Across the former Soviet Union, Russian Orthodox Church hierarchs (leaders) and clergy can now run for political offices in order to overcome "forces striving to use electoral power to fight the Orthodox Church."
What forces? Those of "schismatics and those of other religions," read a Feb. 2 ruling from church bishops.
Candidates, to be selected by church hierarchs, aren't allowed to join any political party. In response, some of Russia's Muslim leaders said their clerics might run for office too.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers