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Whither Secular Bear: The Russian Orthodox Church’S Strengthening Influence On Russia's Domestic And Foreign Policy, Robert Blitt Dec 2010

Whither Secular Bear: The Russian Orthodox Church’S Strengthening Influence On Russia's Domestic And Foreign Policy, Robert Blitt

Robert C. Blitt

As 2012 presidential elections in Russia draw near, evidence points to a collapse in that country’s constitutional obligation of secularism and state-church separation. Although early signs of this phenomenon can be traced back to the Yeltsin era, the Putin and Medvedev presidencies have dealt a fatal blow to secular state policy manifested both at home and abroad, as well as to Russia’s constitutional human rights principles including nondiscrimination and equality of religious beliefs. The first part of this article argues that leadership changes in the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) have triggered an unprecedented deepening ...


Russia’S 'Orthodox' Foreign Policy: The Growing Influence Of The Russian Orthodox Church In Shaping Russia’S Policies Abroad, Robert Blitt Dec 2010

Russia’S 'Orthodox' Foreign Policy: The Growing Influence Of The Russian Orthodox Church In Shaping Russia’S Policies Abroad, Robert Blitt

Robert C. Blitt

The government of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) - the country’s predominant religious group - recently underwent back-to-back changes in each institution’s respective leadership. This coincidence of timing has afforded a unique opportunity to reexamine the status of constitutional secularism and church-state relations in the Russian Federation. In the short space of two years, the partnership of President Dmitri Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill has further entrenched a discriminatory three-tiered status system for religious groups and - perhaps more significantly - has generated multiple new channels of influence for the ROC in Russian social and political life, including handing the Church ...