You Scratcheth My Back …
Arvamus 22 Jan 2010  EWR
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The Kremlin seeks to cloak its power games in clerical vestments, and the church takes its cut.
Galina Stolyarova, Transitions Online


ST. PETERSBURG | Once upon a time, more than 90 years ago, Russians gave one another gifts on Christmas Day. But the Bolshevik Revolution stamped out that tradition, and since then it has never really returned. New Year’s Day became the most important holiday in the calendar. Yet there are signs that things could soon change.

A meeting at the Danilov Monastery on 6 January, the Orthodox Christmas Eve, between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave a clear indication that Russia’s secular authorities recognize the importance of this religious holiday. And it was also a sign of the growing ties between the Kremlin and the top hierarchy of the Orthodox Church.

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