Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?

By World Watch Monitor

A new law on “education to patriotism” set to be introduced in Russia on New Year’s Day is a further sign of Russia distancing itself from the West, but is not necessarily a sign of President Vladimir Putin favouring one Church over another, according to an analyst for the Christian charity Open Doors.

Rolf Zeegers, from Open Doors’ World Watch Research unit, says the main aim of the law, a draft of which was presented to Russia’s legislative assembly (the State Duma) on 15 November, is to “increase Russian nationalism among Russian citizens”.

“The draft law is in the same line as the ‘foreign agents’ law that aims to restrict foreign funding of NGOs in Russia,” Zeegers told World Watch Monitor. “It is very outspokenly nationalistic.”