Russian church slams For Human Rights NGO's alleged pro-Western ideas

The public relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Russia's For Human Rights group of blindly espousing Western values and slammed it for ignoring "the right of the people of Russia to have an independent vector for their life."

The public relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Russia's For Human Rights group of blindly espousing Western values and slammed it for ignoring "the right of the people of Russia to have an independent vector for their life."

"Many here insist that the law must be obeyed and that everyone must obey it," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Department for Relations between Church and Society at the Moscow Patriarchate, told a news conference. "No one, human rights organizations that think they can lecture others or anyone else, must be immune from the law."

He made his point in comments on Saturday's eviction of For Human Rights from its headquarters in Moscow. The group was forcibly thrown out of its office in a predawn raid by police and city officials because of the alleged expiration in February of a lease agreement.

"I have been arguing with this organization a lot and for a long time," Chaplin said. "And I have known Mr. [Lev] Ponomaryov [head of For Human Rights] for a long time as well. I usually meet with him at receptions at the American Embassy, and I\'ve been meeting with him in court as well."

"In the Soviet period this movement often stated correct things, but it didn't defend the right of the people of Russia to have an independent vector for their life then, any more than it does now," the priest said.

He accused For Human Rights of blindly sticking to Western values and ideals.

"We have a complete right to organize life in our society without trying to copy the West or the East. There are those who say that we have no such right, that we must copy one civilization only, the Western one, but in my opinion, that civilization is receding into the background not as a winner but as a loser in the historical dispute. It is not just the rights of the individual that are important - the right of a nation to independently choose its historical path is no less important," Chaplin said.

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