and doughty deputy prime minister of the Czech Republic. Other possible hobbit-heros are Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria’s top foreign-policy analyst, Jüri Luik, Estonia’s ambassador to Nato,

(more suggestions for hobbits welcome)

The Fellowship of the Ring included elves—a strange but awe-inspiring folk whose presence in middle earth was drawing to an end. They are clearly the Americans, whose long-drawn-out withdrawal from Europe is halted but not reversed by the need to fight the titanic battle against the forces of Mordor. Prominent elves include the thinktanker and propagandist Ron Asmus (perhaps Elrond?_Galadriel (possibly Anne Applebaum), Celeborn, Galadriel’s husband is (twisting the plot a bit) could be Bruce Jackson. One candidate for Legolas could be America’s top diplomat for pipelines and energy security, Matt Bryza. Who would be a good Arwen?

What about Eowyn, or Eomer, Aragorn (poss Radek Sikorski or Carl Bild). Misha Saakashvili could be Boromir (desire for forbidden fruits led him to put his own personal interests ahead of the common cause)
Bilbo Baggins, the hero of the Hobbit, could be Vaclav Havel, or Vytautas Landsbergis, heroes of the battle against the evil empire in previous ages,

But who is Gandalf? One candidate would be Lennart Meri, the much-mourned Estonian former president and elder statesman, who had just the right blend of wisdom, courage and mischief and wizard-like abilities with both people and gadgets. Sadly, Lennart died in 2006. But Gandalf disappeared in the mines of moriar—and came back triumphantly in the third volume of the trilogy. Lennart’s many friends and fans hope for the same, at least in spirit.

Picking out the cast on the bad side runs the risk an encounter with England’s ferocious libel laws. It is not too hard, however, to see candidates to be Wormtongue, the slimy propagandist for Mordor who weakens the will of the King of Rohan, Theoden. His kingdom could be almost any country in Europe, but had better be Germany. And it is easy to think who might count as Germany’s foremost expert on Russia and a biographer of Sauron. Saruman is more difficult still—a hero of past wars who has switched sides to disastrous effect. He could be any one of the top West European leaders who have so disastrously forgotten the lessons of the Cold War and have been seduced by Mordor’s dirty money.

Too bad that poor Ed is not only totally disconnected from reality, but his madness isn’t even original.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Radek Sikorski might be pissed that Lucas has married off his wife (Applebaum) to Bruce Jackson. Or maybe not – having seen her, maybe he’d be glad to be well shot of her.Saakashvili as Boromir? Hilarious. Does that make Georgia Gondor? Boromir was seduced byt he power of the Ring (Moscow’s “dirty money and authoritarian political thinking,” according to Loony Lucas,) so what’s he saying?He’s gone off his head.

  2. Lucas’s idea lacks the scholarliness of, say, zombie sociology. Now that’s some deep shit.Indeed, Tolkien was not writing a roman a clef. That would probably be C. S. Lewis. To laymen, though, I think the language of Mordor does sound a bit like mock Russian. I think mainly of Assyrian or Turkic languages but Russian makes the short list. It’s those consonants. Just throw in some “ye” sounds. And I have spoken Russian and a black shadow has appeared to blot out the sun, but maybe it was because I was speaking it very badly.Anyway, geography doesn’t bear it out, either. If you look at the Misty Mountains, they too obviously resemble the Urals. A medium midcontinental range. So that would place Russia in central Middle-Earth. Mordor is also way too small to be Russia. Mordor is a little landlocked area surrounded by an implausibly square-shaped mountain range.

  3. Leonardo B. says

    Goodmorning, I would say that Tolkien was merely looking at the early Middle Ages in Europe while writing his notorious book, being himself professor of English Language in Oxford. A good guess would be comparing Elves with Celts, Rohan to Germans and Gondor to the old Romanic world. The Orks are here perhaps some of the Central Asian waves of Nomad warmongering tribes as Avars, Huns, early Turks. Some would say the siege of Minas Thirith , the white city, hints to the siege of Belgrade (“white city” in serbo-croatian), or Constantinople-Byzantium.Comparisons can be made when a Major strictly-Military Power conquers highly civilized Countries, which was not the case of Russia in the Baltics. So much for the quibbling, I don´t mean to bore you! 😉

  4. @Kristopher,

    My zombie research makes people laugh with me. Lucas’ tripe makes people laugh at him.


    You make a welcome contribution. The problem with Orcs as nomads is that IIRC they are sedentary, living in mountains and underground. Mordor is densely populated. So I think it’s more of a meta-representation of the fight between barbaric industrialism and bucolic genteel values that are a staple of British literary culture, e.g. Wells’ Morlocks and Eloi.

  5. Eric Kraus says

    I used to think Lucas half mad, when he warned me (September 1998) that Russian inflation was about to hit 10,000%, the rouble lose all value, the Communist hordes sweep through the streets of Moscow, and Russia itself break up into four mutually hostile blocks, all armed to the teeth.
    Attempt to argue with or soften his views were brushed off with the warning that his unimpeachable sources (his teddy bear? – Mr. Tolkein’s ghost?) had informed them.
    Almost a decade later and he is still ranting. One would think that by now he would be bored. It is approaching monomania, and as his beloved Balts slip into bankruptcy, he is becoming all the more hysterical.
    I guess I was wrong – he is not HALF-mad

  6. He’s not alone Eric.

    How about the continued standing he has over others?

  7. “One candidate for Frodo couild Mart Laar, Estonia’s irrepresible former prime minister”

    This is both hilarious and grotesque. Extremely obese, pinkish, profusely perspiring Mart Laar, an out-in-the open racially obsessed Nazi (his books on Estonian SS Legion were seized as Nazi propaganda by the German police) is Ed Lucas’s Frodo.

    To the blog’s owner. Hello dear:), when you put new links to Ed Lucas’s site you needlessly promote the evil creature by generating higher Google relevance ranking for his web blog/web hole. Don’t do that (unless you are on a hidden quest to generate more publicity for Lucas, which I don’t think is the case).

  8. Dear Mr Kraus,

    With all respect (in fact admiration) for you I think the problem is not Edward Lucas per se. He is a rabid “zoological” Russophobe whose hatred and virulent racism are extraordinary. On the other, there are many sick people out there. Remarkable is the fact that although Edward Lucas was consistently wrong in his outlandish “prophesies” (I well remember his predictions from 1998) he is still pretty much in charge. He sets the tone and the pitch of the discourse on Russia. The Economist did not fire him. The vile creature spits venom and gets paid for it. In fact it seems he got even more influential. Which tells me that Edward Lucas is not a lone madman but is the voice of the Anglo-American establishments and for the Russians regardless of their political views and persuasions, he is the voice of the Enemy. Another curious things as how those Russophobes (who again are almost officially in charge of shaping the discourse on Russia) are all mingling and cuddling together – the despicable Appelbaum, her Russia-obsessed wicked husband, little Baltic fascists, Ed Lucas, all the vermin bound together in one united league of evil.

  9. There is a market for rewarding lunacy. It is also maddening to see some of the alternative views to Lucas getting picked as noteworthy material. Sources like this blog and its commenters do a great job.

  10. Another interesting thing I remembered.

    Orcs were originally elves, but genetically corrupted by Sauron. Lucas interprets Elves as Americans and Orcs as the murderous goons of the old KGB. Now obviously there’s no connection whatsoever between the American people and the KGB.

    My mini-theory is that Lucas actually believes that Russians are a corrupted and twisted version of once good people (white Christians), by the genetic and political legacy of the Golden Horde. In other words, the dark Other, the perverted reflection so common in fantasy literature. But this version is politically incorrect amongst the more ‘respectable’ Russophobe circles (at least in public), hence his rather awkward designation of KGBists as orcs, which doesn’t make much sense since their are cunning and intelligent not something orcs are reknowned for.

    The proper fantasy-based comparison would associate KGBists with the Myrddraal of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time – dark, humorless, without dreams or souls, elite . Whereas ordinary Russians (as portrayed in Nazi propaganda of which he is probably a big fan) are primitive brutes who want nothing more from life than to loot, rape and gorge on drink – like orcs.

  11. Sasha Vondra as hobit? 😎 ROFL! I can’t think of a politician more hated by the electorate than this slimeball.

  12. It’s not an accident that I’m here on this site – yesterday I opened a new Russia for myself after having closed my eyes at her for a long time of my living in USA now. And what do I see NOW? I see that my Motherland from the kind, loving, caring, generously-hearted one is been
    turn into a very scary one: authoritarian/fascist, evil, pro-stalinist, genocidic in thought,
    ruthless, heinous, has no principals but own power. MORDOR. Sorry to see that happening & very sorry for the Russian people, who are numb with no vision of that, not all but a lot of them.

  13. Does he say who Gollum is? Maybe Luzhkov? They kind of look the same, except that Gollum is skinny.