Confusing the Streets

There are always people using religion as a road to power and wealth. Some of them would never leave the clothes alone. They not only wear strange-looking ceremonial clothes, but also know how everybody should be dressed.

On January 18, 2011, The New York Times has published an article by Ellen Barry entitled “A Dress Code For Russians? Priest Chides Skimpiness”. According to the article, Russian church officials are hoping to introduce a dress code not for women and men attending church services or just visiting places of religious worship, but for all people on any occasion. The very first lines are worth to be quoted:

A top official for the Russian Orthodox Church on Tuesday proposed creating an “all-Russian dress code,” lashing out at women who leave the house “painted like a clown” and “confuse the street with striptease.”

The same official who is a close associate of Moscow patriarch had previously attracted public attention in Russia, saying at a round table that a woman wearing a miniskirt “can provoke not only a man from the Caucasus, but a Russian man as well” and adding “If she is actively inviting contact, and then is surprised that this contact ends with a rape, she is all the more at fault”.

The Russian orthodox church is not going to publish any official documents on the issue choosing the way of social pressure. The author of the article in The New York Times quotes the chief spokesman of the patriarch who has told the Russian news agency: “If a young woman knows that people will look at her askance and consider her an outcast, she will not dress the way so many of them do today”.

Russian human rights activists oppose the innovations like that. “We overcame Communism as the state ideology and certain forces want to replace it with Orthodox Christianity,” said the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki group, on another occasion.

The article from The New York Times was immediately translated into Russian by the popular internet website ИноСМИ.ru. Some Russian commentators responded with shock and large doses of sarcasm. But the church closely bound to the country’s leaders is increasing its power in Russia. Before the Communist revolution all state officials were obliged to attend the church services and even receive communion, while religious teaching occupied a central place in Russian classrooms. It seems that nowadays the status quo is on its way to being restored.

Devotees by t-maker (Vadimage) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Leaving the church by t-maker (Vadimage) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Updated: The Christian Science Monitor also amused readers by the article of its Moscow correspondent Fred Weir entitled “Russian Orthodox Church calls for dress code, says miniskirts cause ‘madness'” published on January 20, 2011. The article gives a few more quotes of the same top official of the Russian orthodox church:

It is wrong to think that women should decide themselves what they can wear in public places or at work. If a woman dresses like a prostitute, her colleagues must have the right to tell her thatMoreover, if a woman dresses and acts indecently, this is a direct route to unhappiness, one-night stands, brief marriages followed by rat-like divorces, ruined lives of children, and madness.

Maybe Russian conservative quarters have in mind the perfect outfit like that 🙂

Moscow Girl of the XVII century (Andrey Ryabushkin. 1903. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Moscow Girl of the XVII century (Andrey Ryabushkin. 1903. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)

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