RFI’s Eric Patterson: “A Threat to Russian Authoritarianism”

March 4, 2022

RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson this week authored a piece for WORLD magazine titled, “A Threat to Russian Authoritarianism.” In it, Patterson explains how Ukraine’s vibrant religious landscape and commitment to religious freedom threatens Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism by providing a clear alternative to it.

Ukraine is the only country in the region with free, robust, and peaceful religious competition “among Protestant denominations, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox churches,” in stark contrast to the Russian regime. Patterson explains how religious freedom is an “important foundation for other freedoms: the freedom to assemble, freedom of speech and to publish, freedom to raise children in the faith and to make choices about their education, and freedom of conscience.”

Patterson writes:

Vladimir Putin is a wily autocrat who uses every lever of power to advance his agenda. Putin is particularly concerned about leaders or governments that stand in his way, and he is equally incensed by those who provide alternatives to his brand of Russo-centric authoritarian nationalism rooted in the symbols of historic Russian Orthodoxy and imperial Russian culture. Ukraine defies Putin with its steps toward Western-style democracy. At the heart of this is Ukraine’s embrace of religious freedom, the first and fundamental freedom that is necessary for a vibrant and successful democracy.

Read the full article here: “A Threat to Russian Authoritarianism.”