Top two Orthodox bishops respond to demonstrations roiling country


Credo.Press, 31 January 2021


Patriarch Kirill commented on 31 January from his self-isolation in a skete near Peredelkino regarding the problem of "the negative influence from the outside" upon Russian youth who are coming out for the demonstrations of protest against corruption and abuses of the Russian authorities.


"Often our youth are literally going crazy, losing all sorts of life guidelines," TASS quotes Kirill. "Correct thoughts and correct convictions must be formed, which would be able to deliver a worthy rebuff to all destructive influences."


In the category of sources "of influence from outside" the head of the RPTsMP cited news media, especially television and the internet. "If we wish to have a genuinely bright future for our people, for our fatherland, we must give a great deal of thought to these special days. Give thought to how to form the consciousness of our youth, which forces have influence on hearts and souls, how the information flow is constructed that today is swallowing up contemporary man and what kind of ideas fill this flow," Kirill concludes; he plans to gradually come out from his self-isolation. (tr. by PDS, posted 31 January 2021)



RIA Novosti, 30 January 2021


Those who involve children in political demonstrations must answer before the law, the head of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, declared.


"Involving children and teenagers in political demonstrations is a completely impermissible violation of civil law and order, and I think that those guilty must bear responsibility for it," the metropolitan said in a broadcast on the Rossiia-24 channel.


He said that there really are many social problems in the country. Besides, he noted, the level of corruption in individual government structures is very high. However, in his opinion, this is not a reason "to urge adolescents to go out onto the streets."


The metropolitan also urged not to repeat the mistakes of history, recalling how the October revolution of 1917 turned out for Russia. In his opinion, states must develop evolutionarily and not revolutionarily.


On 23 January, unsanctioned rallies were held in Russian cities, which turned into clashes with security forces, arrests of violators, and the opening of criminal cases, including the threat of mass infection with COVID-19. On the eve of demonstrations on 31 January, the prosecutor general's office and the M.V.D. reminded of the article of the Criminal Code regarding mass disorders (up to 15 years in a penal colony). So far, it has not figured in cases, with the exception of Novosibirsk, where charges were filed, but not for organizing or participating, but only for calls for pogroms.


The M.V.D. reminded about the special regime in a number of regions because of the pandemic; its violation may lead to both administrative and criminal accountability. The M.V.D. also urged refraining from participation in unsanctioned demonstrations, noting that "in the conditions arising, the risk grows of provocations on the part of their organizers and active participants, directed at the violation of public order." The ministry emphasized that it is doing everything necessary to assure public order in places where public events are being conducted.


Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov called the organizers of unsanctioned demonstrations provocateurs. President Vladimir Putin stressed that everybody has the right to express an opinion, but "everything that goes beyond the limits of the law is not simply counterproductive, but dangerous," and moreover "minors should not be shoved forward in any case." (tr. by PDS, posted 31 January 2021)

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