Tuesday, November 03, 2015

New Study Examines Power of Orthodox Churches In Former Soviet Republics

The London-based Foreign Policy Centre last week (Oct. 28) released a 79-page report (full text) titled Traditional Religion and Political Power: Examining the Role of the Church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova. Here is an excerpt from the report's Executive Summary:
In all four states the churches are looking to entrench their role in society and are testing the limits of their influence given that they are the most trusted institutions in each country. To varying extents they have all used a ‘traditional values’ agenda, focused primarily and most successfully on opposition to LGBTI rights, to bolster their support. The Russian Church and state have also been trying to promote this traditional values agenda as part of their ethos of ‘the Russian World’ with which they have been looking to influence the churches and societies of their ‘near abroad’. The Russian social agenda tallies with that of the orthodox communities in these four countries, though this does not always translate into geo-political support for Russia as some of the churches are keen to assert their independence. Having been pushed to the margins of society in Soviet times, the Orthodox churches have taken the opportunity to place themselves at the centre of national and political life in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova, a position they are unlikely to relinquish in the near future.
Eurasianet reports on the study.