Grigory Pasko: Some Are More Equal than Others

Everyone is equal before the law. But some are more equal? Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. Article 14 of the Constitution of the RF says: «The Russian Federation – is a secular state. No religion can be established in the capacity of a state or mandatory one. Religious associations shall be separate from the state and equal before the law». Recently, my eye happened to fall on a thick magazine under the name «Moscovskiye eparkhial’nye vedomosti» [Moscow diocesan gazette] (№3-4, the year 2008). 156 pages of heavy, glossy paper. Hundreds of good quality color photographs. A mass of interesting information. For example, such a note on page 49 in the section «Chronicle of ecclesiastical events».: «In the residence of the Administrator of the Moscow diocese in the Novodevichi monastery, metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomenskoye Yuvenaly received chief of the UGIBDD GUVD for Moscow Oblast S. Sergeyev, who had come in accordance with tradition to introduce himself in connection with the awarding of the rank of major-general. In a friendly conversation, metropolitan Yuvenaly expressed acknowledgement to the major-general for many years of fruitful cooperation… within the framework of a joint agreement, signed by the parties on 25 September of the year 2007». Further on it is reported that the general expressed an intention to actively cooperate going forward as well «in the matter of the organization of ecclesiastico-societal undertakings». vestnik082508 The glossy full-color cover of the magazine in question (photo by Grigory Pasko)

That is, we see, that an organ of state – in the given instance the administration of the STATE [emphasis mine—G.P.] inspectorate for the safety of road traffic of the main administration of internal affairs [UGIBDD GUVD] – has been actively cooperating with the church for a long time already. In so doing, it is hard for me to imagine just what specific joint undertakings with the church have attracted the road police so. Motorcycle escorts for religious processions? Baptizing the children of gaishniki [a ubiquitous and slightly derogatory term for the road police, based on the initials of their previous name, GAI—Trans.]? Planting prayers into the heads of undisciplined drivers? Or perhaps special services to pray for an improvement in the quality of Russian roads? Unfortunately, the church magazine does not write about this. And asking at the GIBDD is pointless: they’re not very keen on working with journalists. Besides, journalists are all «godless», anyway!On page 81 in the section «Life of the diocese» is told about how in Serpukhov there took place a meeting of the clergy with representatives of military units. Protopresbyter Vladimir Andreyev congratulated the military service personnel with the Day of the defender of the Fatherland [formerly Red Army Day—Trans.] and handed out an icon of the sanctifier Nicholas the Wonderworker [St. Nicholas—Trans.] to each warrior.That is, not only the police associate with the church-that-is-separate-from-the-state, but the army as well. Furthermore, on page 115 in a conversation with a correspondent metropolitan Yuvenaly complains: «Cooperation with the army is found, I would say, at an incipient stage, because legislatively this is not determined in our country. But we do have an agreement between the leadership of the army and the Church on cooperation».And here too we see an agreement on cooperation. That is, its relations with the state the church is formalizing documentarily, so that later, if anything goes wrong, the SECULAR state would not throw all the blame on the church.Yvenal082508Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomenskoye cooperating with general of the army N.P. Abroskin and Head of the urban district of Balashikha V.G. Samodelov (Photo from the website of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate for interaction with the Armed Forces and law-enforcement institutions)And a report from the mass information media. On 5-7 August there took place a visit of the chairman of the Chamber of Accounts of the Russian Federation, head of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society Sergey Stepashin to the city of Pskov. During the course of the visit Sergey Stepashin called on the Pskov-Caves [Pskovo-Pechersky] monastery, where he met with Metropolitan of Pskov and Velikie Luki Yevsevy.Of course, it is wonderful that the auditor-in-chief of the country finds time not only to fight corruption by means of conducting financial audits of the spending of state money, but also to visit monasteries. On the other hand, if we take into account that around 40 managers of various ranks sit in Russian jails precisely for the non-targeted expenditures of funds, then matters with corruption are pretty bad.Personally, I really don’t have any problems with the church. This civic organization functions within the framework of the law: it cooperates with those who cooperate with it. And on the basis of paper agreements, at that.Another matter is the lying Russian state. It should either change the Constitution, which is clearly being violated, or not sign agreements with the church, but do everything secretively and clandestinely, the way the Russian state long ago learned how to do and does so well.