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By John Helmer, Moscow

Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality, the triad of Tsar Nicholas I (lead image, left), is no longer as dead as tsardom. It has been revived by Patriarch Kirill (right), leader of the Russian Orthodox Church; backed by the Kremlin; and is now unopposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and its leader, Gennady Zyuganov (centre).

In 1833 Nicholas, seated nervously on his throne for eight years, had the idea that he might ward off palace putsches – they had killed his father Paul I, grandfather Peter III and threatened himself in the Decembrist uprising – with an ideology to which his rivals for power could be recruited for their allegiance. Called the triad, it was in practice the tsar’s bargain for mutual protection from murder and civil war with  the Church (Правосла́вие, pravoslavie) and the court of noblemen (самодержа́вие, samoderzhavie) and their alliance to deal with everybody else. Narodnost, “nationality”, the third leg of the triad, wasn’t the narod, “the people”; there was nothing democratic about it. As the Russian triad, it was meant to oppose, suppress and destroy domestic agitation for the French triad – liberty, equality, fraternity.  For a brief synopsis of the history, read this.  

The triad was first published by the tsar’s education minister, Sergei Uvarov (right), in a circular to teachers. “It is our common obligation,” Uvarov ordered, “to ensure that the education of the people be conducted, according to the Supreme intention of our August Monarch, in the joint spirit of Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality. I am convinced that every professor and teacher, being permeated by one and the same feeling of devotion to the throne and fatherland, will use all his resources to become a worthy tool for the government and to earn its complete confidence.” 

As a motto for ruling Russia,  the triad also expressed the power vertical. The novelist Nikolai Gogol made clear that the intelligentsia and media of the time understood it that way. “Make them”, Gogol was advising landowners to apply the triad to their serfs, “see clearly that in everything that concerns them you are acting in accordance with the will of God and not in accordance with some European or other fancies on your own.”

At the Kremlin last Thursday, January 31, Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, spelled out his revival of the triad, with an explicit endorsement by President Vladimir Putin. For Kirill, the triad now assigns Orthodoxy equal power with the Russian state. Read what he and Putin said by clicking here

Source: http://tass.com/ Kirill was repeating the Roman papal pitch,  Duo Sunt (“There are Two”) of the year 494. That was the doctrine that  church and state (monarch) shared power,  God on the side of the Church and the military for the monarch.  For details, click.   

So far there has been no public debate in the Russian media of the impact of the Kirill-Putin pact on the ten articles of the Russian Constitution which protect Russian democracy from the forces of religion or anti-religion. For the full text of the constitution, as revised through 2014, click to open.  The articles protecting the rights of Russian citizens from usurpation by church or state are 3(4), 4(2), 8(2), 13(2), 13(4), 14, 19(2), 28, 29(2), and 44(1).  Check the translation into English of the Russian here

The parliamentary committees responsible for constitutional legislation in the State Duma and Federation Council and leading constitutional lawyers were asked to say whether Kirill’s claims violated these articles of the constitution. They acknowledged receiving the questions by telephone and email; they all refused to answer.   So did the spokesmen for United Russia, the ruling party in the Duma, and the three main opposition parties.

With 43 seats to United Russia’s 340, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) is the leading opposition group in the Duma. Alexander Yushchenko has been the party spokesman for twenty years and is a member of the party’s Central Committee. After he had not replied to last week’s round of questioning on the Kirill-Putin pact, Yushchenko was asked again to clarify the Communist Party’s response.


In English, the last section of the letter asks: “does the Communist Party endorse the well-known doctrine of Tsar Nicholas I: Правосла́вие, самодержа́вие, наро́дность. In the event you do not reply, you will be reported as refusing to reply.”

The Communist Party refuses to answer.

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