Rabbi Zinovy Kogan — about how Russia maintains the ethno-religious peace in the country
Photo: TASS/Zurab javakhadze
God is love, transforming the world, and tolerance is part of that love. It allows you to look into the eyes of another and see the image of God, in whose image we are created. In the Declaration signed on 16 November 1995 in Paris by 185 States of UNESCO, including Russia, tolerance is “respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of manifestation of human individuality”. In my opinion, the mission of Russia — Association of human values, overcoming of nationalism and enmity between peoples.
Russian culture and Russian language in the former Soviet Union, in spite of everything, remain close, attractive. In the consolidation of the Russian lands the important role played by the Orthodox Church, the religious tolerance of traditional religions, tolerance for the cultures of peoples, the pursuit of identity, the rejection of assimilation. Least of all Russia is like a “melting pot”. Like the Russian language, the country absorbs the images of vast expanses. And through the language of traditional religion became mass in one huge good-natured heart.
The recognition of the values of each faith is the only way to successfully combat the global rise in violence.
Religions should have a voice in society — how to live, how to establish a social system to respect human dignity and protect human life in General. If religion is not part of the solution, the voices become more sharp, extremists increasingly hard. Whenever religion intrudes into the territory of politics, it is not able to settle differences between his faith and other religions cannot resolve internal splits within their own faith. And the end result is war.
Meanwhile, the miracle of monotheism is that unity in faith that creates the variety in life. Young people are looking for meanings of what is happening, but they do not find them in modern popkulture. Therefore, religious education is necessary. It should correspond to modern standards, give a set of ideals of inclusion and respect for other religions. The Internet makes our life dry as gunpowder. A conflict in one place can spill over to anywhere in the world.
To resist attempts to destroy ethnic and religious peace in the country, unity, Russia needs educated, Patriotic, professional spiritual leaders with skills in many different areas — communication, management, law, work with volunteers, psychology, cross-cultural, inter-religious and state-religious dialogue, the organization of charity…
After Russia ceased to be an Empire, one hundred years, and has gained the status of the Russian Federation. Russia has experienced many wars and troubles, but despite everything, she remains and will remain a multiethnic, multireligious, tolerant great power. The road to happiness is inside of us and religion is a reliable compass. Together we will make tomorrow better.
The author is Vice-President of the Congress of Jewish religious communities and organizations of Russia’s relations with state and public organizations