Many respected and influential people in Russia are serious about restoring autocratic monarchy
A recurring theme in Russia's broad, popular return to Christianity is that the country should bring back monarchy. And they are not talking about the phony tourist-show monarchs of England or Holland, but the real, red-blooded kind, autocracy.
Many influential pastors, such as Dmitry Smirnov, speak about this regularly, arguing that autocracy is the only form of government that is in harmony with true Christian faith, and that democracy is a 'sham' and a 'swindle'.
So the remarks of a top Russian Church official on a TV show Saturday, saying favorable things about monarchy, caused a stir, because they are the most outspoken support for the idea to come from the Church leadership.
The comments were made by Metropolitan Hilarion, the 2nd or 3rd most powerful cleric in Russia after the Patriarch. Hilarion, a youthful, by church standards, 50 year old, is responsible for foreign relations of the church. He said the following:
"Monarchy has many advantages over all other forms of government, and has proven to be effective over history."
Hilarion explained what he sees as an advantage:
"In addition to receiving a mandate from those who elected him, for a certain time period, a monarch is anointed by the church, thereby receiving a mandate from God, which is for life, or until he transfers his power to his successor."
Explaining the Church's official position on this, he said:
"There are many people in the church who believe that we should bring back the monarchy, and I think that if public opinion matures on this, the church will take a very active role in the discussion."
In March of this year, the Governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, a highly visible Russian official, openly called for the restoration of the monarchy, arguing that democracy led to irresponsible behavior by self-serving elected officials, and that Russia needed political power to be concentrated in one leader, in order to take more 'harsh measures' against domestic and foreign foes.
Another prominent advocate of monarchy is the billionaire philanthropist and political activist, the 'Russian Soros' Konstantin Malofeev.