12/22/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA

Patriarch Kirill on the anti-Putin protests: authorities must listen to criticism

Nina Achmatova
Nearly three weeks since the explosion of demonstrations against the alleged electoral fraud in favor of the ruling party, Kirill prays for social peace. In two days next great demonstration in Moscow.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - It has been almost three weeks since the explosion of anti-government demonstrations in Russia and the reaction of the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill has been as long in coming. "Let the Lord enlighten those who have different views, particularly on political issues in the country and on the recent elections, and help us to start a real civil dialogue so as not to destroy the life of the nation", advocated the leader of Russian Orthodox Church at the end of the liturgy celebrated Dec. 18 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Noginsk, in the Moscow region.

According to the Patriarch, "the authorities should give more credit to the people and contribute to this dialogue and communication, overcoming doubts and disagreements in a way that neither human temptations, or mistakes, or misunderstandings on the work done for the welfare of the country can divide society. "

"We have no right to divide - he added - the bloodshed of the twentieth century does not allow it. We must live together, wearing the armor of God's truth, as St. Paul teaches us. "

Since December 5, in the aftermath of the Russian legislative won amid allegations of fraud and irregularities by the ruling party United Russia, a part of civil society has taken to the streets on a regular basis for the annulment of the vote and respect for their constitutional rights . This is called for by the Russian middle class, youth, intellectuals, professionals and former politicians who are organizing themselves and spreading information primarily on the web. The protest movement organized on December 10 the biggest protest of the last 15 years in the country in Moscow (50 thousand people) and is preparing to return to the streets in two days, on Christmas Eve.

As well as the Kremlin, the Russian Orthodox Church emphasizes the need to preserve social peace and avoid revolutions on the model of Arab Spring which seem unlikely, however, in Russia. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of Department for relations between the Church and society at the Patriarchate of Moscow had already spoken out on the subject. "The most important thing now is to maintain civil peace and not allow another 1905, 1917, 1991, 1993," referring to the dates of the major revolutions and social unrest in Russia of the last century.

However, at the same time the Church turns to those in power asking them to heed the demands of the people. For now, both Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev have dismissed all claims of the protesters, trying to downplay the importance of protests and strongly responded to international criticism on suspicion of fraud. In an attempt to stem the unrest also in view of the presidential election of March, there have been only faint promises of reforms of the political system in which people have now little faith.

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