Andrei Melnikov says Patriarch Kirill’s positive comments about Russia’s “religious Islamic population” in recent days reflect the growing role of Islam in the Kremlin’s thinking during the “special military operation” in Ukraine over the past three months.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has not yet taken the form of the clash of civilizations described by Samuel Huntington, the editor of NG-Religi said, adding that it is a growing fact that Moscow is sensitive to the role of Muslims in Russia. It includes the Federation (ng.ru/ng_religii/2022-05-17/11_529_muslims.html).
Like Christians and Jews, the Muslim community within the Russian Federation is divided over the war, with some supporting Putin’s invasion and others strongly opposing it and even going to Ukraine to fight Russian forces. But Muslims are in a very different position from Orthodox Christians, Melnikov advises.
Since Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians like Russians, this conflict is one of two Orthodox people. As far as Islam is concerned, however, there are far more Muslims in Russia than in Ukraine, many of whom are now serving in Russian military units there, and Muslim countries support Moscow more than the Christian West.
As a result, both the Kremlin and now the ROC MP leadership have spoken much more warmly about Muslims in the Russian Federation since day one. On the one hand, it can only be a tactical strategy; But on the other hand, it could create a new balance between orthodoxy and Islam in Russia.
At the very least, some Muslim leaders in the Russian Federation will probably test the water to see how far the pendulum is swinging, hoping that they will now be able to translate their support for Putin’s war into a better situation for themselves in the future.