Kirill, head of church and close ally of Putin says feminist organisations 'proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women'
Feminism stops Russian women focussing on their role as mothers, insists Patriarch Kirill. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA
Feminism is a "very dangerous" phenomenon that could lead to the destruction of Russia , the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has said. "I consider this phenomenon called feminism very dangerous, because feminist organisations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which, in the first place, must appear outside of marriage and outside of the family," said Patriarch Kirill, according to the Interfax news agency. "Man has his gaze turned outward – he must work, make money – and woman must be focused inwards, where her children are, where her home is," Kirill said. "If this incredibly important function of women is destroyed then everything will be destroyed – the family and, if you wish, the motherland." "It's not for nothing that we call Russia the motherland," he said. A vocal supporter and close ally of Vladimir Putin , Patriarch Kirill has helped spearhead Russia's turn toward conservative values. He supported the case against Pussy Riot , the anti-Kremlin feminist punk band tried after performing a song criticising Putin and the church's explicit support of him, inside a Moscow cathedral. During their trial, prosecutors argued, successfully, that feminism when proclaimed inside a church was heretical.
Speaking to a meeting of the Union of Orthodox Ukrainian Women in Moscow, Kirill slammed feminism for leading women to look beyond the traditional family for fulfilment. According to Kirill, woman are first and foremost "the guardians of the family fire, the centre of family life". He accused feminism of being opposed to "family values". He said he was not opposed to women pursuing careers in politics or business or other professions "that today are mainly done by men", but said they should get their priorities straight. He also said that it was "no accident" that most feminist leaders were unmarried. "I noticed this when I worked in Geneva, at the World Council of Churches, when the feminist theme was just starting to develop," he said, speaking of the early 1970s. Sexism runs rampant in Russia and women's rights appear nowhere on the political agenda. Putin has made boosting Russia's low birth rate a key platform of his administration, often cheering women's role as mothers.