Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Moscow Patriarchate Urges the State to Issue a Moral Evaluation of the Murder of the Imperial Family

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Zamglavy of the MP DECR

The MP believes that the Russian state should issue, on the 90th anniversary of their deaths, a moral evaluation of the murder of Tsar St Nikolai II and his family. “Thus far, the state has not said that the murder of the imperial family was a crime. Until the state issues a moral evaluation of the actions of those who ordered their imprisonment, those who ordered the imperial family guarded under close arrest, and those who gave, approved, and executed the command to shoot them, until the state does this, in the form of a substantial symbolic gesture on the part of the leadership leading to a clarification of this question in the public consciousness, Russia shall be impeded in its future progress if it does not rid itself of the historical blemishes on its conscience”, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the Zamglavy (deputy head) of MP Department for External Church Relations, said in answering to questions from journalists in Moscow.

He expressed disagreement with those who advocate that all Russians repent of the sin of regicide. “I am against ceremonies of national repentance”, he said. “Man bears the imprint of original sin, but, that is cleansed in baptism. However, any talk of repentance for ancestral or national sins contradicts our dogma concerning salvation”. Fr Vsevolod is convinced that “we should heal the wound to the public conscience that arose from the murder of the imperial family”. In particular, it is puzzling to Fr Vsevolod that the discussion over the renaming of the Voikovskaya metro station in Moscow has been so prolonged, for it was named in honour of one of the murderers of the imperial family. “No onerous difficulties arose over the renaming of two other metro stations, which, in my view, were much less in need of renaming”, he noted, referring to the Bittsevsky Park and Delovoi Tsentr (Business Centre) stations.

He regrets that there is “reticence” about the question of our attitude to the shooting of the imperial family and that “there are people who say openly that there is no need to restore the reputation of Tsar Nikolai and that there is no need to condemn the Bolsheviks”. In Fr Vsevolod’s opinion, such people “are losing the argument today because society is beginning more and more to realise the truth… the Bolshevik leadership was a criminal organisation, and that the Bolsheviks seized power, the people had no part in it”. The more society learns, the more it poses questions such as “how should we assess this criminal organisation, how do we judge what it did, and how should we treat its heritage”, he noted. “Perhaps, there was probably much in Russia that needed correction… there was World War I, social and economic problems existed… but, the Red Terror corrected nothing, no crisis could ever justify the absolutely criminal activities of the Bolshevik rule in Russia”, Fr Vsevolod emphasised. In conclusion, he expressed the opinion that “Russia cannot advance to the future with a free conscience, if we think that what the Bolsheviks did is normal”.

19 June 2008




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