24 November 2023
by Valery Panyushkin
By speaking out against abortions and asserting that a ban on them would improve the country’s demographic status “like waving a magic wand,” Patriarch Kirill is interfering in the solution to a problem that does not now and never will affect him personally. Never, under any circumstances, will His Holiness have to decide for himself whether he should have an abortion or whether his personal circumstances contradict the state’s demographic policy, traditional values, and Divine Providence.
Meanwhile, Russia does indeed have demographic problems. There are too few people for this much territory, the population is aging, and with each passing year it becomes more difficult for the able-bodied to feed the non-able-bodied. The Patriarch is correct in the sense that our demographic problems could indeed be resolved by various misanthropic and barbaric means—for example, by turning women into birthing machines or, as an alternative, exterminating old people. It is noteworthy that of all the misanthropic means of correcting our demography, Kirill has chosen male chauvinism, which presents no threat to him whatsoever, rather than, say, agism, which might affect him directly.
If I can permit myself Malthusianism, then the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church could by making a personal effort correct the demographic situation in Russia. One has to assume that the Lord Almighty, in His great mercy, created cholesterol so that in time it could pack people’s arteries with plaque and old men would not be able to extend their stay in this world and would make room in a timely manner for young people and not create an excess burden on the state’s Pension Fund. However, the Forces of the West, all those liberals and atheists, invented statins, medicines that lower the blood cholesterol level and thereby significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, significantly extend life, and significantly increase the number of old people in society, who (naturally, if we consider the natural state of things a good and the achievements of science an evil) put pressure on the Pension Fund and contradict Divine Providence by their very existence.
Why doesn’t the Patriarch set an example by refusing statins and call on the legislature to ban those medications, which lead to an unnatural lengthening of life such as God did not intend? Traditional values are seriously contradicted by this clinging to life as well. How else are we to explain the prayer on “a Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, and peaceful”? Within a few years, the ban on statins would bring thousands of people closer to their desired end and, “like waving a magic wand” would significantly lower the population’s age, the goal of the state’s demographic policy.
The examples of hypocrisy can be multiplied. Just take Senator Margarita Pavlova, who, entirely in the vein of the state’s demographic policy, called on women not to pursue a higher education and instead get busy having babies when they are young. The senator herself, though, received her degree at twenty-one, that is, began her higher education (Chelyabinsk Institute of Culture) at age sixteen. Upon graduation from the institute, she worked another five years as a television reporter and had her first child only at twenty-six, thereby wasting ten years of her most reproductive youth on making a career.
The senator doubtless regrets this since she is advising other women not to follow her lead. She is doubtless unhappy with the way her life worked out. She doubtless doesn’t want thousands of young women to follow her example and repeat her mistakes by receiving a higher education at such a young age. The senator doubtless feels uneasy about being under sanctions and talking such misanthropic claptrap about the harm of higher education.
Truth be told, it is better to start childbearing and stay completely clear of the State Duma, the Federation Council, or any other organ of state power.
Translated by Marian Schwartz