Staunton, May 22 – In any real crisis, Vladimir Putin will sacrifice Orthodoxy, however much it has been part of his ideological “bindings” in order to remain nominally with the people and thus retain power, Yevgeny Ikhlov says, acting in exactly the same way that the CPSU did 30 years ago when it dispensed with Marxism.
In Yekaterinburg, the Russian commentator says, the Moscow Patriarchate has only hastened this outcome, having behaved much like the Moscow militia did on August 20, 1991, and on October 3, 1993 “and then suddenly it has remembered” that its most important task is “the struggle with abortions” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CE4320137713).
That move only reinforces the view of the Russian people that the ROC MP is “part of the regime and its base,” but it also suggests to the rest of the establishment that the Orthodox Church, at least in its current incarnation, may be the best way to get out of the current crisis with minimal costs to itself.
For the time being at least, Putin may refrain from such a move because those opposed to the construction of a cathedral on the main square of Yekaterinburg didn’t form the kind of organizations and structures that could become the basis for a broader challenge to the regime, Ikhlov continues.
But what has occurred in the Urals city is still “very important” – an almost instantaneous and spontaneous appearance of social self-organization that reflects the work of “the popular intelligentsia.” And that development gave the appearance at least for a few days that Russia was living in a beautiful future in which there was “real federalism” and “real bourgeois democracy.”
As a result, Ikhlov continues, the principle of federalism “and even confederation, local self-government, and parliamentary democracy are now emblazoned “on the banners and standards of all conditionally and unconditionally democratic opposition” groups in the Russian Federation.
That is no small thing, the Russian commentator suggests; and one can easily imagine that it could grow into a crisis threatening Putin’s power. Among the thing he is likely to do to prevent that from happening is jettisoning the Moscow Patriarchate with its obscurantism and arrogance.
That would be extremely popular and a victory for the Russian people. Putin would have to hope that they would remain satisfied with that alone.