21 May 2008, 16:26
Moscow, May 21, Interfax - The fight against corruption should begin on a personal level, where each individual refuses to put up with this sin, believes Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations.
"People who pass money under the table and use the state for their ignoble purposes, cause harm to their souls and their country, in no lesser degree than those who take money under the table, abusing their power for their personal gains. Many of us here, in Russia, should, therefore, start the fight against corruption with ourelves, by refusing to take part in any corrupted relations, give bribes, and put up with the vicious system practiced in some economical spheres," said Fr. Vsevolod to Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.
According to Fr. Vsevolod, corruption is "a vice which corrodes all levels and spheres of this country's life, and it is one of our major problems." It will take a lot of effort to overcome, however, "if we fail to do that, the economy, the politics, and the social life in general would face crises over and over again, and people would get disillusioned in their lives, work and ideals," believes the Archpriest.
He approved the latest measures taken by the government with regard to fighting against corruption, however, he warned against viewing the corruption only as "an evil affecting the government agencies".
"The disease affects the whole society. And, of cause, no fight with corruption shall succeed without due ethical education. A person should reject sin and crime with all his or her heart and soul, and refuse to put up with it," said Fr. Vsevolod.
According to Fr. Vsevolod, "if a person does not understand that vicious and criminal actions destroy his or her soul, prevent him or her from entering the eternal life, and bring suffering to others, nobody can make him or her change such behavior."
Fr. Vsevolod also reminded that the Russian Orthodox Church has many times addressed the issue of corruption in its multiple documents, in particular, The Code of Moral Principles and Rules in Economic Activity adopted at the 8th World Russian People's Congress in 2004.
"Any material support given by business to political parties, social organizations, and mass media should be made public and controllable. Any secret support of this kind should be disregarded by public as immoral... Any persons or structures guilty of grave crimes, in particular, related to corruption, should become unacceptable as business partners and members of the business community," the document reads.