Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society (OVTsO), told Interfax-Religion, “Back in 1995, the World Russian People’s Council (VRNS) said that the Russian people are a divided nation on its historical territory; it has the right to be reunited in a single state body, that’s an accepted norm of international politics”. Today, he expressed the hope that these people would have a guaranteed right to an independent free choice of civilisational blocs, saying, “At the same time, we hope, in fact, that the Russian military’s misson to protect not only the freedom and identity, but also the lives, of these people wouldn’t meet fierce resistance, with large-scale clashes. Nobody wants bloodshed… that would only deepen the divide that already exists amongst Orthodox people on the Russian historical space”.
He said that in the last few days many people on both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian border, including Orthodox, urged the Russian government to protect people who’re “under strong pressure on linguistic grounds. Sadly, most don’t understand how the current reality is hostile to their right of civilisational choice, how they’re not in step with the fancies of the European élites. Yet, these élites are becoming increasingly marginalised, as they don’t respect the will of the majority of the peoples of the world, as well as many in Western Europe itself”. According to Fr Vsevolod, it’s also about protecting those who wish to maintain the “closest possible relationship that evolved over centuries amongst the peoples of historical Rus, closer to each other than the Orthodox peoples of eastern and western Europe”. He pointed up that many of these people consider themselves Russian. Fr Vsevolod noted that there was much debate in society. Therefore, the last few days saw many disputes about whether Russia should intervene in the Ukrainian events.
He said, “Probably, many people panic because they fear a serious change in relations with the West, firstly, we’re talking about people who have property and family in Western countries, perhaps, their heart and soul is there, too. Remember what Christ said in the Gospel, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. In the best periods of its history, Russia came to the defence of people whose life and liberty was in danger. It helped those who’re close to us in faith and spirit, it helped those who didn’t want to live under imposed external control, and it helped those who wanted to keep their ideological and civilisational freedom. Of course, especially, in this case, it’s about Christians who want to live in a Christian way, to build their future as part of a civilisation fundamentally different from the Protestant-Catholic one, different from the secularised West, and different from the civilisations lying to the east of the Orthodox world”.
1 March 2014
KPRF official website