Friday, March 17, 2017

Burying Lenin Now Would Unacceptably Promote De-Russification, Moscow Patriarchate Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 17 – For decades, many thoughtful observers have argued that “the cult of Lenin is a marker of Russian imperialism and that monuments and busts of Ilich play exactly the same role as did busts of the emperor in the Roman Empire” and that that reality explains Russian anger about taking down Lenin statues abroad, according to Yevgeny Ikhlov.

            But one could hardly expect that a leading prop of the Russian regime would make this argument baldly and in public.  However, that has now happened, and the statement an official of the Moscow Patriarchate issued yesterday merits close attention as an indication of just what the nature of Russian state ideology now is (

            Yesterday, carried the following story (

“In the Moscow Patriarchate, they have spoken out against the reburial of Lenin.

“Moscow, March 16. – “The first deputy chairman of the Synod’s Department for Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with Society and the Media, Aleksandr Shchipkov, called extremely untimely the idea of burying the body of Lenin and promoted to introduce in Russia a moratorium on the war with political symbols.

“We understand perfectly well that [Lenin’s] presence on Red Square does not have anything in common with Christian traditions. But we cannot raise the question about reburial earlier than when the campaign for de-communization and de-Sovietization on the post-Soviet space ends.

“And consequently, having raised this question, we are obligated to proceed exclusively from religion and not political considerations. Shchipkov writes in an essay published on the Interfax-Religiya site. ‘We see how the theme of de-communization is used by our closest neighbors in the goals of de-Russification. Can we pour water on this ideological mill? It would appear that we cannot.”

                Ikhlov points out that what is unbelievable is “the ruthless directness” of Shchipkov’s words: What they clearly mean is that “the cult of Lenin, communization and Sovietization were weapons of Russification.” And thus it turns out that the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate turns out to be “a supporter of forced Russification of peoples.”

            Because of its support for that, Ikhlov continues, the leaders of the Church are willing to go along “even with Sovietization, thus betraying the memory of tens of thousands of Orthodox priests and hundreds of thousands of laymen who became victims of Bolshevism and the Soviet system.

            Given this declaration, Ikhlov concludes, one needed obsess about the church’s support for Stalin and Nicholas II at one and the same time when it is now clear that “the Moscow Patriarchate is for Lenin and for communization.”

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