08/01/2013, 00.00
RUSSIA - UNITED STATES
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Moscow Patriarchate wants Snowden given asylum to show that Russia defends freedom

by Nina Achmatova
Archpriest Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church and Society Relations, calls on Russian authorities to stand up against "electronic concentration camps."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate calls on Russia to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, a former US employee on the run from his government, in order to show that it stands for freedom against "electronic concentration camps" and the "global ideological dictatorship," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church and Society Relations, was quoted as saying in an Interfax report.

Fr Chaplin said he welcomed Russia's stance regarding granting asylum to Snowden, a former CIA employee who has been stuck at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport for 40 days.

"It is pleasant that Russia shows independence in this case, as well as in many others, regardless of serious pressure," the priest said.

The situation with Snowden is a landmark and is very widely discussed in Russia and in the world. "Russia's image as a country supporting true ideals of freedom depends on how Russia will act in this situation," Father Chaplin added.

Snowden reminded the world of what many Orthodox Christians have been saying for many years, namely that "the prospect of the global totalitarian electronic regime" has become "real," he said.

"Any political system," the archpriest explained, "establishes the power of few [people] over many [people] and if in the 20th century the roughest forms of such power worked though brutal enforcement, now they work through soft power, through total information gathering and through 'mild' imposing on a person first via slogans, then via laws of strict ideological sets, such as declaring the western political system as the only possible one, marginalizing the religion".

In these circumstances, Russia "could quite possibly be urged to protect real freedom, freedom from global ideological dictatorship, from electronic concentration camp," he said.

Yesterday, Lonnie Snowden, Edward Snowden's father, appeared on Russian television, in which he urged his son to stay in Russia, "If he wants to", for "the rest of his life," not only on a temporary basis. "I hope to see you soon," he added. "But most of all I want you to be safe. [. . .] We love you."

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