Moscow -- Participants of the World Council of Russian People that opened in Moscow Thursday covered a wide range of subjects in their speeches.
Lyubov Sliska, a deputy speaker of Russia's State Duma, proposed to call the authorities' attention to the spread of alien religious beliefs and cults in Russia. She is particularly concerned with the activities of Satan-worshipers and the effect that they may have on the young generation.
The tolerance that the Russian people have always displayed toward the ideas and beliefs of other nations does not mean that one should watch idly the proliferation of sects, she said. The malicious and immortal designs of totalitarian sects should meet here with legal counteraction.
Sliska praised the role of Russia's mainstream religions, and Orthodoxy in particular, in safeguarding social morals and culture.
"Democracy without genuine enlightenment and education is nothing more than fiction," said the writer Valery Ganichev, who is chairman of the Russian Union of Writers. "Russia is cloning the cells of immorality that it grasped from Western culture," he said. As an example, he pointed to the Russian TV version of the Big Brother show. Ganichev called on the Council participants to appeal to demand that the government "help save the nation from depravity."
Grigory Yavlinski, the head of the political movement Yabloko, stressed the importance of sowing the seeds of humaneness in people and making the opportunities of education open to everyone. "Lack of faith is the prologue to corruption and bureaucracy, which produce terrorism," he said. "Economic reforms in a nation that does not believe in God are totally impossible," Yavluinski noted.
Turning to Russia's Patriarch Alexis II who attended the Thursday session of the Council, Yavlinski called for creating "a worldwide system of education and literacy."
The writer Valentin Rasputin voiced concern over the results of reforms of state power and the economy that put a heavy burden on the rank-and-file people. "Over the last years, the reforms looked to have come from the outside. But the majority of people here have not acquired either the energies of Americans or the exactness or Germans," Rasputin said. He believes that the state has turned its eyes away from national culture and the intellectual resources of the people have been neglected. "The proposals go sometimes as far as to suggesting that Russia must be saved without the participation of the Russian people," he noted.
Sergei Glazyev, a politician and economics expert, said the "extremist theory of economic reform should be revised" as it does not meet Russia's national interests. He also called on the Council to set up a standing committee that would analyze the destiny-making reforms.
Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow State Univesity, stressed the key role of science and education as the backbone of state power. "The national task is to support the traditional system of education that has won international acclaim and that enabled us to usher in the era of space flights," he said, adding that the history of education here was in many ways synonymous with the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. He recalled that Moscow State University and the Russian Church responded with re-opening a church in the old building of the university ten years ago when occult sciences and sects were flourishing in Russia.
Russia's supreme rabbi Adolf Shayevich that "unfortunately, the problems in Russia are snowballing, very often overshadowing the life of man". He thanked Alexis II for focusing attention of the Church on society problems "and convening such forums [reference to Coucil] for a discussion of Russia's problems."