23 March 2007, 12:24
Orthodox public concerned for actions by radical youth organizations at Moscow University Department of Sociology
Moscow, March 23, Interfax - The Union of Orthodox Citizens has expressed concern over the attempts of several radical youth groups to destabilize the situation at the Moscow State University’s Department of Sociology.
The statement circulated by the Union on Friday says that activists of some youth organizations including MSU students, acting under a non-formal structure called OD-Group, have sought a dismissal of the department’s leaders and conducted ‘extremist propaganda’ at the university and ‘a biased PR-campaign in the mass media aimed to damage MSU’s reputation and to bring about ‘a socio-political destabilization among the Russian young intellectuals’.
‘It is no doubt that standing behind the actions of the radical youth and Department of Sociology’s students recruited by them are serious forces eager to bring about ‘an orange revolution’ in the main Russian university in advance of parliamentary and presidential election in the country’, the authors of the statement note.
MSU Department of Sociology, according to the Union of Orthodox Citizens, has been chosen as a base for encouraging opposition sentiments in the student body.
The ideology of the OD-Group, the Union states, ‘is unequivocally hostile to the Orthodox Church’ and has as its aim ‘to squeeze out the Orthodox nation-oriented ideology from MSU, to undermine the emerging scientific relations between the university and major theological colleges in Russia and to spread the aggressive-secular liberal thinking under the guise of scientific secularism and objectivism’.
‘The orange revolution’ carried out before our very eyes by the OD-Group ideologies at the Department of Sociology threatens both the prospects for the intellectual cooperation between secular scholarship and theology and the consolidation of practical relations between Moscow State University and the Russian Orthodox Church’, the statement reads.
Its authors maintain in particular that the Orthodox-patriotic stand taken by the department’s leaders and the cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church have sickened the opposition students who use in their protests ‘a whole set of trite liberal cliches’ and accuse the dean’s office of ‘clericalization of the situation’ and of ‘reactionary propaganda’ at the department.
As an alternative to Orthodox conservatism and relations with the Orthodox Church the opposition have proposed a pro-active support for sexual minorities, the Union of Orthodox Citizens notes.
The statement refers in particular to the activists of the so-called United Civic Green Alternative (GROZA) who have distributed anti-Orthodox leaflets at the department and who, last May, ‘assaulted the Moscow police in an attempt to defend the gay pride parade, which had been forbidden by the authorities, and ‘the violated dignity of Russian gays’.
‘According to GROZA and the OD-Group, the Orthodox propaganda at Moscow University should be replaced by propaganda of gay culture. Is the MSU scientific community ready to accept this alternative proposed in fact by those of the OD-Group?’ the authors of the documents ask.
The Union of Orthodox Citizens has appealed to the state and church authorities as well as the academic and ecclesiastical scholarly community in Russia and the patriotic public ‘to rise in opposition to the subversive activity carried out by the youth OD-Group at the Department of Sociology and those standing behind them as presenting a potential threat not only to the stability and possibility of scientific work at MSU but also to the national interests of the country’.
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