TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Literature and Language Society

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Russian Literature and Language Society’s Congress. The Russian Literature and Language Society was established in 2016 to consolidate the efforts of scholars, teachers, cultural figures and the global public to preserve the leading role of Russian language and literature in educating young people, strengthening the […]

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Russia’s Atheists Organize to Fight Clericalization

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 18, 2016) Russia’s atheists who in Soviet times enjoyed the active support of the government now face a situation in which the Russian regime is both supporting Orthodox Christianity and heavily influenced by it. As a result, this newly embattled minority has organize to fight the clericalization of Russia. Last Friday, […]

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Poll: Russians now hope for God’s help more

Holy-Spirit-Bernini-St-Peters-Window

(Russia Beyond the Headlines/Interfax – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH, INTERFAX – April 28, 2016) Russians have begun to hope for God’s help, and/or have begun to speak about the predestination of people’s fate by God, twice as often in the past 25 years, sociologists said, citing a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). The poll, […]

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Where does the Russian Orthodox Church get its money from?

Patriarch Kirill file photo

The Russian Orthodox Church is not only a religious organization, but also a large corporation that does business. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – March 9, 2016) In 2014, the Russian Orthodox Church received $75.7 million of revenues from ceremonies, sales of religious literature and donations, according to the Federal Tax Service. All of this […]

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Russians consider meeting between Pope, Patriarch useful, support their further contacts – poll

Saint Peter's Basilica

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) – Russians consider further meetings between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to be necessary, and support the idea of closer relations between the two churches without their unification, sociologists said, citing the results of a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research center (VTsIOM). In accordance with the poll results, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Ukraine Towns Ravaged by War, Evangelical Missionaries Find Fertile Ground” – New York Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Maryinka, a Ukrainian-held town of apartment blocks and one-story homes outside … Donetsk, has become a hot spot … for fighting … also for saving souls. … Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists carry on an almost forgotten fight in half-deserted towns like this one … several well-organized evangelical groups are staging a campaign of their own. Based on their accounts […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: “Russian blogger stands trial on charges of insulting believers’ religious feelings”

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Why did Kadyrov publish ‘revelatory’ report about himself?

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov has chosen to make public himself a report that accuses him of creating a quasi-Islamic state within Russia and not obeying Russian laws. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 26, 2016) The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has chosen to publish a report called “A National Security Threat” […]

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Putin Pulls Levers As Russian Patriarch, PM Head Abroad

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(RFE/RL News Analysis – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – February 11, 2016) With the Russian patriarch and prime minister both holding big meetings abroad, this weekend presents a chance for President Vladimir Putin to soothe a world still stunned by Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine and dismayed by its bombing campaign in Syria. Russian Orthodox Church chief Kirill holds historic talks […]

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Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis agree upon joint declaration

Pope Francis file photo, adapted from image (c) VIS

(Interfax – February 11, 2016) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis have agreed upon the text of their joint declaration, which they will sign at their historic meeting in Havana on Feb. 12. “The text of the declaration was negotiated by the sides until late last night. The final amendments were introduced. It is necessary to […]

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The poorer Russians get, the happier they become and other mysteries

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Sometimes sociological surveys capture paradoxical results. For example, for some reason Russians on the whole feel happier when they are poorer and many people that claim to be Orthodox Christians do not go to church and do not believe in God. As the famous 19th century poet Fyodr Tyutchev once said, “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone.” (Russia […]

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Moscow Patriarchate Church in Ukraine headed toward the dustbin of history, Chapnin says

File Photo of Historic Ukrainian Orthodox Monastery Grounds

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – January 7, 2016) The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is headed toward disintegration, and the only question is whether Moscow will simply watch as this happens or take the lead in organizing this change, according to Sergey Chapnin, who was recently fired as editor of the “Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.” […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “Czarist echo? Russian Orthodox Church drives to restore its political clout. The Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as the spiritual generator of public policy and the ideological bulwark of the state. Under Putin, priests have become fixtures in the military, schools, and other public institutions”

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State vs Art: Russia’s 2015 Crackdown on Contemporary Culture

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 31, 2015) “It’s theater. We were just playing.” That’s how Boris Mezdrich, his tone simultaneously apologetic and defiant, described the avant-garde production of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser that got him fired. “Blasphemy!” – was what the Russian Orthodox activists shouted as they protested outside the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Novosibirsk, […]

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Orthodox Church Receives Majority of Russian Government Grants

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 21, 2015) The Orthodox Church has been the biggest beneficiary of presidential grants given to non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, in Russia over the past several years, a study published Monday revealed. According to the report prepared by the Center for Economic and Political Reforms, the organizations controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate or close to […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Chechnya Holds Classes to Counter IS Propaganda”

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

AP covers Chechnya’s difficulties with Islamic terrorist recruiting. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya have organized classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. Thousands … have joined IS in Syria … some have taken senior positions. Islamic militancy has engulfed Russia’s North Caucasus … nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Dagestan from Syria, the number of […]

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Putin says external pressure gives Russia chance to develop

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – November 3, 2015) Russia has a unique opportunity to develop because external forces are trying to hinder it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. He was speaking at a meeting with representatives of scientific, cultural, public and religious organizations in Dagestan on 3 November, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported. “Life has worked out such that for us, […]

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Reclusive Russian Family’s Last Survivor Toughs It Out In The Taiga

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – Nick Holdsworth – October 28, 2015) SIBERIAN TAIGA, Russia — Agafia Lykova emerges from the thick forest on the banks of the Abakan River like an image from Russian folklore. Dressed in ragged black sackcloth with a tattered head scarf and a triangular prayer amulet hanging from a beaded cord around her neck, she greets visitors arriving by […]

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Ummah: Islam in the post-Soviet world

Russian Mosque file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Editors of OpenDemocracy Russia – October 19, 2015) oDR introduces a new series devoted to reporting and comment on Islamic life in the post-Soviet space. The Ummah, the worldwide community of Muslims, comprises millions of members across the post-Soviet space. The inhabitants of five republics in Central Asia-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan-have enthusiastically embraced their ancestral faith […]

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Five facts about Moscow’s new central mosque

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) on September 23, a new central mosque was thrown open to the public after a special ceremony in Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Galina Babich, special to RBTH – September 23, 2015) [Photos here asia.rbth.com/society/2015/09/23/five_facts_about_moscows_new_central_mosque_49461.html] 1. One of the largest mosques in Russia The central Moscow […]

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Russian Orthodox Church condemns participation by Ukrainian police in conflicts between religious organizations

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. Sept 23 (Interfax) – Vladimir Legoida, head of the synodal information department, has condemned the takeover by schismatics in Ukraine of the Church of St. George and called on the administration of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to investigate police involvement in violence against believers. On September 21, the Day of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, representatives of the Kyiv […]

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Pope Francis Says Russia Is Needed to Solve World Problems

Saint Peter's Basilica

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 23, 2015) Pope Francis has said Russia plays a crucial role in solving the world’s problems, a TASS news agency report said. “Without Russia, not one of today’s most pressing global problems can be solved,” the pontiff was cited Tuesday as telling a TASS reporter aboard a flight to Cuba. The pontiff continued his […]

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Russian Orthodox Activists Who Vandalized Manezh Face Criminal Charges

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 15, 2015) Investigators have opened a criminal case against a group of radical Orthodox activists who attacked Moscow’s Manezh exhibition center last month. The suspected attackers from the ultra-conservative group “God’s Will” could face criminal prosecution for the “destruction or damage of cultural property,” Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Galiakberov was cited […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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Russian Press Digest (17 August 2015)

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(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Monday, the Russian press reports on the import ban on foreign medicines, Rosneft’s taxes, and an attack by Orthodox activists on a Moscow sculpture exhibition. Kommersant opens with an article on new plans to ban imports of a range of medical products. Several large NGOs, including Vera and Podari zhizn, involved in medical […]

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Russians fight to keep derelict church from sinking beneath the waters

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Volunteers from all over Russia are working in the Vologda Region to save a unique monument of 18th-century architecture – the Church of the Nativity in the village of Krokhino – from destruction. For 50 years, it has been surrounded by water after the village was flooded during the construction of the Volga-Baltic Canal in 1964. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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Protesters Against Church Construction Gain Rare Victory

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 4, 2015) Long-lasting protests by residents against building a Russian Orthodox church in a park in northeastern Moscow appear to have resulted in a rare victory for public protests after religious officials said late last week they were ready to consider a different location for it. “The Moscow Eparchy is ready […]

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Russian church spokesman calls for “rotation” of political elites

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – August 4, 2015) There should be a “rotation of elites” in Russia and young people should come to power, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking at a meeting with participants in the II International Interfaith Youth Forum in Izberbash (Dagestan), privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 4 August. “Today we need a […]

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Moscow, Kiev Grapple With Historic Ties to Prince Vladimir

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 29, 2015) Tuesday marked the passage of a millennium since the death of Vladimir the Great. As both Kiev and Moscow honored the occasion with high-profile celebrations, leaders of each took advantage of the opportunity to emphasize the strength of their own countries’ ties to the medieval ruler. Prince Vladimir is […]

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Interfax : Russian patriarch appeals to Putin, Poroshenko over Ukraine conflict

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill has written letters to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine expressing deep concern over events in eastern Ukraine, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 27 July. “Reaching the peace agreements in Minsk put the escalation of the conflict on hold and inspired hope for a full ceasefire between the […]

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Interfax: “Russian world” not political, wider than Russia, includes Ukraine – church head

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, July 20, 2015) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has expressed concern over attempts to politicize the notion of the Russian world. “Unfortunately, our opponents use the words ‘Russian world’ as a kind of bogey, as a scarecrow, as they allege that it is a kind of doctrine which serves exclusively the interests of the Russian […]

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Jews Are Fleeing Russia Because Of Putin

Torah Scrolls

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Roman Super, Claire Bigg – July 3, 2015) Just a year ago, Russian journalist Vladimir Yakovlev was one of Moscow’s most influential media figures. Today, he lives a quiet life in Tel Aviv and has swapped his Russian passport for an Israeli one. Yakovlev, the founder of the respected Kommersant publishing house and the Snob magazine, […]

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Most Russians Want State to Remain Secular

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Cathedral with Man in Religious Garb in Foreground

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – June 25, 2015) The majority of Russians want to live in a secular state but almost half of the population is happy for the church to influence societal morality, a survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM has found. Sixty-four percent of those polled said they were in favor of the continued separation of […]

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Interfax: Chechen leader on Nemtsov murder, investments, oil, Ukraine, marriage

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Interfax – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has suggested that the murderers of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov should be sought in Ukraine, rather than in Chechnya. He praised his region’s economic potential and oil reserves. Kadyrov also slammed Committee Against Torture Russian human rights organization, accusing them of following the West’s guidelines to Russia’s detriment. […]

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Poll: Russian Parents Hope to Raise Doctors, Not Priests

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 2, 2015) Despite the fact that a significant majority of the population identifies as Orthodox Christian, fewer than 1 percent of Russians wish to see their children or grandchildren grow up to be priests, according a survey conducted by independent pollster the Levada Center. Similar polls conducted by the Levada Center over the past […]

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Yoga Journal Celebrates Its First 10 Years in Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtime.com – Lara McCoy – May 28, 2015) To celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring, the Russian edition of Yoga Journal didn’t make plans for a huge party, or even a special yoga retreat. Instead, the magazine marked the milestone by launching an extensive analytical survey of yoga in Russia and its practitioners, which appears in the […]

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Putin’s Personality Cult Exceeds Stalin’s ‘by Every Measure,’ Kantor Says

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2015) Although few want to recognize that this is the case, the personality cult surrounding Vladimir Putin far exceeds the one that surrounded Stalin “by all measures” and has become what can best be described as “the religion of a pagan empire,” according to Moscow commentator Maksim Kantor. In a post […]

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Ukraine conflict must not damage unity of Russian Orthodox Church – Patriarch

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, April 20, 2015) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill believes the Ukrainian crisis is a challenge to the unity of the Russian church and is opposed to attempts to lend the crisis a religious dimension. “The Ukrainian crisis and the desire of certain political forces to place it in the context of faith are a challenge […]

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Interfax: Great feast of Easter brings joy and hope to millions of Christians – Putin

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Church at Kremlin, adapted from defense.gov Image

Moscow, April 13, Interfax – President Vladimir Putin has greeted Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens celebrating Easter, the Kremlin press service reports. “The great feast of Easter brings joy and hope to millions of believers, introduces them to the sources of spirituality and traditions of forefathers,” the presidential message says. “The Russian Orthodox Church plays an enormous constructive role […]

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Moscow Times: Kremlin Reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church May Backfire, Analysts Say

File Photo of Russian Orthodox Church at Kremlin, adapted from defense.gov Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 8, 2015) While the Russian federal government’s burgeoning reliance on the Russian Orthodox Church is a tool aimed at consolidating society, in using it the authorities risk giving the clergy too much power, an issue that may eventually backfire against the Kremlin, experts told The Moscow Times on Tuesday. Recent public […]

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New Orthodox Journal “The Wheel”

The Wheel magazine cover

Subject: new Orthodox journal The Wheel Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2015 From: Andrei Zolotov (andrei.zolotovrp@rian.ru) I would like to forward to you information about a pretty amazing new project – an English-language journal of Orthodox Christian thought, The Wheel, that has been put together by my friends. It seems to me The Wheel, and in particular its first issue on the […]

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