Initiative for multiple marriages in Russia publicly discussed


Interfax-Religiia, 26 September 2019


The head of the World Union of Old Believers, Leonid Sevastianov, thinks that the initiative for the introduction of polygamy, which has recently been voiced by Muslim clergy in Russia, did not come out of nowhere and deserves serious consideration.


"When we analyze modern Russian society, we can become convinced that polygamy exists de facto not only in the Muslim republics but also in places where mainly Russians live," Sevastianov told Interfax on Thursday.


He said that each of us knows numerous examples where one man has several families—one official and one or more unofficial, where children are born and raised. "At the same time, women and children in such families are deprived of rights, primarily in the area of inheritance of property and alimony payments," the news agency's interlocutor noted.


He considers that those cases cannot be ignored and it is necessary to make responses. "It follows from the Litsevoy Chronicle that the holy prelate Savva of Serbia (12th-13th centuries), just simply forced the princes to marry their concubines, thereby permitting polygamous marriages. The pre-Petrine liturgical tradition itself permits up to three marriages without the ritual of a wedding," the Old Believer leader noted.


In this way, he thinks, "the question involuntarily arises whether Orthodox pre-Petrine practice permitted polygamy, establishing profound responsibility for men in relations with women." This question can be answered, in Sevastianov's opinion, "only through public discussion."


In conclusion he pointed out the principal, in his opinion, task of any marital union, which should be taken into account by supporters and opponents of polygamy: "Discounting any ideology in the area of marital relations, we can easily be persuaded that the goal of marriage is procreation. Marriage is the natural mechanism for birth, training, and passing on inheritance of offspring. At the same time, marriage is an institution that guarantees the protection of the rights both of spouses and of children," Sevastianov concludes. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 September 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 23 September 2019

The chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravil Gainutdin, considers that official polygamy is better than affairs on the side.


"Aren't there lots of non-Muslim men who have not two nor three wives in Russian society? . . . So one can weigh it in the scales: either have 40 mistresses and not bear any responsibility and have several abandoned children or have two legal wives and bear responsibility before both the law and Islam," the mufti said Monday in an interview on Rossia-24 television channel.


Responding to the host's question, he declared that "if on the legislative level in the republics where Muslims mainly predominate bigamy or polygamy is permitted, then this would be appropriate."


At the same time Gainutdin said, he understands very well that "our state is secular, and federal laws operate in all territories of the Russian Federation, and federal laws are the same for everybody."


"I am for legality and order, and for the observation of the Holy Quran and its prescriptions and for observing federal law on the whole territory of the Russian Federation," he emphasized. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 September 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 26 September 2019


Recent initiatives of Moscow muftis for the legalization in Russia of polygamy will, in the event, automatically legalize polyandry, the Islamic scholar Roman Silantiev, director of the rights advocacy center of the World Russian People's Council, thinks.


"According to our constitution, women and men have completely equal rights and therefore the legalization of polygamy automatically leads to the legalization of polyandry. I doubt that the esteemed muftis wish to bring to life just such a scenario," Silantiev told Interfax on Thursday.


At the same time, he recalled that at one time, when the topic of polygamy appeared in a clip of "eastern tales" of the group "Blestiashchie," this met sharp criticism on the part of representatives of the Muslim community of the country.


As was reported, a few days ago the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravel Gainutdin, expressed the opinion that the introduction of polygamy into those regions of the country where the majority consists of Muslims would be expedient. Subsequently, the mufti of Moscow, Ildar Aliautdinov, spoke out for the introduction of polygamy.


"I am not personally against having Russian Muslims live according to their own Sharia laws," Silantiev added, "although there are two delicate issues: for this it is necessary to abolish the secular nature of the state and to introduce Sharia in full, that is, not only to permit polygamy but also to cut off fingers for stealing, or entire limbs, and to execute for adultery. And so you get some kind of 'glamorous Sharia.'" (tr. by PDS, posted 27 September 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 26 September 2019


The Russian Orthodox Church [RPTs] does not agree with representatives of the Muslim clergy of Russia who recently have called for considering the introduction of polygamy, particularly for the protection of the rights of mistresses and illegitimate children.


"We proceed from the fact that the problems that exist in our society are connected not with the existence or absence of the institution of polygamy, but with a deficit of responsibility of spouses in family life," the vice-chairman of the synodal Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, Vakhtang Kipshidze, told Interfax on Thursday.


In his opinion, both Muslims and Orthodox and Jews are agreed that "the root of the crisis phenomena in family life consist in extramarital affairs, which very often destroy family happiness."


In the views of the representative of the church, traditional religions of Russia should "unite their efforts for creating a lasting union of one man and one woman, and it is this that is the common goal whose achievement can facilitate the revival and strengthening of the traditional family, including having several children."


"As a Christian, it seems to me that the position of both a mistress and to some extent a wife debases the dignity of a woman. Equally, extramarital affairs of any type degrade the dignity of a man," the news agency's interlocutor added.


The problem of the lack of rights of children born outside of marriage must be resolved by means of strengthening the legal responsibility of their biological fathers, Kipshidze thinks.


As reported, the other day the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravil Gainutdin, expressed the opinion that the introduction of polygamy in those regions of the country where the majority consists of Muslims would be appropriate. Later, the mufti of Moscow, Ildar Aliatdinov, spoke out in favor of the introduction of polygamy. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 September 2019)

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