Monday, August 16, 2021

Moscow Patriarchate Presses for Presidential Office to Protect Ethnic Russians from ‘Oppression at Home and Abroad’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 11 – Because ethnic Russians are suffering from oppression at home by other groups and officials and abroad in their attempts to retain links with their homeland or return to it, a senior official of the Moscow Patriarchate says, Vladimir Putin should set up a special office in his administration to “help the Russian man.”

            Bishop Savva of Zelenogorsk, the deputy administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate says that the church is calling for this in order to protect an ethnic group whose collective needs are all too often ignored and whose members thus suffer ( and

            “Perhaps,” Savva says, “it is time to establish a position, let us call it for the time being, of a presidential plenipotentiary for the rights of ethnic Russians.”  Such an official would carry enormous weight in the various ministries where the rights of Russians often are affected by decisions.

            While such a proposal is consistent with the Patriarchate’s general thinking and Putin’s commitment to the formation of “a Russian world,” what appears to have provoked this call now is the attack on a Russian boy in Kyrgyzstan because of his ethnicity and Orthodox religion (

            Following that incident, Patriarch Kirill personally invited the Russian boy to come to Moscow to talk about his experiences and to receive assurances that he will be protected from such abuse in the future (

            If the Kremlin does create such a position, however, many non-Russians are likely to view this as a manifestation of Putin’s tilt toward ethnic Russians and evidence that the non-Russians inside the country are likely to face more discrimination and that non-Russian compatriots abroad will have little help in returning.

            That is a serious issue especially among the Circassians who have been pressing for return for more than a decade and with little to show for it (,, and

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