Voices from Russia

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Poll Shows that Russians Believe that “Real Russians” Are Orthodox


A recent public opinion poll showed that a growing number of Russians consider the Orthodox Church to be a necessary feature of their national identity. According to a report released earlier this week by the independent Levada Centre, some 38 percent of survey respondents said it was “very important” to be an Orthodox believer if one wants to be considered “an authentic Russian”. That’s more than double the figure in a similar poll in 1996… 15 percent… and up from 32 percent in 2003. On Friday, Oleg Savelyev of the Levada Centre told RIA-Novosti, “This is a result of successful propaganda, especially by the state-run television networks”.

He said that in Soviet times, people would study the line-up of state leaders atop the Lenin Mausoleum during the parade commemorating Great October to divine the current pecking order. Today, they look at Easter services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Nevertheless, some believers complain that Orthodox events don’t get enough coverage. Igor Miroshnichenko, the deputy head of the Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers, a populist Orthodox organisation, said, “More and more people realise that Russia’s associated with real Christian values, unlike Europe, with its propaganda of homosexuality and other pornographic freedoms”. That trend is apparent in the passage this year of controversial laws in St Petersburg and several other big cities aimed at protecting children from “gay propaganda”.

The Levada survey found that just 9 percent of respondents thought Orthodoxy was “not important at all” to the national identity, down from 32 percent in 1996, and 20 percent in 2003. Savelyev also noted that the clergy has greater influence in politics, which is reflected in public opinion. The Orthodox Church has been making headlines throughout 2012, prompting a discussion about its increased role in the life of the nation. The prosecution of three women from the punk collective Pussy Riot for their performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour split society, with some calling for mercy and others, including some senior clergy, calling for punishment. In August, a court sentenced the three feminist rockers to two years in jail, although one later had her sentence suspended and was released. Miroshnichenko said Russians have begun to “understand that the Orthodox Church and Christian values are under attack” and want to defend them.

Interestingly, barely half of the respondents said that Russian citizenship was an important element of national identity. Just 53 percent said it was “very important” to hold a Russian passport to be identified as a Russian, up from the 46 percent recorded in 1996, but down from 58 in 2003. A different survey by the Levada Centre revealed that around 79 percent of Russians describe themselves as Orthodox believers, while only 6 percent said that they were Muslims. The poll results on national identity are based on interviews with 1,516 Russians. The margin of error is 3.3 percent.

23 November 2012




Sunday, 29 April 2012

Love Them Banner-Bearers… Church Activists Disperse Pussy Riot Supporters with Holy Water


On Sunday, activists from the Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers, a lay Russian Orthodox organisation, dispersed a group of protesters gathered in downtown Moscow near the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour supporting the jailed punk rockers from Pussy Riot by dousing them with Holy Water. Several dozen opposition activists gathered near the Cathedral for an unsanctioned rally in support of the members of the all-female punk group Pussy Riot, who’re in custody for performing a protest song against President-elect Vladimir Putin in the Cathedral in late February. The rally, a flare-up of the anti-government protests that spread across Russia since December, had the intent of uniting both believers and atheists in a mass prayer. However, the police cordoned off the territory in front of the Cathedral and detained two organisers of the protest to avoid “provocations”. Members of the Banner-Bearers quieted other participants of the prayer by pouring Holy Water on them and chanting, “No Sodom!” The Cathedral management refused to comment on the rally.

Vandalism and church desecration cases have become more frequent in Russia after Pussy Riot performed what it called “a punk prayer” in front of the Royal Gates (a place where only clergy are allowed, normally) at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February. Five group members, clad in balaclavas, chanted a song entitled Holy Shit against Putin that also contained lines such as “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!” The girls said the performance was a response to MP First Hierarch Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev’s backing of President-elect Vladimir Putin in the run-up to his landslide 4 March election victory. The Patriarch called the 12 years of Putin’s rule a “miracle of God” in a televised meeting. Pussy Riot can face up to seven years in prison if found guilty on hooliganism charges.

29 April 2012



Editor’s Note:

Late week, according to revised RF MVD figures, 75,000 people showed up to support HH and the Church… this week, “several dozen” showed up for a pro-Western demonstration (one wonders what McFaul had to do with it all). I seem to see a slight difference. Good on the Banner-Bearers, they dispersed the anti-Church pukes. God DOES see and judge, kids…


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