Russian church leader warns on internet 'manipulation' ahead of protest

© RIA Novosti . Sergei Pyatakov  / Go to the photo bankPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia - Sputnik International
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The head of Russia's Orthodox Church warned on Friday of the dangers of social networks as Moscow braced for a mass internet-inspired protest against alleged vote fraud.

The head of Russia's Orthodox Church warned on Friday of the dangers of social networks as Moscow braced for a mass internet-inspired protest against alleged vote fraud.

"The naive trust of people today in information placed on social networks, coupled with disorientation in morals and the loss of basic values makes our contemporaries especially vulnerable to manipulation," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in his annual address at downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The patriarch was speaking ahead of a new rally set for Moscow on Saturday against alleged electoral violations in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party at the December 4 parliamentary polls.

Public anger over the elections was triggered by dozens of clips uploaded to the Internet showing alleged vote fraud.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to blogs and social networks to pledge participation in the rally, expected to be addressed by figures ranging from Mikhail Gorbachev and corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny to rock musician Yury Shevchuk and novelist Boris Akunin.

Patriarch Kirill also said that political change was not sufficient to "make people happier."

The Russian Orthodox Church has enjoyed a dramatic rise in influence since the collapse of the atheist Soviet Union. Patriarch Kirill was recently granted official residence in the Kremlin, in a sign of deepening ties with the country's political elite.

 

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