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1. Putin calls the conversion of Rus’ “the starting point for the formation and development of Russian statehood, the true spiritual birth of our ancestors, the determination of their identity. Identity, the flowering of national culture and education."

Let’s unpack this quote.
2. Like many official pronouncements of the Russian president (and general secretaries of the Communist Party of the USSR before him), this one is for both domestic and international consumption.

But it might not be for international consumption primarily in the way you think.
3. Yes, Putin uses this rhetoric to signal that Russia is a "Christian country." Of course, the Russian Federation is multiethnic, and the leaders of various faith traditions get trotted out to support the Putinist "traditional values" agenda. But there's more going on here.
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