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July 30, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Kirill Frolov

DR. MONT BLANC DESCENDS UPON THE CHURCH

The theorist of "Russian Islam" views Orthodox Christianity as a menace for the state

The public address to the President, warning of an "impending clericalization of the Russian society", signed by Academicians Alexandrov, Alferov, Ginsburg, Inge-Vechtomov, Sadovsky and Vorobyov, remarkably coinciding with the proposal of Prof. Vyacheslav Glazychev to include anti-clerical provisions into the Public Chamber's report on civil society, indicates a new assault on the rights of believers in Russia.

Conclusions about clericalization, disseminated by Mr. Glazychev, are actually true to the opposite. Today, despite popular views, the public mission of the Russian Orthodox Church is greatly restricted with the legacy of the Soviet atheistic period. You can find only a few priests in the Russian Army, while in the United States and EU nations, army chaplains are indispensable. Most of the confiscated ecclesiastical property has never been returned to the dominion of Russian Orthodox Church.

The renowned academicians – if they are the real authors of the message to the President, published by Novaya Gazeta on July 23 – describe theology as a "collection of dogmas", objective on theological education in both secondary and higher schools. Are they unaware that this subject is taught in most advanced and respected universities of the West?

The description of the Church as a fossil institution, opposing human progress, is strikingly inadequate. Anyone who studied Russian history is informed that during the last ten centuries, the Russian Orthodoxy served as a force of national modernization, and not a citadel of fogyism. Religion and science have been equally opposed to irrational quasi-spirituality, as well as to aggressive ignorance in various spheres of public life. The system of ecclesiastical tenets has served as a natural bulwark, protecting the society from occultism and pseudo-science as efficiently as the system of scientific axioms. The Church has been protecting soberness and discipline of thinking as resolutely as science, being equally opposed to exaltation and irrationality of views.

Curiously, a lengthy passage of the "academic address" is dedicated to juxtaposition of the Moscow Patriarchy and the Holy See, glorifying the deceased Pope John Paul II for "exoneration of Galileo" and "ceasing persecution of scientists", and failing to mention the fact that inquisition was a baby of Catholicism. The pro-Catholic bias of the message is so strong that a reader could easily suspect that the authors are inspired or "sponsored" from outside Russia.

Sympathies towards the Holy See don’t quite correspond with the military secularism of Academician Vitaly Ginsburg, as well as with Marxist views of Academician Jaures Alferov. The trendiness of Prof. Vyacheslav Glazychev, starring as "Doctor Mont Blanc" in Gleb Pavlovsky's "Real Policy" talk show, is not a matter of common knowledge.

The "Real Policy" talk show has got a specific anticlerical bias. Journalist Maxim Kononenko, starring under the nick of "Mr. Parker", permanently displays personal contempt towards traditional morals, labeling the Russian Orthodox Church "a dangerous totalitarian sect" and depicting believers as "zombies of the Patriarch". Even in Western political circles, not sympathizing with the Russian Church, such expressions are not accepted.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vyacheslav "Mont Blanc" Glazychev is broadly famous in the narrow circle of the so-called "methodological community", which had spent years promoting "transformation of Russian identity" by means of inviting dozens of millions Islamic believers, including immigrants from non-ex-Soviet states like Pakistan, to Russia (the project, developed under the auspices of the Volga Center of Strategic Studies, was known as "Russian Islam").

No wonder that "Dr. Mont Blanc"'s troubles over the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the society, portrayed as "clericalization", is highly appraised by Mufti Nafigulla Ashirov, who recently proposed to "modernize" the emblem of the Russian Federation by removal of crosses". Thus, the new ideological campaign is backed not only by Vatican but also by particular circles in the Islamic community, openly hostile to Russian statehood and its symbols.


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