Russian MPs Call for Silver Galosh Organizers to be Imprisoned over Mockery of Patriarch

This picture is not funny

From ITAR-TASS:

The 16th awarding ceremony of the anti-prize Silver Galosh was held in Moscow on Monday. All media reported that the nature of the prize changed, as it became political and show business got to background. The founder of the prize – the Silver Rain radio station even deprived its undertaking of its traditional subtitle “For the most dubious achievements in show business”.

…At first the organizers of the Silver Galosh Award [the Silver Rain radio station] decided to promote Patriarch Kirill in the nomination “Hands up to elbow in the miracles” for a miraculous disappearance of the wristwatch from his hand with the assistance of the Photoshop software, then declared him as a winner in this nomination…

The patriarch was completely laughed down, even the word patriarch was not voiced at all, only the surname Gundayev. 

Some (rather bizarre) pictures and videos of the occasion can be seen here. The ceremony included a spoof representative from Breguet, and a skit portraying Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin as a music-hall performer surrounded by pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic nuns. Another man joins in the dance; I’m not sure if this is meant to the Patriarch. The prize’s name refers to a Russian idiom, that to “sit in a galosh” is to “get into a mess”.

Alas, however, church and state are not amused; Interfax reports:

The United Russia MPs prepare amendments to 282 Article of the Russian Criminal Code for kindling hatred or hostility and humiliation of human dignity,” the Izvestia daily writes in Friday.

“Amendments will make it more precise and allow bringing an action against, for example, the Silver Galosh organizers. If amendments are adopted, Galosh’s organizers will be fined for 300 thousand rubles or imprisoned for one or two years,” the paper quoted MP Alexey Zhuravlyov as saying.

…Head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin agreed with law makers that people who kindle hatred should feel the tough power of law rather than pay fines.  

By “kindle hatred”, Chaplin means this:

It’s not clear, though, how much chance the amendments have of becoming law; according to Russia Today:

Later on Friday, the State Duma Committee for Civil, Criminal, Procedural and Arbitration Legislation has denied that the Criminal Code Article 282 on inciting hatred and humiliating human dignity will be amended.

The Patriarchial $30,000 wristwatch fiasco was widely noted in April; RIA-Novosti reported at the time:

The press service of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill apologized on Thursday for an image editing “mistake” by photo editors, who airbrushed out the wristwatch the Patriarch was wearing.

…The deputy head of the patriarch’s press service, Alexander Volkov, said that the photo was airbrushed by a 24-year-old female employee “on her own personal inexperienced initiative.”

…The Patriarch said that though he had received a Breguet watch as a present, he kept it in its box.

Red Hot Russia has a nice round-up of the story, while Radio Free Europe has some wider context:

The controversy comes just months after an undercover investigation on Russian television revealed that an Orthodox priest in Kazan owned a BMW, a Mercedes, three flats, and a country house. Father Grigoriyev was secretly filmed bragging about his own prohibitively expensive Swiss watch and his penchant for Italian designer clothes.

The Russian Orthodox Church was also criticized for a recent court ruling ordering former Health Minister Yury Shevchenko to pay a staggering 20 million rubles ($690,000) to the keeper of an elite apartment in central Moscow owned by Kirill. The court said dust from the renovation of Shevchenko’s apartment had drifted upstairs and ruined the patriarch’s precious furniture.

The lavish apartment was a gift, too, by the way. Probably just like the two Cadillacs that Kirill reportedly owns.

Meanwhile, the spoof Breguet representative has annoyed the company; Interfax again:

“A person who was introduced as Phillip Balle at the Silver Galosh ceremony organized by the Silver Rain radio station on June 18, 2012, has never had anything to do with the Montres Breguet SASwitzerland nor with any company or brand incorporated in the Swatch Group,” the company said in its statement published on Friday by the Kommersant daily.

It also reads that the company is “extremely outraged by such developments and “conducts a special investigation in order to make an official claim to the organizers of the above mentioned ceremony and official demand to make a public statement that the Montres Breguet SA (Switzerland) has never participated in this ceremony.”

According to the Moscow Times, Zhuravlyov is “the right-hand man of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the military-industrial complex”; he recently suggested a return of “Soviet-era military training in high schools to promote patriotism and fondness for the armed forces”.

Rogozin and Zhuravlyov are members of the right-wing “Rodina” bloc within United Russia; despite this sudden posture in defence of religion, it should be recalled that in 2005 members of Rodina signed a letter calling for Jewish groups to be banned. Rogozin has since explained that the “majority of delegates didn’t read letter before signing it”.

Name variation: Alexei Zhuravlyov; Aleksei Zhuravlyov

2 Responses

  1. […] church figures do have a tendency to cry “hatred” when faced with satire or criticism. Back in June, church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin suggested “that people who kindle hatred should feel the […]

  2. […] was previously the target of satire in June last year; this was when a comedy award ceremony organised by a radio station made fun Kirill’s […]

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