Russian version

Extremism and xenophobia in electoral campaigns in 1999 and 2000

Alexander Verkhovsky


Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) participated in the last Parliamentary Election with particular caution, which can be, on one hand, explained by its already hardened intention of keep at a certain distance from the current politics, and on the other hand – by the fact that since the fall of 1999 the ROC’s relationships with the power have been rather ambiguous. The election campaign’s principal conflict was supposed to be not the conflict between the power and the Communists (in whose frame the Patriarchy made its choice a long while ago and, accordingly, developed a distinct strategy in regards of the election), but the one between Kremlin and Moscow Mayor. The Patriarchy has always gravitated towards both parties alike, and both parties have been patronizing it pretty much equally.
The period of maximal gravitation towards the tandem Luzhkov-Primakov, that coincided with Primakov’s time as Prime-Minister, was over by them. Nevertheless, in the beginning, the ROC’s rapprochement with “Motherland” (“Otechestvo”) seemed absolutely inevitable. First of all, Luzhkov was close to the Patriarch for quite a while, even closer than Eltsyn, and in the spring of 1999 he seemed to represent a more secure protection from Communist revanche. Second of all, despite the ultimate vagueness of the “Motherland’s” program, it still reflected with utter clarity imperial pathos and anti-Western attitude (both restricted by rejection of the war), economic liberalism (restricted by acceptance of the already formed economic system), “protection of the working people” (without either enchantment with leftist ideology or, a fortiori, Soviet revanchism), importance of the state-level defense of traditional moral values (without hysterics), and in general, certain openness to the ideas of national-patriots (with unequivocal denouncement of all kinds of radicalism and racist rhetoric). All these distinctive features match the Patriarchy’s present ideological checkpoints very well.
The Patriarchy did not forget to develop contacts with other two main participants of the election campaign – the Kremlin and the Communist Party. The ROC’s relationships with the Kremlin per se actually revived when Putin was appointed Prime-Minister and were steadily waxing in strength in course of the campaign. It is known that Putin paid a lot of attention to nurturing his ties with the Patriarch and even visited him outside of working hours in his Peredelkino residence.
A rather indirect form of cooperation was chosen in relation to the Communist patriotic movement (to be more precise, with its sector that accepts the CPRF’s leading role in one way or another). Russian Zemstvo Movement (RZD) of Elena Panina, who had proved herself as the Patriarchy’s faithful ally within the leadership of the Word-Wide Russian People’s Council (VRNS [1]) played the role of the indispensable inter-medium. The RZD’s leadership comprised the principal strategist of the ROC, Metropolitan Kirill, Chair of the Department of External Relations of the Church (OVTsS). Since late in 1998, the RZD has been cooperating with Zyuganov’s People’s Patriotic Union of Russia (NPSR), whose activists, by the way, always eagerly participated in the “assemblages” of the VRNS.
Basically, all the political parties of distinct national-patriotic orientation always demonstrated their special attitude towards the ROC, so the Patriarchy had quite a choice. And naturally, it selected the most solid and moderate allies. It has been considered practicable to maintain contacts with them on the level of the OVTsS – by “them”, we mean the CPRF and NPSR in their entirety, Zhirinovsky’s LDRP on the level of its Duma Fraction, Sergei Baburin’s Russian All-People’s Union (ROS), “Derzhava” Movement and so on. All the others are left with the mere option of expressing their friendliness irreciprocally, or at most, like the “Radonezh” Society, for example, become friends with the Archbishop Bronnitsky (at the time, a mere Bishop) Tikhon (Emelyanov), Chair of the Patriarchy’s Publishing Department.
Even more radical groups, from Orthodox brotherhoods of national-radical orientation (Union “Christian Revival”, brotherhoods of Arhistratig Archangel Michael, Alexander Nevsky, Iosif Volotsky, Sergei Radonezhsky and Serafim Sorovsky, etc.) and Society of Devotees to the Memory of Metropolitan Ioann to such organizations of dubitable Orthodox faith as the Russian National Unity (RNE), Orthodox Party and other have been long in opposition to the ROC’s leadership.
Hence, in August 1999, Russian Orthodox Church approached the start of the election campaign in the political frame described above.

In the beginning of the campaign, Patriarch Alexii II, without concealing his sympathy for the Bloc “Motherland – The Entire Russia”, still did not avoid relations with other political forces. He was even involved in the August consultations concerned with tentative creation of a right Bloc with ex-Premier Sergei Stepashin at the head.
The communists were certainly ready to support the Patriarch. Trying to obtain the ROC’s support, Gennady Zyuganov made a step truly unprecedented for a communist leader – he sent his brochure “Faith and Faithfulness. Russian Orthodoxy and the Problems of Revival of Russia” to the entire episcopate of the ROC with requests for discussion and cooperation. There, Zyuganov attempted to prove once again that Russian Orthodox Christians and the communists had practically the same goals and outlooks (both under Stalin and under Zyuganov), and therefore, they should line up against the “anti-people regime”. A few bishops actually entered into discussion of those ideas [2], but in general, the Church’s reaction pretty much equaled zero, which is not surprising at all. Firstly, forming union with the communists was decisively out of the question for the ROC, and the ROC is so disciplined on the level episcopate that the very appearance of several positive episcopal responses to Zyuganov’s publication is amazing (and illustrative) in itself. Secondly, Konstantin Dushanov’s newspaper “Orthodox Russia” played the role of a medium in the frame of circularization of the brochure, and that paper is so much in opposition to the Patriarchy that once it actually brought down on itself a special disapprobation of the Synod.
Diverse national-patriotic groups were also ready to support the Patriarch, but their election blocs, even the rather moderate ones, were so weak that it made no sense for the Patriarchy to get mixed up with them (nevertheless, Metropolitan Kirill still had negotiations with Alexei Podberezkin, leader of the ideologically close but totally non-religious movement “Spiritual Heritage”). In spite of the constant support of the ROC’s interests in the Duma provided by the LDPR, open friendship with Zhirinovsky’s party would have clearly been “mauvais ton” for the Patriarchy. As for the liberals and “Yabloko”, it did not seem feasible that they could support the Patriarchy’s platform. Hence, only two pillars were left to the ROC – “Motherland – The Entire Russia”(OVR) and the bloc that was being formed by Kremlin as an alternative to OVR – the one that turned into “Edinstvo” (“Unity”) in the end.
Of course, the Patriarchy did not strive to make a univocal choice between the two of them. In October, the Patriarch started demonstrating his support for both parties (certainly enough, never allowing himself direct election propaganda). Hence, the two opposite parties, in their turn, did not feel obligated to the Patriarchy, which rubbed off first and foremost on the process of formation of the lists of candidates.
The Patriarchy had no candidates of its own. Still, there exists such organization as the Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens (SPG) – in other words, coalition of moderate Russian Orthodox national-patriots. Had they entered the Duma, the SPG members would have definitely lobbied for the Patriarchy’s interests there. And as a matter of fact, this is precisely the Patriarchy’s priority (just like the one of any other public organization) in regards of parliamentary elections. Certain guarantees from major parliamentary fractions could be useful too, but such guarantees were suggested only by the communists, and therefore, the Patriarchy was left with nothing but hope for a greater number of its lobbyists in the new Duma, if compared to the old one, and also for better attitude of the main Duma fractions despite the absence of guarantees and pre-election agreements.
The SPG members did not make it to a single “passing” list. The only exception was Sergei Glazyev with his eighth place on the list of the CPRF. Initially, Vyacheslav Klykov and Elena Panina, national-patriots close to the Patriarchy, had signed jointly with Zyuganov the appeal to creation of the bloc “For Victory”, but the bloc just did not happen in the end, and Klykov and Panina refused to join the CPRF’s list. The leadership of Alexander Chuev’s Christian-Democratic Party was included in the list of “Unity” (“Bear”), and Chuev himself did make it to the Duma. Still, that small party had no close ties with the Patriarchy and was most probably given a place among the “Unity’s” founders for the sake of increase in quantity and “spirituality” – on parity with Mufti Nafigulla Ashirov and Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov’s Muslim movement “Refakh (Niyazov also made it to the Duma), and on the analogy with “Motherland – The Entire Russia” that chose to embrace the Union of Christian Democrats of Russia (whose leader, Vladimir Bauer, did not succeed in entering the Duma, however).
The SPG members made part of another three lists. They were most broadly represented on the list of Baburin’s ROS: Nikolai Pavlov (Deputy-Chair of the ROS) – was given third place on the list, Evgeny Nikiforov (“Radonezh”) – the twelfth, and Natalya Narochnitskaya (one of the founders of the Word-Wide Russian People’s Council (VRNS) was second on the Moscow regional list. In the Bloc of Yuri Boldyrev and Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), Andrei Savelyev, publicist and member of the KRO Executive Committee, headed the Moscow regional list, but he is more of a nationalist than a Russian Orthodox Christian. “Our House – Russia” had Victor Aksyuchits on its list. Still, he was not given but the eighth place in Moscow region, which was definitely a “no-pass”. In any case, Boris Nemtsov’s former advisor and chief organizer of the re-burial of the regal remains can no longer be considered to be an ally of the Patriarchy and “Orthodox citizens” that were strongly against the re-burial.

Radical Orthodox nationalists were represented in the election lists much better than the moderate ones.
First of all, we must mention the Bloc “Spas”, despite the fact that its registration was void in the end. As a matter of fact, it was Vladimir Davidenko, Deputy from the LDPR and co-author of the bill “On bio-ethics” prepared with participation of the Patriarch, that initially registered an organization under that name. In order to create a real political bloc, Davidenko engaged Barkashov’s Russian National Unity (RNE) and Valery Skurlatov’s small group “Revival”. Formally, the RNE is a Russian Orthodox organization and does cooperates with quite a number of clerics, but Barkashov mixes Orthodox Christianity with nationalism and occultism to such a great extent that the newspaper “Moscow Messager of the Church” even published an article about non-Orthodoxy of the RNE[3]. So, it was not suitable for Russian Orthodox activists at least minimally loyal to the Patriarchy to enter the list headed by Barkashov. Nevertheless, there proved to be some exceptions: Valentin Lebedev entered the list as number 17 and was marked right in the list as Secretary-Coordinator of the Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens, and Victor Selivanov, editor-in-chief of the periodical “Desnitsa” (“Spear-Hand”) and activist of the same Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens appeared on the list as number 19. Anatoly Tsvirkun, who tailed the central part of the “Spas” list, should be also noted due to the fact that at the previous parliamentary election he made part of the list of Klykov and Panina’s “Zemstvo Council”.
Certainly, it cannot be affirmed that in the frame of “Spas” V. Lebedev represented the entire Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens (SPG). Still, the very fact of incorporation of that rather moderate Coordinator of the SPG into Barkashov’s list is declarative of some radicalization of Russian Orthodox Fundamentalist environment. It also reveals growing promiscuity in choosing one’s allies, promiscuity not only political and not only moral by far, but also religious.
There were negotiations about creating a large bloc “Russian House” with involvement of small organizations and, in addition, possible participation of the ROS, KRO, and Movement in Support of the Army (DPA), headed by Albert Makashov and Victor Ilyukhin and undergoing a steady shift from communism to radical nationalism. Alexander Korzhakov was named as the bloc’s tentative leader. All these negotiations failed in the end, and the three large organizations mentioned above came to the election as three separate entities. Consequently, only Alexander Bazhenov’s Russian All-People’s Movement (ROD), General Boris Tarasov’s Union of Compatriots “Fatherland” and Vladimir Osipov’s Union “Christian Revival” (SKhV) remained in the deserted “Russian House”. Then, the block was renamed “Movement of Patriotic Forces – Russian Deed”. The bloc did not come off as strongly Orthodox, but still and all its list incorporated Vladimir Osipov (number 5), Alexander Shtilmark, leader of the Black Hundred (number 3 in the “North-West” region) and Victor Terekhov, head of Orenburg Orthodox spiritual community (number 3 in the Ural region). The bloc received the support of Alexei Senin’s newspaper “Russian Messager”, one of the most substantial Russian Orthodox national-patriotic papers.
The only party that directly calls itself Russian Orthodox was unable to participate in the campaign. The party under that name was registered in 1998 by the businessman Herman Sterligov, who had earlier supported Alexander Sterligov’ Russian National Council, headed Moscow Nobiliary Assembly since 1996 and created the Movement “Word and Action” in 1998. Herman Sterligov now calls himself Russian Orthodox monarchist and spiritual son of Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov) of Trinity-Sergii Laura. “Word and Action” that is practically the same as Orthodox Party was initially supposed to come forth with its list at the parliamentary election. But within the framework of pre-election maneuvers, Seterligov renamed it “Russian House” on August 29 and that ruined the whole game: on October 4, the Central Election Commission refused to register the list of “Russian House” precisely because of the name change.
Activists of the Society of Devotees to the Memory of Metropolitan Ioann lead by Konstantin Dushenov were also cut down at the very start of the race. Unwilling to participate in small blocs, they achieved an agreement on joining the list of the bloc “For Victory!”. As a matter of fact, Russian Orthodox fundamentalist Dushenov declared that Valentin Varennikov, initiator of the bloc and radical communist was not a mere “lesser evil” if compared to the democrats but an ideologically close ally to the boot. Still it seems that the places on the list offered in the end to the “Devotees” were so lousy that they refused to join the CPRF’s list.
The Bloc “For Faith and Motherland” was formed by a monarchist hieromonk Nikon (Sergei Belavenets). According to hieromonk Nikon himself, he wanted to organize a large monarchist coalition for the parliamentary election but his negotiations with the Union “Christian Revival”, National-Patriotic Front “Pamyat” (“Remembrance”) and Movements “Word and Action” and “Usefulness, Honor and Glory” proved to be unsuccessful. On the other hand, he managed to reach an agreement with the People’s National Party (NNP) of Alexander Ivanov (Sukhrevsky) who actually headed the list in the end. Hieromonk Nikon did not enter the list as the ROC’s cleric.
It is worth noting that A. Ivanov is not only a very radical nationalist – he also interprets Orthodox Christianity in a strongly ethnic spirit. It is likely that Ivanov was brought into contact with the monarchists by Alexei Shiropaev who professes Russian Orthodox monarchism together with the “conservative revolution” ideas. Shiropaev was third on the list. The upper and lower places next to him were taken by the monarchists Sergei Skorobogatov and Sergei Milovidov respectively. The fifth place was given to Ilia Lazarenko, head of the neo-pagan Church of Nav’, a neo-Nazi group, in fact, framed up as a religious organization.
In any case, the Bloc “For Faith and Motherland” did not make it to the actual election due to the fact that its list was submitted to the Central Election Commission one day later than the registration deadline.

In course of the election campaign, the so-called “religious factor” did not manifest itself but poorly. The most memorable episode is the attempt of Nikita Mikhalkov (Our House – Russia) to sing the prayer “Our Father” in the middle of his TV-debate with Sergei Kirienko. The Patriarchy primarily attempted to keep distant from the steadily aggravating conflict between Kremlin and “Motherland – The Entire Russia” (OVR). Among other reasons, it did not make any sense for the Patriarchy to become involved in the conflict because in practice the rhetoric of Vladimir Putin and that of the “Unity”, which was built to suit him, was almost no different from the rhetoric of the OVR from the ideological point of view.
Russian Orthodox Church made the only right step possible in order to bring itself to the public recollection: on December 6-7 another assembly of the VRNS was held. Representatives of all the leading blocs (with the exception of the Union of Right Forces) and some smaller blocs, starting with Baburin’s ROS, participated in the event. The assembly managed to avoid any kind of political lurch but simply denounced “the damnatory evidence war”. All the politicians in unison promised their support to the ROC in case of their victory.
Some bishops, on the other hand, allowed themselves to come forth with propaganda. Still, even they usually tried to be as evasive as possible. For example, Bishop Kaluzhsky and Borovsky Kliment (Kapalin) asked all the faithful electors to treat the election responsibly, because the electors are answerable for having brought “destructionists”, “deceitful people” and “defalcators” to all the power branches in the first place. In the context of the election, it is clear that he meant the political groups already in power. We cannot state that Bishop Kliment agitated for the CPRF (by the way, the Governor of Kaluga, Valery Sudarenkov, is linked up with the NPSR), but one thing is certain: each and every elector in Kaluga heard the appeal to vote against those that supported the actual power.
As concerns Bishop Belotserkovsky and Boguslavsky Serafim (Zaliznitsky), he even incited the Muscovites (whereas his own congregation is in Ukraine) to vote at the Mayor election for Dmitry Vasilyev, leader of “Pamyat”/”Remembrance” Society. Bishop Serafim declared that Vasilyev was “sent by God” and “has perfect knowledge of economics, agrarian field, jurisprudence, politics, theology”. He asked the people “not to listen to the aspersions cast upon God’s man by our enemies and paid for with your own money to wit”. In conclusion, he added that if the Muscovites rejected Vasilyev, they would repeat “the mistakes of the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ” [4].
There were some cases of agitation carried out by ordinary parsons. Still, the activities of parsons attract the attention of the journalists to a much lesser degree, and precisely because of that deficiency of attention it is impossible to figure out what the parsons’ most frequent agitation targets were.
Radical national-patriots’ candidates also found some support among the clerics. For example, there is factual evidence that in Vladimir Election District No. 66 the clergymen campaigned for Igor Artyomov, leader of Russian All People’s Union (RONS), who had never really emphasized his churchism. To be more accurate, the local national-patriots of semi-fascist kind that supported Artyomov managed to engage for the campaign not only clergymen of the Patriarchy but also Russian Orthodox Free Church (ROFC). It should be said that Artyomov’s results were very good, the best among national-patriots (Artyomov personally seems less radical than the RONS and his allies in Vladimir). He received 14.94% of votes and succumbed to the winner by very little.
In general, at the Election – 1999, the national patriots did poorly, and those among them whose organizations can be classed as church/religion-oriented did even worse that the rest. Out of all the blocs that participated in the election, only one – “Movement of Patriotic Forces – Russian Deed” – could be classed as partially national-patriotic. Still, it did not receive but 0.17% of votes. As concerns V. Osipov, leader of the Union “Christian Revival which actually gave some Orthodox tinge to the “Russian Deed”, ran in the Electoral District No.100 of Leningrad region and accumulated 0.74% of votes, having come 17-th. It seems that around 0.01 of the electorate is indeed the limit of Russian Orthodox national-radicals. For example, at the Moscow election for Mayor Dmitry Vasilyev, leader of “Pamyat”/”Remembrance” Society received 1.04% of votes.
A different approach was also tried at the election – e.g. impact not on ideology but on churchism only. The Director of the ROC’s Artistic-Industrial Enterprise “Sofrino” (ornaments, candles, etc.; 20% of the Patriarchy’s total income), Evgeny Parkhaev, who directly alluded to the Patriarch’s blessing, accumulated 14.91% of votes and came third in Pushkinsky District No. 113 (Moscow suburb where “Sofrino” is located). He left far behind both Victor Aksyuchits, Russian Orthodox national-patriot (1.54%), and Alexei Vedenkin, fittingly mundane former Barkashov’s man (1.03).
Elena Panina, who has already been mentioned herein, stood for the moderate version of national-patriotism at the election. In Moscow Lyublinsky District No. 195, she received 12.24% of votes. Thus, she lost to Igor Lisinenko (29.66%; OVR) and had practically the same results as Pavel Voschanov (11.32%; “Yabloko”/ “Apple”) and Nikolai Leonov (13.61%; ROS).
Of course, the data on two districts only is not sufficient to come up with serious generalizations, but the following hypothesis can be made: moderate national-patriotism associated with the Patriarchy can accumulate approximately 10-15% of votes. It is impossible to count the over-all national-patriotic electorate, because in the frame of all the recent parliamentary campaigns it has been tackled by Zhirinovsky and the communists. Hence, we cannot assess how weighty the influence of “the Patriarchy factor” per se really is. Still, it can be stated that Elena Panina gained her votes while in competition with ideologically close N. Leonov, and the difference between him and her was precisely in her bond with the Patriarchy. As for Evgeny Parkhaev, he was not even known as a politician and had to take votes from a strong communo-patriotic candidate. Therefore, it those two cases, the only reference to the Patriarchy exhorted a very significant influence on the outcome. It is difficult to compute that influence in percentages, but most probably Panina and especially Parkhaev would have received at least two times fewer votes if not for the Patriarchy.
We possess no data to evaluate the Patriarchy’s conceivable influence on the party lists’ voting. It seems that the Patriarchy is capable of helping an ideologically close single mandate candidate to a considerable degree, but that help still would not be enough to take one all the way to the Duma. Is that influence on the election significant? Actually – no, but potentially – quite possible.

While the Russian Orthodox could not afford but relatively passive participation in the election, the Muslims are a totally different case. It is not only that the Muslims in principle do not consider it necessary to stay away from politics. The war in Dagestan and Chechnya, consequent outburst of Islamophobia, linkage of the theme of “Vahhabit threat” with the real conflict within Russian Muslim community – all those factors did not let the Muslim leaders keep silent. In the wake of Nafigulla Ashirov, the entire Mufti Council lead by Ravil Gainutdin, long-term friend of Yuri Luzhkov, chose pro-Putin orientation. It was not easy, however.
For example, one cannot but emphasize the forbearance of Mufti Ashirov in the situation that he had to face right before the election. On December 9, Federal Security Bureau searched Ashirov’s dwelling in connection with the infamous Moscow explosions. Mufti Ashirov and several other Muslim leaders had to undergo a prolonged interrogation at Lefortovo detention facility. They were questioned about their association with several persons suspected in terrorist activities. Certainly enough, Ashirov did express his indignation publicly – but only after the end of the election.
Other Muslim leaders were very unsuccessful. The Movement “Nur” did not even manage to register this time, and Leonard Rafikov and Marat Khairulin, leaders of the initially promising bloc “Medzhlis” (where “Refakh” had been originally included) joined the list of defeated “Our House – Russia”. Geidar Jemal’s Fundamentalist Islamic Committee shared the bloc with the radical national-communist Movement in Support of the Army, which failed even more drastically than “Our House – Russia”.
As concerns other religious associations, their leaders were more frequently concerned with how not to become entangled in political games. On the other hand, it was not always easy to figure out where religious leaders indisputably stood on the defensive and where they actually carried on election agitation.
For instance, a rather scandalous incident took place at the Congress of Jewish Organizations and Associations of Russia (KEROOR), which was held in Moscow on December 14-15. On the opening day of the Congress, Adolf Shaevich, Chief Rabbi of Russia, thought it necessary to point out that Yuri Luzhkov was invited to the Congress “as a Mayor only”, and when on the next day Luzhkov allowed himself to elaborate upon the election in the frame of his statement, his words earned him a strong deprecation from Boris Shpigel, KEROOR’s President. B. Shpigel also scored up against Luzhkov his struggle with “Caucasus nationals”, accused the Mayor of bringing division into the milieu of different nations and then addressed a special greeting to Boris Eltsyn.
The occurrence described above is especially remarkable in light of the fact that KEROOR is supposedly [5] supported by Vladimir Gusinsky, Luzhkov’s own ally in the frame of the parliamentary election campaign.

The difference in the election-related comportment of the Russian Orthodox and Muslims had its continuation during the first period of the new Duma’s activities.
“Refakh” was not satisfied with the sole presence of its Deputy in the Duma. It started engaging the so-called “Muslim Deputies”, while at the same time promoting itself as the party for all religious minorities so as to expand its political foundation even further. In the Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations, chaired by Victor Zorkaltsev, Ali Vyacheslav Polosin, prominent expert on religions, former Russian Orthodox priest, current co-Chair of “Refakh” and editor of its “Muslim Paper” secured the office of Advisor to the Committee’s Chair.
Vali-Akhmed Niyazov frequently spoke of creating an informal “Muslim Deputies’ Group”. Presently, such “Group” is only being planned, but some Deputies already cooperate with “Refakh” quite actively. “Refakh” is also supported by Buddist leaders.
Meanwhile, the ROC’s lobby in the new Duma looks weaker if compared to the previous one. On Zorkaltsev’s Committee, Christians are represented by the Deputy-Chair Alexander Chuev (as opposed to Valery Borschev who lost the election). At first glance, that situation seems favorable for the Patriarchy. As Borschev said about Chuev, “I was defending the rights of Adventists and Pentecostals, and he is not going to do anything of the sort.” Still, in reality, Chuev’s present position in regards of non-Orthodox missionary propaganda is not univocal at all – it is not clear if he will indeed become a lobbyist of the Patriarchy, for which restricting competitors is by far the most important trend in the field of cooperation with the state. Furthermore, Borschev’s activities shall be kept-up by Sergei Kovalev who joined the Committee.
Out of all the known lobbyists for all kinds of “pro-church” (placed in quotes because the eagerness has often been far above the intelligence) initiatives, the only ones left are Tatiana Astrakhankina and Sergei Glazyev (CPRF). Vladimir Lisichkin and Vladimir Davidenko (LDPR), Vladimir Bayunov (Agrarian Party), Sergei Popov (“Power of the People”) and Vladimir Sharapov (“Our Home – Russia”) are no longer in the Duma. Of course, the LDPR Duma Fraction is always ready to come forth in support of the ROC. Other major Duma associations, the CPRF and “Unity” with their satellites, “Motherland – The Entire Russia” and “Russian Regions” will most probably not run out on the ROC. But for all of them, the Patriarchy’s problems are of very little importance, and that plays a decisive role indeed in such issues as preparation of bills and prioritization of their consideration.
Generally speaking, religious lobby has been weak in all Russian Parliaments. Small religious associations usually aren’t represented there at all. On the other hand, if we compare this new Duma with its predecessor, we can definitely state that in the new Parliament the positions of the Muslims – the Mufti Council – have fortified while the positions of the Russian Orthodox – the Patriarchy – have grown weaker.
[1] VRNS is not an organization but more like a structure aimed at carrying out diverse political events with the Patriarchy’s participation. For more details, please see the book by Alexander Verkhovsky, Ekaterina Mikhailovskaya and Vladimir Pribylovsky “Political Xenophobia”, Moscow: 1999; pp. 89, 108-109.
[2] For details, see the article of Alexander Verkhovsky “Bishops' Dialogue with Gennady Zyuganov” in “Russkaya Mysl” (“Russian Thought”) of 4-10 November, 1999.
[3] For details, see the article of Alexander Verkhovsky “The Church and Secular National-Radicals” in “Russkaya Mysl” (“Russian Thought”) of 5-11 August, 1999.
[4] Quoted from “Religious Rhetoric in Context of the Election Campaign” by Evgeny Strelchik: site “Collegiality”, December 16, 1999.
[5] Article by Boris Viner «Whom Do the Ordinary Jews Trust?” in “NG-Religions” of January 12, 2000.
All reviews                   Panorama's English Page                   "Panorama"

InterReklama advertising
InterReklama Advertising Network