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.