Orthodoxy Leads to Communism. (According to Western Communists).

Leonid Bershidsky:

Eastern Orthodox Christianity has done more to shape certain ex-Communist countries than communism. It also, some say, made their people relatively unhappy and anti-capitalist. This theory got a lot of play in 1990s Russia but has now resurfaced in a fresh World Bank working paper.

Its authors, former Bulgarian finance minister Simeon Djankov and Elena Nikolova of University College London, analyzed data from the World Values Survey and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Life in Transition Survey to study the correlation between religious background and attitudes. They concluded that Orthodoxy made certain countries fertile ground for communism and generally shaped their path as distinct from those taken by countries steeped in Western Christian traditions.

Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. This explains why famously Orthodox Latvians voted more than anybody else for the Bolsheviks in 1917 and why ultra-Orthodox Red Latvian Riflemen played an instrumental role in establishing Soviet power early in the Civil War, why devout Protestant areas such as southern Russia and Siberia constituted the centers of White resistance, why Orthodox Hungary and Germany all had organic Communist uprisings in the immediate wake of WW1, why greater percentages of the Orthodox French and the Orthodox Italians voted for Communists from the 1950s to the 1970s than Russians voted for the Bolsheviks in 1917, etc.

Oh wait… this is actually unmitigated BS.

Now here’s the thing… there actually is one deep cultural factor that correlates very well with the ultimate borders of twentieth-century Communism: The exagamous communitarian family system (Emmanuel Todd from Explanation of Ideology).


However, there is a good reason that Bershidsky et al. are not going to discuss it in these not entirely politically correct terms, especially not when they can get to smear Orthodox Christianity for free. It is related to the reasons that he studiously ignores the evidence for racial differences in IQ in debates about immigration. It is because he is a good example of a Western Communist.

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. reiner Tor says

    What is “exagamous communitarian family system” (I guess “exogamous communitarian family system”)?

  2. Very interesting. Since the book is out of print, an you elaborate on Todd’s therory?

  3. The Orthodox Christianity is so conducive to communism that communists had to murder tens of thousands of priests to get this communism thing going.

    Bulgarian on the other hand is a special case. Their affinity to Orthodoxy and to Russia and then to the communism that came from Russia must have something to do with their experience with Turks and their view of Russians as their saviors and liberators whether in Orthodox or communist incarnation.

    If all Bulgarians abandoned Orthodoxy and went the Bogomils’ way everything would be OK, they would ended up being Muslim like Bosnians. Would they resist more Communism as Muslims? I would rather live in Zhivkov’s communist and orthodox Bulgaria than in Enver Hoxha’s communist and Muslim Albania if these were the only two choices.

  4. Politically correct Bulgarians along the lines of Ivan Krastev. What would the response be if Judaism was found to be linked with Communism?

    Have had the pleasure of interacting with numerous Bulgarians between the ages of 20-55. None of them express anti-Russian or anti-Orthodox Christian views.

  5. Georges Vacher de Lapouge said there was a strong positive correlation between being brachycephalic and servile, and he predicted the coming of “absolute socialism” in Russia.


    The East Baltic man quickly changes to a confused, rambling dreamer, weaving endless tales, and full of plans; he becomes a visionary, and even in the tangle of his imaginative powers his characteristic irresoluteness and lack of any sense of reality can be seen.12 He cannot decide either for good or for evil, and so ends by leaving his surroundings as they were; he shows himself averse from all change, and at last puts everything into ‘God’s hands,’ ending with a dumb belief, a belief very often of unrelieved gloom, in some destiny hanging over him. His disposition being such, particularly with its lack of resolution, the East Baltic man does not come very far even with all his industry, stubborn and determined though it often is. He can bear much suffering, privation, and oppression from those in power; and often shows great steadfastness. But there is a lack of any real creative power. Opposed to all individuality, and always cultivating a dead level of thought for all, the East Baltic man is generally a patient and long-suffering subject. He has a particularly lively sense of patriotism; but needs to be led. […] When he has to deal with strangers he is inclined to become cunning. He is very revengeful, and when he is after vengeance, he is far-seeing and remarkably crafty.


  6. Keeping in mind that roughly 30% of Albanians have a Christian background, that’s in the range of 20% Orthodox Christian and 10% Roman Catholic.

    It has been said that “Albanianism” is what unites Albanians more than religion.

    Can’t help repeating some points of mine, with additional follow-up.

    The long winded paper at issue is written by two PC Bulgarians, whose views are different from the numerous age 25-55 Bulgarians I’ve encountered, who don’t appear to be pro-Communist, while also being relatively happy and well off.

    Pretty sure that the referenced statistics are misleading, if not outrightly inaccurate.

    Don’t anticipate the World Bank backing a paper suggesting negative characteristics of Muslims to their faith, or Jews embracing Communism (the latter being a Nazi preference). Likewise with other religious denominations. Such are the double standards.

  7. According to those descriptions, Swedes (one would presume, once Nordic) became Alpine.

  8. ussr andy says

    yup, wrong religion. If only they had the correct religion! I know a good religion, it involves wearing a nice pair of headphones made from reed.

  9. Art Deco says

    During the inter-war period, communist and social democratic parties in Roumania and Serbia were inconsequential. Bar a brief period (1933-35), that was true of Greece as well. Bulgaria had a vigorous Communist Party, typically good for about 13% of the ballots. The Finnish communists had precisely the same base of support before they were legally suppressed in 1930. The German Communists generally managed 12%. The French and Czech Communists about 10%.

    There was a paper published in Social History some years ago which made the case that Nazi votes during the period running from 1930 to 1933 were correlated with Lutheran Church attendance. A layman might observe that during the post-war period, the communist movements which were strongest electorally were to be found in Chile, Italy, France, and Portugal – countries wherein the historic protestant and Orthodox populations approach zero.

    Mis-specifed model. And you wouldn’t put it past them to have gotten it wrong by design.

  10. Spisarevski says

    Diaspora opinions are worthless, especially those of diasporas in the USA.
    People generally lose their souls when they go to America.

    Incidentally, Simeon Dyankov is married to a jewess. So a jew quotes a rootless cosmopolitan married to a jew about how backwards Orthodox Christianity is – how original. Not the first time this Bershitsky guy talks shit about Christianity, either.


  11. https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2017/09/what-britain-needs-understand-about-profound-and-ancient-divisions-germany
    Why did Adenauer dislike the eastern Germans, think Berlin was expendable and consider the River Elbe to be the natural frontier? Simple: he knew that the Elbe was Germany’s Mason-Dixon line. Beyond it lay the flat, grim Prussian heartlands, which until 1945 stretched into present-day Russia

    Germany east of the Elbe becomes increasingly unGerman


    January 1946 Issue
    Teuton and Slav on the Polish Frontier
    by G. R. Gayre
    Reviewed by Robert Gale Woolbert
    Though one may not altogether share the author’s views concerning racial matters, his analysis of the economic, geographic and strategic considerations which should govern the drawing of the German-Polish frontier will command attention. Some of his suggestions are in the direction taken by the Potsdam Conference last July.

    East Germans are different, they always were.

  12. Toronto Russian says

    What is “exagamous communitarian family system” (I guess “exogamous communitarian family system”)?

    It’s when people don’t marry their cousins, multiple generations live together, and inheritance is divided equally (primarily between sons).

    By the way, Russia in the latter half of the 19th century started transitioning to nuclear family, as factory/seasonal work allowed liberated peasants to earn money independently from the big household. Young men increasingly separated from their parents or brothers. Village communities had rules that regulated divisions of property. Divisions made peasantry poorer, but for many people it was worth it, especially for daughters-in-law who were treated the worst in multigenerational families.

  13. Orthodoxy didn’t participate in the aristotelian-scholastic tradition of the West. Orthodoxy put more emphasis on mystery, holy paintings, liturgy which led those people to embrace voluntarism. Orthodoxy isn’t a logocentric culture. This might explain some things

  14. I am confused by the difference between exagamy and exogamy. Is it just grammatical?

    Or two words have a slightly different meaning? Looking in google books both used in the same paragraphs, but nowhere explains it.

    Exagmy (between-tribal marriage), and exogamy (marrying outside a tribe)?

  15. The original Greek WTC church was built by the Czars, as can be documented by all the trinkets they donated, but they trojaned the date. BBC Monitoring January 15, 2018 said Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1 has broadcast a film about the Valaam Monastery in Russia’s north that focused heavily on lengthy excerpts from interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin [who said] . . . “In fact, the Communist ideology is actually akin to Christianity.” Alexander Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin of being a paedophile four months before he was poisoned (Independent UK 21 January 2016. On 9/11/01 the Archbishop of Athens Gristledule said we deserved it as retribution for our bombing the Serbs (Vaslaces, ISBN 978-960-252-007-9). How else did the Greek government know to move Atlantic Bank from the WTC the prior June. The Czars were always communist, forbidding land ownership because the Obsina mir belonged to Mokosh, and had free education and health care. Aristides Papadakis tries to make the early Christians into communist (David Bentley Hart NOV 4 2017 NY Times). Kim Philby spawned the Oxbridge Orthodox under Tim Ware and Steve Khanya Hayes who taught Savas Zombilas, George Stifanopolis, George Demcopolis and John McGughen. The Srebrenica genocide was directed by Greek KYP agents Spyrus Djanopoulos, Dimitrus Zavitsanos, and Haralabus Dimulas. In 1182 Greeks massacred sixty thousand Istanbul Catholics, selling the remainder to their Turkish sultan. On Jan 1 1920 US Adm Mark Bristol judged the Greeks with the initial provocative August 18 1919 genocide of Smyrna cabled to the NY Times on Nov 26 (NYT Jan 3 1920 pg 10, Aug 19, 1919 pg 18). That is why the Greeks made Cosmus Aitrellus their patron of genocide. Soviet Seleucid Jean Bouchedior wrote “The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly” (Lazarus 11). The Theodosian Code promoted confiscatory taxation and promoted Diocletian socialist feudalism (Rostovtzeff 1926, Gibbon ch. 13) that Toynbee (1939, IV p. 399) said caused Anatolia to apostase into Turkishness. Gun control hails back to Justinian’s Novella 85. See “Is Orthodox Christianity progressive?” By Michelle Boorstein Washington Post November 4, 2009. If Greeks trojaned their eurobudgets, do you trust their food hygiene, caique shipping, quisling lawyers or olive witch doctors?

  16. for-the-record says

    Exagamy is a misspelling, just like monagamy (which is even more common).

  17. Art Deco says

    The term ‘genocide’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

  18. Thanks I wonder about that.

    But in google books, the scholarly books were using the spelling?



  19. Seraphim says

    The origins of this absurdity are to be found in the ravings of the ‘intellectual’ precursors of Bolshevism, the ‘Silver Age’ dreamers like Vladimir Soloviov and Dimitri Merzhkovsky and the Marxist ‘converts’ to Orthodoxy like Bulgakov and Berdyaev, who created the concept of “Russian Idea’ and inflated beyond measure the myths of the ‘Third Rome’ and ‘Russian messianism’. It was Berdyaev who disseminated in the ‘West’ the idea, quickly absorbed by the ‘Left’, that the Third International was the ‘Russian messianism’ transmogrified and quickly offered as an explanation for “Soviet expansionism’. No wonder that Jewish ‘thinkers’ embraced it enthusiastically: you see, the Revolution, Russians did it, not us.

  20. for-the-record says

    But in google books, the scholarly books were using the spelling?

    The use of both terms in such close proximity is certainly interesting, but it has to be simply a misspelling. Again, I think it is exactly the same as “monagamous” which can be found in a not insubstantial number of references.

    Here is an example of a book (published by Harvard University Press) which has both “monogamous” and “monagamous”, albeit not on the same page:


    Obviously the fact that the pronunciation would be the same (for most English speakers) must help. In any event, it is not recorded as an alternate spelling, or even an “old” spelling, in any unabridged or historical dictionary that I can find (notably the Oxford English Dictionary).

    That it is not common, and hence within the bounds of normal misspellings, is also confirmed by Google Ngram: