Caveat lector! The author of this piece is a neoliberal pro-Western fanatic who graduated from Harvard. Its chock fulla shit, but you need to know what’s out there. Don’t just read what pleases you… that’s what the Rush Limboob Fan Club droolers do. Always attend to reality… or, reality WILL deal with you.
This weekend, the MP held its Archpastoral Council at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. In his speech to the assembly, President Putin said that, of course, Russia isn’t a theocracy, but, “We’re a secular state of course, and can’t allow state life and Church life to merge, but at the same time, we must avoid too, a vulgar and primitive interpretation of what being secular means. Traditional values, believers’ religious feelings, and people’s rights, freedoms, and dignity must all be protected by both the power of public opinion and the power of the law” (emphasis in the original).
He also said that the Orthodox Church and other traditional Russian religions must be involved in “important fields as the support of family and motherhood, the upbringing and education of children and youth, social development, and the strengthening of the patriotic spirit of the armed forces” (emphasis in the original). The social conservatism inherent in having the Church play a greater role in family life (with “fathers” notably absent from the equation), schooling, and, somewhat counter-intuitively perhaps, the war machine, is nothing new. However, whilst the Russian state has actively promoted the Church since the early Yeltsin years, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the statement was the legal element.
Putin’s statement confirmed that some of the most bizarre parts of the prosecution’s case against the members of Pussy Riot… namely, that their actions contravened medieval Church law… may not have been the surreal aberration they seemed at the time. In fact, the following day, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev also spoke in favour of giving legal weight to religious doctrines. Russian news sources reported that Kirill “backed the idea of criminal prosecution for blasphemy similar the Pussy Riot’s punk performance in Cathedral of Christ the Saviour”; he was quoted as saying, “The law must protect not only symbols of secular importance, but also objects with sacred meaning for the believers and guard their religious feelings from insults”.
The Orthodox Church has been in the news these days. Last weekend, the Financial Times published a long profile of Fr Tikhon Shevkunov, who’s said to be Putin’s personal confessor; whilst the latest issue of The Economist reviews a new history of religion after the fall of communism. The FT noted the paradox that, whilst “only a small minority of Russians attend church regularly” the MP has become one of the country’s most trusted institutions. Geraldine Fegan, author of the book reviewed in The Economist, was quoted as saying, “Putin wants to capitalise on Orthodoxy’s image of permanence, even as his own legitimacy crumbles”.
Certainly, there’s an intimate relationship between the Church, the Kremlin, and big money. After all, Yeltsin financed the Church, in part, by granting it the right to import and sell tax free cigarettes, whilst the most avid sponsors of new houses of worship over the past 20 years have been oligarchs. Many senior members of the Church hierarchy have themselves become quasi-oligarchs, driving expensive supercars, wearing Swiss watches, and living in multimillion dollar apartments. Today, it’s become very fashionable among the megarich to have their own personal confessors… the latest badge of élite status. However, whilst we know that the church, state, and army have refashioned the old tsarist three-legged stool, it’s much harder to see which of them wields the most power in the equation.
In short, is Putin using the church, or is the church using Putin? As the embrace between them becomes ever closer, the key power struggle to come may no longer be between the Kremlin and the liberals, but rather Putin and his Patriarchate.
3 February 2013
This is what the crapitalist crowd in the West truly believes… and Orthodox swine like Lyonyo Kishkovsky, Victor Potapov, James Paffhausen, and Alexander Webster nourish their delusions by feeding them crank and bogus intel (in short, they give the Westerners what they want to hear, receiving attaboys and material rewards in return). Do remember how Jordanville lied about its non-existent ties to a putative “catacomb church” during the Cold War to receive Langley’s shilling… the main enablers of that were Basil Rodzianko and Victor Potapov… and how Schmemann worked for the American propaganda machine (how much Langley money did SVS get for that? Perspirin’ minds wanna know… there’s been no OCA analogue of Alexander Lebedeff (a First Family apparatchik, but an honest man when it comes to Church history) to tell the truth).
This is what the American Establishment believes… and there are traitorous Russians, both in the Rodina and in the diaspora, who sell out to them for filthy lucre and personal gain (after all, Potapov DID (or DOES) suck directly on the US government tit). The truth is that HH is a supporter of fundamental social justice, and he argues that it’s imperative for the state to provide a broad palette of social services (INCLUDING universal access to state-provided single-payer healthcare)… and the people that I named do NOT. Where is HH on every major holiday? He’s out in the hospitals and orphanages visiting sick and orphaned kids, that’s where (he also runs the niftiest Yolka in Moscow)… I’d remind you that James Paffhausen did NOT do that… which one of those two is god-pleasing? I’d say that it was HH… and Paffhausen was a gibbering and posturing poseur. Think on that…