Dispute arises over how "Orthodox" Russia is


Credo.Press, 25 July 2019


In response to a blogger's request, the Fourth Department of the C.I.S. of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on 24 July on the anticonstitutional statement by a deputy minister of foreign affairs of the RF, Grigory Krasin, who characterized the status of contemporary Russia as an "Orthodox state." Using that identification, the official tried to give an explanation of the conflict that arose at a session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy in Tbilisi on 20 June.


"We express our indignation at the actions of radical forces of Georgia, which used the international forum that unites the Orthodox states of the world for spouting anti-Russian attitudes," the diplomat told the RIZ Novosti news agency.


As Otkrytye Media wrote, a blogger, Yury Shtengel, called attention to this statement by addressing an inquiry to the Russian MID and he asked for an explanation of the deputy minister's position. In an official reply, MID reminded the blogger that according to sociological surveys, the country contains about 75 to 80% Orthodox persons. In the opinion of the diplomats of the Fourth Department of the CIS, yet another reason for calling Russia an "Orthodox country" is its leading role in the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy.


The 14th article of the constitution of the Russian Federation states that "no religion can be established as the state or obligatory [religion]."


The highest percentage of Orthodox people among the population of the RF, revealed with the help of sociological surveys contained in the account of the Levada Center for 2016, is about 85%. This figure has nothing to do with real believers: fewer than 8% of people who call themselves Orthodox claim that they attend church once a month or more often, and only 1.4% take communion once a month and about 4% do so several times a year. At the same time, other surveys by Levada Center have shown that only about 40% of those who call themselves Orthodox believe the existence of God. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 July 2019)

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