October 5, 2015

State, Church, and National Identity in Putin's Russia

"Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center For Religion, Peace and World Affairs. She received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University and has previously taught at Georgetown and George Washington Universities. Her book, “The Orthodox Church and Russian Politics,” was published by Oxford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press in 2011. Irina’s current research includes Lebanese politics and the Secular Lebanon movement." (Source).

An excerpt from, "Russian Orthodox church backs ‘holy war’ against Isis" The Times, October 1, 2015:
Russia’s influential Orthodox Church declared yesterday that airstrikes against Islamic State targets ordered by President Putin were part of a “holy war” on terrorism.

Vsevolod Chaplin, an archpriest, said that the church supported the decision to attack Isis targets.
The Russian intervention in Syria should be supported by the international community because ISIS is a threat to peace, freedom, and humanity. But, Russia's leaders made a major rhetorical misstep early on by injecting the language of religion and talk of "holy war" into this fight. This was a stupid, unnecessary, and counter-productive move. There is no need for a Russian priest to legitimize Russia's actions against ISIS. Say what you want about U.S. interventions in the Middle East, but it has wisely never depicted its wars as "holy wars" against Islam. Russia should've followed this road map and refrained from using the church to justify its airstrikes in Syria.

Video Title: State, Church, and National Identity in Putin's Russia. Source: BYU Kennedy Center. Date Published: June 5, 2015. Description:
Irina Papkova
Research fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

What kind of society should post-Soviet Russia be, and what is the place of the Orthodox church within it?