March 10, 16:24
MOSCOW, December 7 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday he does not think that a considerable radicalization of religious views has taken place in Russia after a resounding offense committed by the Pussy Riot punk group, which staged a ‘punk prayer’ in Moscow’s biggest cathedral, mocking the Orthodox Christian rite and chanting obscenities.
Medvedev recalled in this connection that a law on the protection of believers’ rights has been shelved, although some public quarters insisted on its adoption.
“I don’t think we’re in a situation where the fundamentalists of some sort are attempting at the foundations of secular statehood,” he said in a live interview with Russia’s major TV channels. “There’s nothing of the kind here.”
“I don’t think anything abnormal is taking place in this country but the thing is that some radicalization of outlooks is noticeable because action always triggers counteraction and if someone tries to undermine the foundations of creed with an activity of some sort, this always causes a harsh reaction on the part of believers,” Medvedev said. “The problem is not that those people are fundamentalists or radicals but very simply such is human nature.”
“This leads up to very regrettable consequences sometimes,” he said. “Events in the Caucasus show us that the aspirations of this kind may sometimes lay the grounds for killing people, but in our case we didn’t go out of reasonable limits.”
As an instance, he cited Lloyd Webber’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ that was composed in 1970.
“It produced a whole variety of reactions /in Russia/ – some people denounced it but an absolute majority didn’t find anything objectionable in it,” Medvedev said. “A way out of the controversial situation was found in a totally civilized manner.”
“Since a part of people said that public performance of the opera would be insulting, a query was filed with the authorities, which consulted the Russian Orthodox Church and the latter said the opera didn’t encroach on the believers’ legitimate rights,” he said.
Medvedev said he thinks that believers should turn to government organizations and to court in case they get claims to make.
“The authorities scrutinized the issue, and no measures were taken as a result,” he went on. “The Church agreed and this was a civilized method of settling the disputes.”
On the merits and flaws of the law on protection of believers’ rights, Medvedev said: “Anyone can pass judgments on a law only when it is signed by the President and published officially.”