» 08/14/2012 RUSSIA Former Putin ideologue back to the leadership of Religious Affairs by Nina Achmatova Surkov appointed head of the governmental commission for relations with other religions. The approval of the Patriarchate. Experts: Moscow intends to take radical decisions on issues that affect interfaith relations.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian
Orthodox Church has welcomed the return of former Kremlin ideologist, Deputy
Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov to head of the Russian government's Religious
"Vladislav Yuryevich is an
intellectual and it is interesting and a pleasure to work with him," said
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for relations
between the Church and State after the news arrived of the appointment on
of a Vladimir Putin 'sovereign democracy' (with which they justify violations
of democratic norms in the name of national sovereignty), on behalf of the
government of Dmitri Medvedev Surkov will be in charge of the field of Religious
Affairs, at an intense moment given the case
Riot, the girl band that risks jail time for having chanted a punk prayer against
Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
Surkov, 47, was removed from his
post as first deputy chief of staff of the Russian presidency in December after
street protests against Putin. The
latter, still prime minister but already favored candidate for president, then
called him to the executive entrusting him the leadership of the Committee on
Religious Affairs, a post he held until June, when the new Prime Minister
Medvedev replaced him with Olga Gorodets.
to business daily Vedomosti, Surkov's
return to managing relations with religious organizations is due to the
"difficult situation of the leadership of traditional religions." Patriarch
Kirill of Moscow has been the subject of a series of scandals that have
portrayed him as a man who lives in luxury and in comfort. Kirill
was also strongly criticized by civil society and by the faithful themselves for
his overly harsh position against the Pussy Riot girls and lack of mercy.
Orthodox Church is not the only religion under pressure. Even Islam, second
largest religion in Russia, is struggling with extremism in a region that has
always been a model of peaceful coexistence, Tatarstan. In
this autonomous republic in the south a double attack on Muslim moderates, last
month, has triggered the alert for the spread of Wahhabism from the North
the Mufti of Chechnya, Sultana Mirzayev, welcomed the return of Surkov to Religious
is a responsible and politically wise person - he said to Interfax - he knows the
area well and his appointment suggests that the government intends to take
radical decisions on issues that affect interfaith relations."