¹ 2, 2020
The widespread idea about the Russian Orthodox Church as an institution incapable of development needs to be substantially modified. The conservatism inherent in the Church should not be confused with reactionism, which is not its immanent attribute. Moreover, it is possible to talk about the internal polyphony of the Church, which incorporates a fairly wide range of views.
Historically, the Russian Orthodox Church has been distinguished by an extremely high degree of adaptability, the ability to integrate different traditions even in such conservative areas as worship, but in the Soviet years it was “encapsulated” and largely turned into a hermetic structure with the focus on preserving tradition. The current situation in the Russian Orthodox community is characterized by a huge gap between the number of “nominal” and “practising” believers. At the same time, the low and diffuse mass religiosity is compensated and, so to say, replaced by the increased activity of the practising minority and priests. But the active minority in the Russian Orthodox Church is heterogeneous and is split into several groups, the most important of which are conservatives and pragmatists.
The internal polyphony of the Russian Orthodox Church was clearly visible during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The situation touched upon the church-state relations, as well as the question of the role of confessions in modern society, rather than boiling down to the usual confrontation between liberals and conservatives. The pandemic not only exacerbated the contradictions between pragmatists and conservatives, but also led to the serious disagreements between the state and the Church that looked up to its influential conservatives in the decision-making process. However, since the Church as an institution is not ready to oppose state power, the prevailing model of relations between them is likely to remain, although it may become less idyllic.
¹ 1, 2019
The history of the new Ukrainian autocephaly once again proves the utopian nature of the idea of the universal Orthodoxy, based on strict adherence to the gospel principles. Although all parties to the current Church conflict officially defend such principles, in practice none of them follow them. Universalism is replaced by the competing versions of nationalism, which provides Churches with additional legitimacy in the increasingly secu- larizing societies that pay little attention to the Church dogma, but at the same time retain archaic features. The key factor in the world Orthodox politics is the longstanding rivalry between the Russian and Constantinople churches, which is largely related to the competition between the two national ideas, the Russian and the Greek. This is why the Church of Constantinople unilaterally granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Ukrainian autocephalist movement from the very beginning was based on a demonstrative repulsion for Moscow and has an anti-imperial politicized nature. Constantinople’s universalism, which disguises centuries-old nationalism, led to a paradoxical result — the Ecumenical Patriarchate legitimized the creation of a national Church, aimed at maximally weakening its main rival. This is despite the fact that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is the largest in terms of the number of parishes and constitutes an integral part of the Moscow Patriarchate, was not admitted to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
¹ 2, 2006
The author generalizes suppositions and forecasts who will be President V. Putin’s successor. He reviews such candidates as Dmitriy Medvedev, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Sobyanin, Vladimir Yakunin, Alexander Tkachev, Alexander Konovalov made by political commentators and analysts. This is an opportunity for A. Makarkin to analyze the alignment of forces in the power and the composition of Putin’s surrounding. According to the author, even when the current president makes his choice the issue of the succession format will not be exhausted yet. A. Makarkin believes that after the next presidential elections Russia will evolve to more “collectivistic” leadership within which the political arbitration will be carried out not so much by the new head of the state but by his predecessor.
¹ 3, 2000
The authors focus their attention on the results and prospects of the Russian federal reform. The authors review the first actions of Mr. Putin’s Administration and Kremlin’s further possible steps in this direction, and give would-be scenarios of federal structures’ development. They believe that the most probable way of the federal districts development is their strengthening as the basis of the new national administrative-territorial division, as well as empowering of the Presidential Plenipotentiary Representatives with the real mechanisms of control over their territories under a decisive suppression of any disintegration processes. As far as the Federation Council, according to the authors, it will most likely turn into an analogue of the German Bundesrat, and will be influenced by both federal and regional executive authorities. Besides, analyzing regional leaders’ reaction to the current reforms, and the levers which the Kremlin has to influence the results of regional elections the authors come to the conclusion that the success of the federal reform will largely depend on the fact of how much thoroughly the federal authorities think out their actions pointed to regional elite. The authors believe that this very factor will ensure national stability, and will allow to take into consideration the interests of all the main actors of the political process, thus avoiding the stuck of the reform.
¹ 1, 1998
Traditional soviet elites today undergo serious transformations. The nomenclatura principle of their formation is gradually getting a matter of the past though the innovations are rather evolutionary than revolutionary by nature. The events of August 1991 have accelerated the process of the new people coming to power and they occupied key positions in the structures of representative and executive branches of power in a number of regions. However in most cases «the newcomers» are responsible to the «old guard» and the tendency is getting ever stronger.
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