EDITORIAL: The Putin Pogrom

EDITORIAL

The Putin Pogrom

“Large-scale and systematic persecution.”

That is how the latest report from the Liberty of Conscience Institute characterizes Vladimir Putin’s policy towards religions other than the state-sponsored Russian Orthodox Church.

The Kremlin’s attack on non-Orthodox religions is beginning with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, an easy target.  Last month, Russia’s highest court banned their activities and authorized burning their literature.  Many Russophiles will say:  So what? The Witnesses, they will say, are a bunch of extremist freaks that Russia is better off without.

But those Russophiles are not well versed in developed Western political thought.  Those of us who are understand that one cannot preserve religions diversity without allowing extremist freaks.  They are the price of diversity and liberty.

If you choose not to pay that price, then you pay a very different and much worse price.  You end up with a monolithic dictatorship which cannot be creative, which stifles and destroys rather than encouraging and building, which is unable to adapt.  You end up with, in short, the USSR.

Such a state can be created just as easily by glorifying only one religion as by exterminating all religions.

So the question is:  Who’s next? How long before Putin’s KGB thugs come for the Baptists, the Jews, the Catholics and the Lutherans?

And how long before there is a “right kind” of Russian Orthodox believer, and a “wrong kind’?  How long before Russian Orthodoxy is the new Communism, the entry pass to the corridors of power that Communism used to be?  Say what you like about Stalin, after all, he couldn’t condemn you to Hell.  Putin’s henchman Kirill can do that.

In a telling event last week, more two hundred Orthodox believers fell sick and over a hundred, half of them children, had to be hospitalized after drinking so-called “holy water” that was tainted with contamination.  At the same time, the church was revealing that it was ruled by a madman who believes the Haitian earthquake was a well-deserved punishment from God, and apparently that since Russia hasn’t had an earthquake it is the Lord’s beloved.

Patriarch Kirill is of course, like Vladimir Putin himself, a relic of the KGB.  We are hard-pressed to decide which is more ominous for Russia, having the church liquidated by the state or having it co-opted and manipulated by the state to justify dictatorship.  We can only say that Russia is obviously continuing down a path that leads once again to national destruction and collapse.

 

16 responses to “EDITORIAL: The Putin Pogrom

  1. Yes, La Russophobe, once again, you are correct!

    I am a Russian-Orthodox believer, but among the ‘wrong/dissident’ Russian Orthodox churches. So my fellow dissident believers inside of present Russia, are being persecuted because we reject the KGB-co-opted state-church, the Moscow Patriarchy.
    And, I believe that any and all people EVERYWHERE, including inside of the Russian Federation, should be allowed full religious freedom, to believe whatever they freely choose.
    But, that idea is not what is the official policy in Putin’s empire. He is exclusively promoting, his captive state-run pseudo-church, for better control of the Russian masses, who are (at least nominally) mostly self-labeled as, ‘Russian Orthodox’ by religion, …though many of them know virtually ZILCH about that religion, after all those long long years of official militant-athiesm. But, to be really-fully, ‘Russian’, one must also label oneself, ‘Orthodox’, in the old Czarist days, and also now too.
    And, that is the party line today.
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (after all) is the announced, ‘Protector of The Orthodox Faith and of the Russian People’.
    Non-state-church, folks, need not apply.
    Afterall, foreign Christian churches, are, merely ‘agents of foreign powers’ (as we all know-?)
    One current exception is the Vatican, which Putin and his Patriarch Kyrill are currently courting.
    For myself, I favour full freedom of expression and of religious preference.
    Let even the ( pesky) Watchtower folks come to my door, they and I can argue freely (if only… they… would let me get a word in edgewise!)
    If there is no freedom for some, then there is NONE for anyone!

    • Actually Putins KGB run Russian “Orthodox” church really does persecute dissident Russian Orthodox churches such as that attended by my highly esteemed brother in Christ Daniel, and in addition they also persecute other “non Russian” Orthodox communities in Russia, such as members of the Ukrainian and Georgian Orthodox Churches are routinely persecuted, as are members of the Greek Orthodox Church.

      The Russian “Church” even now claims that it gave the Gospels to the Greeks, Ukrainians, and Georgians, and demands that the KGB patriarch be the head of the worldwide Orthodox comunion.

      Needless to say this is greatly offensive to all true believers, given that the Russian “Orthodox” Church is the youngest of all Orthodox Churches.

      Many among the Patriarchs of the older Churches are considering stripping the Russians of the right to use the term Orthodox due to their multiple violations of Church doctrine.

  2. Witnesses are different, but I have notice that their children are well behaved and well dressed. There is no good reason to persecute them. This is just one more reason not to establish normal relations with the Russians.

    Putin just isn’t smart enough to be dictator and he is too evil to let go when his term is up.

  3. Joseph Hostetler

    Your analysis is superficial and fails to take into account the non-political factors in the rise of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia.

    Why do Russians need to be well versed in Western political thought? Is this the tradition and heritage and worldview of Russia and Russians? Must that particular – and, it should be noted, not very successful outside of its narrow confines (if there) – understanding of liberty and society be foisted upon all, everywhere?

    The traditional understanding of the Church and Christ in the East differs radically from that of the West. In the East, the Church has been understood to be akin to a hospital into which the spiritually sick of society are cured. In the West “religion” is seen as a kind of philosophy or idea produced by men as an expression of their tastes and beliefs (ideas). Thus, it is quite natural that no one religion should be foisted on the society. In the Christian East, however, it would be quite foolish to abolish the “medical review board” (which judges using spiritual criteria) and allow any “quack doctor” to “do medicine” and ruin the health of people and society as a whole.

    And, besides, even this should be clear to everyone: the current State leaders are doing what they think is in the best interest of the country. It is a practical matter as much as an ideological one. They want the country to be solidified around an “national idea” so that it doesn’t end of disintegrating like Western societies obviously are at present.

    What is so bad about that? I’d call them stupid not to try and leave things to unravel and become yet another spiritual wasteland – like England or America.

    • You asked what’s so bad about solidifying a country around a “national idea.” The answer is quite obvious, there is nothing worse about that “solidification.” It ignores the center of everything — an individual man or woman, who must either conform to that “national idea,” or leave the country, or perish. Those are the options.

      Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, in fact every dictator that I could think of, all did that, some with more success some with less. You know the results.

      I am not a Christian and so these problems sound strange to me, but still, what is it about Jehovah’s Witnesses or Baptists that Putin finds so objectionable?

      We in the United States do see our “spiritual wasteland” but if the solution is to have, for instance, the Church of England shoved on our throats, then we’d rather remain in the wasteland

    • Mr. Joseph Hostetler,
      “The traditional understanding of the church and Christ in the East differs radically from that of the west”, etc…
      You make some intriguing statements here.
      But you are sidestepping some major central realities of our present-day world situation (both in ‘east’ and ‘west’).
      In long past centuries, both Catholic ‘west’, under a supreme pontiff, and Orthodox ‘east’, under patriarchs & imperially influenced, believed in ONE SOLE EXCLUSIVE IMPERIAL CHURCH, (since Constantine the Great) which alone had the God-appointed right to spell out orthodoxy and it’s opposite, heresy. Orthodoxy leads to Heaven, heresy leads to Hell. Such imperial-churches, west or east….tended to…. influence the Emperial/civil authorities, to silence and to punish/exterminate heretics, seen as DEADLY enemies to both the church AND to the nation! Heresy was seen as highly offensive to God Himself, and thus, if allowed to freely spread, to cause God’s destructive hot-wrath-anger upon the kingdom (a very very ancient and pre-Christian & universal concept).
      In the west, the Catholic church considered itself, as THE one true church, and in the east, the Orthodox church ( and too, the other ‘Oriental churches’, not under Byzantium), considered itself as THE one true church. Today, Rome has not really changed this stance about itself, NOR has the Orthodox church changed it’s basic ecclesiology either (in each of it’s confederated national churches). HOWEVER, so as to not attempt a major tome here, on such convoluted and deeply complicated historical/theological subjects, in this short space: we now live in a very very changed world scene, where individual people, east or west, believe that they have the individual right to decide what they believe, in many subjects, including religious affiliation.
      Most modern Russians, also feel this way.
      Neither the Catholic church NOR the Orthodox church really likes this modern reality, but….both have to live with it!!!
      Russians are no different, and they as a very mixed people, before communism, and under it, and now under Putin’s neo-sovietization, were and are…divided by various religious belief systems, including many who are confirmed athiests!
      And, by-the-way, it is exactly from athiest-Russian mouths, that we hear howls of protest at Putin’s efforts to force, his-brand of Orthodoxy, upon their heads. They don’t want it!
      And too, a big question: WHO? truly represents, the REAL Russian-Orthodox religion INSIDE present Russia??? Certainly not Putin’s government or his stooge-‘Patriarch’!

      Friend! Exactly from a traditional-Orthodox view, the KGB establishment in Russia today, has NO right to speak for Eastern Oerthodoxy, in any or all issues, including how we Orthodox are supposed to treat adversarial-sectarian heretics, such as these ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’…or whomever.
      Russians should be freely able to listen to, and to believe or not, in whatever THEY decide, just as any free persons in ‘the west’ can.
      Russians today, should have the HUMAN freedoms to think and act as they think is right.
      Years ago, I knew an American Orthodox priest, a Fr. Alexey Young, who always happily welcomed the regular Witnesses visitors into his house, with love, offering them food and drink and patiently listening to their spiels….and then, he would quietly present to them the Orthodox view of matters (which afterall, the Orthodox church has been around for, over 2000 years, a very long time, and our church does have many historically provable points, on the Bible, the church, etc.). Usually, within a 20 minute period, the Witnesses would FLEE from his home, speechless and unable to make even one of their points. Fr. Alexey never spoke to them, in a disrespectful manner, only with Christian love.
      IF, therefore, the official-‘church’ of the Russian Federation, wants to prevent it’s members from being infected with foreign-heretical influences, hows about, confronting those false teachings with patient Christlike LOVE?
      That patient loving method, was taught by and practiced by Orthodox saints. That, is THE authentic Orthodox method of dealing with those in error.
      And too, why not publically admit that the KGB establishment is NOT genuine religion, of ANY sort, especially NOT genuine Orthodox Christianity!
      Putin is NOT a Czar-substitute, nor is his actor pal, ‘Patriarch Kyrill, a real patriarch!!!

      Just my thoughts……
      Reader Daniel

  4. An added point:

    In both Catholic-west, and Orthodox-east, though there were/still are differences in the higher levels of church-government, both forms of the historic Christian religion taught that: THE Church is totally sufficient for ALL human needs, and that IT has all the answers. Further, it WAS the norm, in both east and west, for the church to be THE center of the daily life of the society, and for the entire cycle of societal life to revolve around the church and it’s calendar observances, it’s fasts and feasts, it’s celebrations of the life of Christ and His saints, etc., etc., etc.
    Today, in the ‘secular west’, religion and daily life are separated, and religion is a private matter. Historical developments have forced these changes, like it or not.
    But, that was NOT the previous norm, east or west.
    Putin is thus, making a pretence, of returning current Russia BACK to that age-old main-stream historical norm, where the state-religion is THE center of the culture, where critics of it, are silenced.
    Islam, practices this reality…..but where does, it,
    allow for differences in belief? Death, seems to be the most common penalty for divergence with the mullahs!
    Perhaps, Christianity, west and east, has…progressed? Where-as Islam is still stuck in past retrograde anti-human/anti-liberty mindset?

    • The problem with Islam is, in my view, that for whatever reasons it has not undergone reformation, like Catholics did. So it is now where Catholic Church was in 12th or 13th century — with Crusades, and Holy Inquisition, and torture, and flat Earth, and death to science, and all. Do you see similarities?

  5. Joseph wrote earlier:
    “the current State leaders…want the country to be solidified around an “national idea” so that it doesn’t …become yet another spiritual wasteland – like England or America.”

    My response: That’s understandable, and I know that is exactly their intention….However, solidifying the country around a “national idea” IS NOT the role of the Christian church. The Christian church is of another kingdom…the kingdom of God. That kingdom will reign when Christ destroys all earthly kingdoms when He returns. So the Russian Orthodox church today is not doing what Christ intended it to do: prepare believers for another kingdom…and that kingdom is NOT Russia.

    The Russian Orthodox church today is merely a cultural-political organization dressed in church clothing.

    That is not

  6. [You asked what’s so bad about solidifying a country around a “national idea.” The answer is quite obvious, there is nothing worse about that “solidification.”]

    I was listening to the reaction to Obama’s speech tonight. A Republican congressman said: “I am glad that Obama has returned to the mindset of American exceptionalism”. The same idea was also presented in his Nobel Lecture:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121246503

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism

    American exceptionalism’ (def. “exceptionalism”) refers to the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world[1]

    Dorothy Ross, in Origins of American Social Science (1991), argued that there are three generic varieties of American exceptionalism:

    Supernaturalist explanations which emphasize the causal potency of God in selecting America to serve as an example for the rest of the world.
    ……………………………..

    I am not saying if this idea is good or bad. If you like the occupation of Iraq and other countries – you probably support this idea. Ohterwise- you probably think that USA is no better or worse than other civilised countries.

    What i am saying is that USA does have its national idea: idea of exceptionalism. And naturally, US politicians would want to deny other countries their right to have their own national idea. Why? because USA is exceptional, thus only USA deserves to have the national idea.

    Back in the 1990s, Vladimir Posner on his show told Russian viewers how patriotic Americans are, much more patriotic than Russians; how on the Independence day, most houses flew the US flag; in Russia nobody flew Russian flag on any holidays. Well, today they do. The idea of exceptionalism and exclusivity is still not as strong in modern Russia as it is in USA, but with every new American invasion and provocation, it grows. And not just in Russia. All over the world the term “ugly Americans” stands to represent this American idea of exclusivity, superiority and exceptionalsim.

    This is especially clear in politics. Just a few months ago, during the talk about the “reset” in US-Russian relations, the US side demanded: “We cannot allow local spheres of influence!”. But what they meant is: “We cannot allow other countries to have local spheres of influence! Why? Because the entire Globe is exclusively our, American, spheres of influence.”

    Do you remember how God told Jews in the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, 3 Do not have any other gods before me.”

    And that’s what USA wants from the rest of the World: to respect USA like God and to have no gods other than USA before them. Of course, that’s also what slavemasters want from their slaves.

    • Once again Arthuretta, why do you live in the USA if you despise it so much?

      Come on, tell us please….

      Meanwhile, Russia insists on a “sphere of priviledged interest” and demands that nieghboring states do what is in Russia’s interests rather than their own.

      You know what the main reason for the falling out between Saakashvili and Putin was?

      It was the Georgian presidents refusal to continue the previous practice of allowing the RUSSIAN president to appoint the Georgian defence, foreign, and interior ministers.

      When Saakashvili revoked this outrageous concession to Russia, the Russian predrast president got his nose all out of joint.

      Sorry bucko, but it is Russia that wants others to bow down and worship it.

      Russia is not interested in good relations with its nieghbors, it wants slave states, and is quite happy to use force, terrorism, and economic blockades on trumped up reasons to destabilise them.

    • Dear Comrade ‘Arthur’
      ( that sure does sound, like a typical American first- name, now doesn’t it?), or whoever you really are:
      From start to finish, all your remarks are pure political Kremlin anti-American propaganda, nothing new.
      Your clap-trap is designed, purely, to confuse and distort present events, and to (once again!) present America as the perennial, world-wide, bad guy, and your neo-soviet MESS, called ‘The Russian Federation’, as the poor innocent victim, which only seeks the best for humanity, etc. (gag! here)
      We Americans, of all political persuasions, are more than aware of our national weaknesses and flaws, but we work to improve them. We accept self-criticism, and we listen to foreign criticisms too. (Probably, we listen…. too much…. to foreign criticisms, and care not enough about our own interests!)
      But, please, fellow, just TELL THE TRUTH! That way, maybe we could actually learn something uselful from your spiel.
      Then, we wicked Americans might have a chance! of receiving your Kremlin’s approval and ‘blessing’.
      Perhaps then, even the ‘holy’, ‘Patriarch Kyrill’ might give us, his….blessing!
      OH! be still my heart! I can hardly wait for THAT ‘blessing’! (?)

  7. Hmmmm…. not sure.

    I tend to think that the only thing that the USSR got right was realising that organised religion was stupidly and obviously retarded. In the West you were free to be religiously retarded, but in Soviet Russia, no religious retards thanks.

    Drunks, yes. Forced abortions, yes. Shoe on table, yes! Religion; no you retard. And if Putin kicks the cult of Scientology hard in the balls I’ll be happy too.

    Yay! Go Putin!

    K, I’ll go outside and shoot myself now after thinking that the Putin/Medvedev gayness is cool for once.

  8. Well, dear ‘anonymousfag’:

    the different forms of the Christian religion, either west or east, have not officially condoned/blessed homosexual life-styles, (as did not past Judaism…or Islam today), that is certainly true. But, in the local… practice…. of Christianity, there was never an attempt to kill off all gays. Many have existed, regardless of official church teachings, indeed, LOTS of the ranks of the clergy,(east and west) have been staffed by men who have homnosexual self- identities, whether ‘practicing’ their sexuality or not’ or not (that is a different matter).
    But, pure militant-athiesm, pure Marxist-Leninism, has made every effort to murder off EVERY ‘gay’ it could identify. Putin is no friend to gays either. Bolshevism has brought only mass murder and mass suffering, not any really freeing.
    So, so much for freeing people from the evils of religion! Religion, has done BOTH good and bad for humanity, neither all good nor all bad….think about it.

    Another matter:
    Interfax, Jan. 26, 2010:
    Putin’s visit to Chuvash University and his remarks to the students (some of whom, yelled out to him, ‘you are great!’, whereupon he reproved them saying, ‘history will proclaim that or not’), he gave his wise advise to them:
    Speaking about the qualities he likes in people, Putin mentioned, ‘decency and toleration’.(!)
    And he advised the students to emulate the life of St. Francis of Assisi (!)
    Can anyone imagine, Vladimir Vladimirovich, dressed in a Franciscan habit? (with or without sandals).
    One wonders what all those MANY THOUSANDS he has caused to be tortured and assassinated and ‘disappeared’ and mass-murdered, would have to say about… his… (avowed) ‘decency and toleration’…???

    • @One wonders what all those MANY THOUSANDS he has caused to be tortured and assassinated and ‘disappeared’

      The system of “death squadrons” established by Russian forces in Chechnya, an arrangement that involves kidnappings, secret prisons, extra-judicial executions, and the hidden disposal of the bodies of its victims, has claimed some 3,000 people in that North Caucasus republic over the last decade, according to a human rights expert.

      That figure, in per capita terms, is comparable to the number of deaths from the infamous “disappearances” in Argentina under the junta in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the killings in the Soviet Union during the Great Terror of 1937-38, according to Aleksandr Cherkasov of Moscow’s Memorial organization (svpressa.ru/society/article/20301/).

      http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16677&Itemid=72

      The UN is expected to publish its full report soon, but Cherkasov suggests that it will have little effect on Russia. On the one hand, so many countries are involved that even those that have traditionally been able to push for change will not because they themselves are implicated in this shadowy form of action.

      And on the other, Russia can block any application of this report to itself because of its veto in the UN Security Council. The only international body to which Russia has ceded any sovereignty at all in this regard is the Council of Europe, whose European Court of Human Rights has found Moscow guilty of using extra-judicial killings in the North Caucasus.

      But with regard to that Court’s decision, Cherkasov continues, the Russian government has usually been willing to pay compensation to victims or their families, but it has rarely if ever punished those of its officials who are guilty of these crimes or changed its policies in this area, as members of the Council of Europe are supposedly obligated to do.

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