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Russian Nationalists Unite

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Russian nationalist groups united last week to form a political movement that wants to build political support for the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Union of Orthodox Citizens, according to its manifesto, espouses conservative and nationalist views. The newly-formed group stated its strong anti-liberalism and opposition to the “current occupationary regime” of President Boris Yeltsin.

Last year, the organizational committee for the union became prominent by its ardent support for Russia’s new religion law, which was considered discriminatory by many human-right activists and minority religions.

The union will not include the anti-Semitic group Pamyat, according to Archpriest Vladislav Sveshnikov.

Meanwhile, a Russian Orthodox priest accused the Russian Orthodox Church of “endemic anti-Semitism.”

Father Sergei Hackel of London voiced this criticism at an academic conference held last week in St. Petersburg.

The conference attempted to increase Orthodox Christians’ knowledge of Judaism and promote dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Jews.

Hackel said that among other things, the dialogue is hampered by the survival of the myth of Jewish ritual murders.

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