In Russia, however, Orthodoxy always was an integral part of the very fabric of life in Russia in a way which defined what Russia was and what it meant to be Russian in a much deeper way than could be said of the Church in England, for instance. This was so to such an extent that the catastrophe of the Revolution and the 70 years 'Babylonian captivity' could not erase that reality. Russians feel that Orthodoxy defines who they are as a people and defines Russia as a country. Protestant evangelists who seek to turn people in Russia from Orthodoxy to heresy, are accordingly viewed as threats not only to the Orthodox Church but to Russians as they understand themselves to be and Russia as they know it. Russians I know see them as aliens peddling an alien thought.
Dear Oleg, but is it really so? Isn't it a sweet myth created by sentimental Manilovs from the Russian intelligentsia? When one reads short stories by Bunin ("Village") or Kuprin ("Horse Thieves" and other), the impression is quite different. Real Russians from real Russian villages have been completely pagan. They spent their entire lives laboring very hard in order merely to survive, - and they stole, cheated, lied, killed, slept with their neighbors' wives, drank tons of moonshine, etc. etc. etc. In many cases they hated their priests, because the latter were as greedy and cruel as their landlords were. Christian self-denial, temperance, prudence, charity, mercy were simply unknown. When they caught a horse thief, the whole village would beat and kick him to death, for hours and hours. This, and Christianity, are, as far as I can see, completely incompatible, something from different planets, different galaxies.
Perhaps you could say then that these are two different visions of reality: the 'tolerant' western one and the 'actively protective' Russian one. Pastorally this needs to be taken into account according to who or what reality you deal with. But most importantly, it should be born in mind that these two visions do not enjoy one-to-one relationship (since they are not of the same value). Instead, it was Russia but not the West which gave the Orthodox Church more martyrs than in the whole of Christian history put together.
But it was Russia and not the West who produced the monstrous Bolshevik "revolution," the Moloch who chewed up all these "hostile classes."
I am a Ukrainian, but to me, there is no alternative to freedom, free will, free choice, free elections, transparency in the operation of the state, human rights, etc. Either these "Western" values reign, or, alternatively, everything becomes one big bloody Chechnya or Kongo or the like. Without the so-called "Western" values, people will forever live in darkness, blood, corruption and hopelessness.