07MOSCOW3011, AMBASSADOR’S LUNCH WITH METROPOLITAN KIRILL

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07MOSCOW3011.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3011 2007-06-21 07:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1499
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3011 1720758
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 210758Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1473
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003011 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR SOCI RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S LUNCH WITH METROPOLITAN KIRILL 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) At a June 18 private lunch, Russian Orthodox 
Metropolitan Kirill related to the Ambassador his concerns 
about social issues, in particular the large gap between rich 
and poor and Russia's lagging regions.  He described 
reaction, both in the West and in Russia, to the recent 
merger of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) with the ROC 
abroad as frequently overblown.  Kirill praised Roman 
Catholic Pope Benedict as more pragmatic than his 
predecessor.  Kirill worried about corruption's corrosive 
effects on Russian spiritual life. End summary. 
 
------------- 
Rich-Poor Gap 
------------- 
 
2. (C) Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Kirill reviewed 
with Ambassador at a June 18 lunch a series of social issues 
with which he was particularly concerned.  Although there had 
been much lip service paid recently to the yawning gap 
between rich and poor in Russia, Kirill worried that too 
little was being done to actually address the problem. 
Kirill suggested that the GOR should consider a replacement 
of the current flat tax with a graduated tax and, perhaps, 
the introduction of a luxury tax, as well.  Russia's social 
safety net needed to be improved, Kirill thought.  His 
position as Metropolitan of Smolensk gave him the opportunity 
to travel to one of Russia's less prosperous regions, and 
what he saw there concerned him.  Kirill believed that the 
purse strings on the stabilization fund should be loosened in 
order to ameliorate the problems encountered by those at the 
bottom of society.  Kirill thought the creation of the For A 
Just Russia party had helped stimulate debate on these 
issues.  (In an aside, Kirill dismissed Other Russia and 
independent presidential candidate, ex-Prime Minister Mikhail 
Kasyanov as largely irrelevant to today's Russia.) 
 
3. (C) In addition to the income gap, Kirill was concerned 
about corruption and the "petty tyranny of bureaucrats," 
which had increased as a result of the expansion of the 
bureaucracy and its prerogatives.  Kirill worried that the 
increasing institutionalization of corruption was having a 
corrosive effect on the spiritual life of Russians.  While he 
was aware that the issue was getting greater attention from 
the GOR, not enough was yet being done. 
 
---------------------- 
Significance of Church 
Merger Overblown 
---------------------- 
 
4. (C) The reaction to the recent union of the Russian 
Orthodox Church with its overseas counterpart had been 
overblown, both by those in Russia, who saw it as proof of 
the church's resurgence and by those outside Russia, who 
thought they saw in the merger an elaborate conspiracy.  The 
merger, said Kirill, "doesn't make much difference" one way 
or the other. 
 
5. (C) Kirill saw more possibilities for development of ROC - 
Roman Catholic relations during the papacy of Benedict. 
While his predecessor, John Paul, had been smart, his Polish 
roots predisposed him to be too critical of Russia.  John 
Paul had overstressed the importance of a visit to Russia as 
a way of improving relations between the churches.  Benedict 
was more careful, Kirill reported, and had indicated he would 
be willing to meet at any time and in a third country if that 
were more appropriate.  One complicating factor was the 
health of Aleksiy, which Kirill described as "not great." 
 
-------------------------- 
Thinking Through Gay March 
-------------------------- 
 
6. (C) The May 27 gay rights parade had caused Kirill to 
think much about "issues of human freedom."  Although the 
Metropolitan said nothing definitive to the Ambassador, it 
was clear he was wrestling with the issue, and the dilemmas 
it posed for the church. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: