Staunton, November 25 – One of the most important things to guard against in covering Russia is to fail to report on the more extreme statements by some Moscow analysts and commentators because of a belief that they are too absurd or out of the mainstream to be worth mentioning or their authors too marginal to matter.
For many years, that was the fate of Ivan Ilin, a Russian émigré who toyed with fascism, until it became known that he was Vladimir Putin’s favorite thinker given how often the Kremlin leader has been so obviously influenced by the émigré’s thinking and citied him so often in his speeches.
The tendency to underreport the extreme is especially common with regard to the writings of those in or around the Moscow Patriarchate who often say and write things that no one can believe anyone accepts but that later turn out to reflect the views of some of the most important hierarchs of that church and its political allies in the Kremlin.
A new book by Orthodox commentator Kirill Frolov appears to fall into this category and thus deserves to be noted lest it turn out to reflect and then inform the thinking of many in the ROC MP and in Moscow more generally.
Entitled “The Orthodox Church of Ukraine” as an Inglorious Affair of the Century and a Manifestation of “Greek Protestantism” (in Russian; full text available at materik.ru/upload/iblock/e12/e12d0faf00a95c35b25cbba390190388.pdf
And that by itself suggests Frolov’s book may be an important sign of the direction Moscow will now take not only doubling down against the autocephalous Ukrainian church but also doing the same against the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople. And it is also an indication that Moscow is likely to oppose any cooperation with the Catholic Papacy in Rome.
In sum, Frolov’s book is a platform for those forces within the ROC MP and the Russian political elite who want to move toward ever greater isolation from the rest of the world, an extremist position but one now fully supported by Patriarch Kirill and Russian President Vladimir Putin.