Staunton, January 14 – The Plus 60 National Committee, a group of Orthodox Russian nationalists, say that Aleksey Navalny is “the Anti-Christ” and that the Moscow Patriarchate must take steps to block his efforts to “sow chaos” and undermine the divinely ordained rule of Vladimir Putin.
At the very least, the committee says, the Russian Orthodox Church must pronounce an anathema on Navalny so that all Russians will understand what he represents and its hierarchs must put up pictures in churches and elsewhere of Putin surrounded by “a white nimbus” to highlight the Kremlin leader’s sacred nature (rosbalt.ru/piter/2021/01/14/1882082.html).
At the same time, the committee calls on the Duma to amend legislation already on the books that puts Putin beyond the reach of the law after his retirement to specify that his body after his death will be handed over to the ROC MP for preservation and reverence as a Russian saint.
Earlier the group suggested that the Sputnik-5 coronavirus vaccine be renamed “Putinol;” now it says that the medication should bear the sacred name “Putin B.” With that name in place, the committee says, the coronavirus can be defeated far more easily. It also calls for canonizing the late St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak.
Such appeals are unlikely to achieve their ends, but they do highlight the fact that among many ordinary Russians, the notion that those in power have a special and sacred nature is widespread. And consequently what the Plus 60 Committee is saying will likely exacerbate such feelings even if they are dismissed by more educated and secular Russians.