More on ‘Putin’s philosopher’

There are occasions when one regrets putting an idea out there, as everybody else jumps on the bandwagon but then gets it all wrong.

My doctoral thesis was a study of émigré White Russian military organizations in the 1920s and 1930s, especially the Russian Military General Union (ROVS in Russian). As part of my study, I wanted to work out what these émigré soldiers believed in, and since some of them quoted the philosopher Ivan Ilyin I decided to read his works. Later, when I shifted focus and began writing also about military ethics, it struck me that it would be interesting to pen an academic article about Ilyin’s book on the ethics of violence, On Resistance to Evil By Force. This article was then published in the Journal of Military Ethics, and it turned me instantaneously into a sort of Ilyin ‘expert’, not really because I knew that much about the subject but because almost nobody else in the West had either heard of Ilyin or written about him (the exception was Philip Grier, who has translated Ilyin’s thesis The Philosophy of Hegel as a Doctrine of the Concreteness of God and Humanity, and whose essay The Complex Legacy of Ivan Il’in remains, 20 years after it was published, far and away the best introduction to the subject available in English).

After Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, it struck me that there were certain similarities between his worldview and that of Ilyin. I therefore wrote an article for The Spectator in January 2004 in which I remarked that complaints that Putin was aiming to restore the Soviet Union were wrong – the Russian leader’s ideology seemed far closer to that of the Whites, such as Ilyin, than to that of the Reds.

As far as I can tell, this was the first article anybody anywhere wrote linking the two men. My aim was not to suggest that Ilyin had influenced Putin – in fact at the time I had no evidence that the latter had even heard of the former – but rather to point out that there were commonalities of outlook. Later, I learnt that Putin did indeed know Ilyin’s works, and so I felt that my argument had been justified. I therefore developed it further in a piece I wrote for The American Conservative in 2012, as well as in a post for this blog.

At this point, the idea took off, with my American Conservative article being cited in various other works, most notably Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy’s book Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. It has now become conventional wisdom. Unfortunately, as the meme has spread, it has become more and more exaggerated.

Whereas I wanted just to point out that Putin and Ilyin apparently shared some ideas about the nature of the state, now authors such as Walter Laqueur in his book Putinism, and Anton Barbashin and Hannah Thorburn, in an article this week in Foreign Affairs, are presenting Ilyin’s work as constituting an unofficial state ideology. This greatly over-inflates its importance.

These authors also focus entirely on what one might call the ‘scarier’ bits of Ilyin’s philosophy – his one-time admiration for elements of fascism and his belief that the Western world was irredeemably hostile to Russia – while ignoring other aspects of his thought, such as his emphasis on the rule of law and on the limits which must be imposed even on autocratic governments. The result is a distorted picture of reality.

Take, for instance, this week’s Foreign Affairs article. This says the following:

He was not truly an academic or philosopher in the classical sense, but a publicist, a conspiracy theorist, and a Russian nationalist with a core of fascistic leanings. … Ilyin was interested in the idea of Eurasianism. … In his view, Hitler’s National Socialism, Mussolini’s fascism, and the Russian White movement were very similar and ‘spiritually close’.

The article’s authors then link all this to Putin by quoting Timothy Snyder describing the Russian leader as having ‘placed himself at the head of populist, fascist, and neo-Nazi forces in Europe.’ Ilyin is thus portrayed as the ideologist of a modern fascist Russia. As the authors put it:

Always something of a conspiracy theorist, Ilyin introduced the Russian term mirovaya zakulisa (‘world backstage’), which he used to describe a conspiracy of Western leaders against Russia. In the broader sense, this term implies that the official elected leaders of the West are, in fact, puppets of the world’s true leaders: businessmen, Masonic agents, and, often, Jews. Substitute ‘Jews’ with ‘gays’ and ‘Masonic agents’ with ‘foreign agents’, and Ilyin’s views synchronize perfectly with Putin’s propaganda narrative.

‘Ilyin was most likely chosen [as ideologue] because his works legitimated Putin’s authoritarian grasp on power, justified limitations on freedom, and provided an antidote to all Western criteria of freedoms, right, and goals of the state,’ Barbashin and Thorburn conclude. ‘Through Ilyin, the Kremlin transmits what it sees as a proper ideology for today: a strong cocktail of uncompromising hatred for the West, denial of the European nature of Russian civilization, favor of dictatorial methods of governing, rabid nationalism, and a dash of conspiracy theory.’

These are strong words indeed.

In fact, while Ilyin did write a lot of material for a popular audience, he was more than a ‘publicist’. His thesis on Hegel and his book on the ethics of violence are serious works of philosophy. Nor was he a conspiracy theorist, let alone, as is suggested above, an anti-Semite. In fact, he lost his job lecturing in Berlin in the 1930s because he refused to teach anti-Semitic doctrines. Eventually, he fled Nazi Germany, an odd act if he was really a Nazi. Nor was he a Eurasianist. In fact, he rejected Eurasianism.

For sure, Ilyin was no Western liberal democrat. He was at heart a monarchist, and felt that post-communist Russia would be so intellectually and morally bankrupt that it would not be capable of sustaining a democratic order. Furthermore, he believed that Russia’s size required a centralized state to prevent centrifugal tendencies from tearing it apart. But allied to this was a powerful sense that government had limits. Above all, both rulers and ruled had to abide by the law. ‘The autocratic monarch’, he wrote, ‘knows the legal limits of his power and doesn’t pretend to rights which don’t belong to him.’ The autocrat could ‘give the people self-government, a constitution, and even parliamentarianism with responsible government.’ As Grier points out, Ilyin insisted that any state worthy of the name required a high level of legal consciousness (pravosoznanie) on behalf of both citizens and rulers. While he supported dictatorship, ‘Ilyin is equally clear that such a “dictatorship” would be justified in the long run only by its success in raising the moral, legal, and religious consciousness of the population to such a level that a state based upon the rule of law would become possible.’

Ilyin thus fits within the Russian tradition of liberal conservatism, albeit on the conservative end of the spectrum. This often appears to Westerners as a self-contradictory school of thought and indeed, as Grier points out, Ilyin’s writings do contain apparently contradictory elements. Because of this, it’s easy to pick outs bits and pieces and portray him in a slanted light. But taken as a whole, although Ilyin certainly didn’t promote democratic ideals of the sort we nowadays cherish in the West, he also wasn’t the evil, freedom-hater which Foreign Affairs suggests.

What this means is that if it really is true that Ilyinism is the ideology of the Russian state, then Laqueur, Barbashin, Thorburn and others are wrong in regarding this as proof that Putin’s Russia is turning in a fascist direction. And if they are right that Russia is moving that way, then it isn’t because of Ilyin; in that case, Putin’s ideology isn’t really Ilyinism but rather some form of bowdlerised version of it. Either way, the formula ‘Ilyin is “Putin’s philosopher”; Ilyin was a fascist; therefore, Putin is a fascist’ is well wide of the mark.

30 thoughts on “More on ‘Putin’s philosopher’”

  1. Ilyin was right.
    He was right about post-communist Russia, about the rule of law and permanence of Western hostility towards the modern East Rome.


  2. Impressive corrective to a not very balanced article in Foreign Affairs. Well done! Eventually someone needs to write an essay on how the U.S. could have spared itself a lot of grief, prior to invading Iraq, by reading up on Il’in. I have in mind in particular his writings on how political systems must be carefully matched to the existing actually- lived legal and political consciousness of a given people. Of obvious relevance for both liberal interventionist optimists and neo-conservative cynics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Almost all the statements in the paper in “Foreign Affairs” on Ilyin are wrong. It is a stupid propaganda! Ilyin is a brilliant writer and every one who once read his books and articles would understand the serious of problems put out by him and not only for Russia but all over the world (see German priest Offermanns, 1979). Paul Robinson is one of the best experts on Ilyn in the West and he sees the numerical mistakes of the amateur authors on Ilyn who want something else than Ilyin’s philosophy. I spent 30 years on preparing Ilyin’s Colection of Works in 30 volumes and definitely knew that neither Putin nor Mikhalkov, as the authors wrote in “Foreign Affairs”, were not near this project and never helped me to do it. Now I stopped to do it (15 more volumes are ready) because of lack of any support. How can Ilyin be Putin’s ideologist? No logic, no sense!


    1. Thank you, Yury, for your input and your kind words, as well as for all your hard work in editing 30 volumes of Ilyin’s work – an enormous labour!


  4. Incidentally, is there a political philosophy that is not based on some form of manichean idea of ‘mirovaya zakulisa’? The 99% vs the 1%, the evil tyrants and wholesome democracies, corporate overlords vs the working folks, imperialists vs the natives, the evil empire and the shining city upon a hill, the liberal elites vs god-fearing red-blooded Americans. To say that this sort of dualism amounts to a conspiracy theory – I think this is basically a form of denial of human nature…

    Yeah, and let’s not forget the popular theory of Mr. Putin being an existential threat for the western civilization (just as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before him, in the resent past).


  5. The Putin government is conservative, maybe even quasi-monarchist, but is not fascist. There is a difference. Western propaganda machine employs ACTUAL fascists against Russia (as in, for example, Ukrainian civil war), hence they needed a “subroutine” to deflect criticism, by accusing the other side of being “fascist”. It’s all just a deflection.

    I still find that Trotsky had the best definition of fascism: To paraphrase Trotsky:
    Fascism is a mass movement of the “little people” organized for the benefit of the “big people”.

    From the class (Marxist) POV: Fascism is a mass movement of the petty-bourgeoisie and lumpen-proletariat, directed as shock troops against opponents of big business and capitalism. Their enemies are trade unions and anything smacking of socialism or egalitarianism.


  6. Well, marxist definitions make sense from the marxist perspective, but these movements also have their assumptions, their typical appeals. These include (as I’ve read somewhere recently) populist ultra-nationalism focused on rejection of decadence and the rebirth of the nation.

    I don’t know about Putin (he actually seems quite liberal to me, a kind of pragmatic non-ideological technocrat), but I think these (or similar) ideas are somewhat popular in the Russian society these days, to one degree or another. Although perhaps not so much in the Russian government…


    1. Fascism is notoriously hard to define. Academics who have attempted to work out what different fascist movements in different countries had in common haven’t produced very convincing answers. Outside of the context of the 1920s-1940s, I’m not sure it’s a very useful term, and I avoid using it to describe contemporary nationalists.


      1. Dear Paul: It’s true that fascism is very hard to define, but I think the Academics need to continue to work it out, because it is important to categorize and define these movements.

        Meanwhile, on a literary note, I have mentioned before, on other blogs, but this foreward to Ilf and Petrov “Twelve Chairs” is very interesting. It is called “Why Nothing Happened in Shanghai”, it is about the debate in the Soviet Communist Party and Comintern as to the nature, and definition, of fascism. This was 3-sided debate: Stalin-Trotsky-Bukharin. Well, it was about foreign policy in general, events in China, “Socialism in One Country”, and also the nature of fascism in Europe. And how all this affected the composition of Ilf/Petrov’s novel, and the creation of his main character, Ostap Bender.
        Ilf/Petrov took Stalin’s side against Trotsky. As for the debate about the nature of fascism: Stalin’s side maintained that fascism was an artificial movement (what we would call today “astroturf”) created by big business. Whereas, Trotsky’s side maintained that fascism was a genuine mass movement, whose base was certain social classes.


      2. “Stalin’s side maintained that fascism was an artificial movement (what we would call today “astroturf”) created by big business. Whereas, Trotsky’s side maintained that fascism was a genuine mass movement, whose base was certain social classes.”

        I think every movement has to be organized by someone, by some combination of wealthy (or powerful) supporters and intellectuals. Otherwise all you’ll have is a riot.

        But while money+ideology are probably necessary, it’s not sufficient: you also need suitable socio-economic conditions.

        So, in a way both are right.


  7. For those coming to this site from JRL, here is some background to back up what both Paul Robinson and Yuri Lisitsa have written above. As Mr. Lisitsa has pointed out, the article is full of propagandistic judgments, among which one of the silliest is the assertion that Ilyin was not a real philosopher. Let’s take a look at just that one point.

    The leading authority in Russia on Ivan Ilyin is precisely Yuri T. Lisitsa, who also wrote the entry for Ilyin (in the 2001) edition of the New Encyclopedia of Philosophy(Новая философская енцикопедия, published and overseen by academicians from the Russian Academy of Sciences). In his entry, Lisitsa refers to Ilyin as having written “the best commentary on the philosophy of Hegel to have appeared anywhere in the world.” The great existentialist philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, who was a bitter opponent of Ilyin’s later politics, which veered of course to the right after 1917 (especially compared with Berdyaev’s more leftist politics), even in his polemical mode still acknowledged the high scholarly nature of Ilyin’s work on Hegel.

    Philip T. Grier, mentioned in Prof. Robinson’s article, was also the president of the U.S. Hegel society, and he thought highly enough of Ilyin’s two-volume analysis of Hegel that he took the trouble to translate it into English; and the prestigious academic publisher Northwestern University Press took the trouble to publish both volumes. (Northwestern’s announcement about the book cites the great A. V. Losev who said of it “Neither the study of Hegel nor the study of contemporary Russian philosophical thought is any longer thinkable without this book of I. A. Il’in’s.”). And one could continue for a long while in the same vein, and as regards other works by Ilyin as well. So the assertion about Ilyin somehow not being a real or important Russian philosopher can only have been made by someone insufficiently familiar with the subject matter, or so hostile to his worldview that he was blinded into lack of objectivity.


  8. So is the article misquoting Ilyin in its claims? Is it merely misleading by omission? Are its claims gross misrepresentations?

    What the article describes fits quite nicely with a lot of the observed patterns in the Kremlin’s actions, but I don’t think that anyone who seriously watches the Kremlin would say that Putin has an ideology, much less a virulently nationalist Russian one.

    Vladimir Putin’s ideology is whatever happens to be convenient for him and his authority at the moment.


    1. I would say that in part the article is just plain wrong. As Paul Grenier rightly points out in one of his comments here, it is simply wrong to say that Ilyin was just a publicist not a real philosopher. Similarly, the reference to Jews implies that Ilyin was anti-Semitic. Again, this is wrong. I haven’t read all 30 volumes of his published works, but in the bits I have read I never seen any evidence of this, and as mentioned he was fired by the Nazis for refusing to spread anti-Semitic doctrines. In part, though, the article also misleads by omission – yes, Ilyin argued many times in favour of dictatorship, and it’s fair enough to point that out and to question whether he is a suitable source of ideology for modern Russia. But to mention it without pointing out that he also denounced totalitarianism, and that he argued for government bound by law and limited in terms of its competences (ie what it could govern), and also argued in favour of freedom of expression, association, etc, is misleading, as it paints a false picture of his thought as a whole. If the authors had said something along the lines of ‘We think it is a bad thing that Putin quotes Ilyin because Ilyin was not a liberal democrat and we think that liberal democracy is what Russia needs’, then that would be fair enough, but they go beyond that.


  9. What is more, Ilyin actually had enormous respect for democracy. He praised its operation in the United States and Switzerland of his day. It is clear that he was traumatized by the experience of Russia in 1917, when the weak democracy of Kerensky led to catastrophe. And so he thought it best that Russia’s transition out of the trauma of communism should begin with a law-bound and limited dictatorship.

    Considering Barbashin’s extreme thesis, I must say it is extremely convenient that Barbashin et al are not aware that Putin started quoting Ilyin not in 2006, but in 2005 (if not earlier), and with the following words:

    “‘State power,’ wrote the great Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, ‘has its own limits defined by the fact that it is authority that reaches people from outside… State power cannot oversee and dictate the creative states of the soul and mind, the inner states of love, freedom and goodwill. The state cannot demand from its citizens faith, prayer, love, goodness and conviction. It cannot regulate scientific, religious and artistic creation… It should not intervene in moral, family and daily private life, and only when extremely necessary should it impinge on people’s economic initiative and creativity.’”

    It is all the more odd that Barbashin failed to find this quote, since it forms a part of one of Putin’s most famous and oft-quoted speeches (his speech to the Federal Assembly in April 2005, and source of the ad nauseum [mis]quoted phrase about the break-up of the USSR). That exact same passage was also cited by Yuri Lisitsa several months ago in his excellent article/interview about Ilyin in the journal Samopoznanie (“Ilyin iskal sushchnost’ svobody kak podobiia bozhiia v cheloveke” No.2, 2015).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe that there is some commonality between Ilyins ideas on state and Clausewitz ideas of war. Effectively, rule of law means that societal interactions happen in an area characterized by its legal boundaries. A true “Rechtsstaat” or “rule by lawed state” can accept any/most internal situation(s) that arises from its internal contradictions, because both the origins and the outcomes of these contradictions are within the law-established boundaries. If you see such contradictions as Clausewitzian “Reibung” or “friction”, then the equivalent of a “rule of law” in general society is a well educated officer corps capable of making independent decisions defined by the boundaries of military law (and their local commanders intent) in the military.

      To put it in another way, the internal workings of a “Rechtsstaat” or a state in which “rule of law” fully exists can be run on an “autopilot” without strong adverse effects. Without a rule of law, internal affairs have to be intensely micromanaged from the top, leading to both a diversion of effort from de facto more pressing internal threats, and to increased friction because the micromanaging will often be at odds with the intent of the micromanaged lower levels.


  10. I would like to inform the participants of this serious discussion ‘Putin’s philosopher’ that tomorrow there will be a two-days scientific-practical federal-region conference dedicated to ‘Creative legacy of remarkable thinkers and philosophers of Russia: I. Il’in, V. Zenkovsky, L. Karsavin, S. Frank, E. Trubetskoy and others’ in the Council of Federation of Russian Federation (Senate), hall No. 650, organized by ‘Social Innovation Center’ not by Putin or Government. Since I am a member and one of the leader of ‘SIC’ it is our/my initiative to organize this conference and the wish of senators who are interested in Russian philosophy. In 2008 they were shocked by a deep content of the one-day conference dedicated to 125-anniversary of Ivan Ilin in CF of RF, also organized by ‘SIC’.

    First, this shows that Ivan Il’in is not the only philosopher in so-called ‘contemporary Russia ideology’ or ‘Putin’s ideology’ but many other and some more different philosophers are in a list; some of them were liked by Il’in (E.Trubetskoy, S.Frank), some of them and their philosophy were unacceptable for him (V.Zenkovsky, L.Karsavin). On the other hand, E.Trubetskoy appreciated Il’in’s philosophy when others did not like Il’in and his ideas. So, the situation is not unequivocal.

    Second, it is not a bad idea to inform and educate our powers by legacy of intellectual and spirit life and deal of our best philosopher, is it?

    Third, I’ll present the 30th volume of Collection of Works of I.Il’in and one remarkable thought of Il’in wrote him yet in 1917 and which is very actual in contemporary life of all countries: the problem of the International Law and its decision. I’ll try now to translate the quotation from Il’in (1917) and I am very sorry that this translation will contain many Russianisms; I hope that the sense of it will be clear. But it is much better to give it in Russian and ask somebody of this very serious discussion to translate it adequately:

    “Столкновение прав – есть спор о праве, а спор о праве может быть разрешен только на путях правовой организации и должен быть разрешен на основе естественного права. Поэтому борьба за международное право должна вестись именно не оружием, а на путях международной организации, и духовное назначение войны именно в том, чтобы убедить людей в единственности и необходимости этого пути. Вот почему патриотизм, вскормленный духом и сроднившийся с нормальным правосознанием, не может видеть в войне верного способа бороться за право. Любить свою родину не значит считать ее единственным средоточием духа, ибо тот, кто утверждает это, – не знает, что есть дух, и не умеет любить и дух своего народа. Нет человека и нет народа, который был бы единственным средоточием духа, ибо дух живет во всех людях и во всех народах. Не видеть этого значит быть духовно-слепым, а потому быть лишенным и патриотизма, и правосознания. Этот путь духовного ослепления есть поистине ‘вне-этический’ путь, чуждый настоящей любви к родине; ибо истинный патриотизм есть любовь не слепая, а зрячая, и парение ее не чуждо добру и справедливости, но само есть одно из высших нравственных достижений”.

    There are a discussion of law, a spirit sense of war, an idea of the INERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION. Think of it. Il’in wrote the idea of the future Nation League and United Nations Organization which unfortunately exhausted themselves now. You will laugh but Putin will speak in UNO this very day but he will not use the Il’in’s idea or better say the idea which comes from his philosophy ‘personalistic problems of international law’ I raised in my speech last December in Higher School of Economic dedicated to 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. I sent my thesis to Putin but with no luck.

    And you say that Ivan Il’in is Putin’s philosopher. He is but up to some border.


    1. Excellent quotation, Yury. It is a shame that I am not in Moscow so that I could attend your conference. I hope that it is a great success.


  11. Ditto. I would love to go if I could, and in any case to learn more about the Social Innovation Center and its initiatives and publications. I will pass the information on if I may to a close colleague of mine who is in Moscow at present. Can he just show up, or should he contact someone in advance by email? Постараюсь перевести интересную цитату чуть позже.

    Semyon Frank is one of my favorite philosophers. Fascinating stuff.


  12. My translation (with some help from Prof. Svetlana Grenier) of the quote from I. Ilyin cited above by Yu. Lisitsa:

    “A conflict of rights is an argument about law; and an argument about law can only be resolved through the means of legal organization and must be settled on the basis of natural law. Therefore the struggle for international law must be waged precisely not by arms, but through the pathways of international organization; and war’s moral purpose can only have to do with convincing people of the uniqueness and necessity of this path [of law and international organization]. This is why a patriotism nourished by the spirit and having imbibed a normal legal consciousness, cannot view war as the right or just means of fighting for legality. Love for one’s country does not imply seeing in it the only locus of the spirit, because a person who would assert such a thing does not know what the spirit is, nor is he capable of loving the spirit of his own people. There is no person, and there is no nation, who can be the unique locus of the spirit, for the spirit lives in all people and in all nations. To fail to see this is to be morally blind and therefore deprived of both patriotism and legal consciousness. Such a path of spiritual blindness is truly a non-ethical path, one having nothing in common with love for one’s native land; because true patriotism is not a blind but a seeing form of love; and the flight of this love, far from being indifferent to the good and to justice, is itself one of its highest moral achievements.”


    1. ” … the flights (or the soaring) of this love, far from being indifferent to the good and to justice … ” etc. [alternate translation]


    2. Just realized my translation of the last sentence was not exactly accurate. Try this:

      true patriotism is not a blind but a seeing form of love; the flights of this love are by no means indifferent to the good and to justice; such true patriotism ranks among the highest moral achievements.”


  13. Yesterday in my speech “Ilyn as innovator (renovator) of international law”
    on the Conference in C.F. of R.F. I Gave this very quotation from Ilyn (1917)
    and proposed to the audience to compare innovate Ilyn’s ideas with Putin’s
    speech in U.N.O. which should be in three hours later. After Conference
    (it was already 10 p.m.) I listened to it in Facebook and there were many intersections
    as I could foresee them. It was not because Putin used Ilyn’s idea; I am sure
    he does not know this quotation but because of co-called ‘world consciousness’
    (this my own new term: миросознание like Russian правосознание – legal consciousness).
    To-day I heard that Ivan Blot, prime adviser of a previous French President,
    in his commentary of Putin’s Speech used the word ‘innovation’ in Putin’s talk. I did not contact
    with people here in Moscow yet as I had lectures in my University but we shall discuss it
    As to my sententious yesterday it was the following: “From Ilyn’s Legal Consciousness
    Doctrine and Personhood Doctrine of Christian orthodox theologies and philosophers one gets
    at once a ‘personhood problem of international law’, i.e., (figure of speech) ‘states and countries
    must be or have to be persons nor individuals’ ”. This is an innovation which is not easy
    to understand and it is connected with another difficult problem of the ‘nature of court power’
    (природой судебной власти). I omit details but to understand personhood problem more clearly
    I read a quotation from Mitropolitan John Zizioulas:

    “Personhood is freedom. In its anthropological significance, as well
    as in its theological significance, personhood is inconceivable
    without freedom; it is the freedom of being other. I hesitate to say
    ‘different’ instead of ‘other’, because ‘different’ can be understood in
    the sense of qualities (clever, beautiful, holy, etc.), which is not what
    the person is about. It is noteworthy that in God all such qualities
    are common to all three persons. Person implies not simply the
    freedom to have different qualities, but mainly the freedom simply to be
    yourself. This means that a person is not subject to norms and
    stereotypes; a person cannot be classified in any way; a person’s
    uniqueness is absolute. This finally means that only a person is free in the
    true sense.
    And yet because, as we have already observed, one person is no
    person, this freedom is not freedom from the other but freedom for
    the other. Freedom thus becomes identical with love.
    God is love because he is Trinity. We can love only if we are persons, that is, if we
    allow the other to be truly other, and yet to be in communion with
    us. If we love the other not only in spite of his or her being different
    from us but because he or she is different from us, or rather other than
    ourselves, we live in freedom as love and in love as freedom”.
    (John D. Zizioulas, “Community and Otherness. Further Studies in Personhood and the Church”,
    NY, 2006, p. 9-10.)


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