Participants in the discussion are: an Orthodox writer and analyst, the chief editor of the information and analytical portal about religion “Amen. SU "Vladimir Semenko; State Counselor of the Third Rank, Director General of the Institute of Regional Problems Dmitry Zhuravlev; Orientalist, political scientist Karine Gevorgyan.
Vladimir Semenko. Today, the topic of our conversation will be a clear exacerbation of the ethnic and religious situation in Russia. A number of facts convince us that a very interesting and disturbing process is currently taking place. For example. We all know that Ukraine is now an independent state. But this country is very close to us, it is our brotherly people. That is why we are not indifferent to the fact that in organizing both peaceful rallies there and protests in which violence comes to the fore, a very large role is played by uniates and charismatics, quasi-religious groups of every kind, if I may say so, including purely foreign origin. This very alarming fact is one of the testimonies of the fact that religion in our time remains the most important factor of politics, and, in our opinion, it is obvious that its role is ever increasing.
In Russia itself, we also see a clear exacerbation of the ethno-confessional situation. In particular, in Tatarstan, where radical Islamists are activated. Over the 2013 year, nine Orthodox churches were burned in this republic. On the Wahhabi websites, there is a real information attack on the Orthodox Church. And January 26 Islamists were going to hold a rally in Moscow. All this almost coincides with the information campaign around the homosexual scandal, in the center of which is Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev. And this, too, can be recognized as a clear attack on the Orthodox Church and the head of our church hierarchy, Patriarch Kirill.
In order to understand the meaning of these events, find out how they relate to each other and whether there is any connection at all, we invited several experts to take part in our round table. The first of them is Dmitry Zhuravlev, state adviser of rank III, general director of the Institute of Regional Problems. Dmitry Anatolyevich, you worked a lot in the Volga Federal District, you know the ethno-confessional situation there, in particular, in the Republic of Tatarstan. How could you comment on such almost parallel events as the radicalization of Islamists in the republic and the information attack on the Orthodox Church?
Dmitry Zhuravlev. The fact is that Tatarstan is a rather densely populated region, and many Muslims live there. Muslims there - the majority of the population. In terms of the number of mosques, Tatarstan surpasses any other region of the country, and perhaps all regions combined, with the exception, of course, of the North Caucasian republics. In such a huge religious space, extremism arises “objectively”, simply according to the law of large numbers. The fact that this extremism cannot be completely destroyed is also, unfortunately, natural. It’s no secret that an extremist religious position is the position of illiterate people. And what we call Wahhabism is, in fact, Islam for peteushnikov. The general level of culture in the country is falling, and this gives an impetus to the massive increase in "material".
Another reason is that in our country the traditional Islamic hierarchy is already very young. These are mainly aged people. On the one hand, this is natural, because the authority and age in this environment very often coincide. But on the other hand, it creates certain communication difficulties, because in the traditional hierarchy it is very difficult to work. We must support her and, in fact, help her, because the struggle is between them and the radicals. And because the very fact of anti-Orthodox or sometimes anti-state speeches of the radicals is inevitable. The question is not whether it is or not. The question is what's next. Activity intensified, and it will intensify further if the standoff decreases. After all, radical Islam, like any radicalism, is absolutely active, it is limited only by the external environment.
Vladimir Semenko. But still, now we clearly see that this activity has increased.
Dmitry Zhuravlev. It really is. But this is due to the fact that the conditions have now changed: the degree of opportunity to put pressure on the radical environment has decreased, hence its size has increased. Islam is a rather elitist religion. There is a rather complicated theology, and therefore for people who are not very educated there is a special “Islam of light”. Unfortunately, this happens not only in Russia, but throughout the world. It spreads very actively.
Vladimir Semenko. Is this process objective or manageable?
Dmitry Zhuravlev. This is an objective process that can be controlled. After all, even rain can be controlled, and this process is no less objective. Simply, the control options are limited. As it grows, it becomes harder and harder to control. There is one more peculiarity: today we have built a consumer society. We are not very good with consumption itself, but society is based on the “ideals” of consumption. And such a society in the form of opposition always generates a radical form of religiosity. Because a consumer society is a counterpoint religiosity. In a consumer society, a religious person sooner or later, in a street language, becomes mad. He really wants to come into conflict with this society. And this is another additional incentive for the development of radicalism. It is pronounced in the West, but it works with us. You may ask the question: why today? This is largely due to the fact that control capabilities are weakening. Control is not administrative, not secular, but religious. Still, traditional Islam has been working at the limit for the last twenty years. He still works that way.
Remembering the so-called homosexual scandal in the ROC, if you talk about it, then you want to talk about the essence of the event, since neither you nor I were present there - we just have no moral or legal right to discuss any particular subjects. Let this be done by those who are in position. Opponents of Orthodoxy have always been. The question is how much they have the freedom to carry out their actions to the end. I do not consider Father Andrew an enemy of Orthodoxy, but he is a modern man, a man who lives in the logic of the information society. Another question is how possible, in principle, is the normal, transparent interaction of the information society and the Church? Father Andrey turns out how it turns out. I do not believe that he had the task of a terrible secret saboteur crawl and blow something up. But he answered the informational occasion. It operates in the logic of the information society. Actually, he didn’t blame anyone for anything. The main result of the informational occasion is the volume of the sensation. And he was reached. From a religious point of view, it is a blow to the Church. From the point of view of the information society, everything looks a little different. Another question is: can one approach any religion from the point of view of the modern information society? In this I have big doubts.
Vladimir Semenko. But don't you think that here you can draw a clear analogy with the Vatican? There, too, there was a pedophile and homosexual scandal? And then it all ended with the departure of Pope Benedict XVI and the arrival of the new Pope Francis.
Dmitry Zhuravlev. Are you hinting at a blow to the figure of the Patriarch?
Vladimir Semenko. Exactly.
Dmitry Zhuravlev. The fact is that the Vatican is an independent organization in terms of governance. Dad is the head, and let him be influenced by many forces, but it is precisely the influence. The Orthodox Church has traditionally been much more incorporated in society. Therefore, even if we imagine such an option that the terrible vorogens decided to discredit the Patriarch by a homosexual scandal, in which, notice, he does not participate, what happens next? I answer: nothing. Because it is not the Vatican, where after the scandal there will be resignation. There is no one to resign. Patriarchs do not resign. In order for dad to resign, he needed an internal church process. Since the patriarchs are incorporated into society, their departure, regardless of the cause, is the result of a broader consensus than the inner church one. I do not believe in such a consensus in Russia. The Russian government is very positive about the leadership of the Church, not even individually, but as an institution. Therefore, no scandals, no matter by whom they were initiated, will lead to the fact that tomorrow, roughly speaking, the leadership of the state will come and say: "Dear, I'm sorry, you were discredited - go away." This can not be in principle, regardless of what the content of the scandal. Well, the pressure, of course, always turns. Just the success of pressure is determined by the opinion of this success. Therefore, if a person does not respond to it, then there is no pressure.
Vladimir Semenko. And what can you say about the prospects for the development of the situation associated with the exacerbation of radical Islamist movements in the Volga region and other regions, and with the scandal around the Orthodox Church?
Dmitry Zhuravlev. On the first question, there are two options. It depends not so much on the religious, but on the socio-political situation. If society finds the strength to do something, then these processes will not lead to serious changes. This applies to all regions except the Caucasus. If society acts according to the principle of “resolving itself,” the number of radical religious youth will only increase. In my opinion, this will not lead to an immediate explosion. However, the quantity sooner or later, if not soon, will turn into quality, and then the non-radical Islamic component will become a small sect in a huge religious system. As for the scandal, the scandals are so good that they are forgotten. I think that everything will calm down in a year, because the information society has not only disadvantages, but also advantages. The new shaft of information will bury the previous one.
Vladimir Semenko. You know the Volga District, including the Kazan Diocese. And, as a person who is well acquainted with the situation there and with diocesan cadres, tell me, would you make any personnel changes at the place of her leadership?
Dmitry Zhuravlev. No, and I can explain why. Regardless of the content of the scandal, any personnel changes - this is an indirect confirmation of the charges. Since the Church is an organization that holds on to tradition more than any other, I am afraid that the medicine will be heavier than the disease. Maybe later, when the scandal subsides, it would make sense. But at the time of the attack to retreat is very dangerous. In your house will enter on your shoulders.
Vladimir Semenko. Thank you, Dmitry Anatolyevich, for your informative answers. And we continue our conversation, and our second interlocutor is Karine Gevorgyan, an orientalist and political scientist. Karine Alexandrovna is a specialist not only in Iran and the Middle East, but also in the Caucasus and Russian Islam as a whole. Karine Alexandrovna, you heard our conversation with Dmitry Anatolyevich. In general, his position is that the radicalization of all sorts of Islamist movements in modern Russia and specifically in the Republic of Tatarstan is primarily associated with certain objective laws. Do you agree with this approach?
Karine GEVORGYAN. Speaking about the objectivity or non-randomness of what is happening, I can say that one does not interfere with the other. The process of objective radicalization does not negate the existence of external interests. And the fact that what is happening is an objective process, there is no doubt.
Vladimir Semenko. There is information according to which many immigrants from Russia are fighting in Syria, mainly, as you understand, from the North Caucasus. This is the obvious participation of Russian Islamists in the events in this country. It turns out that Russia is becoming one of the countries supplying such fighters?
Karine GEVORGYAN. I would venture to suggest that everything is so. Syria is a business. Indeed, in Russia there is a large group of people who traditionally profess Islam, a significant part of the youth of which is radicalized and trained in special camps. Therefore, it is natural that they are sent to Syria. They go because they get paid for it.
Speaking about the situation, one way or another connected with Syria, I may say that the politically incorrect thing, but from my point of view, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has completely lost face. This is a man who, on the one hand, stated that Iran should take part in the “Geneva-2”, and suddenly - bang! recalls it. All are present, but Iran is not. And here it is very important to understand that it is not just Ban Ki-moon who has lost his face, but the entire United Nations. I believe that the Secretary of State could not help but realize that he was going this way. So, it is very profitable for someone.
All история full of conspiracies, and therefore I treat them quite simply. It is beneficial for someone to deprive the UN of certain authority. After all, please note that lately Russia's diplomatic successes have been carried out precisely at the UN site. But now nothing will be decided there. “The UN does not solve anything. We will decide out of limits. ” This organization went around. What will be our answer and whether it will be - this is a question. Do we have the resource to give this answer? I dont know.
Vladimir Semenko. And this is a very important question. Now they often talk about Putin’s diplomatic successes in the past 2013 year. Managed to settle the situation around Syria and, thus, to prevent the invasion, which could lead to the beginning of the Third World War. It turned out to somehow prevent the final withdrawal of Ukraine into the European Union, at least now. But at the same time, we see that the Americans are still very persistently striving towards their goals. Shimon Peres said that Assad would have to leave sooner or later. And the focus on this is very clearly visible. It is clear that this will be achieved by any means. In Ukraine, too, the opposition continues. And we have the Olympics.
Karine GEVORGYAN. In postmodernism there is such a thing as subject deconstruction. And today it seems that what is happening now is a landslide deconstruction of political subjects. As a matter of fact, now this subject is John Kerry - the US Secretary of State. And what is the United States today? Elite splits in the US are visible to the naked eye, as well as elite splits in Europe: one says one thing, the other another - respectively, there is no agreement in the comrades. Already since 2008, after the events in South Ossetia, some bloatiness of the image of the United States as a hegemon and a guarantor of some kind of intraelite consensus on all foreign policy issues was greatly shaken. The world was convinced that, ultimately, not so he is terrible, this beech. You can sometimes give him pendel, sorry for the courtyard word.
Vladimir Semenko. But beeches, unfortunately, have aircraft carriers and much more. Therefore, the weaker his diplomatic positions, the greater the likelihood of war.
Karine GEVORGYAN. Let's better in another way to this. There are aircraft carriers, and there is a phenomenon Snowden.
Vladimir Semenko. So Snowden can defeat a world empire?
Karine GEVORGYAN. He is not alone, and, apparently, he represents some kind of new netocratic elite. Perhaps he is a representative of the avant-garde of the information society. I am interested to observe this. It seems to me that there is some tension in international relations now. World scales in the near future will fluctuate. First of all, East, Middle and Far. At the same time, in the post-Soviet space, in my opinion, there will be such a sluggish current schizophrenia with constant bursts of discontent in different places. Recently, I returned from a business trip to Armenia, and I can responsibly say that the situation there is heated to the limit. Everything happened in such a way that mass demonstrations this spring seem completely inevitable.
Vladimir Semenko. Maidan in Armenia?
Karine GEVORGYAN. It will be absolutely already such "Maydanchik". Maidan is the same square, and in Armenian it is called “graparak”. Yes, there will not burn tires, they will not throw stones, but the performances will undoubtedly be. And what's interesting. If it seemed that Yanukovych has any supporters, then whom the Armenian president can present as his opposing supporters is a big, big question. Why did I start talking about Armenia? The fact is that Armenia, too, sought to sign the Associative Membership with the European Union, and at the very last moment Serzh Sargsyan stated that Armenia will join the Customs Union. The scales of Armenia and Ukraine, of course, are not comparable, but Armenia is still interesting for Russia as a territory. This is such a passage to the Middle East. And, of course, the NATO bases are very close. For Russia, this is a strategically important territory.
Vladimir Semenko. Karine Alexandrovna, thank you for your comment. We will remember this word “graparak” and will monitor how events will develop there. We thank the participants of our round table today. In conclusion, I want to note that from all that our experts have said, I, unfortunately, have not made any reassuring forecasts. The situation is rather complicated, and the fact that the tendency is to exacerbate the ethnic and confessional situation both in Russia and in the world is undeniable. The ethno-confessional factor is actively used by the enemies of Russia to stir up conflicts, to break our state. And as always in history, objective processes are complicated by all sorts of subjective errors and defects of certain corporations. All this should be overcome one way or another. Most importantly, it is extremely important to show the political will of the state in working with this ethno-confessional factor, and for this, sooner or later, serious professionals must be in demand. And, I think, our advanced readers do not need to be reminded that this was only an open part of our analytics.