THE HIDDEN ECONOMY OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH


Скрытая экономика РПЦ

27 years ago, when the Soviet Union collapsed and religious revival began, there were about 6.5 thousand parishes in the Church, two – thirds of them in Ukraine. It was then that the fundamental problem of the modern ROC arose: there was no one to revive religion and its institutions. After all, all the churchmen were exterminated as a class, and the phrase “religion is opium for the people” was quoted by all the citizens of the USSR with an understanding smile. Favorite question in the Church was: “And what of your Gagarin did not see God?»

Today, the ROC has more than 36,000 parishes, of which about 25,000 are in Russia. The number of monasteries exceeded one thousand – there was no such number before the revolution. There is no end in sight: three new parishes open every day.

“The growth rates are enormous. But I want to say – like a cancer, – says the former priest father Nicholas, a former priest who left the Church after the scandal caused by an attempt to tell the truth about her device. – Because the internal environment is not prepared and not provided. First, the living tradition of that old Church has been destroyed. And we are not dealing with restoration, but with reconstruction. We-those who stand at the leadership and parishes, the episcopate and even the Patriarchate – are not from the families of the clergy. And not even from the families of believers.

The current velocity of propagation of Orthodox Church are not secured by any intellectual, knowledge or traditions – nothing. Want let’s do one more monastyrok, let’s do another parish. And at the helm put him here – he sings loudly in pain. Accordingly, what are the staff-these are the consequences.

In the early 90-ies, the period of reconstruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, in the book Orthodoxy imposed tragic utopianism: the world is going to hell, survive him for long, ahead of the third world war, we must be saved – and the mass of the dispossessed people of the ruined families pushed to the monasteries in search of if not a better life, with the thought of where their children saved from depravity, from alcohol, from drugs, from prostitution.

Then the monasteries were so utopian communities Tommaso Campanella (author of “Sun City”, according to Lenin, is one of the predecessors of scientific socialism) and was represented not so much Orthodoxy, much war communism. The people all came out of the Soviet Union, having before our eyes as a model farm. Here is his, not Apostolic a community, and built.

Therefore, it turned out not God’s houses, but the same collective farms, only with the gospel in their hands. – Especially appreciated were immigrants from Bessarabia and from the South-East of Ukraine. And of course it turned out that of all the possible pravoslavi we started to build a peasant. Again, with all the ensuing consequences-with the promotion of subsistence farming and peasant culture, as well as the rejection of urban life. Why do the peasants of the passport? INN? Books? Cards? Overseas trips? Peasants always lived at the expense of subsistence farming! Well, that is such peasant practicality.

That’s when the roots of the current troubles of the ROC were laid – it so happened that the monastic, black clergy in Russia are traditionally the least educated than the white clergy. This is our specificity, in contrast to, for example, of the Catholics: their monks are better educated than the parish priests.

Since then, since the revival of the Church, people who took monastic vows, make a mad career. Fulminant. Where the white priest to plough and plough it is necessary, to serve and to serve, black could in two years to adorn themselves in every way possible, and to hold such a position, which the priest never dreamed of.

Accordingly, from rags to riches, without education – without adequate seniority – forward. This again Stalin’s falcons, non-commissioned officers who became generals of the Workers ‘and peasants’ red army, who studied on the principle of “take-off-landing-ready to fight.”

This in itself is sad, but even worse is that these Stalin’s falcons began to teach new priests – in the mass opened seminaries there was no place to take clever teachers with religious beliefs, and there sent parish priests who were pupils of “reenactors “- father Nikolay speaks.

The result is sad

– Most of the current priests do not feel halftones-says the priest father Michael.

He is 17 years old served in different churches, was disappointed in the Russian Orthodox Church and left the Ministry back in the world. – Their educational qualification is extremely low, and there is no higher secular education, and the higher Church-very low quality. These people don’t understand the difference between sadness and depression. Do not understand that mental illness should be treated with pills that only prayer alcoholism and drug addiction will not be cured.

And here is what current priests understand well is the financial benefit from the opening of the next parish. After all, it becomes a new link in the complex chain of relations, from which the economy of the Church is formed.

ORTHODOX BUSINESS

“The ass of Nam’s surrender…»

In Russian folklore since the XVI century a significant part is given to priests. And the part is not the most pleasant. Suffice it to recall the “Tale of the priest and his Balda worker”, which, like many works by Alexander Pushkin, has its roots in peasant legends. No wonder in the XXI century, the Church almost achieved a census of this immortal work – ” the Tale of the MERCHANT and his employee Balda.”

Collections of popular Proverbs contain dozens of statements like “the Ass – marten, deacon Fox, the Sexton-Gorun grey Bunny, and provine-cracker – Bunny ears”, “the bottomless Belly of the priest, it does not fill”, “Who is alive and dead and tears up? Pop!»

The economy of the modern Church is not far from the ancestors. Today the ROC stands on three whales, and the disappearance of any of them is catastrophic. These whales are believers, resale of Church paraphernalia and support of the state.

The ROC, like any religious organization officially registered in Russia, has privileges, but all of them are key. It is fully exempt from value added tax (VAT) and income tax (part 3 of article 149 of the Tax code of the Russian Federation), property tax (part 27 of article 251 TC RF) and land tax (article 395 TC RF), and state duties (article 333.35 of the RF tax code). That is, in fact, the ROC does not pay anything to the budget.

The tax code of the Russian Federation clearly stipulates: the exemption is only from religious activities, and all commercial, even carried out by the ROC, is subject to mandatory taxation. Therefore, according to reports, the Church does not conduct commercial activities at all. And arguing with them is pointless. However, according to a high-ranking Russian official, in fact, they simply do not want to contact the Church.

“Priests are now included absolutely in all elected bodies of all levels of government, from local parliaments to various kinds of public councils and Supervisory commissions – up to the Ministerial and Federal. This, of course, correct, but opens their doors to the leaders of any rank, where it can be easy to despair, to withdraw the Commission or turned a blind eye to the weaknesses identified. And believe me-the churchmen use it. And on the direct instructions of his leadership,” he explains.

Paradoxical as it may sound, but the state support makes the entire economy of the Russian Orthodox Church black. Or gray-because no parish is accountable to anyone. No one checks them except the Church itself. And here, as many years of experience, hand washes. Moreover, both in the world and in the Church, everyone is convinced: the authorities know everything, and everything that happens is done with his (her) blessing.

For example, when in 2017 the training Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate came to the Vladimir theological Seminary with a test, it almost accidentally found out that only two of the ten authoritative professors formally have jobs – the rector and the first Vice-rector. And the rest many years worked without registration, work books and contributions to the Pension Fund. They received a salary in envelopes and thought that and it is necessary. Having learned the truth, went to bow to the Patriarchate. And there told: pension will be paid by those whom you now trained. In fact, the case dropped on the brakes. People quit, but the missed years, they were never up – either in experience or in compulsory contributions. And these teachers have nowhere to go – the ROC has a monopoly on spiritual education.

– All Church economy is very specific, – father Nikolay tells. – It is arranged on the sectarian principle. You know, there’s a saying, “pop’s got Nam’s surrender.” Our brothers don’t like to pay for work. So this is all a blessing, for Christ’s sake, bring a present. The system of economic relations is obviously criminal-with black and gray salaries. It’s a divorce of people for free work, and people get used to it quickly. You can not pay: you do not work for me – you work for the Lord God. Why did you leave, why you design, why do you need salary?

Russians will be very surprised when they learn: priests are absolutely powerless. Yes, the work book to make them still forced, but they still are far from all – every Church, every monastery has a prescription for the required minimum clergy. But no one has employment contracts. Even the standard form is not developed. In addition, the ROC operates the principle of Holy authority. This is the same as the sovereignty of the army. That is why there is no labor conflict in the ROC – the chief is always right. And guilty is always guilty.

The salary of a Russian priest is from 20 to 40 thousand rubles a month. Some say that they have withheld personal income tax, some-that taxes are completely exempt. The Abbot gets much more, but the size of his salary is a mystery, covered with darkness. In addition, the superior may run hand in Treasury – say, it for gas, because I drive at Church, and this is on mobile, I’m talking about the problems of the parish. And no one can argue with him.

And in the conditions of the hierarchy prestige issues are manifested especially vividly. Therefore, an ordinary priest will never buy a car more prestigious than the Abbot; the Abbot will not appear in public in hours more expensive than the Bishop; and the Bishop will not have a rarity, which is not the Patriarch. Therefore, the desire to stand out is manifested in a different way.

A small example: in June 2018, one of the recruitment agencies was looking for a personal chef for the abbess of the Holy monastery. The salary was promised in 90 thousand rubles. According to the Agency staff, the abbess was going to pay her personal money. It is easy to assume that a high-ranking servant of the cult personal chef will not give the last penny.

– The state simply does not consider any conflict or derogation from the law in the Orthodox Church – says father Nicholas. – That’s why salaries are black. In the Soviet years, this was justified by the fact that there was godless power. And now everyone is just used to turn a blind eye. The authorities do not go into these issues. They do not try to climb, because you know if you touch, there is a number of shit will turn sour!
A second Foundation of the economy RPTS – resale of paraphernalia

This includes many things: from products that are traded in temples and monasteries, to entire industries, concluding contracts and government contracts. The cost of such products is minimal – it is produced either by workers working for free,or completely disenfranchised people who can not complain anywhere.

And if you complain In public councils of all agencies, including the interior Ministry, the FSB and Regardie, a lot of people in robes that are not only informed about the complaints, but can also influence decisions. Often-the lowest requests. And in these requests they almost no one refuses.

In the criminal case of the death of the girl Tanya in Moseitsevo recorded seven farms working for the local Nikitsky monastery. According to investigators, they worked in the same workers-so called those who perform obedience for free. However, according to operational data, the monastery has other farms in the Moscow and Ivanovo regions. Some of them are engaged in the manufacture of industrial goods.

Operational data are not always verifiable. For example, in the village of Grigorkovo, a few kilometers from Moseitsevo, there is an Orthodox community. According to local residents, blacksmiths living there sold goods in the markets and made to order. They were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, and all surplus of products and money went to a monastery. But no legal or financial traces of this could not be found.

This is not surprising, because the Orthodox transactions are not fixed. The economy of the Russian Orthodox Church in principle, remains black. Or grey. So, it is almost impossible to calculate its real volumes. And Orthodox priests are in no hurry to “come out of the twilight”. On the contrary, it is advantageous to be in the shadows.

Grigorkovo village many years ago gave the Orthodox community, and there live blacksmiths. They work for the benefit of the parish, and their products are well known in the region and abroad: high-quality, beautiful, reliable… during the preparation of the material I happened to be in this village.

None of the children I met did not differ from the children of the orphanage in Moseytsevo: excellent knowledge of Orthodox texts and “Domostroy” and the complete inability to solve any one task from a textbook third grade math. A complete ignorance of classical Russian literature, even to the questions “Who is Alexander Pushkin? Who is Mikhail Lermontov?”I didn’t wait for the answer. But long, the floor of clothes and pious belief that the world is ruled by the Antichrist.As well as old and fresh festering wounds on the hands and feet. So – in any tax statements Grigorkovo the village just yet.

Many have heard about Orthodox production in Sofrino village – candles, icons, crosses are made there… and the vast majority of Russians believe that everything sold in churches is made in Russia, in monasteries and in factories…

Alas, this is a misconception. As in almost all other segments of the world market, the people’s Republic of China is the leader in the production and sale of Church utensils. In Zhejiang province there is a city of Yiwu, and in it – a huge wholesale center that sells religious goods, and more than half of them – Orthodox. The wholesale party begins from conditional 100 icons or 1000 crosses, but buyers in black cassocks this volume doesn’t confuse especially as customs officers and frontier guards quickly and joyfully react to a request to clear customs of sacred things out of turn. They do not need to pull – the duty is not levied.

In the same market Catholic priests from the most different countries are bought. And from Russia too. According to experts, 100 percent of rosaries, 80 percent of Catholic icons and most of the candles – and Catholics are special, in special plastic cups – made in China.

Once, in a private conversation with me, a monk from Sergiev Posad, boasting, said that in Russia there are more than ten thousand Orthodox communities working for the benefit of the Church. And he mentioned that some of them even reached the international level: trade in the wood with China. And learn from the Chinese accuracy. Even on the proceeds from work in own weekend money bought in Finland a special technique and here is now drive its to itself in area. I, alas, didn’t find confirmations to it. Unofficially, I was told that among the smugglers driving the forest to China, there are indeed several Orthodox communities. Each of them owns a small mobile sawmill and never gives trouble to law enforcement officers-unlike hundreds of others.

But in Sofrino produced a lot of things. This enterprise (the official name – the art and production enterprise of the Russian Orthodox Church “Sofrino”) still takes the leading though not the first place in system of production of attributes and on many articles is the monopolist (“Who will give trebniki or fonts to Chinese to do?”- says father Nicholas.

Its turnover is high, but, alas, reduced. And it’s not only in competition with the far Eastern neighbor – the impoverishment of the people leads to a decrease in income. Nevertheless, in 2017, the company’s revenue amounted to 2 billion 325 million 275 thousand rubles. Meanwhile, in 2007, according to official data, Sofrino’s annual income exceeded 60 billion.

July 28, 2018, the Patriarch issued a decree released from the post of Eugene Parkhaev, for 40 years been the Director of the HSP ROC “Sofrino”. Formally, the reason for the dismissal is not called, semi-formally they say that the Commission of the Patriarchate recognized his work as unsatisfactory. And quite informally note that Parkhaev too carried away personal Affairs, destroying Orthodox production. At the same time, he held several posts at once, in fact, being the main head of the ROC, and at all sites he failed, for which he paid.

In any case, the turnover of Sofrino fell, and disproportionately to the drop in income of parishes. Parkhaev himself told reporters that he agreed with the decision of the Patriarch: “I am 77 years old, I have 55 years of service to the Church, 40 years was the Director. I’m tired.”

But there is a small detail: immediately after the signing of the Decree, the representative of the Patriarchate asked the Moscow Regardie to take Sofrino under protection – “before the appointment of a new Director.” He explained that the desire to preserve material assets and fixed assets. That is, the Director is not just removed from office – he immediately began to defend. It’s not like it’s voluntary.

“Parkhaev did not want to leave, he strongly resisted any attempt to limit his powers, – says a source in Church circles. – On-good, it should be carried out on deserved rest in 2014, if not earlier. But he played a significant role in the election of Cyril and enjoyed his support. Although, in fact, he worked the old-fashioned way. On the one hand, this is good – because the canons were strictly observed. On the other hand, such work is not for the current economic conditions. And Parkhaev also increasingly sought to get into the political activities of the Church.”

In other words, the second whale of the ROC economy has slightly lost weight in recent years, but still continues to bring a stable income.
Finally, the third kit of the economy of the Russian Orthodox Church – believers

Almost every visitor to the Church, not necessarily a believer, leaves at least a hundred rubles in the Church. Believer-more. This is the spark notes for the health and for the repose, sale icons… to be Baptized and get married, too, costs money, and even books with prayers you need to buy.

– A small temple in the city has a monthly revenue of about a million, – says father Nicholas. – We give 25 percent to the diocese, another 30 percent – our daily expenses. The rest – on a temple … However, now say that in a diocese began to demand more – to a half. More precisely, each parish pulled the plan, and, if it is not performed – fly. And if you do, then no one will see what the father machine every year changes.

Churches in villages, naturally, earn less-well if 200 thousand a month.Here and parishioners less, and they, to put it mildly, not rich. Small turnovers and at prayer rooms on transport-300-400 thousand a month. But the churches in cottage settlements, and near them… the priests Themselves say that here the average revenue – tens of millions.

Patriarch Kirill’s statement at one of the Church councils is well known. Criticizing the princes of the ROC, he said that many peripheral parishes contributed only 200-300 thousand rubles to the General Church Treasury – that is, as much as the poorest Metropolitan churches. And actually accused their subordinates in the store. In the same speech, figures were given: up to 22 percent of the temple’s income goes to the General Treasury. This allows us to draw some conclusions about the General wallet of the ROC.

And the journalists of RBC estimated that only direct subsidies of the Russian Orthodox Church (for example, for the restoration of departed of the Church of the ancient temples) exceeded in 2012-2015 14 billion rubles. This is despite the fact that almost all the temples are allegedly restored with the money of donors and the state among the donors is usually not listed.

In addition, each temple has its own sponsor – a private enterprise that helps with money. This is usually based on personal contacts of the Abbot. The head of this enterprise often becomes the head of the temple or the Chairman of the community Council and at the first opportunity receives awards – because the ROC has its orders and medals. See such a reward on his chest, for example, Yakunin – no doubt. This is for state joy, for sponsorship.

“It is such money that makes the priests forget the laws of God and cheat with Church books,” says father Nicholas. – Someone spends money on their development, and someone-on personal well – being. There is, of course, a little, but they are… Especially insulting to those priests who came to Church, after Afghanistan and Chechnya – they are just from this filth gone from the world. And here-the same profile.

Whatever it was, but in January 2017, the public became the property of a grandiose scandal: in the Krasnoyarsk diocese, the priest, who recreated the temple from the ruins and served in it forever since 1995, was fired. According to the priest Victor (Pasechnyuk) – that he couldn’t collect 150 thousand rubles by birthday of the Metropolitan and transfer them to a diocese. At the same time, people started talking loudly about the “planned” nature of voluntary donations. But… included in the public councils of the channels, the priests and clergy leadership of regional and Federal media are asked not to discuss the subject, and on it were put the block.

At the same time, according to the registers of legal entities, the Russian Orthodox Church is registered as an enterprise with less than 100 employees, the General Director of which is Kirill Gundyaev.

But this does not prevent the growth of the number of parishes. In the middle of 2017, the thousandth monastery was opened in Russia, and as of January 1, 2018, there were already 1010 of them. In comparison to Khrushchev’s persecutions in the Soviet Union was only 14 monasteries (the majority in the Ukrainian SSR), in 80-e years – four (Troitse-Sergiev and Pskov caves monastery, the Riga desert (female) and the Dormition monastery in Pyhtitsa, Estonia).

But every monastery is a subsidiary farm. At least one, and Nikitsky male monastery near Moseytsevo they recall, found seven. Farms, although focused on the maintenance of residents, produce surplus, and they quickly turn into surplus value: the laws of the economy are the same for all.

Parishes in Russia more than 36 thousand. Another 600 churches have already been formally transferred to the ROC, but either lie in ruins or are being built. There were less than 6.5 thousand parishes throughout the Soviet Union. Of these, 891 parish and 56 monasteries are located outside the country. And of the remaining about half – behind the Ural mountains.

Almost 40 thousand presbyters, more than 5 thousand deacons and almost 400 bishops serve in the ROC. Now in the structure of the ROC 356 79 dioceses and metropolitanates more than of constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Knowing the number of parishes, imagining the amount of money passing through them and having operational data on the work of workers and gray exports, to which the ROC is involved, it is easy to estimate its budget. Its revenue is almost equal to the expenditure and is about 92 billion rubles in 2017 prices. It does not take into account the indirect subventions of the state and the income that the ROC receives from its securities, since this part is even presumably impossible to calculate. In addition, there are known facts of ROC investment in the construction of luxury real estate and business centers, as well as in the import of cars. But this activity of the Church lies entirely in the black zone.

A year ago, while on a business trip in the Baikal region, in an informal setting, I talked with a General of one of the law enforcement agencies. It was about the withdrawal from the illegal zone of small industrial enterprises, primarily sawmills and timber processing companies, consumers of the main wealth of the region.

“The team passed, and ordered to legalize them massively, – the General told me. – At us them not to consider-on any route send patrols, and everyone will find five-six mobile sawmills or two-three sheds making a Board. But they will not be legalized-taxes such that it is cheaper to close. This means that five or ten men will be left without work, which will cause an increase in social tension. Put it mildly. And now with the Church contact – a more expensive. And after all at them, let for a soldering and a bed, the released work. Left without a job, they gave me the statistics in the second spoil. No, I will not take sin on the soul.”

Original publication: https://www.kramola.info/vesti/religija/ekonomika-cerkvi-0



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