By Dennis Abrams
After decades of repression during the Soviet era, the Russian Orthodox church, which now claims more than 100 million followers in Russia and tens of millions elsewhere, is flexing its growing political muscle.
A senior Russian Orthodox official, Father Vsevolod Chaplin, claimed that novels by Vladimir Nabokov and Gabriel Garcia Marquez justify pedophilia, demanded a government investigation, and insisted that both books should be banned from the nation’s high schools.
Father Chaplin, the head of the Moscow patriarchate’s public relations department, made his statements on Ekho Moskvy radio while discussing Nabokov’s Lolita and Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, accusing both of “justifying pedophilia.” He later elaborated in remarks carried by Interfax, stating that both author’s works should not be included in high school curriculums as they “romanticize perverted passions that make people unhappy,” adding that “Obviously, the popularization of these novels in school will not make our society more morally happy.”
Mikhail Shkvydoi, a Kremlin envoy for international cultural co-operation, disagreed with Chaplin, saying that such action by authorities would hurt Russia’s image.