Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Russia Extends Reach Into France Via New Orthodox Cathedral

A newly-constructed Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the heart of Paris is a symbol of Russian use of religion to extend the country's political reach.  World Policy Blog yesterday reported:
The controversial Sainte-Trinité Russian Orthodox cathedral, set to be consecrated by the Russian Patriarch Kirill in early December, is the result of determined diplomacy by the Kremlin and lobbying of French officials, including François Fillon, the new favorite to win France’s 2017 presidential election....
The $120 million cathedral was financed by the Russian state and backed by President Vladimir Putin. The structure was completed as his country’s relations with France and its NATO allies nosedived over the deployment of Russian firepower in Syria and Ukraine.
While those interventions have come to define Putin’s presidency, the riverside “St Vladimir’s,” as the cathedral has been nicknamed, represents another side of his foreign policy. Also divisive, it is a high water mark in his use of faith and power abroad.