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The Russian Orthodox power play

This morning Kommersant reported (in Russian) that a prominent council of religious associations will, for the first time, be chaired by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The decision represents a major victory for the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and is another sign of the church’s increasing influence over the Russian state. The Kremlin is seeking church ...

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This morning Kommersant reported (in Russian) that a prominent council of religious associations will, for the first time, be chaired by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The decision represents a major victory for the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and is another sign of the church’s increasing influence over the Russian state.

The Kremlin is seeking church support as a rapidly disintegrating economy has fueled internal dissent. The newly annointed Patriarch, Kirill, is believed to be more liberal and politically ambitious than his predecessor and may become a major player in the Russian government.

Still, Russia’s troubled record on religious tolerance makes the prospect of a closer relationship between church and state a troubling one for religious minorities.

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