Staunton, May 13 – Many in Ukraine and other former Soviet republics regularly accuse the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate of working hand in glove with the Kremlin to promote Russian interests in their countries, an accusation some dismiss as paranoid and unworthy of attention.
But in fact, the complaints of the non-Russians are fully justified; and in recent months, the Russian government has not bothered to conceal the fact that it is financing projects by the ROC MP in these countries intended to promote Russian interests, actions that have attracted little attention in the West.
Last month, for example, the Russian culture minister provided 16.8 million rubles (250,000 US dollars) to the ROC MP and allied structures in Kazakhstan to hold a theology congress there, a meeting clearly intended to promote Russian activities and goals (openmedia.io/exclusive/minkultury-potratit-17-mln-rublej-na-meropriyatiya-rpc-v-kazaxstane/).
Now, the Russian culture ministry has announced that it will provide 22 million rubles (360,000 US dollars) to the ROC MP and allied groups in Belarus to do the same thing in that country before the end of this year (credo.press/224370/).
Among the conference and exhibit topics Moscow wants to see organized in Belarus are “The Spiritual Foundations of the Fraternal Peoples of Russia and Belarus,” “Dostoyevsky as a Spiritual Guide of the Russian and Belarusian Peoples,” and also “Aleksandr Nevsky, the Symbol of Russia.”