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May 7, 2010

Russian Church Warns Against Glorification of Stalin

Russian Orthodox Church Warns Against Glorification of Stalin

Moscow, 6 May 2010, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate believes that no accomplishments of the USSR, including the victory over fascism, can justify Stalin's crimes.

"An inhuman system was established under Stalin's regime, and nothing can justify it - neither industrialization, nor the atomic bomb, nor keeping of the state borders, not even the victory in the Great Patriotic War, because it was not the personal merit of Stalin, but the achievements of our multinational people," says a letter by Hieromonk Philipp (Ryabykh), deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations addressed to editor-in-chief of Zavtra newspaper Alexander Prokhanov and posted at the web-site of the Department.

Father Philipp addressed the letter in the name of the Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. Before, Alexander Prokhanov had forwarded Metropolitan Hilarion a letter asking Metropolitan to comment on his view of the role of Stalin in history expressed by Metropolitan Hilarion in an article earlier.

According to Fr. Georgy, Stalin's regime "was based on terror, coercion, suppression of human personality, deception and false denunciations. Such a regime was devouring itself, when the torturers themselves became victims, and, therefore, it had temporary success only."

"Glorification of infidels and their methods of governing the country cannot consolidate the peoples of historical Russia. Conversely, it only separates our communities," Father Philipp stressed.

According to him, the victory in the Great Patriotic War "was gained by our people not due to Stalin's governance."

"Some competent historians believe that it is Stalin who is to blame for all untold losses suffered by this country which had sacrificed millions of lives of our citizens for the victory due to unreasoned pre-war internal policy," the letter says.

In his comments of Prokhanov's words that Stalin has allegedly recreated "the great Russian territories", Father Philipp stresses that it was "the leader of all times and peoples" who planted "a time-bomb" by remaking "the great Russian territories" according his own will and creating artificial borders between the former Soviet republics.

"As a result of this, Stalin's policy, we are now reaping the fruits of extremism, nationalism and xenophobia. The Russian Orthodox Church remains the only connecting link within the territory of historical Russia (the present Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova and other currently independent states). There would be no issue of dividing the integrated country raised early in 1990s, if it had not been for the experiment of such national and territorial division of the former Russian Empire," the letter states.

Father Philipp expressed his hope that the disputes related the recent history of Russia "will be civilized and will not divide the whole nation into two hostile sides."