Sunday, November 15, 2020

Russians Support or Oppose Laws Against Offending Believers Depending on Their Attitudes toward the Kremlin, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 13 – Many suppose that the Kremlin has promoted laws imposing punishment on those found guilty of offending the religious sensibilities of others to win support from its basic constituency, Sergey Shelin says. But few Russians encounter such actions and support or oppose the laws depending on whether they support or oppose the Kremlin.

            On the one hand, few believers report that they have suffered from such offenses, with only ten percent saying they have on occasion and only two percent indicating this has happened often, according to the results of a recent Public Opinion Foundation poll, the Rosbalt commentator says (

            And on the other, believers and atheists divide in their support and opposition to the existence of such laws in almost exactly the same shares as they do in terms of their support for or opposition to the Kremlin, something that unlikely to be the case if these laws were really a response by the powers that be to popular concern about such attacks. 

            Of course, Shelin says, the rulers in the Kremlin are infused with their own “unique religious spirit, if one considers under this term the sacralization of power,” and thus they may very well be inclined to attack sacrilege against religions in the same way they would attack criticism of themselves, a form of “sacrilege” too in their view.

            But the poll shows that the Kremlin hasn’t picked up support by promoting laws or court cases against those who may have offended someone else with regard to religion. Instead, the survey finds that support and opposition for such laws and displays parallels divisions about the powers that be.

            Orthodox Russians approve criminal prosecution of those who offend believers 68 percent as opposed to 21 percent who oppose that, but nonbelievers divide in much the same way, with 52 percent favoring such court cases, and only 38 percent opposed. In short, neither believers nor atheists view this as a vital issue.

            Instead, they see it as a show they are quite prepared to watch and support at least to the extent that they watch and support other things that those in positions of authority do. “Loyalists almost independently of their faith approve such actions as in general they approve everything those in power do.”

            “But those who are not supporters [of the Kremlin] on the contrary condemn this.” Given that supporters of the regime outnumber opponents roughly two to one, it is not surprising if this interpretation is correct that support for laws against offending believers are backed or opposed by roughly the same shares.

            According to Shelin, “the ordinary Russian only agrees to be a viewer of television spectacles put on by the powers.” They don’t add or subject to the respect people have for their rulers. They simply register that in a new way. The commentator says that he thinks that the bosses “have guessed” this is the case and are acting in this way by instinct not calculation.


No comments:

Post a Comment