METROPOLITAN TIKHON ON PUTIN: OUR PROBLEM IS MAN IS NOT IMMORTAL
Radio Liberty, 25 October 2021
One of the most influential people in the Russian Orthodox Church is Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov), who is called in news media Russian President Vladimir Putin's spiritual director. He declared that Putin has attained such authority, primarily on the international plane, that it will be difficult to find his successor.
"Many will look and say: 'Who else is there who can work so on the international plane? Who can also sustain us domestically?' But this is our problem; man is not immortal," Tikhon said in an interview with the publication Daily Storm.
The metropolitan said that the only thing that the Russian people can build in state construction is monarchy. "One-man rule; it is natural for our country," Tikhon emphasized. At the same time he said that Putin himself treats it "ironically" that he is sometimes compared with a tsar, but he takes seriously the "ruler's cross" upon himself.
The metropolitan called Putin "a man of a completely different scale and plane in many respects," who "absolutely does not belong to himself" and whose only task is "to save Russia." "Russia has been saved, but there also is the task of preserving. You know, on our crosses is the inscription 'Save and Preserve.' All of this lies on these shoulders. . . ' Shevkunov relates about Putin, with whom, he says, he sometimes meets even at three a.m. due to the president's workload.
The RPTs leaders accused the Russian intelligentsia of abetting destructive tendencies, and the society of adolescent infantilism and unpreparedness for "creative dialogue" with the state. "These are endless gossips, slanderers, enviers, and destroyers. What a terrible swamp," Shevkunov said of the people whom he called the "black rabble."
Amendments to the constitution that were recently adopted with the consent of Putin himself—who has ruled the country since late 1999—provided him with the theoretical possibility of remaining president until 2036. Putin himself, who is now 69 years old, says that he still does not know whether he will run for a new term. The question about "successors" of the president periodically is discussed in the press, but many persons from Putin's circle declare that he is irreplaceable. In particular, the head of the State Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, declared literally: "No Putin—No Russia." (tr. by PDS, posted 27 October 2021)
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