Moldovan President Gets Orthodox Christian Award

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has doled out another award to a regional leader with a dodgy reputation; the Moscow Times reports:

President Vladimir Putin met with Moldovan counterpart Vladimir Voronin in the Kremlin on Tuesday to discuss trade and possibly a solution for the issue of Transdnestr.

…On Monday, Voronin, the head of Moldova’s Communist Party, received an award for “Outstanding Work to Strengthen the Unity of Orthodox Christian Peoples” from Patriarch Alexy II for resisting the expansion of the Romanian Orthodox church into Moldovan parishes.

Looks like a bit of typical quid pro quo, then. However, this Moldovan report puts a rather more seemly spiritual spin on the award:

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia appreciated the substantial contribution President Vladimir Voronin brought to the process of revival of the moral and spiritual values of the society, Orthodox Church, which was subject to destruction in the period of fight against the faith in God. In this respect, Aleksiy II stressed that the awarding of the prize, For Outstanding Activity to Consolidate Orthodox Nations’ Unity, to the Moldovan president speaks for itself.

[“]What we have done during all these years, and continue to do for the sake of the revival of the Orthodox Church, in the name of consolidation and development of the Moldovan citizens’ spirituality, is an unflinching factor of strengthening the stability in the society and developing the society on the whole. The unity of people and Church determines the peace and mutual understanding which dominate in our society,[“] Vladimir Voronin emphasized.

Alexei’s enthusiasm for Voronin appears to be greater than that felt by most Moldovans, according to this recent Tiraspol Times report:

According to the latest opinion poll, Putin is widely trusted by at least 66 percent of all Moldovans, or two out of three in the country. This compares to less than half that still believe in the virtue of their current leadership: In stark contrast to Putin, only 45 percent trust their own president, Vladimir Voronin. A majority of Moldova’s inhabitants have no faith that their current president is honest or trustworthy.

While Moldova is officially listed as Europe’s poorest country, its president and his close relatives rank as the richest family in the country. Their quick and unexplained road to enormous personal wealth is seen as one of the reasons why only a minority among the voters believe that Vladimir Voronin should still be worthy of their trust.

Voronin has sought to boost his popularity through such subtle means as having his face placed on the country’s stamps, alongside a bootleg EU logo (Moldova is not a member).

Another recipient of awards from Alexei is Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko; in 2002, Alexei awarded Lukashenko the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh “for strengthening unity of Slav peoples”; the year before that, it was a prize from the “International Foundation for Unity of the Orthodox Peoples”, presumably the same award as that now presented to Voronin. As it happens, Lukashenko (commonly known as “Europe’s last dictator”) has recently been opining on the need for church and state to “unite” during the coming year, which he has decreed will be “The Year of Health”.

One Response

  1. […] and he claims to have the support of former president Vladimir Voronin. In 2008, Voronin received an award from the late Patriarch of Moscow, Alexy […]

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