The Pussy Riot Trial and the Church-State Crisis in Russia

I assumed everything had been said about the Pussy Riot trial that ended in Moscow last week, but Rod Dreher has just posted a couple of thoughtful emails about the case from a Russian Orthodox Christian who has asked to remain anonymous. The emails are fairly long, and some of what the author says will interest only people who closely follow Orthodox Church theology and politics. Much of what he  says  is of broader interest, though. He explains that Orthodox believers in Russia feel besieged from without and within the Church: both from juvenile antics like the Pussy Riot protest and from corruption within the Russian Orthodox Church itself. The current Patriarch and his allies in the hierarchy, the author says, are reverting to an old-style Russian melding of church and state, endorsing Putin in return for money, status, and freedom from accountability. Here’s a sample:

[A]s Orthodox Christians in Russia, we are beset by both – attacks from the “outside” insulting our Church, as well as from irrational and irresponsible actions of our own clergy and even – the patriarchate’s officials. Unlike our brothers and sisters in [other Orthodox churches], we, in Russia, have no ability to ask or receive accountability from our hierarchs and primates. And this, truly has a devastating effect on the state of the Church and its reputation in Russia. Should not such problems be openly addressed outside the internet? Should not we speak of our own sins in the wake of new attacks on our Church?

If you’re interested, read the emails in their entirety.

About these ads

One response to “The Pussy Riot Trial and the Church-State Crisis in Russia

  1. Paul Horwitz

    Glad to see you post this. I agree that the acts themselves constituted trespass, and that some legal attention was therefore reasonable, even if the punishment vastly outpaced the crime. But the discussions in the West, although often ignoring the fact that Pussy Riot did engage in some kind of wrongful act, have in my view often been equally wrongheaded in treating both the act and the legal proceedings as if they took place in a nation that had either the rule of law or an appropriate distinction between the political and religious hierarchies. The less both of those things are true, the stronger the case for a defense of Pussy Riot.

    I will add, though, that I am thrilled that the phrase “Pussy Riot” has become a part of widespread conversation in ostensibly respectable places. It has a ring to it.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s