Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
26th December, 2015
The former head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, said that the lack of ideological freedom and a broad public debate threatens Russia with disaster.
“Some believe that it is necessary to minimise public debate, not to notice what is going on in the minds of people, in the field of communication between people, and so we live calmer till the 17th or 18th year. Gentlemen, do not be,” Chaplin is quoted as saying by “Interfax”.
“If we try to shut up any problems, we can postpone the disaster for a year or two, but this will be inevitable,” the Archpriest predicted. He also added that “conservatism, which attempts to mop up the realm of ideas, is close to solving key issues for the present and future of the country and the world. People who think this and act commit political suicide”. According to Chaplin, in the future “this will not be the case”.
Chaplin said that the country needs to hinder the development of the “corrupt elite”, and in order to improve power in the country and to prevent the revolution, “we need to actively offer the model of a peaceful reorganization of the country, including reconstruction of morality”.
Speaking about the current situation, Chaplin also noted that “the power has changed, the power no longer lies in the hands of security forces, formal state, religious hierarchies or commercial structures”. “The government is being formed now in the world of ideas. Whoever is the first to formulate and express ideas that most adequately will shape the future, will rise to power,” — said the priest.
Chaplin was suspended on Thursday, 24th December, with his structure being dismantled “in order to optimize operations and increase efficiency”, and to avoid parallel processes in the activity of the Synodal institutions.
After retirement he spoke about his disagreements with Patriarch Kirill. The main points of disagreement, he said, was the understanding of the role of the Church in state and society. The Chaplin said that the Church should have greater independence and critical dialogue both with the authorities and with society. In addition, he criticized the management of practices of the ROC. According to him, many of the decisions in the Church accepted the Patriarch “spontaneously, without due consultation” and not “collectively”.
In an interview with RBC Chaplin stated another reason — disagreements with the Patriarch in evaluating the events in Donbass. According to Chaplin, the Russian Orthodox Church was actively supporting the militias and not taking a position of peace, and he stated via official statements about the unacceptability of strife over language and ethnicity.
On Friday, December 25th, Chaplin also predicted an early retirement of Patriarch Kirill. “I think he’s not going to last. I think that this contradiction between belief in personal charisma and the reality will only increase”, — he said in an interview with radio station “Moscow speaking”