When people think of Islamic nations, many do not think about Russia. However, Russia is a nation that while not “Muslim,” has a combined Muslim population that amounts to over ten million people, or the combined Muslim populations of France and Germany, two of the most heavily Muslim-populated nations in Western Europe, and in terms of percent her numbers stand at 6.5% of the population.
Many of Russia’s Muslims are concentrated into specific republics, as they come from Islamic peoples settled in or converted to Islam in Russia and have lived there for centuries. Tatarstan, one of the strongest economic areas of Russia, is a Muslim-majority republic in Russia. Bashkortostan, Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and many other areas are the same. Likewise, there is a huge number of Muslims now in major Russian cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg but all over Russia due to massive migration from all over Central Asia, as many people there live in abject poverty with no hope for a better economic future. Likewise, while many of the Slavic Russian women are known for having repeat abortions and if they do have a family, it is rarely even two. The Muslims, on the other hand, have usually two children, and sometimes three.
President Putin will speak out harshly against Islam, but when his actions come to fruition, he does not actually attempt to put any of his words to action, but will stand in support of Russia’s Muslims and help their communities because given their size and the fact that the US is known to use Muslims and Islamic terrorism as geopolitical tools of control, Russia seeks to keep them under her control in order to prevent a rebellion. It is one of the reasons why Putin regularly has meetings and is publicly shown with Chechen leader Ramazan Kadyrov, because Chechnya has a long history of being highly violent, seeking her own interests, and supporting whoever pays her the most money. For Putin, he is happy to allow for Islamic law in Chechnya and staying close to Kadyrov so long as it means that Kadyrov maintains his vassalage to Russia.
Due to the historical presence of Islam in Russia, there is an organization called the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia that helps to direct the affairs of Muslims in Russia. The current Mufti, Ravil Gaynutdin, was-re-elected to his post, and he has a history also of making controversial statements.
According to his recent statements, he put forth a proposal to legitimize polygamy in the nations of the Russian federation. According to him, and correctly stated per Islamic law, the Koran does not require, but permits a man to have several wives, and says that those who wish to do so act knowing they have a responsibility to care for her with all necessary responsibilities.
“If at the legislative level in the republics where mainly Muslims prevailed, bigamy and polygamy were allowed, that would be advisable,” he said on the Russia-24 television channel.
“Are there few men in Russian society, not Muslims, who have not two or three wives? Officially there is not, because we do not have such a law: neither for Muslims, nor for representatives of other religions. But they do. And if there is a law, then then, on the basis of the law, a man will be responsible: either have 40 mistresses and do not bear any responsibility, or have two legal wives and bear responsibility both to the law and to Islam, “he concluded. (source)
Gaynutin’s comments were noted by many as being unique in that few, if any other major Muslim figures in Russia would openly express such a position, including ones known for making statements considered to be bold, bombastic, or even potentially subversive in the eyes of the Russian government. Likewise, it was noted too that at the same meeting where Gaynutin made his comments, he also announced intentions for the Spiritual Administration of Muslims to work on plans for the construction of cathedral mosques in all major cities of Russia and the capitals of the subjects to address the growing Muslim population and presence.
Now one can say what one wants to, and while the struggle in Russia with Islam is real, the fact is that Islam is growing largely because Christianity, in spite of bold speech by the Russian Orthodox Church, is largely shrinking.
The Russian government has been building and renovating many Churches throughout Russia, with some newspapers going through what some have called a “church boom,” yet this rise has failed to keep pace with any growth in adherents. Much like Saudi Arabia building mosques in various parts of the world that are largely going unused, the same is happening with Russia, except with Churches. Likewise, there is a large amount of discontent with the Orthodox Church in Russia that is seldom discussed.
The same is not so for Islam, which continues to rise and grow in power and attract many converts, especially from women who have been intermarrying at above-average rates with Turks and Turkic peoples who have migrated to Russia. This phenomenon which has been called the “Natasha Syndrome” began after the fall of the USSR with the movement of Russian prostitutes to Turkey for work, but has since resulted in increased movement and even migrations of Russian women to Turkey for sex vacations as well as marriage to Turkish men, and is also taking place inside of Russia as well. The net Russian population decline is also taking place at a time when the Muslim population is naturally and slowly growing without any way of stopping it.
So what is the answer to all of this? There are many people who give different opinions. However, the primary answer is always going to be the conversion of the Muslims, which is very possible and, as I have alluded to in articles in the Shoebat archives as well as for many years, the fulfillment of the declarations made by St. Mary at Fatima in 1917.
Based on contacts on the ground held for many years, there are only a few Catholic missions in Russia. Many of them, especially those east of the Ural Mountains, were started as a result of German, Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian descendants of people who were sent to the Russian GULAG camps in Siberia. Today, while many of their descendants go to the same churches, and while there has been a small increase in “native” Russian converts, there is an equally large and growing- possibly to the point that it equals and may surpass -bloc of converts from Muslim backgrounds either residing in Russia or who were migrants from Central Asia to this region. Some of these people are converting on their own, and other peoples are converting as a result of marriage with people in the Church, but the phenomenon is real and continues to grow.
One case I can cite from a mission in the Far East that took place recently of a Tajik Muslim migrant woman whose family came to an area near the mission, and she married a Catholic man whose family goes to this one Church. She is not Catholic and neither is her family, but she, her husband, and her son go to mass together, and her family sometimes will come too.
This same situation has been happening in the Middle East, where many of the Churches today are not filled with Christians, but rather with Muslims who are praying there not to establish any dominance of Islam, but who are seeking God because even while they believe in Islam, they know that something is not right and that there is something greater, and it is in the Church.
This phenomenon has been taking place at the Catholic Churches in Russia. I do not know about the situation with the Lutheran Churches (they are the other major accepted non-Orthodox denomination in Russia), so I cannot comment on them. I have researched the Orthodox situation, and I cannot find evidence of a pattern such as this taking place. This should not be a surprise either, for often times the insistence on claims of “tradition” the the point of assuming a theologically moribund approach is but a cover for tribalism and nationalism in the name of Christianity, something which as many have noted, reached its culmination during the 1970s and has remained since.
Many speak of an “Islamic invasion” of Russia, and given the current state of affairs, noted patterns of behavior, and the record of history, Russia could easily split up into multiple republics, and there are not a few “Muslim nations” that could either emerge from her, or take power as did the Golden Horde for centuries, as modern Russia is only a recent creation from the 16th century. That is the reason why Mufti Gaynutdin is asserting more of Islamic power- because Islam is growing in Russia, the Muslims and the people know it, and they could eventually start making serious demands.
In the Bible, the Assyrian Commander Naaman was struck with leprosy. The Israeli prophet Elisha told him that God wanted to heal him, and that to do so he would have to bath seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman thought it was stupid, and he tried countless other cures, all of which were to no avail. After no success, it was a pagan advisor who mentioned that he should at least consider what Elisha said, because he had no other options left, and it was as soon as Naaman listened to Elisha that he was instantly healed of his leprosy after the seventh wash.
Is the Blessed Virgin, or what the Orthodox call the Theotokos evil?
Is asking for her prayerful intercession an evil thing?
Is the Blessed Virgin immaculate?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then what is wrong if a bunch of Catholic bishops come together and pray for Russia to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Tell me, what could go wrong with this, for if it did not benefit Russia, how would it have been different if washing seven times in the Jordan for Naaman failed to cure his leprosy, as he would have just been a little wet?
Or, would rather one take the approach of Loukas Notaras, who famously is attributed as saying during the final days of the Byzantine Empire:
I would rather see a Turkish turban in the midst of [Constantinople] than the Latin mitre. (source)
It has been almost six centuries, and Christianity is now extinguished entirely from Turkey, once one of the most Christian areas in the entire world.
The Muslims are not going away in Russia, their numbers are increasing, and so will their demands, and there is only so long that one can attempt to buy friendship.
It is something to think about.