Editorial: Thank you, Vladimir Putin!

Finally!It took a national disgrace in a show trial to make it happen, but this is the Vladimir Putin that ran Russia before the Medvedev switchover– a largely practical administrator, who, for whatever faults we can attribute to him, generally left church and state separate. (It’s worth noting that the largest number of recent Church seizures occurred under the Medvedev presidency– as Patriarch Kirill had the ear of Russia’s first lady, unprecedented in recent history.)

Observers noticed the veneer of unity between the Moscow Patriarchate and the administration– truthfully, a more recent creation than people realize– begin to fall apart earlier this week when the President warned against the creation of an “Orthodox Komosol organization”, indicating he had no interest in creating a forced youth movement.

Has the President’s patience with the MP
run out? (source: kremlin.ru)

With the press hanging both the Moscow Patriarchate and the administration that the Patriarchate declared fealty to, perhaps the President realized just how dangerous it was to hang the hopes of moral stability on the corrupt Patriarchate. Yesterday, Putin indicated that he did not think the feminist punk band should be punished strictly. The fact that the President– the main subject of the song that caused the furor to begin with— felt that perhaps the intended punishment was too harsh while the Moscow Patriarchate has demanded a harsh penalty indicates that the administration wants no part of the international disgrace the higher-ups of the MP are creating with this trial.

But the real shocker of them all went largely unnoticed in the Orthodox press, even though Interfax caught it: Putin sent warm congratulations to Metropolitan Kornily, the head of the Russian Old-Rite Church, for his 65th birthday. Vladimir Putin sending congratulations to the head of an Old Believer community is a clear and public message that the administration is no longer interested in placing all its eggs in the basket of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Granted, it would be nice if the President could look into all the seizures of ROAC, RTOC and other Churches that took place during the Medvedev administration and eventually reverse them. But the simple act of congratulating people who are not part of the Patriarchate, but still proclaim the Orthodox faith is a gigantic step towards reversing all the damage caused by the Patriarchate over the past few years– because it says the administration is not interested in the MP policy of denying non-Patriarchal Orthodox Christians the right to exist.

If this is a sign of things to come, it can only be considered positive– so let me be the first to say: thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

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