Press Center of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice hosts presentation of S.D. Mezentsev’s book, “The World of Christian Democracy”

January 20, 2011

On December 16, the Press Center of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice held a presentation of the book, The World of Christian Democracy: Theological, philosophical and scientific foundations and problems by S.D. Mezentsev.

Vladimir Ryakhovsky, the Co-Chairman and Senior Counsel of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice (SCLJ) was the host of this presentation, as well as an active participant in the ensuing debate. He had words of praise for this newly issued book and the understanding it promotes with respect to the theme of the phenomenon of Christian Democracy. In particular, he notes that in Russia, the birth of the Christian Democratic movement was associated with a whole number of challenges, and that Christian Democrats have not yet found their place in the wider socio-political landscape of the country. In addition, a discussion was held on the formation of the Social Christian Movement in Russia, and the Declaration of the values promoted by the movement was presented at that time.

During the course of the event, the presenter emphasized the idea that the problem of Christian democracy in Russia is one of the most acute problems in terms of the modern development of the country and that, with every passing year, this question is assuming greater importance. At the same time, the fact is that we only have a very small amount of serious literature that presents or is related to the phenomenon of Christian democracy, regardless of whether we are looking at literature that has been translated from another language or prepared locally.

The failure of the Christian democratic movement to take hold in Russia in the early 1990s was largely associated with several key reasons.  First of all, the Russian movement was rather peculiar and unique, due to the fact that it seemed to develop its own rules, which somewhat differed from the version of Christian democracy observed in the Western countries. As a result, this movement in Russia was not generally supported by like-minded organizations in the West. Another reason for the failure to develop was that this movement was not able to unite the representatives of various Christian churches with one another around this common concept; and without such critical support, the socio-politically oriented Christian movement simply could not take place. The final reason for this failure is that much was predetermined by the fact that, under the leadership of Patriarch Alexei II, the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church did not show any interest in this movement.

During the course of this roundtable discussion, it was also stressed that the contemporary Christian democratic movement should strive to mobilize all Christians to unite around it.

According to SCLJ Senior Counsel Anatoly Pchelintsev, the Christian movement in Russia should be social in nature, rather than being political. It should represent the social interests of the respective churches and their social projects, both before society on the whole and the government. This is particularly important in terms of the development of social partnerships with governmental authorities and with other religious communities in our country. This is also crucial with respect to securing state support for socially oriented organizations, which may also include various Christian churches and the social organizations that have been established by them.

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