A consumer rights watchdog requested on Thursday to have the head of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church nominated for a Nobel Prize in Economics in a tongue-in-cheek jab at the church’s questioned economic operations.
Patriarch Kirill, along with Moscow District Court Judge Igor Kananovich, are eligible for the Nobel Prize in Economics because they disproved the basic tenet of the economic theory that defines the exchange of goods for money as “commerce,” the Consumer Rights Protection Society said.
The watchdog sued the church leadership this summer over the latter’s alleged commercial operations in Christ the Savior Cathedral in downtown Moscow.
The cathedral, most of which belongs to the city government, houses numerous commercial enterprises, including souvenir and jewelry stands.
Church representatives said in court that goods dispensed for money in the cathedral were in fact religious items handed out as free gifts in exchange for voluntary “recommended donations.” Kananovich accepted this reasoning and dismissed the lawsuit.
The explanation is a breakthrough in economic science, which allows the parties involved to ignore economic and tax legislation, as well as regulations on consumer rights, the watchdog said on its Web site.
The watchdog has no authority to propose Nobel Prize candidates and requested the prize’s management to include Patriarch Kirill on this year’s list of nominees.
Neither the church nor Nobel Committee representatives commented on the matter on Thursday.
The Consumer Rights Protection Society appealed Kananovich’s decision this week while the cathedral’s management sought to have the watchdog charged with defamation. Both the appeal and the request, filed with Moscow prosecutors, are pending review.