Experts have recorded the growing anti-Church sentiment in Russia


The building of temples

Society has formed a “new serious point of tension”, which is associated with the growth of anticlerical sentiment, according to the annual report of the information analytical center “Sova” on freedom of conscience in Russia. This conclusion is based on the increased number of cases of confrontations between supporters and opponents of the construction of the temples. Experts “Owls” have counted at least 26 similar conflicts arising in 2015.

The study noted the growth of self-organization the opponents of the erection of new churches. Faced with the lack of response from the authorities and the increased aggressiveness of the proponents of the temple building, the protesters were able to resist, and in some cases their efforts were effective. For example, according to the report, the defenders of the Park “Torfyanka” managed to achieve the transfer of the building to another location, and then in six months to resist the Orthodox activists who tried to circumvent that decision.

Against the construction of churches also protested the inhabitants of Yasenevo Moscow, Izmajlovsky Park, Troparevo-Nikulin. Conflicts around the building of Orthodox churches was noted in the regions, for example, in St. Petersburg, Ryazan, Belgorod region, Ekaterinburg, Novokuznetsk, Novorossiysk, Smolensk and Obninsk.

Pogroms exhibitions

Many conflicts were related to cultural events and works of art that did not suit the mostly Orthodox activists, the report notes.

Their dissatisfaction has resulted, for example, in the conflict over the Richard Wagner Opera “tannhäuser” staged by the Novosibirsk state Opera and ballet theatre. Also in Moscow, the parishioners of the Annunciation Church in Petrovsky Park tried to disrupt the concert, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the radio station “Silver rain” and staged a brawl.

At risk, according to analysts of the centre “the Owl”, and remain Russian Muslims. This is due to the costs of anti-extremist and anti-terrorist policy. In the construction of mosques, Muslim organizations have had to face protests of the townspeople, but most difficulties were caused by opposition officials, not providing the land for the mosque and prevented the already started construction.

Pressure is also exerted on representatives of the various sects. The report describes 22 cases of attacks on religious grounds (in 2014 these were 16), of which 18 incidents are attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Another three incidents are attacks on Muslims, all of them took place in Moscow.

However, according to analysts of the centre “the Owl”, officials and law enforcement agencies not only demonstrated that they are willing to protect religious feelings, but also showed that this protection is not unconditional. As the report emphasizes, this is evidenced, in particular, criminal responsibility for the mayhem in the Arena.

The separation of Church and state

The report stresses that the ROC is increasingly began to intervene in public life.

In fact, the separation of Church and state disappeared, I believe in “Owl”: the ROC took advantage of “a favourable political conjuncture, when the political leadership of the country holds anti-Western policy, largely based on ideological practices of the ROC”.

This is facilitated by the mood in some segments of the population. According to the survey by the Levada center, 47% of respondents want the Church increased influence on the maintenance of public morality.

In the “Owl” assume that the growth of anti-Church sentiments were to be troubled by the Federal authorities, followed by the ROC, which decided to respond to the situation by sending in his resignation from the post of head of the Synodal Department for Church and society Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, “whose provocative tone of the speech was resented a significant part of society”.

The nuances of financing

In 2015 from the Federal and regional budget funds were allocated mainly for the restoration of religious sites, says the survey. For example, the Moscow government has increased spending on the program of restoration of 50 million rubles In total for the 14 restoration of religious sites during the year has been spent 200 million rubles For restoration of the Solovetsky monastery under the Federal state program has been allocated 1 billion rubles for the restoration of Moscow Church of Nativity of the virgin on Kulishki – 475,6 million rubles For execution of works in the Cathedral mosque of St. Petersburg it took 50 million rubles.

Organizations directly controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate of the ROC or close to the Russian Orthodox Church, received large grants, not associated with restoration works. For example, a grant in the amount of 8 mln RUB was allocated for educational readings “Prince Vladimir. Civilizational choice of Russia”.

As you notice in the center of the “Owl”, some of the budget spending were quite unexpected. For example, the government of the Rostov region posted on the procurement website two bids for 450 thousand rubles for the organization of the Banquet to mark the arrival of Patriarch Kirill.

“In some cases, officials have allocated money directly, but using administrative methods to induce subordinates to financially support certain religious ideas,” the report said. As an example of such relationships is the order of the Ministry of health of the Kaluga region, which obliged the employees of subordinate organizations to transfer to an account of the diocese and the contributions to the installation of the monument to Saint Lawrence.