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  • » 08/01/2013, 00.00


    Moscow Patriarchate wants Snowden given asylum to show that Russia defends freedom

    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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    See also

    31/07/2014 RUSSIA - UNITED STATES
    For Orthodox Church, Moscow can do what it wants in state-religion relations
    Speaking about the US State Department report on international religious freedom, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said "We have the right to create our model."

    07/08/2013 RUSSIA - UNITED STATES
    Despite Snowden's asylum, Obama will be at the G20 in St Petersburg
    The US president speaks out for the first time on the matter after Moscow granted asylum to the US fugitive whom the US still wants extradited. According to Russian experts, Washington's rebuff will not go beyond the diplomatic level because the White House needs the Kremlin.

    05/03/2008 RUSSIA
    Moscow Patriarchate says no to ecumenical prayers
    Number two in the Department for External Church Relations urges Orthodox not to pray with members of other confessions, adding that “nowadays no one speaks seriously about reunification”.

    28/03/2008 RUSSIA
    Moscow Patriarchate to “monitor” Catholic orphanages
    The decision comes at the end of a meeting by a joint working group on problems between the two Churches. The Patriarchate wants to keep an eye on Orthodox children who live in Catholic institutions. This however has been the rule for years. Once again silence prevails on other, more important issues.

    19/04/2006 RUSSIA – VATICAN
    High-level Vatican delegation in Moscow for religious summit, Catholics free, says nuncio
    In an interview with Russian-state news agency Interfax, Mgr Mennini, nuncio in Russia, talks about cooperation with the Orthodox Church. Catholics face no external obstructions in the country.

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