By Kostas Onisenko
Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, made a statement, without mentioning his name, against the Russian opposition politician and blogger Alexei Navalny, as well as a proportion of Russian citizens who participate in anti-government protests these days in Moscow and other cities.
Following the Kremlin’s official line of communication, Metropolitan Hilarion used “encouragement/participation of children and adolescents in political events” as the main argument against the protests.
This is one of the main arguments used by the Kremlin’s communication strategy to accuse Navalny and the other organizers of the protests.
“The participation of children and adolescents in political activities is a completely unacceptable violation of civil law and order, and I think that the perpetrators should be held accountable for this,” said the Metropolitan.
He even compared the current situation in Russia with the situation before the revolution of 1917 when “various propagandists” appeared, “some of whom were in the country and others abroad, in prosperous and peaceful Switzerland, and acted from there,” thus reiterating the Kremlin’s arguments for “foreign agents” inciting the mobilizations.
He admitted that the country had many social problems and faced great corruption, however, “this is not a reason to call teenagers to take to the streets.” Elsewhere he said: “We know where the revolution led (…) The state must develop in an evolutionary way and not in a revolutionary way. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past, we must solve social problems together,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.
Yesterday, January 31, thousands of Russians took to the streets of major cities to protest against state corruption and demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. More than 5,100 people were arrested by police for participating in the protests as they are officially considered illegal.