Russian paratroopers deploy inflatable Orthodox church

Bruce Schneier writes, "This is a film of a training session of the Russian Army deploying an inflatable Orthodox church and paratrooping priests. Too weird for me to blog."

Paratrooper priests and airborne temples at the service of Russian army (Thanks, Bruce!)


  1. Gee, that sure could come in handy is some sort of situation, I am sure.  Maybe they are ready for the red dawn like invasion of Las Vegas

    1. Is obvious, no?  This is practice for breaking up next Pussy Riot demonstration.

    1. It’s the back-up emergency inflatable Orthodox church. I already popped the primary emergency inflatable Orthodox church. Now let’s see, where did I put my atheist needle…?

      The place in the snow where there is only one set of footprints was where God was airlifted over the tundra.

  2. I understand that they are fairly fierce and handy with weapons and inspiring others to be the same.

  3. At 3:20, while unpacking the inflatable church, “Do not waste time. Each second is important!”

    This is like something from science fiction, written in the 18th century, about the 21st.

  4. I am picturing an arms race of chapel deployments – Israelis, India (they’d need a LOT of sanctuaries!) Sunnis, Shiites, Haiti, the Vatican… I wonder how Shinto (place based) would manage?

    1. The Vatican has been working on this since 2008, though they’re behind on the paratroopers:

    2. For Shinto you’d basically just have to find a place that’s aesthetically appealing and set up a tori’i.  I suspect that would be the easiest of all.

    1. Could be Imperial Guard; but the fact that the church didn’t have lascannons and tank treads makes me a bit skeptical…

      1. A Baneblade or Capital Imperialis are about the size of a church for that matter anyways. Cathedrals… tanks… they’re all the same in the Guard.

    1. Correction: In an emergency, they will be used by the beards as flotation devices.

      (insert obvious “In Soviet Russia” joke here)

  5. Tossing all of those priests out of an airplane at altitude, all I could think of was a paraphrased version of this classic WKRP episode,  “As God is my witness, I thought priests could fly.”

    1. Oh, gods, you’ve just brought the memory of the ‘turkey drop’ episode back to me, with the attendant uncontrollable giggles. ;-)

  6. Son, I am disappoint. When I saw the headline, I thought this was going to be one of those realistic decoys, and I watched the video looking to see colorful spiral onion-top domes. When it turned out to be just another easy-up military tent that they happen to use as a church, I was annoyed I’d taken the time to watch. Boring!

  7. One suspects that the military would not be as accommodating for other sects and religions. At some level it seems that the old Soviet “state as a religion” is being transformed to the Russian Orthodox Church as a state religion.

    1.  Yes, well, I for one am fairly convinced that the revival of religious expression in post-communist Eastern Europe and Russia is less about nascent religious passions than it is about a reaction-formation against the Communist regimes. This sort of shit has much more to do with social psychology than theology.

      But then, I think that the USA is the most religious Western state because of, rather than in spite of, the First Amendment.

      1. *against* the Communist regimes? I’d say what you’re seeing in Russia in particular is a very cozy friendship between church and state, with state regularly using church as both unifying theme and as excuse for getting rid of critics.

  8. It’s almost a Monty Python sketch.   Bizarre but kind of nifty.  Anyone know what that honking great biplane transport is?  I’ve not seen those before that I can recall.  had no idea anyone was using biplanes at all.

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