Rightward turns continue in Europe

In Russia, a punk rock band called Pussy Riot is on trial for a profanity-laced protest inside a major cathedral. The Socionomics Institute has the social mood angle in Pussy Riot and Putin — The New Authoritarian Show Trial?
But there’s nothing funny about the fate of the three members of Pussy Riot who’ve been in jail since March, after they tried to stage a political protest inside Moscow’s main cathedral — specifically, a profanity-laced “punk prayer” offered against Vladimir Putin. They were charged with inciting religious hatred and face possible seven-year prison terms.

Their trial began last week and is getting broad international media coverage. Except, that is, in Moscow, according to a New York Times opinion piece by Russian journalist Masha Gessen. She says despite the media’s attention to the case, an important element of the story remains untold: namely, a court proceeding so conspicuously cynical that it defies belief.

“How cynical,” you ask? Well, when the trial was interrupted by a bomb threat, everyone was evacuated from the building except for the three defendants.
I think this sums up the short term issues, but not the longer-term changes taking place based on the assumption that 2000 was the Grand Supercycle peak. Authoritarianism and other political tools are used by right and left, although they can be expressed in different forms. What's interesting in Russia is the politics: Pussy Riot is a left-wing group (and they are supported by left-wing globalists) who chose to protest inside an Orthodox church. The Russian Orthodox are no strangers to attack or persecution, having lived under more than 70 years of communism.

In this clip below, Putin says the act in a church is what makes it a crime and compares it to what would happen if a synagogue or mosque were similarly desecrated.

He may be cynically using the issue to support himself politically, but it shows that this position is popular. The longer-term implication is that Russia may be turning towards the right, in which case it may face repeated accusations of being "authoritarian" by the current global establishment because the establishment is left-wing and right-wing societies value order more than left-wing societies. (There tends to be more right-wing elements in the formerly communist states, where the reaction against communism is strong. In contrast, France elected the most socialist president in at least 30 years, if not more.)

Therefore, while we see more authoritarianism now, the longer-term trend is the rise of the church. We see this in the situation in Syria as well: Russian Church Is a Strong Voice Opposing Intervention in Syria
It is clear by now that Russia’s government has dug in against outside intervention in Syria, its longtime partner and last firm foothold in the Middle East. Less well known is the position taken by the Russian Orthodox Church, which fears that Christian minorities, many of them Orthodox, will be swept away by a wave of Islamic fundamentalism unleashed by the Arab Spring.

In his warnings, Patriarch Kirill I invokes Bolshevik persecution still fresh in the Russian imagination, writing of “the carcasses of defiled churches still remaining in our country.”

This argument for supporting sitting leaders has reached a peak around Syria, whose minority population of Christians, about 10 percent, has been reluctant to join the Sunni Muslim opposition against Mr. Assad, fearing persecution at those same hands if he were to fall. If the church’s advocacy cannot be said to guide Russia’s policy, it is one of the factors that make compromise with the West so elusive, especially at a time of domestic political uncertainty for the Kremlin.

Also see this blog post from Peter Berger at The American Interest: Vladimir Putin, Defender of the Faith?
Whatever its political motives and consequences, Kirill’s description of the sufferings of Christians in the Middle East, and indeed in other parts of the Muslim world, is factually correct. The Assad government has in fact protected the Christian minority, and Syrian Christians have good reason to fear an overthrow of that government. The rise of anti-Christian militancy following the demise of authoritarian but non-Islamist regimes in Iran and Iraq, and lately in Egypt, very plausibly makes Christians afraid. Christians have recently encountered problems elsewhere (for example, in China and India), but in the great majority of cases at the hands of Muslims. Christians have been brutally persecuted under so-called “blasphemy laws” in Pakistan, Aghanistan and Egypt, and even in semi-democratic Turkey. There has been outright prohibition (Saudi Arabia) and severe restriction (Iran). But there has also been physical violence, usually by enraged mobs, though typically with little interference by the authorities (Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt). Most of the persecution has been directed against Christian communities long established in the region (such as Copts and other so-called Oriental churches – that is, Eastern churches not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople – but also the Melkite churches, which are in communion).

...Putin likes to be photographed in the company of Orthodox priests. He claims to have been secretly baptized during Soviet times and to have had some sort of religious conversion. Is he sincere or just using religion as a political tactic? The same question may be raised about Dmitry Medvedev, who kept the presidential chair warm for Putin and who is reputed to have a chapel in his dacha. However one wants to wants to answer the question, there is a long pre-Soviet history of Imperial Russia intervening in the Middle East, sincerely or not, under the banner of protector of Orthodox Christians. An impressive reminder of this is the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, a collection of buildings across about seventeen acres of prime real estate in the center of the city. Built between 1860 and 1864 by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, it included a large church and a hostel for the use of Russian pilgrims to the Holy Land, of which there were many.
We are witnessing the decline of left-wing ideologies, which began rising at the start of the Grand Supercycle three centuries ago. Religion in general declined and left-wing ideologies rose across the world. With the fall of communism (the most extreme form of leftism) in the late 1980s, however, it foreshadowed the coming supercycle peak. Most governments are still left-wing, shifting from far-left communism to not-as-far left socialism and democracy, but there's no major left-wing movement. In contrast, there's been a rightward shift in Hungary, possibly Russia, and certainly in the Middle East, where despite the efforts of left-wing governments to spread democracy, they are instead ushering in religious rule.

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