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In the name of the father, the son, and Vladimir Putin

Posted on the January 29th, 2010

Russia’s communist revolution, in times past, did such a thorough job of trying to erase all traces of religion from the country that they “stamped out” the tradition of Christmas, according to Galina Stolyarova, writing for Transitions Online (“You Scratcheth My Back…” Jan 21, 2010).

To this day, Stolyarova reports, the holiday still hasn’t really made a comeback with the public.

But the old days may be returning.  Stolyarova reports on a meeting earlier this month between Prime Minister Putin and Patriarch Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. The occasion was the restoration to the church of a major piece of long ago, confiscated property. The generous gift signals a new working relationship between the Orthodox Church and the state, the reporter writes.


Patriarch Kirill is busy leading a group of authors engaged on a school textbook on the history of religion – a new subject that will be introduced in some Russian high schools as soon as this spring, and will then become part of the high school curriculum for the entire country. Furthermore, in another new departure, Orthodox priests have been assigned to the Russian army and are due to start holding religious services for the military in a few months.

What we are witnessing is apparently an attempt to incorporate the Russian Orthodox Church into the Putin-Medvedev “vertical of power” system of rule in this country. Hitherto the quest for a new Russian national idea, which has continued since the failure of Gorbachev’s perestroika, has yielded no results. But the country’s current rulers have come to realize that without a sound ideological base – meaning spiritual and ethical values shared across the nation – their vertical power system could become a colossus with feet of clay. So it appears the church has been recruited as a stonemason to shore up the base of the colossus.

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