Priest warns of 'Russophobia' in the wake of Salisbury attack

Priest warns of 'Russophobia' in the wake of Salisbury attack March 15, 2018

Fr Joseph Skinner,  a priest at the Russian Orthodox cathedral in London, has urged UK ministers not to blame the Kremlin for an attack on a former spy in Salisbury, given the extent of mystery surrounding the case.
According to this report, the Director of Inter-Orthodox Relations for the Church in Great Britain and Ireland spoke before the UK announced it was expelling 23 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Skinner said:

This attempted murder is a criminal and evil action but we should not rush to apportion blame before we know the full facts [and] before there is real proof.

He accused the UK Government appointing itself “judge and jury”, but insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church remains separate from politics. Instead it prays regularly for “peace of the whole world” and “tranquillity”.
He also explained how coverage of the incident – which is still be investigated by police and the military – has affected members of the Russian Orthodox Church in the UK, saying:

The climate, if you like, of developing Russophobia in the media is obviously something which is disturbing for people.

Last year Paul Goble, a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia, revealed here that Russian Orthodox Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, above, former head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations between church and society, called for the creation of special death squads to hunt down and destroy emigres who, he suggested, are often traitors and enemies of the Russian Federation.

Goble wrote:

The Soviet Union and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have a long and notorious history of kidnapping and killing political emigres, but neither the communists nor the Putinists ever have boldly proclaimed that they have done so. Instead, both sought to cover up such crimes rather than to celebrate them.

Chaplin’s remarks are noteworthy because they suggest that in the current environment, there are people near the Kremlin who are prepared to move from taking such actions in the shadow to pursuing such goals boldly and baldly, yet another mark of the degradation of Russian life and morality under Vladimir Putin.

To struggle against “traitors to the motherland,” Chaplin calls for the introduction of “an entire system of punishments: to end the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, to “authorize special units” to go after traitor emigres, and even “to use targeted rocket strikes against traitors” …

“Our civilization is truly Christian, always ready to stand up for itself and not to give a single chance to the enemies of the people.” Russia recognizes, as Europeans don’t, that there are those who are “in principle dangerous” and must be destroyed.

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  • Ed

    Oh well what to expect other than Putin pulling the strings connected to the pious representatives of the Russian Orthodox cathedral in London. Expel the clerics from that bastion of Russian Intelligence as well. Then sell off the property. Should raise a bit of money to support the investigation of the Skripal case. Hitchens warned of the close association between the Russian Orthodox mobsters and that evil SoB Putin.

  • Ed

    And ever so was the purpose of religion. Nothing more than State sponsored thought police who have the power to decry political opponents as blasphemers, apostates and traitors.

  • RussellW

    Where are all those naive wankers who predicted that Russia would become a liberal democracy? The country has absolutely no democratic traditions whatsoever. The Russian Orthodox Church was an instrument of state control for centuries, it’s simply returning to its traditional role.

  • Broga

    It’s religion. There are lots of Russian atheists. However, the mob stirred up by our unlovely press like nothing better than a metaphorical lynching.

  • 1859

    Apologies for being OT : Saudi Crown Prince has just announced that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon Saudi Arabia will follow suit as soon as poss. Holy shit! Eyeball to eyeball – two nuclear armed islamic states that hate each others’ guts. What a fucking future awaits our children?

  • Stephen Mynett

    A frightening prospect 1859. I remember a chat I had with a university history don, he made an interesting point about the dangers of atomic war, saying that he felt it much less likely during the cold war than it was now.
    His point was at that time America was fairly free of religious loonies with any real sway and that the Soviet Union was an atheist state and that while there was a lot of posturing and brinkmanship the chance of either pressing the nuclear button was slim as both sides new there could be no real winner.
    Unfortunately now we have nuclear powers where those on the trigger genuinely believe in an afterlife and that they will be rewarded for getting rid of the other lot. Plus we have a few real psychos in charge as well.

  • Jim Baerg

    Re: Russia becoming democratic.
    A look at the history of countries that are now reasonably stable democracies, shows that it generally takes a few failed attempts before the country gets it roughly right.
    I expect a few more failures before Russia gets it right.

  • RussellW

    Jim Baerg
    Many more failures over many generations, so it’s not relevant for our timescale.
    Most modern stable democracies elvolved from relatively liberal monarchies over centuries. Others like Germany and Japan had democracy imposed on them by conquest.
    Some countries, mainly Eastern European nations, appear to be returning to their authoritarian past, Poland is a notorious example.

  • RussellW

    Stephen Mynett,
    Agreed, in addition to barking mad ideologues, there’s the great imponderable. How effective are the ‘fail safe’ systems? The recent debacle in Hawaii is alarming.

  • Stephen Mynett

    RussellW, Poland is a sad and crazy situation. The fought hard to rid themselves of Communism but immediately turned to another form of dictatorship, the catholic church.
    I find it hard to believe that so many Poles could be so stupid as to think a government like the one they have elected could provide a truly democratic state. Perhaps they have become so used to having an authoritarian state they feel unable to live without one and take some solace from the fact that this is an authoritarian government of their choosing. The problem is what they chose yesterday is not what they are getting today.
    I tend to think that Boris Yeltsin should take a fair bit of the blame for the situation in Russia. When Mikhail Gorbachev freed Russia from the corrupt communist government he knew it would not be a quick or simple task. He always appeared a pragmatist who was prepared to see things through slowly to make sure they worked. Unfortunately the populist drunk Yeltsin managed to mess things up and open the door for Vladimir Putin.

  • RussellW

    Stephen Mynett,
    Agreed, with some reservations. Those of us who are committed to liberal secular democracy sometimes assume the sentiment is universal. I was sceptical after reading Fukuyama’s essay 25 years ago, his thesis as to the triumph of liberal democracy was rather premature. Societies with very strong theocratic characteristics are extremely resistant to democracy as we understand it. Democratic elections usually lead to semi -theocratic authoritarian rule, the examples are obvious.
    Also , in my opinion, the Catholic Church in Poland played a similar role to the Church in Ireland, it was the only institution to survive and resist foreign oppression. A large section of the population would probably support the Church over liberal, godless democracy.
    Recent surveys have indicated that a substantial percentage of Western citizens is rather apathetic about democratic traditions.

  • Broga

    The danger escalates exponentially when the eyeball to eyeball religious nutters think they are going straight to Paradise with 72 virgins (or raisins depending on the translation) awaiting them if they are killed. Add the narcisstic fantasist Trump, add devout Mrs May with her fantasies of the importance of the UK ,and you have to wonder about global catastrophe in the not too distant future.
    We also have a large part of the population of the UK interested in watching crap TV and the lives of “celebrities” and zero interest in what their politicians are doing. Many Arsenal supporters are fanatic about getting rid of their manager Wenger (a civilised man) and devoid of interest in getting rid of failing politicians. Just one example of the priorities of so many people.

  • AgentCormac

    The Russian Orthodox Church remains separate from politics? LFAO!

  • andym

    No great surprise in this, but always good to collate the evidence. This church is well in the atavistic Putin alliance, I suspect helping to deliver older supporters. They’re at least as sinister as the Roman branch of Christianity.

  • L.Long

    A phobia is an irrational fear. But russia like the middle east has shown EVIDENCE that fearing them is not irrational!

  • Brian Jordan

    They had a Russian on Newsnight last night who said that the Kremlin was run by a pack of gangsters. He added that until recently Putin controlled them but of late they’ve started to control Putin. He didn’t say whether or not they were priests, though.
    Nor did Newsnight discuss whether it might be sour grapes – he was once the richest man in Russia, who had spent 10 years in the gulag, they said.

  • Old Sourozh Reader

    The Russian Orthodox Church does exactly what the Kremlin tells it. Thus the newly appointed bishop of its UK Diocese of Sourozh, Matthew, has said absolutely nothing about this atrocious crime committed by his fellow-countrymen in Salisbury. Silence in this case implies complicity and assent. Bishop Matthew needs to stand up and condemn what has taken place in unequivocal terms, and if his Patriarch complains, he should tell His Holiness to shut up and go and repent in a remote monastery.

  • barriejohn

    All countries seem to revert to tradition. Russia has replaced one tsar with another. France deposed the monarchy and replaced it with an emperor! Poland has no tradition of democracy, and her people seem happy to have it that way. Maybe people would rather feel “safe”, with the familiar, than be liberated; they wept openly when Stalin died!
    PS I don’t know about “Russophobia”, but there does seem to be a lot of “Rationalistphobia”. They’re afraid!

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    Don’t overlook the fact that China and Russia have joined forces and become close allies. Chinese President Xi Jingping has become a dictator by amending the Communist Party of China’s charter. The CPC guidelines mentioned no more than 2 successive 5 year terms for the Chinese President. Not any more, now Xi Jingping has effectively became a King till the time he is alive. Hope the Chinese don’t block ‘The Freethinker’ as well since, I am already on the watch list of Chinese authorities.

  • Jobrag

    The thought of Saudi and Iran turning each other into nuclear deserts isn’t one that upsets me greatly. I would suggest that decapitating the cheerleaders for both branches of Islam would make the world a safer place.

  • barriejohn

    Gaurav: That’s what I was saying. The Chinese still have an emperor; nothing changes!

  • StephenJP

    Let’s not forget that the CofE has spent the last couple of years sucking up to the Russian Orthodox Church. They invited its head, Patriarch Kirill, to the UK, even though they must have known of his record of supporting Putin in his acts of oppression at home and abroad, and the blood he has on his hands as a result. They made HM the Q shake hands with him (I hope she was wearing gloves); and before he left he was boorish enough to insult his hosts for their (very timid) steps towards equal treatment for LGBT people. Welby paid a return visit last November, and needless to say didn’t rebuke Kirill for anything.
    Truly, some people of faith are willing to go to any lengths to befriend, and excuse, other people of faith, rather than accept that people of no faith might have justice and truth on their side.

  • RussellW

    I agree with you final comment. The most likely explanation is that believers are finding common cause with other believers. They’re circling the wagons against the atheist hordes.Historically they would have regarded people of different faiths as heretics resulting in acrimonious debates and the occasional massacre.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @barriejohn, you are right in saying that China still has an emperor. The one child policy of Chinese govt played a key role in reducing poverty in China and creation of a financially stable middle class but now the Chinese leadership is contemplating lifting the restrictions on the number of kids, a couple can have. They have no concern for the environmental pollution and lack of jobs in future due to over-population. The Chinese authorities just want the masses to remain engrossed in their daily chores of raising kids so,they don’t question the leaders. The larger the no. of new borns, more money their families would have to spend on them. This ensures a huge domestic consumption market, which is music to the ears of Chinese authorities in the wake of rising protectionism in the West.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    Check this out, it’s the Opinion Editorial from the leading English Language daily of China, ‘Global Times’. I told the folks at this paper they should rename it to ‘Propaganda Times’;

  • Igor

    Russiaphobia? Pity that the black-cowled Skinner does not speak about his own phobias, preaching as he does that all other Christians (except his own kind) and all other non-orthodox faithful are going straight to hell!
    I am not hearing from him. No lessons on phobia. Now or ever. No sir. No day. No way.