RUSSIAN ORTHODOX FASCISM AFTER GLASNOST
Paul D. Steeves, Stetson University
presented to the Conference on Faith and History,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 8 October 1994.
Last December's (1993) first free parliamentary elections in post-soviet Russia left many puzzled. Attention focused on the flamboyant extreme Russian nationalist, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whom the uncomprehending media portrayed as the winner. My paper has nothing to do with Zhirinovsky who, in any case, I consider to be an unimportant figure.
Rather I analyse here a reactionary element within the Russian Orthodox church that contributed to the nationalist electoral victory. I intend to unfold the religious component of the mix that produced the unanticipated antireform results of the elections. Because this force continues as an important component of the Russian political situation, I contend that understanding this phenomenon may prepare us to comprehend what comes out of Russia in the future.
My fundamental point is that, at present, the most vital force within Russian Orthodoxy rejects the trend of developments which most of the West seems to be expecting to emerge from the rubble of the fallen Soviet system. And because the Russian Orthodox church is the largest single religious institution in Russia, this means that the most influential force within the religious population of that country resists democracy, free market economics, and a pluralist society. Instead it favors the restoration of the geopolitical integrity of the traditional Russian empire, an authoritarian political system, and a centrally controlled economy, with the Russian Orthodox church occupying a privileged position in state and society.
To be sure, this reactionary movement does not constitute the entirety of the contemporary Russian Orthodox church. Some voices within the church speak a more liberal, westernized language, and in doing so they draw upon some noteworthy nineteenth- and early twentieth-century advocates of reform within the native heritage of Russian Orthodoxy, such as Soloviev, Berdiaev, and Bulgakov. They are supported by the considerable respect for the memory of the recently murdered Father Alexander Men' who functions as a kind of icon of the counterpoint to the reaction on which this paper focuses
Representatives of this contrapuntal element are important voices, too, and they deserve respectful attention. The reigning patriarch himself cultvates a pose that tries to rise above factions while giving a public impression of sympathizing with those westernized factions in the church. Which of the trends the patriarch really supports is a matter of dispute among observers.
But in this paper I deal with the contemporary activity within Orthodoxy that relates itself to a different, and more influential, nineteenth-century source, that which adopted the watchwords: "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality." This was the slogan that defined the most reactionary political component of Russian history between the defeat of Napoleon (1815) and the Crimean War (1854), while Emperor Nicholas I tried to impose on Russia an iron-handed rule.
The conservative ferment within the church includes a variety of people and groupings that share a range of values, although this movement has no formal organization. Since the celebration of the millenium of Orthodoxy in Rus in 1988, dozens of monasteries and convents have opened, or grown, and these have functioned as centers of ecclesiastical as well as political reaction. The most prominent among them is the premier Russian cloister of the Holy Trinity at Sergiev Posad. In several cities, in addition to the monasteries, organizations called Orthodox brotherhoods have formed, and these have promoted traditional spirituality alongside the antisemitism of reactionary Orthodoxy, especially through vigorous publishing activity.
One church leader has emerged as the individual focus of the energy that dissents against the changes that Russia is experiencing. His name is Ioann. He has risen to the position of the second-ranking hierarch in the Russian Orthodox church by virtue of his episcopal post, namely metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga. He functions as a permanent member of the Holy Synod, which, acting in conjunction with the patriarch, administers the church. This seat on the governing board of the church gives Ioann substantial moral, as well as legal, authority.
Ioann's functional (as contrasted with administrative, titular) role in contemporary Russian Orthodoxy has been described variously by Russian sources. He is the chief ideologist of the Moscow patriarchate, in the opinion of the famous dissident priest, Gleb Yakunin, who recently was defrocked by the patriarch.(1) Others consider that he is the leader of a substantial faction within the church that stands on the brink of going into schism against the patriarchate.(2) He himself has observed, apparently with bemusement, that the news media have accused him of a diverse range of ideolotical identities, including communist, nationalist, fascist, and antisemite.(3)
The sixty-seven-year-old bishop Ioann was born Ivan Matveevich Snychev. In the formative years of childhood and youth he went through the traumas of the stalinist transformation of Russia, the accompanying murderous antireligious campaigns, and the wartime devastation of the German invasion. The young Ivan grew up in a peasant family during the turbulent years of agricultural collectivization. He was too young to enter the army during World War II. In the year after the war ended he began his church career by becoming an Orthodox monk at age nineteen. Ioann was educated at the seminary in Saratov. That seminary had just been reopened as a result of the abrupt reversal in official policy toward that church that Stalin had introduced in the midst of the war. On the eve of the war there were no Orthodox educational institutions because they all had been closed in the vicious assault upon the church that accompanied the social and economic transformation of Russia carried out by the stalinist five-year plans. But in the last months of the war the church managed to restore its institutions for training priests and monks.(4)
After seminary, Ioann moved on to advanced study at the ecclesiastical academy in Leningrad. Because of his scholarship, Ioann qualifies as among the better educated and more erudite of active Russian bishops. He is an historian by training. He composed and defended the equivalent of a doctoral dissertation in 1966 at the Moscow ecclesiastical academy, the year after he was installed as bishop of Syzran.(5) His research studied the right-wing dissident movements within the Russian Orthodox church in the aftermath of the declaration of loyalty to the Soviet regime that was published by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky in 1927.(6)
Ioann established himself within the Orthodox tradition as an example of the figure known as the "learned monk" during the years when Nikita Khrushchev exercised the dominant influence in the Soviet Union. In this time, while Khrushchev promoted antistalinist reforms that foreshadowed the liberalization of the late 1980s, he also instigated an aggression against the church that emulated in severity the antireligious onslaught of the thirties.(7) I do not have information about how Ioann responded to the restrictions of the Khrushchev antireligious campaign, but it seems relevant to observe that during this time he was conducting his academic research on movements of resistance to the collaborationist policy of Metropolitan Sergius. It seems clear that after the Brezhnev administration established itself and organized its close control of the church, Ioann adopted a belligerent pose. In the mid-1970s a secret report to the Communist party central committee from the government's Council on Religious Affairs included Ioann among the bishops whom the council viewed in an especially hostile way because they resisted actively the antireligious purposes of the regime.(8)
In 1990, when the patriarch of twenty years died, the then metropolitan of Leningrad, Alexei Rideger, was elected his successor. Ioann was transferred from Kuibyshev to replace him. That appointment signified Ioann's importance within the bureaucracy of the church, despite whatever oppositional stance to the state he may have adopted. In sum, Ioann cannot be dismissed beforehand as a marginal figure in the Russian Orthodox church.
As metropolitan of St. Petersburg (the name changed in 1991) Ioann has published a considerable number of articles commenting on contemporary developments in Russia. More than two dozen of these articles appeared in newspapers associated with the most extreme political opposition to the Russian government and the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.
These papers included the nationalist and blatantly antisemitic paper which was one of only two newspapers permanently abolished by presidential order a year ago after President Yeltsin put down the parliamentary challenge to his authority. That banned paper was called The Day. The editor (Alexander Prokhanov) evaded the prohibition by starting a new paper, that he called Tomorrow. Ioann continues to publish in this periodical.
Ioann has published even more articless in the communist newspaper Soviet Russia. Last year this daily began publishing a supplement approximately monthly, running two to four pages, which carried the title Orthodox Rus, and Ioann served as editor of this insert. Ioann's articles also have appeared in Pravda, the official organ of the Russian communist party. Ioann cannot get his writing printed by the publishing house of the Orthodox church.
In the next section of this paper I summarize Ioann's perspective on events in Russia. Following that I survey the substance of Ioann's message that has the most pertinence to the Russian political situation.
Ioann's reading of twentieth-century Russian history is curious. In it Stalin is a heroic figure because he is portrayed as a defender of Great Russian state interests and of the Russian Orthodox church in particular. Stalin is supported by the notorious Andrei Zhdanov, who is best known for the repression of artistic creativity and western influences in the late 1940s but who in Ioann's estimation was a champion of anti-Jewish policies that promised to save the Russian nation.(9)
The antagonists in Ioann's moral universe are Leon Trotsky, Nikita Khrushchev, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Yeltsin; Jews, Masons, and American capitalists; and evangelicals from abroad and inside Russia. What all of these seemingly disparate actors share in common is their unmitigated hostility to Russia. Ioann declares his settled conviction that an international conspiracy of longstanding has been pursuing the destruction of Holy Russia--which as the Third Rome is the lone defender of the pure truth of God--and that the active agents of that conspiracy on the ground in Russia are local businessmen and investors from abroad, native Russian liberal democrats, evangelical missionaries and evangelists, and organized crime, which has brought all economic activity in Russia under its control and in doing so has corrupted the police forces, many parliamentary delegates, and officials in all layers of the government bureaucracy.
To give a better idea of the details of Ioann's views I will flesh out Ioann's philosophy of history, his account of the course of twentieth-century history, his perspective on Russia's place in the world, and his statements about Jews. Ioann set forth his reading of twentieth century history in an expository article in his supplement to the communist newspaper Soviet Russia in the summer of 1993. Under the significant title of "The Russian Focal Point," he proposed to disclose the inner meaning of history as it is working out in the breakup of"the largest empire of the world."(10) All that is important in human history, he concludes, is focused upon Russia.
In this article, which I judge to be clearly representative of his ideological position in the early 1990s, Ioann began from a general theology of history, rejecting the determinism of historical materialism because, he says, human freedom underlies all events, and human behavior is indeterminate. It is not open to objective, rational prediction. Within the human heart two forces contend. On the one hand is God's law, written on the conscience. On the other are the sinful impulses of ambition, pride, envy, and hypocrisy. The battle between good and evil is not a cosmic one of dualism, but a clash that rages within each human breast. As this contest emerges on the world stage it creates the course of world history which develops into a grand struggle between human good and evil.
The only force that qualifies the outcome of the struggle is God, who determines that evil intentions will not ultimately triumph. The instrument that God has appointed to exercise restraint upon evil is the Church of Christ.
This general overall understanding of human society frames the distinctive meaning of Russia's history in particular, as Ioann reads it. God, in his inscrutable counsel, ordained for Russia to be the land of his Church and thus the repository, preserver, and defender of his sacred truth. In the history of Russian thought this conclusion has been summarized in the sixteenth-century theory of Moscow as the Third Rome.
Because Russia is God's chosen instrument for restraining and ultimately defeating evil in the world, this national territory inescapably has become the focal point of the worldwide conflict between good and evil. All the impulses toward evil within humanity inevitably are drawn together into a hostile onslaught against Russia.
When Ioann recites the details of actual events to illuminate his perception of the general pattern of history he tells a story that will be recognized as not original with him. But it should be summarized here in order to situate Ioann on the ideological spectrum.(11) For more than a century now, he says, an international conspiracy to create a single world government has been underway. Ioann quoted the nineteenth-century British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, who charged that "a network of secret societies covers a substantial portion of Europe," and in their activity is the determination of events, "which are not directed by the intentions of visible rulers." A hundred years later, what once was invisible has become visible. Ioann points to the Trilateral Commission and the Club of Rome as overt contemporary manifestations of the program to create a supranational rule. Ioann found clear evidence in support of his conspiracy theory in the words of David Rockefeller, whom he quotes as saying: "The world today is already more . . . predisposed to the creation of a single world government. . . . The supranational rule of the intellectual elite and world bankers is preferable to the right of nations to self-determination."
In this western conspiracy for world dictatorship Ioann found the solution to what he called the riddle of Russia's troubled history in the twentieth century. The achievement of world dictatorship required the abolition of all distinctive national identities and the destruction of ethical values. It was especially necessary, he said, "to destroy the divine economy of our salvation that was sealed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God's own son, on the cross."
The chief impediment to these plans was Russia. "No religious confession, except Orthodoxy, has the necessary spiritual might for successful opposition. No single country, besides Russia, has sufficient cultural, scientific, economic, and military potential to successfully counteract the hegemonic aspirations of the architects of the Ônew world order.'" The situation required the destruction of Russia, and to that destruction the international conspiracy devoted itself in the twentieth century.
The first result of this crusade to "remove Rus from the world arena" was the revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Russian Orthodox autocracy and eventually brought to power the Bolsheviks. But the new dictators failed to accomplish the ultimate goal of destroying Russia that was set for them by their western capitalist sponsors. Two reasons account for their failure. First, they promoted an ineffective ideology that advocated "permanent revolution," an idea espoused specifically by Trotsky, and "class struggle," which created international alarm. Second, World War II rescued Russia by bringing it a glorious victory and setting it on the road to restoration of its historical great power status under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.
The "intellectual elite" of the world were defeated only temporarily. They devised a new tactic for destroying Russia by promoting the principles of liberal democracy and free markets. These values initially were implanted within the dissident intelligentsia which the administration of Leonid Brezhnev tried to restrain. Finally these values grew into the policy of perestroika that Mikhail Gorbachev introduced, and bore fruit in the destruction of the Soviet Union in the actions of Boris Yeltsin. For Ioann, the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s was a repetition of 1917, not an undoing of that revolution, as many others have viewed it.
Ioann's claim of the distinctiveness of Russia requires an elaboration of the characteristics that qualify it for a unique role in history. In a long interview published earlier this year Ioann laid out his prescription for saving Russia from the destruction that international conspirators have intended for it.(12) Russia can be regenerated (he uses the biblical term for rebirth in this regard) if it will return to three historic principles that defined its special place in God's plan.
The first principle (he calls it an archetype) is that of the Russian imperial ideology upon which its statehood (derzhavnost) was based. This is the principle of Russia as the unique successor of the ancient empire expressed in the equation of Moscow as the Third Rome. This imperial ideology prescribes rule by an autocratic sovereign as the only form in which the moral imperatives of Christian teaching can be implemented in human society.
The second principle is that of communitarianism (sobornost) according to which the Russian nation is foreordained to unite the diverse ethnic groups living near and among the Russian people.
The third principle is that of "Russian religious messianism." The supreme mission to which the Russian people are predestined by God is the preservation of the doctrinal and ethical ideals of Christianity. The Russian nation has been designated to be the "bearer of God" (bogonosets).
Ioann finds these three principles summarized in the nineteenth-century slogan inaugurated in the reign of Emperor Nicholas I: "Orthodoxy, Authocracy, Nationality."
Ioann declares his optimism regarding the eventual outcome for Russia. In time the people will be brought to restore the Orthodox Russian empire. But before that can happen, faithful believers must find in themselves the strength to resist the evil besetting Russia.
One specific form of that evil was described by Ioann in an earlier article that bore the significant title "The Battle for Russia."(13) In this article Ioann again portrayed Russia as the target of an international conspiracy. But this time Ioann gave to that conspiracy a clearly identified face. To corrobrate his claim of an intentional plot Ioann dragged out the infamous document known generally as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Ioann acknowledged that the protocols, which purport to document a Jewish strategy to destroy Christendom and to achieve Jewish world dominion, have been judged fraudulent by an overwhelming body of scholarly opinion. Ioann suggested that he has reasons to dispute that conclusion. Then he said that whatever the truth about the document may be, the events of the twentieth century have conformed in amazing detail with the scenario outlined in the protocols. Ioann reproduced several sections of the protocols which he offered as proof that the principles expressed in them gave meaning to events happening up to the present.
When a reporter for the liberal weekly Moscow News challenged Ioann's use of the protocols, the metropolitan reaffirmed his position in an interview published in Soviet Russia. Again he said that what mattered to him was not who wrote the protocols but that "the whole history of the twentieth century corresponds in frightening exactness with the ambitions expressed in this document." But this time he gave details to support his skepticism about scholars' conclusions that it was a forgery.(14)
As a result of such things that he has said, Metropolitan Ioann has been portrayed in the press as contributing to an alarming widespread climate of antisemitism in Russian society. He addressedthis charge in an article published earlier this year, stating flatly that he is not antisemitic.(15) But what he went on to say at length clearly contradicted his disclaimer. He denied that he harbors any hostility toward Jews on the basis of their race, and on that basis he claims that he does not deserve to be considered an antisemite. But, he asserted, the reality of history is that for two thousand years Judaism has conducted an uninterrupted war against the Church of Jesus Christ. "Judaism does not have the slightest positive religious substance. From the moment that the Jews crucified the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God's Son, whom they should have received with sincerity and love . . . the basis of Judaism became militant anti-Christianity." The consequence of this hostility has special historical meaning for Russia. Since Holy Rus (Sviataia Rus') is the defender and preserver of Christian truth, inevitably the hostility between Russians and Jews has been unrelenting. In three full-length newspaper columns Ioann goes on to recount the history of that enmity, concluding with the somewhat equivocal, but nevertheless aggressive, declration that "there is no doubt that this subject requires serious consideratin. We have begun to great work of Russia's regeneration. Before God and our own conscience we are obliged to carry it to its conclusion."
Two questions must be addressed for an objective historical evaluation of Metropolitan Ioann's views. One has to do with an assessment of the strength of the influence of this extreme resistance to reform in Russia. The other seeks an understanding of the apparent paradox of the affinity between a church leader and his former ideological enemies.
Someone with a vigorous imagination could easily organize Ioann's biography in a way that showed that he always was a dupe, if not an active agent, of the soviet atheist establishment. How else could he enter a church vocation so young and advance so quickly? Even dispassionate analysis legitimately infers that the KGB had a hand in his election to the Leningrad see.(16) But I conclude that he sincerely (i.e., from personal conviction) fought against antireligious forces during the Brezhnev era and that he emerged to prominence only when those forces had been overtaken by events of the era of glasnost.
The friction between Ioann and the functioning soviet system before the time of Mikhail Gorbachev and the coming of glasnost was genuine. Ioann vigorously agitated against the machinations of the antireligious establishment within the communist power structure, and the opposition was reciprocated.(17)
Events of the late 1980s produced a reconfiguration of the relations between the communist elite and the Orthodox church. The unsettling forces of advancing perestroika and the unleashing of divisive nationalist forces that tore apart the soviet system injected profound changes into the relationship between the Orthodox church and important elements inside the communist party. As the party's longstanding and constitutionally-guaranteed monopoly on power slipped away, and pluralism in politics and society proliferated, the convergence of interests and energies between pristine stalinist communism and traditionally Russian elements within Orthodoxy, elements that Ioann now personifies, came to the fore.
Available evidence suggests that the initiative in this strange rapprochement came from the communist side. The most prominent expression of the communist overture to the Orthodox church emerged in the late 1980s when the highest levels of the ideological section of the party began a rewriting of history that led to the canonization of Orthodox Patriarch Tikhon. In making this revision that allowed the church to declare that Tikhon was a saint, the communist party acknowledged the patriarch to be a victim of a bolshevik campaign of destruction against the church in the postrevolutionary years. The party of the late-perestroika phase distanced itself from the persecution of the church in the 1920s by laying blame for it on Trotsky. Strangely, it seemed also willing to extend the indictment to Lenin himself.(18)
The church declared in October 1989 that Tikhon was a saint. In doing so the church made no attempt to provide the usual evidence in corroboration of sainthood. Russian Orthodoxy is less demanding than western Catholicism about the evidences of sanctity. Still, the two kinds of testimony that a person is a saint that are generally required, reports of miracles and the preservation of the bodily remains, were not provided in support of the canonization of Tikhon. This is not to say that the church acted improperly in declaring that Tikhon was a saint; but it is to suggest that the church's action was a hasty response to the party's urgent attempt to grasp onto the church as it felt itself drowning in events that had surged out of control. At the time it was carried out, no such declaration by the church could have been made without the permission and even encouragement of the communist party.
Orthodox receptivity to overtures from the communist side came naturally. Orthodox tradition does not adjust easily to a pluralistic society. Although as acknowledged above some Russian Orthodox writers have manifested affinity to western liberal values, in its majority form historic Orthodox has been inhospitable to democratic principles.(19) The heritage of Orthodoxy means that it functions more comfortably in an authoritarian system.
In approaching the question of how extensive Ioann's influence is in the contemporary Russian political arena we confront the absence of any mechanism for reliable empirical measurement. The most pertinent statistical data inform us that about one fifth of the population professes to be actively Orthodox and only about one third considers religion of any kind to be of some importance in their lives. Moreover, there seems to be a general trend of declining influence of religion in measurable public opinion which appeared to peak in late 1991. So it is reasonable to expect that a large portion of the population would profess indifference to, or even ridicule of, Ioann's urgent alarms. One also suspects that the doctrinal and ideological formulation of Ioann's views would be intellectually inaccessible to most of the population and even to a substantial portion of the Orthodox faithful.
But this is not all of the story. A monthly evaluation of political influence of individuals, conducted by the democratic newspaper Independent Gazette, places Ioann in the top hundred political figures of Russia, although in the most recent calculation he was placed in position number 100. Still, to list him among the hundred most influential persons in Russian politics is to enroll him in a group that does not include most elected representatives of parliament.
It may also be observed as possibly more significant that many of the practical implications of Ioann's views resound regularly in statements from a broad variety of politicians, across the political spectrum, not to speak of the returns in the last parliamentary election. Even Boris Yeltsin and many around him have made statements promoting Russian great power status, interest in restoring the Russian empire, and defense of traditional Russian behaviors in the territory of the former empire. All of these soundings seem to be evoked by a mood within Russian society that Ioann reflects.
Specifically, the most prominent political figure whose declarations manifest virtually the same themes as Ioann's is former vicepresident Alexander Rutskoi,(20) who can be expected to be a substantial candidate for president, whose support can be anticipated to emerge from the social elements for whom Ioann speaks. It is on such bases that I conclude that knowing something about Ioann helps the outsider to sort out the confusing signals emanating from Russia.
1. Gleb Iakunin, "Ia predosteregaiu!" Nezavisimaia gazeta (12 April 1994), 2
2 .Sergei Bychkov, "Vozhd' raskola?" Moskovskie novesti, no. 30 (25 July 1993), 7.
3. "Ostanovim smuty. Beseda glavnogo redaktora Ôsovetskoi rossii' Valentina Chikina c metropolitom sank-teterburgskim i ladozhskim Ioannom," Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 34 (26 March 1994), 1.
4 . An important recently published source that documents the negotiations that led to the restoration of Orthodox seminaries is "Bstrecha stalina," Tserkovnyi vestnik, no. 6 (1994), 3, which provides the personal report composed by Georgi Karpov of the fateful meeting on 4 September 1943. According to this report, when Acting Patriarch Sergius requested permission to organize classes for training priests, Stalin himself suggested that the church should open seminaries in every diocese. That suggestion may explain the perhaps surprising situation that so soon after the war and the inauguration of a new church policy Ioann found a seminary in a provincial city instead of in, say, Moscow or Leningrad.
5. The defense of his dissertation is summarized in N.I., "Zashchita magisterskoi dissertatsii v moskovskoi dukhovnoi akademii," Zhurnal moskovskoi patriarkhii, no. 8 (1966), 7-10.
6 . The dissertation was published only after the end of the communist regime as Ioann, Tserkovnye raskoly v russkoi tserkvi 20-kh i 30-kh godov XX steletiia (Sortavala, Kareliia, 1993). A manuscript of the thesis served as a substantial source for a western study of dissident Orthodoxy, William C. Fletcher, The Russian Orthodox Church Underground, 1917-1970 (New York, 1971), note especially page 11.
7. For a summary of the details and literature on this subject see Paul D. Steeves, "Antireligious Campaigns in USSR," Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union, Vol. 2, 81-87.
8. "Cadres of the Church and Legal Measures to Curtail Their Activities," RCDA, nos. 9-11, 1980, 150; cf. Jane Ellis, The Russian Orthodox Church (Bloomington, 1986), 217.
9. Mitropolit Ioann, Samoderzhavie dukha (Saint Petersburg, 1994), 321-322.In Ioann's reading, Lavrenty Beria functions as Zhdanov's nemesis who hounded him even after his death. In this account, the claim of the notorious "doctor's plot," which scholars usually dismiss because of its evident antisemitism, was really an exposure of an international plot against Russia, and the exoneration of the doctors actually was a denial of justice and truth, which Beria engineered. In the context of this account, Ioann suggests vaguely that Stalin was murdered because of his, and Zhdanov's, policies directed against Jews under the sobriquet of the "anticosmopolitans" campaign (ibid., 323). That is, those phenomena which commonly accepted analysis usually ascribes to antisemitism, Ioann praises as an attempt to defend the interests of the Russian people and state. This perspective implies a novel interpretation of the origins of the "cold war." The state of enmity that underlay the cold war resulted from the west's anger at Stalin's precautions against Jewish influence which threatened those interests he was defending.
10. Ioann, "Russkii uzel," Rus' pravoslavnaiia, no. 2, Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 83 (15 July 1993), 3
11. One will note immediately that Ioann's rhetoric is similar to that of spokesmen of the American religio-political right, like Pat Robertson, but I choose not to explore here the implications of this similarity.
12. "Ostanovim smuty. Beseda glavnogo redaktora "sovetskoi rossii" Valentina Chekina s meitropolitom Sankt-Peterburgskim i Ladozhskim Ioannom," Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 34 (26 March 1994), 1-2.
13. Ioann, "Bitva za rossiiu," Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 21 (20 February 1993), 3-4.
14. "Ia ne politik, ia--pastyr'," Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 69 (11 June 1993), 3. The questions were submitted by the Moscow News reporter, who also interviewed themetropolitan, apparently with the understanding that he would receive the written answers to his questions. But, according to the reporter's account, Ioann did not give him answers to his prepared questions and they were published instead in the communist newspaper (Sergei Bychkov, "Vozhd' raskola?" , 7).
15. Ioann, "Tvortsy kataklizmov," Rus' pravoslavnaia, no. 13, Sovetskaia rossiia, no. 32 (22 March 1994), 4.
16. A variety of sources provide information about the KGB's influence in the church based on records exposed after the debacle of late 1991. Such influence continued strong as least through the election of a new patriarch in 1990 and, along therewith, the election of the new Leningrad metropolitan. These sources are summarized in a paper by Father Viktor Potapov, "By Silence is God Betrayed." The paper has been published, but I am using an unpublished typescript of it and thus cannot cite pages; Potapov is, to be sure, not a dissinterested observer, but his information about the specifics of this matter strikes me as reliable.
17. Ioann himself provides a nuanced analysis that explains, even if itdoes not ultimately justify, his apparently paradoxical situation. From the beginning, he says, the communist leadership contained two contending factions, those who supported the welfare of the Russian nation and those who wished for its destruction. He always aligned himself with the former and fought against the latter. The latter category naturally encompassed the antireligious establishment, which inevitably opposed someone like Ioann, who defended Russian interests (Ioann, Samoderzhavie dukha, 317).
18. In early 1990 the Izvestiia of the Central Committee disclosed a hitherto unacknowledged letter written by Lenin. In the 1960s this document was circulated in samizdat and was used in western scholarship about church-state relations in 1922. Now in April 1990 the central committee confirmed its authenticity. The letter, dated 19 March 1922 proposed turning the conflict that had erupted in Shuia over the confiscation of church articles into a showdown between the regime and church counterrevolutionaries, whom Lenin calls "black hundreds." "For us," he wrote, "the present moment presents not only an exceptionally favorable but in general also a unique moment, when we have a 99 percent chance of complete success in beheading the enemy and guaranteeing for ourselves the essential positions we need for many decades." Lenin sugested that the GPU be directed to place Tikhon under close surveillance and to report daily to the Politburo. He advised that the party intensify the confiscation of valuables with the explicit purpose of damaging the church. "The more representatives of the reactionary clergy and bourgeoisie we manage to shot over this matter, the better." In the commentary about these events published in the central committee's journal later in 1990, Valerii Alekseev identified Trotsky as the principal instigator of the attempt to use the confiscation issue to assault the church, although he does not absolve Lenin of responsibility. Lenin was portrayed as having been persuaded by Trotsky to go after the patriarch, against his personal inclination. Tikhon, the commentary asserts, was not guilty of counterrevolutionary activity, a charge which is declared to be "absurd." "Pis'mo V. M. Molotovu dlia chlenov politbiuro TsK RKP(b)," Izvestiia TsK KPSS, no. 4 (1990), 190-195; Valerii Alekseev, "Byl li patriarkh Tikhon vozhdem tserkovnoi kontrrevoliutsii?" Dialog, no. 10 (1990), 93-104.
19. On the predeliction of Orthodoxy against pluralism and in favor of autocracy, see Kent Hill, "The Orthodox Church and a Pluralistic Society," in Uri Ra'anan, et al., ed., Russian Pluralism, Now Irreversible? (New York, 1992), 165-187.
20. See Aleksandr Rutskoi, "Bez pravoslaviia otechestvo ne vozrodim,"Blagovest, no. 7 (1993), 3. The title of this article is significant: "We will not regenerate the fatherland without Orthodoxy." In it Rutskoi identifies himself with Orthodoxy by mentioning the baptismal cross he wor e all his life, which he inherited from his grandfather, and describing two professed supernatural experiences that he had, including a personal healing while on pilgrimage to sites in the Holy Land