The Russian Orthodox Church and Social Movement Protests: Is Unity Possible?

By Julia Sweet.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 30, 2015 $US5.00

This article reviews the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church with the nonviolent movement against fraudulent elections in Russia in 2011-2012. After the collapse of the USSR, a new socio-political dynamic and a high level of protest activity forced the ROC to reevaluate its socio-political position. Choosing between the people and the government, the Church picked the latter. Many years of death and destruction had a detrimental effect on the Church; the Church leaders announced political neutrality and precluded the involvement of priests in politics. Research reveals that this declared political neutrality of the Church transformed into open support for any governmental decisions. Also, state financial support guaranteed the survival of the religion and a dominant position in society. The ROC has deliberately distanced itself from protests and opposition by repeatedly making ambiguous statements about democratic principles, globalization, and the Western experience. Nowadays, the Church cannot be recognized as a neutral and independent societal agent, but as a symbolic pillar for the oligarch regime.

Keywords: The Russian Orthodox Church, Social Movements, Religion, nonviolent resistance, Russia

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.77-85. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 299.203KB)).

Julia Sweet

Doctoral Student, Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University, Staten Island, New York, USA