Putin gives Islam legal protection

Vladimir Putin’s call to put Holy Books beyond the reach of Russian courts was clearly intended to solve the political problem created by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s objections to the decision of a court in the Russian Far East finding verses from the Koran to be “extremist.”

But Putin’s move not only highlights Russia’s moves away from a secular state toward an Orthodox-Muslim one but also calls into question the entire logic of Russian legislation that allows for courts and other officials to ban anything they object at any particular time to as extremist. . . .

Indeed, it is “obvious that there was a secret pact between the Kremlin and the Kadyrov administration after the second Chechen war,” one in which “in exchange for colossal subsidies from the Kremlin ‘Allah,’ the Chechen leadership began to position itself as enthusiastic patriots of Russia and its protects by threatening activists of the opposition.”

But even that accord might have not been enough to push Putin to act had it not been for the support Kadyrov’s position received from the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who speaks for Patriarch Kirill, called for ending court cases against “holy texts” (newsru.com/religy/11sep2015/chaplin_hl_schriften.html).