Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More on Russia's Slide

From a Wall Street Journal article about a Russian Orthodox priest who was defrocked because of his support for an opponent of Putin. Miracle of miracles - he saw his errors, repented, and now he's back in his robes.

Mr. Taratukhin's repentance reinforces what has become a pillar of Mr. Putin's Russia: an intimate alliance between the Orthodox Church and the Kremlin reminiscent of czarist days. Rigidly hierarchical, intolerant of dissent and wary of competition, both share a vision of Russia's future -- rooted in robust nationalism and at odds with Western-style liberal democracy.

In recent months, Orthodox priests have sprinkled holy water on a new Russian surface-to-air-missile system called Triumph and blessed a Dec. 2 parliamentary election condemned by European observers as neither free nor fair. When the Kremlin last week unveiled its plan to effectively keep Mr. Putin in charge after his time as president ends, the head of the church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, went on TV to laud the scheme as a "great blessing for Russia."

Who's watching all this unfold? Why aren't more people talking about it?

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