Monday, June 2, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Patriarchate Giving Awards to Stalinists and Anti-Semites, Eggert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 2 – The Moscow Patriarchate is sending a dangerous message about its own views and about what Russians should think by presenting awards to individuals who are openly Stalinist and anti-Semitic in their views, according to Konstantin Eggert, an independent Moscow journalist.

            In a comment to “Kommersant-FM” on Friday, Eggert said he was shocked by the decision of the Russian church hierarchy to present the Patriarchal Prize in Literature to Valery Ganichev, the head of the Union of Writers of Russia and deputy chairman of the Russian Popular Assembly (

            Ganichev is notorious for his pro-Stalin and anti-Jewish comments, but disturbingly, Eggert says, this is hardly the first such action by the Patriarchate.  Patriarch Kirill has presented awards to Aleksandr Prokhanov who has called Stalin “a new Russian saint” and to Stanislav Kunyayev, the openly anti-Semitic editor of “Nash Sovremennik.”

            To be sure, neither was given the prize for these specific statements or works, but the Church had to know about them, Eggert says. The same is true about Ganichev who “from the 1970s has been one of the recognized leaders of the nationalist direction in Russian literature” and whose works are infused with an anti-Semitic spirit.

            There can be no doubt about the trend here, the journalist says. “Too many of the nominees and laureates of the Patriarchal Prize, with only a few worthy exceptions are united by a fervent love of Stalin and just as strong hatred of the Jews, America and the West in general, of democracy and the intelligentsia.”

            Moreover, these honorees are given to conspiracy thinking and to support of horrific foreign leaders like the bestial “Saddam Hussein and Milosevic in the past and the cannibalistic dynasty of the Kims in North Korea today.”  If anyone doubts that, he or she should watch Prokhanov’s televised panegyric to “the grotesque North Korean dictator.”

            Prokhanov, Kunyayev and Ganichev “have every right to their views and the dissemination” of them, Eggert says.  “Let the, if they want, to long for the Stalinist boot [and] to deny the Holocaust.” But that doesn’t mean that the Russian Orthodox Church has any justification for giving them prizes.

             There is no way to combine the expressed values of the Church with the expressed views of Prokhanov and his like, Eggert says. “You must choose either the one or the other. The jury of the Patriarchal Prize has made its choice. And Patriarch Kirill alas has in essence supported it.” Orthodox Christians and all others of good will can only be appalled and ashamed.

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