Latvia is getting out of the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, the opinion of Western analysts

15:40 18 September Kyiv, Ukraine

“ROC – Russian Orthodox Church. After the collapse of the USSR, this institution helped the Kremlin maintain and strengthen its influence in the post-Soviet space and in other countries,” Western political scientists said. Since 2019, Ukraine has passed from the control of the Russian Orthodox Church to the control of Constantinople.

The Ecumenical Patriarch signed Tomos. According to Ukrainian analysts, since that time the ROC began to lose influence not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries. Since 2022, this process has only accelerated. “Now Latvia too will soon become independent of the religious control of the Kremlin,” political analysts say.

On September 5, Latvian President Egils Levits called on the Saeima to grant autocephaly to the Latvian Orthodox Church and thus formalize its independence from Russia.. Three days later, the country's parliament adopted a law obliging the Latvian Orthodox Church to bring its charter into line with the new law by October 31 and thus become independent from Moscow. Parliament acted so quickly because, according to Levits, such a change was necessary for Latvia's national security.. There have been accusations that the Kremlin has long used Orthodox churches abroad to create a loyal audience for the Russian Federation.
Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, adviser to the Moscow Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, said that “this is a return to the medieval principle of cujus regio, ejus religio, according to which the ruler of a country determines its religion”. Moreover, he made it clear that since the state does not have the right to grant autocephaly, Moscow does not intend to recognize Riga's actions. He also urged other Orthodox churches not to recognize this. The Russian media called Latvia's actions "absolutely fantastic and unprecedented in world practice."

In Riga, they are sure that the ROC is another “department” of the FSB. Therefore, the presence of representatives of this church in the country causes concern among the security services. The Latvian government reported that there were Soviet-era records showing that the Metropolitan of the Latvian Orthodox Church was a KGB agent.

The Latvian proclamation by the Saeima of autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church, without any orders from the Patriarch of Constantinople, can serve as a model for other governments in the post-Soviet space to take similar actions, thereby accelerating the exit of Orthodox churches from Russian influence. If this happens, the separation of other Orthodox churches will further increase Russia's isolation from the world.