Russian Orthodox Church asks government for deferral of utility bills

At whose expense will the losses be written off?

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church appealed to the authorities with a request to postpone utility bills for churches. In a letter to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Patriarch Kirill spoke about the difficult situation that many parishes faced in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Milking the parish
Milking the parish

The Patriarch asked the authorities to postpone the payment of housing services for religious organizations for the duration of the restrictions associated with the pandemic. According to him, the parishes pay for heat, electricity, gas and other utilities through donations that have seriously fallen due to the ban on all public events.

“The general church budget also consists of donations,” Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for Church-Public Relations and Media Relations, emphasized in a conversation with reporters, talking about the problems of parishes and monasteries caused by the absence of parishioners.

But at the same time, neither Legoyda nor the patriarch himself mention the profit that the ROC receives from its entrepreneurial activity. In the «economy» of the church, you can see many enterprises: from candle factories and hotels to private security companies and construction companies. In 2014 alone, its income amounted to 5.6 billion rubles, and in 2016 alone, the Russian Orthodox Church received 2.6 billion rubles of budget support. It seems to us that the question is where these funds go if, with a decrease in the flow of parishioners, the church allegedly begins to have difficulty paying its bills.

The relevant departments, to which Mishustin forwarded the request of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, have not yet given a definite answer to it. But neither the Ministry of Construction, nor the Ministry of Natural Resources ruled out the possibility of a positive decision on this issue. But Gazprom promised to consider the appeal of each parish individually, while noting that the company helped the church many times.

Reaching the agreement in this situation should not be surprising. The bourgeois government of the Russian Federation has more than once provided support to the richest, regardless of the needs of ordinary workers. Therefore, the Russian Orthodox Church, which has become, in fact, one of the largest oligarchs, may well count on such exemptions at the national expense.

Privatization of profits and nationalization of losses are the principles by which the capitalist system has developed in Russia.