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Moscow Patriarchate calls on the Russian Government
to Condemn Communism and Remove Memorials to Soviet Leaders

The Patriarchate of Moscow considers that the present Russian government should condemn the old Communist regime, not only in words, but also in deeds. Just days before the Russian Orthodox world commemorates the ninetieth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Imperial Family on 17 July, this was the appeal made today, 9 July 2008, by Fr George Riabykh and reported in the Russian media. He spoke as Head of the Church and Society Secretariat of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. Interviewed, he called for the condemnation of Communism, already begun in the 1990s, to be taken to its logical conclusion.

Fr George said that the process of the condemnation of Communism must go on, that the memory of all the victims of repression and their steadfastness be honoured, that memorial complexes be opened, that the old names of towns and streets be restored, that government buildings be rescued from Soviet symbolism, that memorials to blood-soaked leaders be cleared away from Russian towns and that the mausoleum to Lenin and the remains of other Soviet leaders be removed from the Kremlin walls.

The only exception would be Second World War memorials, which in fact commemorate the sacrificial patriotism and heroism of the people during the Soviet period, not the disastrous Soviet system, which nearly lost the war. He added that for some reason there are still some who are afraid to give an unambiguous moral assessment of the evil of Communism. He said that this assessment is indispensable and must be expressed in public acts and declarations.

According to Fr George, a full government acknowledgement of the spiritual heroism of the Imperial family and a condemnation of their murder would foil any attempt to bring back revolutionary attitudes in the national consciousness. He considered that the suffering and steadfastness of the Imperial Family in following the Gospel commandments to the point of death is a role-model of patriotism and faithfulness to Russia. It would be an error not to use this model in bringing up the new generation. He added that: ‘If we are slow to condemn the overthrow of the rule of law in 1917, then we risk seeing it happen again with regard to the present rule of law’.

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