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After the fall of the Soviet Union, the church received official privileges including the right to import duty-free alcohol and tobacco. In 1995, the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery, which is directly subordinated to the patriarchate, earned $350 million from the sale of alcohol. The patriarchate’s department of foreign church relations, which Kirill ran, earned $75 million from the sale of tobacco. But the patriarchate reported an annual budget in 1995-1996 of only $2 million. Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated by the Moscow News in 2006 to be $4 billion.

During this period, the church has been silent about genuine moral issues, such as Russia’s pervasive corruption and the indiscriminate killing of noncombatants in Chechnya. As Kirill begins his reign as patriarch, there is little reason to expect this to change.

Satter, David. “Putin Runs The Russian State–And the Russian Church Too.” Forbes, February 20, 2009.

In the Feudal-Medieval Mode, there is no potion as toxic as that which couples belief and piety in the common spirit with financial, martial, and political power in an aristocracy of thugs: only in still medieval Russia has Kleptocracy an Emperor and a most loyal (and enriched) Patriarch, both formerly KGB and therefore today criminal FSB.

As has become too much my habit, reference follows, and while I read all that I cite–and have read or perused all that I have cited, and this for age or martinis–little stays with me but principles. For Putin-Kirill as an Infernal Dyad, the two appear to share the deepest relationship in corruption, crime, fascism, malign narcissistic covering, persecution of minorities, especially the LGBTQ set, profit from “sin taxes” on alcohol and tobacco, and God (whose existence each seems to be disproving), only knows what else fills their pockets out of the shadows in which the two actors more authentically reside.

Related Online

AFP. “‘God Put You in Power’: Russian Orthodox Leader Tells Putin on 70th Birthday.” The Moscow Times, October 7, 2022.

Chawrylo, Katarzyna. “The scandal over the Patriarch Kirill.” Center for Eastern Studies, April 4, 2012.

Cohen, Nick. “An evil collusion between a tyrant and a man of God.” The Guardian, August 18, 2012.

Coyer, Paul. “(Un)Holy Alliance: Vladimir Putin, The Russian Orthodox Church And Russian Exceptionalism.” Forbes, May 21, 2015.

Donovan, Jeffrey. “Metropolitan Kirill Elected New Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church.” RFE/RL, January 27, 2009.

Giovanni, Janine di. “The Real Reason the Russian Orthodox Church’s Leader Supports Putin’s War: Homophobia is at the heart of Patriarch Kirill’s endorsement.” Foreign Policy, April 26, 2022.

Gedeon, Joseph and Nahal Toosi. “The pro-Putin preacher the U.S. won’t touch.” Politico, June 22, 2022.

Gordon, Michael R. “Russian Priests Accuse a Bishop, Plunging the Church Into Turmoil.” The New York Times, July 18, 1999.

Addendum to Reference

Schrader, Adam. “Russian Patriarch Kirill blasts Ukraine for ordering church to leave Kyiv monastery.” UPI, March 12, 2023.

Horowitz, Jason. “The Russian Orthodox Leader at the Core of Putin’s Ambitions.” The New York Times, May 22, 2022.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, had an awkward Zoom meeting with Pope Francis.

The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. But the meeting, in March, found them on opposing sides of a chasm. Kirill spent 20 minutes reading prepared remarks, echoing the arguments of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the war in Ukraine was necessary to purge Nazis and oppose NATO expansion.

Lord Dreadnought. “Russian Orthodox Church’s KGB patriarch got rich dabbling in tobacco, oil, and alcohol following ‘perestroika’.” Fitzpatrick Informer, December 30, 2020.

Luchenko, Ksenia. “Can the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Survive the War With Russia?” Carnegie Politika, January 17, 2023.

Satter, David. “Putin Runs The Russian State–And the Russian Church Too.” Forbes, February 20, 2009.

Satter, David. “Russia’s State Church.” Foreign Policy Research Institute, June 27, 2012.

Wikipedia. “Patriarch Kirill of Moscow”.

Wikipedia. “Russian Orthodox Church”.

Posted to YouTube April 16, 2022.

“…the Faculty of Special Propaganda . . . .”

In which Putin has “turned priests into Kremlin agents”–>

Posted to YouTube April 12, 2022.