Matthew Raphael Johnson’s “Orthodox Nationalist” podcast ran from 2009 to 2012. Dealing with all facets of Russian and Ukrainian history, theology and politics, it was the #1 draw at the Voice of Reason Network. Today, it is a part of The Barnes Review and sponsored in part by the Traditionalist Worker’s Party.In this edition of the Orthodox Nationalist, Dr. Johnson speaks of the intellectual aspects of his conversion to Orthodoxy while in graduate school in Nebraska. This is used to underscore many of the problems in contemporary academia and to expose the incompetence and bad faith of professors in history and philosophy.
The main part of the show is to detail the career of the great Cossack Hetman Ivan Sirko (?-1680). With a handful of Cossacks, this man destroyed no fewer than three Turkish armies, leaving the Ottoman state defenseless. One of these armies was the elite Janissary corps, which the Hetman destroyed with a grand total of 15 Cossacks dead on his side.
Russia’s response to these victories is curious. Normally the great enemy of Islam in Europe, they feared Sirko’s tremendous success and sought to destroy him. Russia’s response was to destroy the Sich (or the Cossack fortress deep in the rapids of the Dnieper) and destroy Ivan personally. It was clear that Sirko was a threat to all empires. He was a nationalist, populist, an Old Believer and communitarian.
Sirko proved that he was also one of the greatest military tacticians who ever lived. His victories combined sneak attacks, guerrilla warfare and ingenious methods to destroy armies far larger than his own. The Janissary corps was considered the finest cavalry in recent memory and to destroy the cream of their armies was nothing short of extraordinary.
Sirko could have single handedly destroyed the Turkish empire. The Sultan was in the process of fleeing his capital when Russian arms came down on the Cossacks. For reasons thta remain mysterious, Moscow supported Hetman Ivan Samoylovych, a more pro-Russian leader of a Cossack band that, as Turks initially poured into Ukriaine, refused to fight.
Once Sirko was out of the way, Moscow then formed “The Holy League” as a way to “fight the Turkish empire.” as Sirko had the entire empire on its knees, Russia and the rest of the Cossacks refused to fight. One must suppose that the glory of the empire was more important than the destruction of its enemies.