How to Entrench a De Facto State Church in Russia: A Guide in Progress

72 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2008 Last revised: 18 Jan 2010

See all articles by Robert C. Blitt

Robert C. Blitt

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: July 21, 2008


The Russian Orthodox Church's (ROC) assertion of a constitutionally inappropriate role in affairs of state has severely compromised Russia's secular constitutional framework. This gradual but steady erosion of the barrier between church and state is evidenced by a series of contemporary developments that are inexorably linked to the Church's vision of its traditional place in Russian history.

Disturbingly, each successive post-communist regime has further enabled this behavior, and there is no indication that the political transition from President Vladimir Putin to his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, will change anything.

This paper argues that the emerging pattern of collusion presents a serious challenge to Russia's constitutional order and to the country's regional and international human rights commitments - chief among these being the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief.

Keywords: Russia, Putin, Medvedev, freedom of religion, constitution, human rights, church-state, international law, european convention on human rights, secular, russian orthodox church, international covenant on civil and political rights, ICCPR, universal declaration on human rights

JEL Classification: K33, K30, K10, K40, K44, K42, P33, P30

Suggested Citation

Blitt, Robert C., How to Entrench a De Facto State Church in Russia: A Guide in Progress (July 21, 2008). Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 2008, pp. 707-778, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Robert C. Blitt (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States


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