“Sadom,” “Gomora,” and “modern Ukraine”. Russia will train psychology students in “spiritual security” and countering Western influence
Дмитрий Швец
“Sadom,” “Gomora,” and “modern Ukraine”. Russia will train psychology students in “spiritual security” and countering Western influence
27 February 2024, 21:17

Monk Kiprian during a meeting of the “Defenders of the Fatherland” foundation. Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

The Russian authorities’ dedication to “traditional values” is shown in a variety of ways. Today, the curriculum for “Spiritual Security of the Individual and Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values in the Work of Psychologists” was unveiled, slated for introduction across Russian universities. The course is purportedly designed to ensure that those involved in the war in Ukraine, or their relatives, do not come across psychologists who fail to align with certain government-mandated priorities or who are interested in astrology. Here’s a brief overview of the new academic discipline, which, among other aspects, touches upon the detrimental influence of unfriendly nations engulfed in moral degradation.

New Programme

In January last year, members of the Russian State Duma requested that Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who oversees the social sector in the government, establish centers for psychological support for participants of the war in Ukraine and their relatives.

A few months later, in April, the “Defenders of the Fatherland” foundation was established to provide support for military personnel and their families, including psychological assistance. At a government meeting in September, it was discussed that there was a shortage of psychologists working in the support centers, necessitating the involvement of external specialists.

Furthermore, it was decided at the meeting that not all psychologists are suited to work with participants of the war in Ukraine and their relatives: firstly, many of them identify as tarot or astrology specialists, and secondly, up to 40% of university faculty graduates “adhere to values contrary to traditional Russian spiritual and moral family values.” This was revealed in the annotation to the educational program “Spiritual Security of the Individual and Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values in the Work of Psychologists,” developed on Golikova’s orders.

The programme was made public today on the federal state educational standards portal, with attention brought to it by a DOXA outlet reader.

The Ministry for Education and Science indicates that the new course is intended for students pursuing degrees in psychology (both bachelor’s and master’s), clinical psychology, and psychology of active service (specialist degree).

One of the programme’s architects is Monk Kiprian (worldly name Valery Burkov), a former military pilot, Afghanistan war veteran, author of songs about that conflict, a Hero of the USSR, a master of psychology, a monk of the Vysokopetrovsky Monastery, president of the Scientific and Practical Institute of Religion-Oriented Psychology and Psychotherapy, and an active member in several foundations and councils. Upon request for comment, Burkov enquired about the Mediazona reporter’s views on mobilisation and the “special military operation.” Learning of their decidedly negative perspective, Monk Kiprian opted not to engage further.

His collaborator, Anna Gladkova, is the deputy head of the “Heroes of the Fatherland” foundation and leads the psychological service at the Centre for Soul Care and Medical Psychological Rehabilitation, dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow”. The document is signed by Alexey Levchenko, presented as the acting director of the Department of State Policy in Higher Education at the Ministry of Education and Science, although he is listed as a deputy on the ministry’s website.

Victoria Kanyshkina, the head of this department, is mentioned as the contact. She told Mediazona that this methodological recommendation has already been forwarded to educational institutions. When asked if its implementation in universities is mandatory, she confirmed, “Indeed, universities consider all our methodological recommendations and incorporate them when updating their educational programmes.” In response to a request for details on which courses might be adjusted to include the new discipline, Kanyshkina suggested submitting an official written enquiry.

Mental Wars

The document starts with revision of theses already familiar within Russian educational settings on the significance of “traditional values,” introduces the notion of “spiritual security of the individual,” and underscores the importance for psychologists to be cognizant of the “mental wars being waged against every citizen of the Russian Federation.”

The programme highlights that its aim is not to impart religious education but to explore traditional perspectives emblematic of “state-establishing religions.” The curriculum allocates 72 hours to this educational module for psychology students, with 48 hours dedicated to lectures and practical sessions, and an additional 24 hours for independent study.

The objectives outlined include cultivating an understanding of “spiritual security” foundations, encompassing awareness of occult practice threats, fostering a “natural inclination amongst students towards a healthy lifestyle, the establishment of families, and bolstering personal resilience,” as well as “enlightening students on the peril contemporary threats pose to the preservation of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values within Russian society.”

The ‘Defenders of the Fatherland” foundation’s stand at the Victory Museum on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. Photo: Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS

The programme has two sections.

The first section, titled “Spiritual Security of the Psychologist and Client (Patient) During Their Interaction,” is comprised of nine topics. For instance, one topic, “Human Anthropology. The Dual Natures of Humanity. Materialistic and Religious Perspectives,” delves into topics such as: “The Spiritual and Material Nature of Humanity: Soul and Body, Their Interconnection, Hierarchy in Human Structure”; “Historical Perspectives on the Soul”; “The Substitution of Soul Teachings with Those of the Psyche”; “The Concept of the Psyche, Its Location Within Humans, and the Soul’s Residency.”

Students will also engage with a topic “Spiritual Threats to Human Health.” Here, the authors propose a discussion on “spiritual, mental wars conducted by unfriendly nations” through “the propagation of alien spiritual values.” “Ukraine serves as an example of this,” note the programme’s creators. Additionally, within this framework, learners are to be educated about psychics, fortune-tellers, various manipulative or occult techniques, as well as trance states.

Other themes within this section enumerate “spirituality and mental disorders,” “methods of protection against destructive spiritual, psychological, and informational influences,” or historical instances demonstrating how a decline in societal spirituality leads to degradation.

This section, titled “Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values as the Foundation in a Psychologist’s Work with Clients (Patients),” comprises 14 topics. Educators will enlighten students on how Prince Vladimir serves as an exemplar of “the transformation of an immoral person into a highly moral individual as a result of embracing Christian spiritual values.”

As students navigate this section, they will be exposed to negative exemplars of peoples who have deviated from traditional values: “the Great Flood, Sadom and Gomora, modern Ukraine,” or discussions on the degradation in the West. The programme’s architects hope that through this exploration, students will comprehend “the current global situation and the attempt to substitute traditional Russian values with non-traditional Western ones.”

The ninth topic is dedicated to existing threats; it addresses sects, “destructive cults,” and how the state combats them. Graduates are expected to “be able to justify the existence of the aforementioned terms as threats to the state and the individual.”

One topic is devoted to marriage, while another one directly addresses war, aiming to unpack concepts of pacifism, patriotism, or military valor. Students will be expected “to be able to consider health issues of combatants from the perspective of moral or immoral behaviour in war.”

Subsequently, the programme presents examples of control questions:

  • Why does the state place great importance on preserving traditional Russian spiritual and moral values?
  • What is a moral law, and how does it influence the formation of a person’s character?
  • How can a psychologist contribute to the preservation of traditional family values?

Additionally, students are prompted to analyze several hypothetical situations, one of which is described as follows: “A young couple of non-traditional orientation approached a Christian baker to order a wedding cake for their marriage and requested the cake be decorated with a message supporting gay culture; the baker refused to fulfil this order.” Students are encouraged to reflect on whether the baker acted correctly and how he should have conducted himself.

Another example pertains to the war, which was a direct impetus for the creation of the entire programme: “A woman is at a psychologist’s office. She has received news of her son’s death in the SMO. The son died as a result of a shell explosion, leaving virtually nothing of his body, but his death is confirmed by witnesses. The mother does not believe her son is dead, refuses to bury ‘the remains of a stranger,’ and wants to go search for her son.”

Editor: Maria Klimova

Support Mediazona now!

Your donations directly help us continue our work

Load more