). He points out that Metropolitan Aleksandr, the current head in Latvia of the semi-autonomous Latvian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was recruited by the KGB in 1982 and then had a dizzying career upwards.
That is a typical pattern, Soldatov suggests, but he points to something often neglected: Secret police links with the hierarchs didn’t end with the Soviet Union. Instead, they continued with the FSB, which with Aleksandr and most others becoming less about ideology alone than about control and disbursement of property and money.
Using commercial structures, the FSB continued to work with the metropolitan and in fact was able to make the Latvian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate into “a kind of oasis of the Soviet Union” in which property passed from the church to others (kompromat.lv/item.php?docid=readn&id=9111).
As Soldatov notes, the FSB still cares about controlling what the hierarchs think and preach, but it now appears, especially in the Putin era, that its chief concern is gaining access to the control and distribution of the enormous wealth of the church or using it as a cover for financial machinations, a concern that further corrupts the church.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, several efforts were made to expose the KGB’s role in the ROC MP, but most were stymied by official delays. Then, after 2000 when Putin assumed power, these efforts were mostly stopped altogether with the heroization of the KGB and other security agencies.
The religious specialist notes in conclusion that “there is no clear answer as to whether the cooperation of the hierarchy with the special services of an atheist state was justified. And that is yet another piece of evidence that the Moscow Patriarchate is condemned to share the fate of the Chekist regime when its historical time runs out.”