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As Nikolai Petro noted: By stressing that the monarch is ultimately accountable to God, and that only the Church reliably interprets God’s will, this doctrine implicitly 38 RUSSIAN ORTHODOXY limited the tsar’s authority [. 28 This recalled the Byzantine era when the emperor was considered the protector of all the Orthodox Churches. By and large, the Church hierarchy was satisfied with this tacit agreement. Not only did the tsars refrain from interfering in the Church’s doctrine and dogma, they also ensured it their protection and imposed limits on the Catholics and the Protestants, as well as on foreign and domestic sects.

81 Russian cultural superiority over the collective nations of the East has always been a common belief. This provides explanation for Russia’s perceived mission to bring enlightenment and civilisation to those benighted zones of the empire like Siberia. Russia’s mission of civilisation and spiritual salvation was to be realised not only through a programme of enlightened internal imperial administration, but through one of active political expansion as well. This aspect is closely related to Russia’s messianic policy.

In this manner, Alexis II confirmed the Orthodox Church’s place in Russia and neutralised home-grown competitors. This law is also very representative of the Russian xenophobic attitude that, together with an irremovable attachment to the past, to traditions, and a pronounced anti-Western feeling, characterises the Orthodox religion. All this notably explains why the Russians encounter so many difficulties in accepting any novelty or change, be it a new world order, the supremacy of the United States, or a new world status for their country.

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The Ukraine by Bedwin Sands


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