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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RUSSIA: Is Vladimir Putin trying to build a new Orthodox empire - The Patriarchate launches an “orthodox banking system against the ruble crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, walks with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.

Moscow - The head of the Synodal Department for the relationship between Church and society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, is calling for studies into ways to make the national economy more independent and create an Orthodox banking system.

He call comes at a time when the Russians are beginning to feel the effects of sanctions and counter-sanctions caused by the crisis in Ukraine. The decisions of the international community have resulted in higher food prices and a drop in oil prices: all causing a rapid devaluation of the ruble.

The Moscow Patriarchate official says that the weakening currency is really a media "bubble": "They say that notorious crisis with ruble falling against dollar indicates the situation in our economy. And who say it?" asked Chaplin, in a meeting with the Russian Entrepreneurs club, which is part of the World Russian People's Council which opened on 11 November.

"We see that Russia's economy hasn't fallen for the quarter, as much as the ruble fell. It means that someone tries to evaluate us not according to the real state of our economy, but according to the rules of 'information bubble,' which first puffs up than blows off".

The Archpriest condemns economic evaluations on Russia " in compliance with the rules, under guidance and financed by foreign centers appear to be not quite correlated with the reality." " Thus there is a question: why can't we work out our own criteria of evaluating our economy and its future?", proposed Chaplin. 

He urges to discuss how Russia can achieve independence from managerial decisions and evaluations that "were invented not by us, and against our rules," if it is possible not only to set up an independent banking system, which enters in independent relations with certain centers without mediating through foreign centers in New York or Hong Kong, "but a system based on ethic principles".

The proposal is inspired by the Islamic financial systems to establish an "Orthodox banking system, without interest, with a direct relationship with China, the Muslim world and other growing centers of influence in the world," suggested the priest, according to which we must give up currencies and economic instruments that are  "tied to realities that are hostile to Russia".

The drop in oil prices since June, comes at a delicate stage for the Russian economy, already affected by a crisis of credibility at the international level, which has resulted in the increasing outflow of capital. There is also the possibility of a tightening of sanctions threatened by the EU and the US, after the elections of 26 October organized by the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, backed by Moscow against the will of the international community. 

According to recent surveys of the Levada Center, Russians have begun to feel the negative effects of the embargo imposed on certain categories of food imports from countries that have introduced sanctions against Moscow, but are willing to put up with it "in the name of a higher purpose" , that is, the defense of the country that is being threatened by the West.



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