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The Church is involved in politics2009-09-07 22:41
Last weekend triggered another wave of confrontation between the authorities and the opposition in Georgia. An impulse to the protest wave that seemed to have been brought to naught was given by the amnesty, which led to liberation of those who were convicted for killing bank employee Sandro Girgvliani. At the same time, there came a sudden continuation of the scandal caused by the Georgian authorities' refusal to let Russian journalists Maxim Shevchenko and Vladimir Mamontov into the country. In both the cases, the Georgian Patriarchy had to interfere into the scandal.
Upon returning to Moscow after a failed attempt to visit Tbilisi and take part in the work of the Georgian-Russian public committee for conflict settlement in the Caucasus, Russian journalists, member of the RF Public Chamber, political programs presenter at Channel 1 Public Russian Television Maxim Shevchenko and editor-in-chief of Izvestia Vladimir Mamontov in their comments supposed that some state structure is purposely preventing the Georgian-Russian dialogue. The point at issue was also the criticizing of the Georgian authorities' actions by Catholicos of All Georgia Ilia the Second.
Meanwhile, the media reported that the Kremlin is deliberately driving a wedge between the Georgian authorities and the Church. For instance, one of the Georgian state officials that wished to remain unnamed complained in his talk with «Ъ» that "it is not the first time that Moscow is trying to oppose the highly respected Georgian Patriarch to its government and president". The «Ъ» source is sure that the Kremlin has not yet given up an attempt to "draw Georgia into a civil confrontation, using any methods to achieve this purpose".
The Imedi (Hope) TV channel broadcasted an item, which essential message goes as follows: both the Russian journalists and the committee representatives on the Georgian part are the agents of the special services. "The Georgian church may get involved into a very dangerous game, while the Patriarch's high influence may be used for "bleaching" the Russian interests", - Imedi broadcasted, according to Izvestia.
As a result, the Georgian Patriarchy almost had to make excuses and prove its non-implication in political affairs. The Georgian Patriarchy is denying any accusation of supporting a foreign state's interests, Trend reported with reference to RIA Novosti.
"The Georgian Church has always defended the national interests of the Georgian people, and its steps and actions will always be guided solely by this purpose. The accusations of supporting any foreign states' interests in this of that way are absolutely groundless", - Novosti-Georgia agency is quoting the statement of the Georgian Patriarchy. "The Georgian Church is neutral in respect of any domestic forces to the same extent as it acts as guarantor of the unity of the Georgian nation and Georgia's territorial integrity in the foreign policy processes", - the Patriarchy states.
According to Georgian Daily, a Georgian newspaper, the Patriarch, while commenting upon the incident with the Russian journalists at the meeting with the committee representatives which was held "in a reduced mode" (the Russian delegation was represented by Alan Kasaev, director of the CIS and Baltic states office of RIA Novosti), said the following: "I believe this visit is very important. Regrettably, the Russian delegation is not full. Georgia needs relations of peace with Russia. It must do everything possible to continue a peaceful dialogue with Russia. However, this requires much work, wisdom and effort. I am very glad to be visited by an Ossetian and I hope we will manage to settle our relationship".