For centuries, Russia was seen as the guardian of Orthodox Christianity throughout the world. This was especially true after Christian Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the year 1453.
The 20th century witnessed new problems for Orthodox Christianity as many militant Communist governments took over many countries that were once officially Orthodox societies.
Today, Orthodox Christians are once again the most significant religious group facing oppression on a global scale. In the Middle East, radical Salafist groups like ISIS slaughter and displace Orthodox Christians on a daily basis, in spite of receiving protection from governments like that of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The other great threat to Orthodox Christians today comes from post-modern European liberalism. The military arm of this movement, NATO, has replaced Ottoman Turkey as the modern threat to the Orthodox peoples of the Balkans including Serbs, Slavic Macedonians, Montenegrins and those in the wider Hellenic world which is overwhelmingly Orthodox.
Russia today is once again a geo-politically and militarily strong nation. It is also an Orthodox Christian nation, one which allows for the free worship of not just the majority of Orthodox Christians but also for Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and others, including those without a faith.
Because of this, it should come as no surprise to find out that a recent poll from the Pew Research Centre has discovered the following,
“Majorities or pluralities in nearly all Orthodox-majority countries surveyed agree that a strong Russia is necessary to balance the influence of the West, and that Russia has an obligation to protect Orthodox Christians and ethnic Russians outside its borders”.
Of the countries surveyed, the following shows the percentage of people in each nation who feel that Russia is a crucial defender of their Orthodox Christian faith and values:
Interestingly, each of these countries with the exception of Belarus (which Russia liberated from Polish rule) owes their freedom from Ottoman rule to Russia, in most cases, this dates to the Russo-Turkish war won by Russia in 1878.