Russian Militant Atheists Assail Putin´s "Clericalism"

MOSCOW, JAN. 15, 2002 ( More accustomed to Communist-era religious repression, militant atheists are mobilizing against the «new clericalism» in Russia.

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Moscow´s Union of Atheists today criticized President Vladimir Putin´s participation in the Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

In statements to the press, Lev Levinson, a group leader, accused the president of violating the Constitution, but offered no relevant juridical arguments.

Stating that their objective was to defend the achievements of the French Revolution, Levinson and Alexandre Chtchev, another leader of the atheists´ group, also expressed their opposition to the presence of the Orthodox Church in schools.

The Moscow Patriarchate signed an agreement of cooperation on Nov. 12 with the Russian capital´s Regional Ministry of Education.

The Moscow Union of Atheists said it currently has only about 100 active militants. Some members recently joined Satanic sects, they added.

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