Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Globalization of the American Cultural Wars

The Berkley Center

For the last 30 years, the American Christian right has been exporting the model of the American culture wars to other parts of the world. Only fairly recently has it found a new powerful ally in this cause: Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church’s contacts with Christian right groups in Europe and in the United States have helped to strengthen ties between the Kremlin and European far right parties. This has allowed Russia to define its anti-liberal profile in a Christian conservative key that differs from the traditional Orthodox Christian anti-Westernism. For Russia, the globalized Christian right is a useful ally. It provides the language and themes for preferring closeness to Russia over an EU association in the countries of the former Soviet Union, or for attacking EU policies on migration and “traditional values” issues. In turn, this has antagonized liberal civil society and political opposition in new and old EU member states.

What do American Christian right actors stand to gain from exporting the culture wars? What is the political, historical, and sociological background to the new alliances between the American Christian right, in particular evangelical groups, and Russian actors? And what are the effects of their conservative norm mobilization in the United States, in Europe, and in Russia? Four renowned international experts discussed these questions on a panel moderated by Professor Kristina Stoeckl, within the context of a wider two-day workshop on “Russia in the Global Culture Wars.”

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