Alexander Verkhovsky Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Nationalist, Xenophobic icon

Alexander Verkhovsky Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Nationalist, Xenophobic

НазваниеAlexander Verkhovsky Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Nationalist, Xenophobic
Дата конвертации31.10.2012
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The paper for the seminar “Xenophobia and Postsocialism”, October 4-5, 2001 (Ljybljana)

Alexander Verkhovsky

Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Nationalist, Xenophobic

and Anti-Western Tendencies in Contemporary Russia

Not Nationalism, but Fundamentalism

A lot has been written about nationalism in the Russian Orthodox Church (Russkaya Pravoslavnaya Tzerkov - RPTz) and to dwell on the theme just briefly will suffice. Aggressive Russian nationalism is rather widespread in our country and it would be strange to assume that it is not represented in the RPTz too, as well as in any broad public association not requiring rigidly demand that its members should emphatically renounce nationalism.

There is also a deplorable pre-revolutionary vestige of a close link of many Church bishops and clergy with Black Hundred (Chyornaya Sotnya) organizations. Moreover, that link has been in no way openly condemned and a whole number of Black Hundred members have been canonized in the last decade including the time of mass canonization of new martyrs at the Jubilee Bishops' Council in August of 20001.

Since the time, when in 1991 in several monasteries during the sermons they ceased mentioning Patriarch Alexy II for his conciliatory speech before American rabbis, the RPTz leaders have not dared to speak directly against anti-Semitism which serves as a major component of Russian ideological nationalism. There is no mention of anti-Semitism in «The Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church» adopted at the Jubilee Council.

All that certainly does not mean that RPTz is a nationalist and anti-Semitic body. The very same «Bases» directly condemn nationalism2. But the RPTz bishops' inconsistent position (the reasons for which we shall not discuss here) allows members of the Church to collaborate with aggressive nationalist (and, certainly, extremely anti-Western) groups.

There is a multitude of such facts, especially those concerning the Russian National Unity (Russkoye Natzionalnoye Edinstvo - RNE), the largest nationalist organization that only conventionally is an Orthodox one, but actively cooperates in many regions with RPTz clerics3. Yet there is no proof of a direct approval of such cooperation on the part of the RPTz bishops.

Thus, one can say that the RPTz as a public association represented by its leaders does not support radical nationalist groups. But that is not so important compared to the fact that the Church contains such groups inside itself.

The reference is to a whole number of Orthodox brotherhoods ideologically holding extremely nationalist positions.
Same as the similar extra-Church groups, such brotherhoods are not supported by the bishops, but it is impossible «to expel» anybody from the Church for political views and the nationalist brotherhoods continue working actively4.

Nationalism or anti-Westernism for such brotherhoods is only a derivative from their general world outlook position and the most correct name for it would be «Russian Orthodox fundamentalism». That world outlook based on extremely mythologized notions about the pre-revolutionary Orthodox monarchy is very widespread in the Church. Actually it is a simplified and aggressive form of nostalgia for «the Golden Age» crossed out by the revolutionary epoch and rejected by the post-Soviet modernization.

Without trying to analyze this phenomenon within the report framework, we shall note only that «Russian Orthodox Fundamentalists» (further on - simply fundamentalists) stand for restoration of autocracy, restrictions against the Jews and confessions other than the Orthodox one, the imperial principle of state structure, the RPTz status as the state church, for complete rejection of the concepts of democracy and human (in particular, as concerns the freedom of conscience), opposition to any forms of Western influence within the country and struggle against it beyond its borders, rigid paternalism of the state in all areas and compulsory imposition of «Orthodox values» in every-day life, culture and even economy.

These moods are so widespread that the Patriarchate can act only against their most extreme manifestations. Those fundamentalist circles that are at least partly moderate already coexist with the Patriarchate more or less peacefully. Moreover, fundamentalism in the RPTz has been on the rise since the early 1990s and there are no grounds to believe that this rise will stop in the nearest years. There is not enough space here to describe the developments in relations between fundamentalists and the Patriarchate (in the administrative staff of which, by the way, they are also represented). One can say that since the early 1990s the unstable balance has been gradually shifting in favor of fundamentalism5.

It is fundamentalism, not nationalism as such, that is the basic anti-liberal and anti-modernist phenomenon generated by the Church.

^ Religious Xenophobia.

Church as a Source of a Wider Xenophobia

The aspiration to curb proliferation of the other religions in the country is one of the major public positions of the Orthodox Church. It is quite natural as such, as it stems from the aspiration to convert as many people as possible into the Orthodox faith and to save their souls. But in practice one can see that the motivation is not always the one mentioned. Or, at least, it is not the only one.

As early as in 1993 the RPTz actively supported a campaign for radical restrictions of foreign missionaries' activities. Those missionaries were seen by the Church as «hunters for souls» trespassing the canonic territory of the RPTz. At that time it turned out possible to proliferate such view, quite admissible for an Orthodox Church member, in the society as a whole. Yet, a secular society (and almost all preachers) does not care about the division of canonic territories between orthodox Churches. A secular state has no constitutional grounds to prevent somebody from «hunting for souls» or breaching the boundaries of religious jurisdictions.

As Yeltsin's administration at that time agreed with such approach, the RPTz overcoming its natural hostility toward Communists was compelled to make use of the support rendered by the Communist-patriotic opposition. It has been using it since then, and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) nurturing its traditionalist great power ideology more attentively than the Communist one has been willingly rendering that support.

It is impossible to say that the RPTz approves the program of the CPRF. But the Church leaders and the leaders of the CPRF and other «Communist-patriotic» organizations in the second half of 1990s even had joint semi-political structures6. With Putin coming into power the Patriarchate put a substantial distance between itself and the opposition, but it is not ready to get rid of its support altogether. Meanwhile, the very fact of their collaboration works in favor of xenophobic and anti-Western tendencies personified by the CPRF and organizations similar to it.

The Patriarchate is made closer to those organizations first of all precisely by the attitude toward non-Orthodox (predominantly foreign) preachers. This is the way Metropolitan Kirill (Gundyayev), Head of the Department of External Church Relations (Otdel Vneshnikh Tzerkovnykh Svyazey - OVTzS) and in fact the Number Two Man in the Church, personifying the liberal-conservative wing of the RPTz spoke as recently as this year:

«... We believe that the struggle against sectarianism by means of making religious legislation more strict is unpromising... Because in the case of sectarianism we refer not simply to the freedom of choice - we refer to the attempts of the known forces to divide our society spiritually and to add to the existing national, property and political divisions of today also religious ones»7.

If one takes into account that the overwhelming majority of those who now are called «sectarians» in Russia belong to the religious associations brought to Russia from beyond tens or hundreds of years ago, it is clear that «the known forces» are somewhere abroad too.

It is frequently said that the RPTz bishops fight non-Orthodox bodies first of all because they are afraid of competition. Allegedly it is due to that fear that the Moslems or the Baptists, who presently are not engaged in active proselytism, are subject to incomparably less condemnation than the rapidly multiplying Jehovah's Witnesses. This judgement is sufficiently reasonable, but it is not enough. In fact, in 1993 when the major competitive threat was posed by the «indigenous» White Brotherhood and Mother-of-God Center the demands were to introduce restrictions against foreigners all the same.

But whichever the bishops' motives are, the rhetorics, as one can see even concerning the example of Metr.Kirill, are obviously of an isolationist nature. And if the fact that «sects» of Western origin obviously prevail in Russia over «sects» of Eastern origin is added, it is possible also to say that the anti-sectarian rhetorics are of an anti-Western nature.

It is easy to find much sharper statements among those voiced by fundamentalist activists in the RPTz and their patrons among the bishops. But precisely the position of the very moderate Metr.Kirill is indicative.

^ The State Digests the Church's Proposals

Starting from 1999 anti-Western sentiments have been getting stronger in the Russian society in general. They are not alien to Putin's administration as well. Therefore it not surprising that anti-sectarianism motivated by the confrontation with the West has found now a semi-official support.

On June 5, 2001 a draft concept of the state policy in the religious sphere was published and advertised well enough8, one of its authors being the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation for Moscow. Our task is not to analyze that document as a whole, but it is important to note some aspects.

The declared purpose of the Concept is to develop the provisions of the law of 1997 «On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations» concerning the division of religions into the «traditional» ones and the rest, those provisions having remained since at the level of statements of the Preamble to the Law. The Concept proposes to legalize and regulate the «traditional» religions' privileges and the practice of the state cooperation with them. As for the naturally arising question which religions will be defined as the «traditional» ones, the Concept gives a principally anti-law and discriminatory answer: the religious associations should be sorted according to three criteria - the number of their adepts, their historical contribution to the development of the country and their actions «as a creative and unifying spiritual force of the Russian society aiming to maintain peace and stability in the Russian Federation».

The motivation for the proposed reform and its general conservative-xenophobic orientation is very important too. Here is an almost complete list of problems the draft notes:

«manifestations of a spiritual crisis of the contemporary Russian society in all spheres of its life, a devaluation of the system of traditional moral values, a world outlook disorientation of a part of the society, a loss of moral guide-lines in many areas of modern culture, a weakening of spiritual and moral bases of the institution of family and other negative social consequences;

presence of threats to the preservation and development of the cultural identity and the spiritually indigenous nature of the peoples of Russia;

aggravation of problems related to the manifestations of religious enmity and the activation of the religious extremism in the society;

foreign religious expansion into Russia as an element of external policies of a number of foreign states»

Those wordings in spite of all their streamline form remind in general the rhetorics coming from the leaders of the Communist-patriotic opposition of the 1990s, not the Church leaders.

One should admit, though, that such rhetorics were weakened during the editing this summer. In particular, the following about «foreign religious expansion » disappeared in the course of the further editing.

During the editing yet another important amendment took place: wording «traditional religion» was almost everywhere replaced with «traditional religious organization». The reason for the amendment is transparent: the state intends to interfere in jurisdiction disputes inside the confessions. The fact is of much practical importance first of all for the Moscow Patriarchate in its struggle with splits and for the so-called «moderate» Muftiates which are under a great pressure on the part of young and religiously and politically more radical Moslem associations.

Here we now find ourselves on the border between the confessional policy and the anti-terrorist one. But it should be understood that the opportunity for such interference will hardly be used for the sole purpose of combating the extremists only. A good example is a year-old story concerning the election of the Chief Rabbi of Russia, who was different not just in terms of his confession (the new Chief Rabbi is a Hasid, while the previous one was not), but also as regards the loyalty to the Kremlin.

After the Concept was published and gained support on the part of the official propaganda and the leaders of the main «traditional» religious associations9 a discussion on amendments to the Law of 1997 promptly began. The hearings in the State Duma were held as early as on July 6. The way the hearings were called is impressive as such - «The Problem of Legislative Support to the State-Church Relations in the Light of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church».

The recommendations10 approved at the hearings are permeated with the very same xenophobic spirit as the Concept quoted above is, and in case of their adoption they will entail discriminatory and possibly repressive consequences. And, although there was no vote taken at the hearings, it is reasonable to assume that Metr.Kirill acting as one of the key speakers is soldiery in general with the recommendations.

In particular, it is proposed «to accelerate the work on preparation of a draft law on counteraction to religious extremism». Understandably the state is concerned about the proliferation of the so-called «Wahhabism»11, but the State Duma will not adopt a law narrowly directed precisely against just it, the way they have already done in Daghestan, and that means one should not doubt that it will be possible to use the future law against the most diverse religious associations.

In conclusion of this chapter it should be added that the Concept quoted above is not the only one. Some days after it appearance an alternative draft prepared under the guidance of Prof.Nikolai Trofimchuk12 by the Russian Academy of State Service (Rossiyskaya akademiya gosudarstvennoy sluzhby - RAGS) was published. That draft was written in less xenophobic colors and it does not lobby for the RPTz interests, but it also causes serious doubts. The personality of the author also is a reason for some alert: Mr.Trofimchuk recently served as a co-author of a book titled «Expansion»13 maintaining the thesis about a geopolitical expansion of the West by means of religious missionary activities and, accordingly, about the need of a cultural («axiological») isolationism and an active support to the Orthodox missionary activities on the part of the state14.

«INN Jihad», First Campaign

Firstly, the Orthodox fundamentalists are basically against liberals and Westerners, those too perceived by them as almost the same. Secondly, the concept of «the worldwide Kike-Masonic conspiracy» with its spear-point aimed precisely against Russia is to some extent characteristic practically of all Russian nationalists including the Orthodox ones. And when the theme of «globalization» became popular in the West and then in Russia too those assumptions naturally gave birth to a specific Orthodox anti-globalism.

It was beginning with statements against the commodity bar code, in which our fundamentalists prompted by the like-minded Greek ones discovered the number of 66615. Hegumen (presently Achimandrite) Tikhon (Shevkunov), Father Superior of Sretensky Monastery in Moscow, as early as in 1998 became the main person to tell of a new trouble that came from the West and is regarded as nothing less than the advance of Anti-Christ16. Considering that Sretensky Monastery is one of the Church's largest publishing houses the propaganda has turned to be rather successful. In the Church's press and parishes they started to discuss passionately whether it was admissible for the Orthodox believers to buy the bar-coded goods.

Then they started to discover «the Seal of Anti-Christ» in all kinds of code designations in general and first of all in the magnetic cards. And the taxpayer's individual number [Individualniy Nomer Nalogoplatelshchika - INN], which according to the plan of the Ministry of Taxes should be given to each resident of the country, was considered the most obvious case. Besides, in the consciousness of the majority of fundamentalists INN for some reason merged with the bar code and a belief spread that «the Number of the Beast» was somewhere inside INN as well.

A powerful campaign was unleashed against INN in autumn of 1999. Hundreds of parishioners, monks and even fathers superior of monasteries were signing petitions with the demand not to introduce INN. The motivation in all cases was Apocalyptic, so that the heat of passions at once became very high. An observer aptly called that movement «INN Jihad»17. Certainly, the actions both in favor canonization of the family of the last Emperor Nicholas II and against «the heresy of ecumenism» went on mixed (and frequently at the same time) with the protests against INN. But «INN Jihad» was aimed directly against the policy of the state authorities, that fact giving it an additional impetus in the radical environment and creating an additional problem for the leaders of the Church.

The Synod tried to stop the new campaign by making a compromise proposal. The Synod's Decision of March 7, 2000 ruled18 that INN was not «the Seal of Anti-Christ», but repeated the assertion that the bar code contained the number of 666. Without arguing against the introduction of INN in essence, the Synod actually asked the authorities to show condescension to the most superstitious part of the believers and for that purpose to introduce - neither more, nor less! - a system of bar codes different from the rest of the whole world.

«INN Jihad», Second Campaign

It was no surprise that the Synod's decision did not stop the campaign, but it was surprising that the campaign was actually suspended for a few months. And starting from the autumn, after the Bishop's Council fulfilled the fundamentalists' main demand to canonize Nicholas II and his family, «INN Jihad» was resumed on a much larger scale.

That time references to the authority of some elders, first of all to that of Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), Confessor of Troitse-Sergiyeva Laura, that is the main monastery (and the main Ecclesiastical Academy) of the country, became the strike-force. Fathers superiors of monasteries were taking more active stands and some (differently oriented) politicians traditionally lobbying for the interests of RPTz and, of course, radical nationalists joined it. Hearings on that theme titled «Globalization and personal codes as an issue of world outlook choice of a contemporary human» were held in the State Duma on January 23, 2001.

A summary of the opinions voiced since autumn of 2000 produces a rather homogeneous picture. It was alleged that, firstly, the number of 666 is «implanted» in the bar code including the one used in the taxation related document circulation. Secondly, the act of giving a person a unique number to stay with him or her for the whole life substitutes his or her Orthodox Christian name. Thirdly, a uniform computer registration leads to a total control over the people; the introduction of INN is just another step on the path toward such control. And, fourthly, the computer systems are all compatible according to the global standards, that fact making it possible (a version - suggesting) an inclusion of the registry of the Russian citizens into the world registration system controlled by the mystical global forces of evil - by the West, «the new world order» «the world Jewry leaders» or directly by Anti-Christ19. One has to admit that the bar codes were not mentioned then as often as before and the attention was focused on the idea that globalization leads unswervingly to the kingdom of Anti-Christ, while the mission of Russia and Russian Orthodox Church was to defend the national and religious identity facing such a dangerous trend. Therefore it was not so important whether INN was literally «the Seal of Anti-Christ» and whether there were the sixes in the bar code. The important thing was to make not a step backward in the global confrontation20.

In addition sometimes there were calls «to escape into the wilderness», cases of refusal to give the Eucharist to those parishioners who «accepted INN» etc., and thus some grounds for accusations of a split emerged. Some went as far as making barely disguised calls to overthrow the authorities21.

Such radical moods of the fighters against INN caused a delimitation within the ranks of the Orthodox anti-globalists. Comparatively moderate opponents to globalization believed that INN was not the boundary at which it was necessary to make a mortal combat stand. More precisely they believed it was both possible and necessary to bargain with the state on that issue, but it was not worthwhile to bring the relations with the authorities to a sharp conflict and to subject themselves to a risk of real persecutions for the sake of INN.

Elder Archimandrite Ioann (Krestyankin), a person of a greatest authority among the conservatives, produced the most convincing arguments in favor of a moderate position. In his especially video-recorded late January appeal, that fact being extremely unusual in itself, he reminded: «... And what can be said about control and total spying, with which they frighten simple-minded people so much? When and in what state was there no secret office? All was... and all is... and will be... but nothing prevents a believer from seeking the salvation». In the same appeal Elder Ioann sharply spoke against the INN fighters' split-provoking manner of speech22.

Many Orthodox fundamentalist leaders including Archim.Tikhon (Shevkunov), once the initiator of all that campaign, an implacable opposition activist Konstantin Dushenov, Editor-in-Chief of «Rus Pravoslavnaya» [«Orthodox Rus»] newspaper, Sergey Grigoryev, Editor-in-Chief of «Russkaya liniya» [«Russian Line»], and others turned to be solidary with him too. But they used to add also an argument that a refusal to be obedient to the state was obviously non-patriotic, as it implied that Putin's regime was a God-fighting one. And that went (and goes) counter with to the hopes they pinned on Putin as «their» president. Yet their arguments were accompanied with emphases that in general the opposition to liberal and anti-Christ globalization must be continued. As far as one can judge, Archim.Kirill (Pavlov) took a similar position23.

Few have stayed in the ranks of the staunch fighters. It is necessary to mention a Petersburg priest Alexey Masyuk and the Editor-in-Chief of «Svyataya Rus» [«Holy Rus»] newspaper Konstantin Gordeyev (those two have actually become the leaders of the Movement «For the Right to Live without INN»), as well as Father Rafail (Berestov), an Athos Mountain Elder. With such obvious non-equilibrium of forces the outcome of the struggle was predetermined.

A broadened session of the Theological Commission held on February 19-20, 2001 in Troitse-Sergiyeva Laura adopted a Final Document24 which definitely denied an Apocalyptic meaning of bar codes and INN and condemned the split-bound spirit of the fighters against INN, while as concerns the threat of globalization it said only that «processes of globalization... may be used by a malicious will to enslave people and human communities».

Respectable Orthodox Anti-Globalism...

The radicals were defeated and since then have displayed almost no activity25. But the more moderate Orthodox anti-globalists are still active to make up for that.

In addition to the above-mentioned figures, those include very many of the elders and fathers superior of monasteries. One can see that even by reading the officially published statements made at the Theological Commission session26, though not all judgements at odds with the opinion of the Patriarchate were published27. Archim.Kirill (Pavlov), who was absent at the session, did not sign the Final Document either28.

There are rather many principled anti-globalists too among the Bishops who in a disciplined way have been implementing the instructions of the Patriarchate to prevent the proliferation of «INN Jihad». As the volume of the report is limited, there will be no examples given, even more so because Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Kirill who are considered almost liberals have been regularly speaking since the early 1999 on the topic of confrontation between the liberal Western values and the traditional national-Orthodox values of Russia29.

Metr.Kirill then made the following conclusions from theoretical discourses:

"... Civil rights and freedoms... remain in our view an unconditional value", but "liberal values in politics, economics and social life should be considered by us as admissible only under the condition of resolute renunciation of establishment of the principles of liberal axiology as applied a human personality", and, to be more specific, the Church insists on "establishment of the system of values traditional to Russia in the sphere of upbringing, education and formation of inter-personal relations"30.

Accordingly, the balance existing between the liberal values and the traditional ones must be shifted in favor of the latter31.

Formulas contained in «The Bases of the Social Concept of the RPTz» written under the control of Metr.Kirill (and adopted by the Bishops' Council in August of 2000 without discussion) are soft enough, but quite definite:

«The spiritual and cultural expansion fraught with total unification should be opposed through the joint efforts of the Church, state structures, civil society and international organizations for the sake of asserting in the world a truly equitable and mutually enriching cultural and informational exchange combined with efforts to protect the identity of nations and other human communities.

<...> Invariably open to co-operation with people of non-religious convictions, the Church seeks to assert Christian values in the process of decision-making on the most important public issues both on national and international levels. She strives for the recognition of the legality of religious worldview as a basis for socially significant action (including those taken by state) and as an essential factor which should influence the development (amendment) of international law and the work of international organizations.»

Certainly, there is nothing reprehensible that RPTz as a religious association wants the society to take its faith into account as much as possible. For us it is the tone the Church is being tuned to by its leaders that is important. The matter is that RPTz so far has been a sufficiently disciplined structure, especially at the episcopacy level, and usually neither the bishops, nor even the majority of politically active laymen let themselves make significant deviations from the line designated by the Synod. The anti-globalist position of the Synod's leading members that has gradually took shape in the last two years gives more freedom to fundamentalists.

^ ... And Its Practical Applications for the Church and the State

It's no surprise that in the existing atmosphere the decisions made by the session of the Theological Commission in February have just transferred the discussion on INN into a more respectable channel.

The Saint Petersburg Ecclesiastical Academy headed by Bishop Konstantin (Goryanov) held on May 3-4, 2001 together with two secular institutes held a conference titled «Spiritual and social problems of globalization». The conference adopted a final document32, which all Orthodox anti-globalists could well sign. The document was thoroughly drafted and has already become a theoretical basis for further development of the movement. Therefore it is worthwhile to give a rather full citation from it:

«1. The ideology of globalization is in opposition to the Christian world outlook and incompatible to it; it takes root and is propagandized in the secular society and the Church through the efforts of the world elite and it expresses its interests. Globalization becomes an embodiment of the utopian idea of mondialism about creation of a unitary, supranational and rigidly controlled community on Earth...

2... The conference ascertains a principal conceptual distinction between the processes of economic integration and technological progress and the global concentration of power. The latter is the essence of the ideology of mondialism using the planet-wide introduction of information-financial technologies as a tool to achieve the world leadership.

3. The historical calling of Russia as a country preserving the Orthodox faith, culture and traditions is not recognized and is rejected by the mondialists. Yet the values mentioned are important for the whole world. The Russian Orthodox Church and the state have become the main obstacle in the path of aspirations for the world domination...

4. Changes in the traditional system of values, destruction of national culture, Christian moral and senses, primitivization of the people's thinking and universal work to make them accustomed to «voluntary-compulsorily» acceptance of digital identifiers (personal codes) replacing a human name in all state-public relationships are presently the main manifestations of the globalization process in the Russian Federation. <...> As Confessor of Svyato-Troitskaya Sergiyeva Laura Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov) noted with justice and precision, "By accepting INN a person is incorporated into the system of evil"... »

It is possible to find some differences in this document as compared to the Final Document of the February plenary session of the Theological Commission, but on the whole we see just more definitely and resolutely reformulated provisions of «The Bases of the Social Concept». It is not surprising that no reprimands, at least public ones, have come from the Synod. Metropolitan of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga Vladimir (Kotlyarov) has not objected either, although he is considered to be one of the most liberal bishops of RPTz.

Thus, fundamentalist anti-globalism, albeit not in the most radical forms, has been in fact legitimized in RPTz. And now one has only to wait for a new stage of its activation.

A quite definite political resonance is also evident.

First, on February 15, 2001 the Duma rejected a draft law «On the Basic Documents of the Russian Federation Certifying the Identity of a Citizen of the Russian Federation», because it suggested such innovations as a citizen's personal code and magnetic record of passport data. The draft was not saved even by the fact that it was submitted by a wide and authoritative group of deputies ranging from liberals up to Communists. A new draft submitted to the Duma in April does not contain anything «mondialist».

Secondly, the above-considered draft «Concept of the State Policy in the Sphere of Relations with Religious Associations» has appeared. Certainly, it is a purely secular document, but its aggressively xenophobic and anti-Western spirit is quite in tune with the Saint Petersburg document quoted. And Metr.Kirill who approved the draft made no remarks concerning its inadmissible tone.

Thirdly, a resolution on «Digital identification of a person (INN, personal codes etc.) as a basis of the globalization process and its assessment by public and religious organizations» of the Duma hearings of May 22, 2001 reproduces in plenty the very same final document of the St.-Petersburg conference33.

And the last, but very important circumstance. Recently the official propaganda began letting itself to openly play in favor of fundamentalists. The reference is to the religious department of the actually official propaganda website Strana.Ru openly promoting the views of Archim.Tikhon (Shevkunov). Probably it is done partly for the purposes of state manipulation of intra-Church conflicts, but some more principled rapprochement also exists34.

For example, Strana.Ru has published a whole manifesto drafted by Archpriest Vladislav (Sveshnikov), Confessor of the Union of Orthodox Citizens, a wide Orthodox-nationalist coalition35. In says, in particular:

«Never before the European West and America have been feeling so openly hostile to Russia as at present.

One of the most necessary and difficult tasks for contemporary Russia is what may be called the search of true friends and true services to them for a joint opposition to the International of the so-called "new world order", which to the people understanding the issue spiritually is the ground for the beginning of the Apocalyptic times».

That in some aspects looks similar to the contemporary Russian foreign policy (at least before September 11, 2001), but the state, of course, usually prefers to cut off the extremes. And in the end of August 2001 the openly fundamentalist religious department of Strana.Ru was closed.

Certainly, the state uses the Church, but RPTz is a force too significant to let itself be used without any initiative on its own part. And the Church initiatives of anti-liberal, xenophobic and anti-Western orientation have ever more noticeable in the last two years.

In the field of ideology the Patriarchate is getting closer to the fundamentalists, while the state is getting closer to the Patriarchate.

July-October, 2001

1 A short list of saint members of Black Hundred can be found in: Torzhestvo Istiny [Triumph of Truth ]// Rus Pravoslavnaya [Orthodox Rus], #9, 2000

2 English translation of «The Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church» is accessible at:

3 The facts on this theme can be found, in particular, in: Vyacheslav Likhachyov, Vladimir Pribylovsky. Russkoye Natzionalnoye Edinstvo. Politika, istoriya i ideologiya [Russian National Unity. Politics, history and ideology]. М., 2000; Alexander Verkhovsky. Tzerkov v politike i politika v Tzerkvi [Church in politics and politics in Church] // Politicheskaya ksenofobiya v Rossii // Political xenophobia in Russia]. М., 1999; Albert Shatrov. Karayushchiye namestniki Boga [God's punishing representatives] // NG (Nezavisimaya Gazeta] -Religii [Independent Newspaper - Religions], #4, 1998; Fashizm I religiya [Fascism and religion]. Information and analysis bulletin of "Anti-Fascist" Public Fund, #6. М., 1998

4 For more details about politicized Orthodox brotherhoods see: Alexander Verkhovsky. Opp. cit.; Stella Rock. Fraternal strife: Nationalist fundamentalists in the Russian Orthodox Brotherhood movement. The report has not been published yet.

5 That process of the period from the early 1990s and till the spring of 1999 was described in: Alexander Verkhovsky. Opp. cit.

6 The reference is to the All-World Russian National Congress and the Russian Zemstvo [Local-Government] Movement. See more details about these organizations in: Alexander Verkhovsky. Opp. cit.

7 Alexander Korolyov. «Opasno putat religiyu s politikoy» [«It's Dangerous to Mix Religion with Politics»] // Trud [Labor]. 14.03.2001

8 The Concept of the State policy in the Sphere of Relations with Religious Associations in the Russian Federation. The complete text, many relevant publications and almost all the discussion on the issue are accessible at the site of the second author of the draft, that is the Institute of State-Confessional Relations created in 2000. See:

Sea the Concept text itself at:

9 See also at:

10 The complete text is accessible at:

11 The use of the term in Russia is not in conformity to its meaning in the Arab world. In Russia is used to mean any militant Islamic fundamentalism, but evidently introduction of a legislative ban on Wahhabism will hurt also quite peaceful Moslems who are attracted to fundamentalist concepts, not Islam in the forms in which it has traditionally existed in the USSR territory.

12 The complete text see at: The most important excerpts were published also in «NG-Religii»:Kak vystraivat vzaimo'otnosheniya vlasti I konfessiy v novom veke [How to build mutual relation between the authorities and the confessions in the new century] // NG-Religii. 27.06.2001

13 N.A.Trofimchuk, M.P.Svishchev. Ekspansiya [Expansion]. М., 2000. Texts is also accessible via the Internet at:

14 See also: N.A.Trofimchuk. Gosudarstvo i missionerskaya deyatelnost [The State and the Missionary Activities]. 28.03.2001 (

15 It is not appropriate to go into details of the bar code here. It is enough to say that the presence of three sixes in it is a kind of an optical illusion.

16 See, for example: Hegumen Tikhon (Shevkunov). Amerikantsy ob Antikhriste: s nim nam bolshe vezyot [Americans about Anti-Christ: we are more lucky with him] // Pravoslavnoye knizhnoye obozreniye [Orthodox Book Survey], not numbered, June, 1998.

17 That definition was produced two years later by Sergey Grigoryev, Editor-in-Chief of the «Russian Line» webserver, one of the active fundamentalists not supporting the campaign. See: S.Grigoryev. Chego khotyat protivniki INN? [What do the opponents of INN want?] // Russkaya Liniya [Russian Line]. 02.12.2000 (

18 Uvazhat chuvstva veruyushchikh. Khranit khristianskoye trezvomysliye [To respect the believers' feelings. To preserve sober Christian thinking]. Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. 07.03.2000. Accessible at: 3083.htm

19 It happened very seldom, but the argument #5, the most realistic one, was used: creation of a unified taxpayer database makes the taxpayers vulnerable not only to the state, but to the bandits as well, as all such databases very soon find their way to the black market.

20 See, for example: The open appeal to President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin, Minister of Taxes and Charges G.I.Bukayev and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation from Orthodox priesthood, church clergy and laymen of Vladimir-Suzdal Eparchy (Diocese) of the Russian Orthodox Church. 20.12.2000. Published at the website of the Movement «For the Right to Live without INN» (; 'Yarko vyrazhenniy demonicheskiy kharakter…" ["An Clearly Evident Demonic Nature…"] The Appeal of the brothers of Svyato-Vvedensky Monastery of Optina Pustyn to the Orthodox Christians // Rus Pravoslavnaya [Orthodox Rus]. #1, 2001; Globalizatziya i lichniye kody kak problema mirovozzrencheskogo vybora sovremennogo cheloveka [Globalization and personal codes as an issue of world outlook choice of a contemporary human] // «Russian Line» News. 27.01.2001 (; V.Petrov. INN i plany «knyazey tmy» [INN and the Plans of «the Princes of Darkness»] // «Russian Bulletin» server (

21 Сelibate Schema Priest Nikolai [Uskov]. Pravoslavnych zagonyayut v ugol [The Orthodox believers are being driven into the corner] // Rus Pravoslavnaya [Orthodox Rus]. #12, 2000.

22 Archimandrite Ioann (Krestyankin) on INN // Pravoslavie.Ru. 01.02.2001 (

23 See, for example: Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov): his speech in a "Radonezh" broadcast on 29:01.2001 // Pravoslavie.Ru ( tihon_radonezh.htm); Archimandrite Amvrosy (Yurasov). Antikhrista boimsya, a Boga - net? [We are afraid of Anti-Christ, but do we fear God?], Sergey Grigoryev. Chego khotyat protivniki INN? [What do INN opponents want?], Konstantin Dushenov. Tzarsky put [Tzar's way] // Rus Pravoslavnaya [Orthodox Rus]. #1, 2001

24 Its text is accessible at:

25 Even the information campaign has been waged relatively weakly. It is possible to learn about it at «Stoyanie v istine» [«Perseverance in truth»] ( and «Svyataya Rus» [«Holy Rus»] ( sites.

26 Vestnik «Russkoy Linii» [«Russian Line» Herald]. #6, 2001 (

27 Interview by Konstantin Gordeyev to "Blagovest" ["Church Bells Ringing"] newspaper of Samara. Stoyaniye za pravdu [Perseverance for truth]. (

28 Archimandrite Kirill Hasn't Signed the RPTz Final Statement on INN. HG-Religii. 28.02.2001

29 The start was made by an article by the Patriarch: The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II. Mir na pereputye [The World at Crossroads] // NG-Religii. 23.06.1999. We have already had an opportunity to write about that period: Alexander Verkhovsky. The Religious Factor in the Presidential Campaign and in the Formation of Ideology of the New Rule // National-Patriots, Church and Putin. Parliamentary and Presidential Campaigns 1999-2000. Moscow, 2001

30 Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill. Norma very kak norma zhizni [Norm of faith as norm of life // Nezavisimaya Gazeta [Independent newspaper]. 16-17.02.2000

31 Metr.Kirill spoke about that on March 21, 2001 at a seminar at the Center for Strategic Developments. See: Blagovest-Info, #12, 2000

32 The document has been published at the site of the Movement «For the Right to Live without INN» at:

33 The final document is also published at the site of the Movement «For the Right to Live without INN»: Other materials of the hearings see at:

34 For more details about it see: Alexander Verkhovsky. Dilemma Kirilla i Mefodiay [A dilemma of Cyrill and Methodius] // Russkaya Ideya [Russian Idea]. 29.03.2001

35 Prot. Vladislav Sveshnikov predlozhyl kontzeptziyu vozrozhdeniya Rossii [Arch. Vladislav Sveshnikov proposed a concept of revival of Russia] // Strana.Ru 25.03.2001 ( and


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