Soviet-era political officers are “putting on cassocksand grabbing crucifixes” to serve as chaplains in the Russian army, thenewspaper Vladivostok reported March 25. It estimated that the Army wouldneed some 5,000 priests even though only one in 20 servicemen are is abeliever. Although the paper said that there is no law on a chaplain service,it suggested the army and the Russian Orthodox Church had come together at ameeting in October 1994. Interestingly, the Russian accounts do not indicatethat Moscow is concerned about offending the non-Orthodox. Ukrainian militaryauthorities have refused to introduce chaplains because there are too manyfaiths represented among servicemen, Vseukrainskie vedomosti reported April11. Meanwhile, however, President Yeltsin is moving to tie himself closer tothe Russian Orthodox Church and religion more generally. Last week, he issueda decree establishing within his personal office a Council for Relations withReligious Communities, Rossiiskaya gazeta said April 26.
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