Of particular interest to me is how Fr Andrei warns precisely against socialism as a comprehensive doctrine, but evidently believes that one ‘can and should’ adopt ‘the best of all social teachings which have justified themselves’ from the socialist period. Even more interesting, is that he cites China as an example to follow, not just Sweden and not just ancient Greece! It makes me wonder if he is simply tossing China off as an off-the-cuff example, or if he is talking about Chinese antiquity, or if he is talking specifically about the Chinese model of social and economic organisation in the wake of Deng Xiaoping. Given the growing closeness between Russia and China over these past few years in particular, it makes me somewhat more sceptical of the first interpretation.
And then there is this interview, with Pravoslavie.Ru, in which Fr Andrei Tkachev in a much more decided and firm manner defended the Soviet Union, at least in its later post-Lenin and post-Trotsky phase, as a ‘beautiful country’ which encouraged high culture, literature and music and art, promoted literacy, upheld positive social norms and essentially prepared the ground for a new flourishing of Christianity. This is a much more interesting perspective, as he is taking the post-ideological bend of the late Soviet period and asserting it as a kind of ‘altar to an unknown God’. Again, this is a particularly fascinating perspective for me to hear, as this is a priest whom we in the US would consider ‘Generation X’, that is to say precisely that he was raised in the late Soviet Union and has a first-hand degree of insight into what those years were like.
Anyway, some real wisdom and worthwhile economic insights in the public addresses of Fr Andrei. Hopefully more people listen, who are in a position to take counsel from him.