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Contents and Summaries

Vol. 17, No. 5 (60)







Church Ethnonationalism and the State


Politicians intuitively understand what sociologists do not explicitly state in their research.The large percentage of the population that is Orthodox Christian, along with the high level of support for the Church, do not at all mean that the public is ready to come to church or vote in the next elections the way the Patriarch says. This sympathy toward the Church is of little significance and cannot be easily exploited in the current political and economic situation. It will never result in any actions, such as mass rallies in support of religious education in public schools.


The Russian Orthodox Church as the Church of the Majority


The Russian Orthodox Church still has a hard time bridging considerable distance from the majority of the public – the state of affairs brought about by its archaic structure, language and daily practice. But the gap between the church and at least the conservative majority of society is closing thanks to the revival of political life and Patriarch Kirill’s conscious choice of policies that target not only those that have already joined the fold but the “sympathizers” as well. Thus, the term “the church of majority” is gradually gaining political rather than statistical significance.


The Russian Orthodox Church: Church as a Symbol of Desired Cohesion


The Russian collective consciousness today essentially works as a device that moves the arrow from one symbol of desired cohesion to another: Russia has its own way of life; it is headed by a single supreme leader; its unity is personified by the Orthodox Church, and so on. The procedure of moving from one cohesion to another represents collective self-validation as well as the validation of immutability and lack of alternatives for the current regime.


Bulgaria: The Invisible Church


Bulgarian politicians commonly seek to use the authority of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to their advantage in the times of crisis. As soon as democratic transition began to unfold at the end of 1989, former Politburo members were seen holding candles at the Christmas Service in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, even though almost all of them had referred to themselves as atheists not that long ago. The situation was greatly exacerbated by the “schism” in which former communists and democrats were trying to split the Bulgarian Orthodox Church into two camps. However, in the 2000’s the Church firmly established its political neutrality.


Romania: The Orthodox Church after Communism


When the first public opinion polls were conducted in the early1990’s, the level of support for the Romanian Orthodox Church fluctuated between 80 and 90 percent. However, the percentage of those supporting “the church”, which is most frequently equated with Romanian Orthodox Church, went down to 66 percent in the early 2013. This decline may have resulted from the succession struggle after Patriarch Teoctist’s death in 2007, when the Romanian Orthodox Church split into two factions. Investigative reports on the church’s riches and corruption among the high-ranking church officials also contributed to the loss of support.


Church in Georgia: The Personification of the National Unity or the Opposition Force?


The October 2012 victory of the Georgian Dream party ushered in a new political configuration, so the relations between the government and the Georgian Orthodox Church are now being reworked. It is still too early to tell whether this will lead to recognizing the right of the Georgian Orthodox Church to control the public sphere or will in fact diminish its public role and return the priests to their churches. Future developments will be informed by the interactions of the political forces, the outcome of the October 2013 presidential election and the choice of the new patriarch to succeed Ilia II.


Belarus: The Orthodox Church in the Shadow of the State


The Orthodox Church in Belarus is simultaneously trying to side with the state and stand up for its own values. The Church chooses to rely on the state not only because it feels more comfortable within the rigid hierarchical system, but also due to the general weakness of the civil society in the country. Although relying on the state is quite reasonable from the tactical standpoint, such behavior on the part of the Belarusian Orthodox Church limits its development as a full-fledged subject of public processes and does not allow it to become the catalyst of change, relegating the Church to the status of a passive observer when the change actually gets underway.



The Russian Academy of Science Reform: Horrible End Is Better than an Endless Horror


Any work on the structural 0organization of science can be successful only under the condition that scientists themselves will participate in it. Moreover, these have to be the scientists of national and global stature. They should be auditing research institutions, evaluating grant proposals, drafting the rules for expert reviews and conducting them. On the whole, they should be responsible for the enormous amount of work that cannot be delegated to the bureaucrats (at least, if the client cares about the end result).


The New German Question


So, who will speak for Europe? Starting on September 23, the day after the Bundestag elections, the European conundrum must be addressed more decisively by Germany. But this Germany is neither objectively nor subjectively big enough to solve it on its own. The Berlin republic can be, at best, first among equals. Its leadership must be understated, collaborative, building on carefully cultivated relations with small as well as large states—which is, after all, the distinctive foreign policy tradition of the Federal Republic.


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