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How Tsar Peter the Great Brought Usury Back to Russia in the 18th Century

The author is a well-known academic historian of Russia and Ukraine, which he approaches from a Christian (Russian Orthodox) and nationalist perspective, arguing that nationalism and Christian Orthodoxy are inseparable. He also writes widely on current affairs. Rare for contemporary Western historians of Russia, he sources original materials in Russian, pulling back the veil on much misunderstanding, ranging from modern history back to Russia’s very beginnings in the Middle Ages.

His personal site has a prodigious number of academic articles on this subject, and he is the author of 8 academic books. His articles on Russia Insider have been very popular because of their solid supporting research and unique perspective. You can find a full archive of them here. Please support him on Patreon, as we do, where he describes his work as ‘An electronic Molotov cocktail thrown into the faculty meeting of the tenured American professor.’ Hear, hear!

His latest book, Ukrainian Nationalism (2019), (Amazon), is the definitive treatment of this topic and is essential reading to understand the current political turmoil in Ukraine. It argues that Ukrainian nationalism is real and legitimate, but needn't be Anti-Russian, and that Russia and Ukraine are in fact natural allies. Here is his article on Russia Insider explaining some of the ideas in the book. There is no other scholar writing today about Russia and the Ukraine with this extraordinary command of historical detail and meaning. Johnson is a national treasure, and his works are highly recommended. For a fascinating audio podcast discussion of the book by Johnson and Andrew Carrington Hitchcock, see here

If you are so inclined, please rate the book on Amazon, as this increases sales greatly. It is a great way to support the author and help spread the ideas in the book. If Amazon blocks you from leaving a review, please let us know in the comments section below, and/or send an email to

In this podcast, Dr. Johnson looks at an attempt to westernise Old Russia that led to the rule of usurers in the following century.

This lecture series has always rested on the idea that the Petrine reforms in Russia, ending in 1725, were a disaster for the Orthodox church. They were based on occult ideologies from the west and the imposition of Hobbes’ “Leviathan” on the Third Rome. How was Peter successful?

The reason lies in the errors of the previous reign, that of Tsar Alexis and Patriarch Nikon. Alexis was a holy man with the best of intentions, but his westernization policies caused revolts to break out throughout his reign. These policies included political centralization, the “papalization” of the church and the introduction of western-style serfdom to Russia.

Another was the adoption of the “New Rite” of the church, which was a revolution in theology that divided Russia deeply to the present day. Trying to synchronize the Russian and Greek rites in anticipation of a future empire that would stretch to the Balkans and Greece, Patriarch Nikon would anathematize Russia as the Third Rome and mangle the old Russian religious ideology. It created confusion, destruction and division that made it possible for usurers and parasites to rule Russia in the following century. Lenin wasn’t the first Russian revolutionary.  

You can also listen to and/or download the podcast here:  audio/mp3

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