God’s Candidate

In December, we posted about the Russian Orthodox Church’s expressions of support for protests against the results of parliamentary elections, widely seen as fraudulent, that returned Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party to power. At the time, we noted, some observers said the Church’s support was actually strategic, a political device meant to help Putin by co-opting the protests before they went too far. Some evidence for that analysis: this week, Putin traveled to the Danilov Monastery, headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church, to receive the endorsement of Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. According to reports, the Patriarch told Putin that his time in charge of Russia had been a “miracle” for the Church and the country. In return, Putin told the Patriarch that the Church deserved more time on Russian television. Other religious leaders also gave their endorsement at the meeting, including Russia’s chief rabbi and the head of ┬áRussia’s council of muftis. “Muslims know you,” the latter told Putin. “Muslims trust you. Muslims are wishing you success.” Nice when religious leaders can find common ground like this.

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