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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Maria Lipman
The Russian Orthodox Church is enjoying its newfound prestige with the Russian government. But the church's closeness to the government has also made it a target of criticism and protest.
The chairman of a key congressional civil liberties panel hopes the appointment of a prominent Russian journalist to lead the country's human rights committee signals that Moscow is getting serious about protecting basic freedoms.
"One shouldn’t be misled by the amount of people who identify themselves as Orthodox believers," said Ms. Lipman, the Carnegie Center analyst. "For many of them, this is simply a way to identify themselves as Russians."
"The government relies on the church for loyalty and support, and the church has always relied on the state's generosity," said Maria Lipman, an analyst at the Moscow-based Carnegie Center think tank. "During Putin's election campaign, a number of decisions were made that were beneficial to the church, including on real estate and backing for religious schools."