Jordan Peterson is Fatally Wrong About Russia

Jakub Ferencik
5 min readJul 16, 2022

Some of you may have seen the recent long lecture Peterson put out on his YouTube channel concerning his view on Russia’s war. I wouldn’t have listened to it if I wasn’t writing this article, to be honest.

I thought I would take the time to dismantle some of the claims he made.

Peterson’s argument can be summed up as: “Russia is wrong to invade Ukraine, but the West’s NATO expansion and culture wars are also to blame.”

I will only briefly address the echoing of John Mearsheimer’s argument about NATO expansion in this article toward the end, simply because I believe that it excuses Russian aggression which I believe to be unequivocally unprovoked.

Russian Orthodoxy. Photo by PJ Gal-Szabo on Unsplash

Putin’s Social Conservatism

It is no secret that the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, has aligned with socially conservative views. He has repeatedly mocked the rights of gay individuals in the West — not to mention trans individuals. And he has claimed that the Black Lives Matter protests were marked by “disorder, disruption, violations of the law.”

He’s also had a fairly positive relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church. That relationship is interesting since Putin has bombed indiscriminately both in Chechnya and, more recently, Syria (2015). His backing of Russian separatists in Donbas from 2014–2022 also resulted in the deaths of more than 14,000 people and displaced more than 2 million.

Granted, Peterson says that this collusion between the Russian Orthodox Church is “unforgivable” given all the killing in Ukraine. But Peterson fails to criticize Putin’s conservatism, something that warrants more attention from a notorious conservative.

Putin has a history of cruelty, so his masquerading behind socially conservative views and the Russian Orthodox Church only persuades those who aren’t watching closely.

At the same time, however, Russia is more secular than the US. And Putin hasn’t made an effort to change this, nor to make abortions illegal since Russia has the highest rates of abortion in the world.

So, Peterson’s main claim that the West’s culture wars are somehow to blame comes across as shallow. Russia is not a champion of Judeo-Christian…

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Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air,” “Beyond Reason,” & "Surprised by Uncertainty" on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | 750+ articles with 1+ mil. views