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I would like to apologize to the people of Russia on behalf of two generations of Catholic schoolchildren. Day after day, year after year, we were told to pray for the people held under the rule of the atheistic Communists in the Soviet Union. There was a brief break in the action in October of 1962, when we prayed instead that we would not have Soviet ICBMs landing on our heads before lunch, but we were back at it as soon as the missiles in Cuba were on their way back to their atheistic Communist masters. Evidently, even though it took several decades, apparently, our prayers were answered. With a fcking vengeance. From meduza.io:
On Friday, October 29, a Moscow court sentenced blogger Ruslan Bobiev and his girlfriend, model Anastasia Chistova, to 10 months in prison for “offending religious sentiment.” The couple was convicted over a photo they posed for, pantomiming oral sex against the backdrop of St. Basil’s Cathedral. According to Holod Media, these are the first ever prison terms handed down in Russia for “offending religious sentiment.” Bobiev posted the supposedly offending photograph on his Instagram and TikTok accounts on September 29. In the photo, Chistova is wearing a jacket with the word “Police” across the back. The blogger captioned the photo, “The Labor Code is not the Criminal [Code], you can break it.”
The Russian Orthodox Church has been a formidable ally to Vladimir Putin’s development of his authoritarian Russian kleptocracy. The relationship has not always been a smooth one, but both sides certainly have benefitted from it. From The New York Times:
Indeed, the ties between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate are as old as Russia itself. Throughout its history, the Russian Orthodox Church was subservient to the state and an unshakable supporter of autocracy. Starting in the 16th century, the church provided Moscow’s rulers with a political theology of Manifest Destiny, asserting that Moscow had become the Second Jerusalem and the Third Rome (after Rome and Constantinople).
This is what we prayed for.
The emergence of the atheist Soviet state in 1922 dealt a severe blow to the church. The state confiscated most ecclesiastical property, and few seminaries survived. The KGB infiltrated the priesthood, informing on clergy and promoting Soviet interests abroad.
This is what we prayed against. And this is what we got for it.
During Russia’s brief experiment with democracy in the 1990s, the church rebounded from the decades of suppression. But under Mr. Putin, the state has co-opted and subsumed the church. The Kremlin has relied on the Orthodox Church as the main unifying force in the country and provides it with generous financial support. In return, the church has been the key promoter of a “Russian world” concept that casts the Kremlin as a defender of Russians outside Russia. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has gone so far as to call the Putin era “a miracle of God.”
Also—the bombs never fell on our heads. Jesus Christ clearly was on our mainline. Sorry, Russia.
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