Staunton, Dec. 20 – The Moscow Patriarchate has long been under attack by Russian liberal Orthodox; but now it is being increasingly subject to attack by a new brand of Orthodox conservatives, a larger and increasingly influential group whose views resemble less their conservative Russian predecessors than those of right-wing religious libertarians in the United States.
In NG-Religii, journalist Anastasiya Koskello says that the old religious right in Russia talked to one another but the new religious right is fully capable of calling people into the streets to protest government policies and can count on a larger number of recruits than the Navalny movement (ng.ru/ng_religii/2022-12-20/11_542_radicals.html).
A prominent example of such Orthodox activists on the right is blogger Aleksandra Mashkova-Blagikh who promotes her views on Russkaya Narodnaya Liniya, Pravoslaviye.ru, the “Leave Us in Peace” program on Tsargrad television, and another program, “Immune Response,” which opposes anti-covid vaccinations.
She and her followers oppose “any limitation of parental rights by the state, are against ‘forced vaccination’ and adopting laws giving the state a voice in cases of violence within families and supports pulling children out of public schools and home schooling them under parental supervisions.
Leonid Polyakov, a scholar at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, says that Mashkova and her ilk are “successfully parasitizing on trends in Russian politics and that “their understanding of traditional values is to a greater degree American than Russian” and thus at odds not just with the Kremlin but with the Patriarchate.
“De facto,” he continues, “they are typical American rightwing libertarians,” who push social Darwinism, oppose state action in all spheres, and seek the hold the rights of parents absolute over their children.” In his view, neither the ROC MP not “any normal Russian citizen” can have anything to do with them.