From a website called The Voice of Russia:
Russian Orthodox Church defends moral principles
The Russian Orthodox clergy have voiced opposition to what they described as cynical remarks by lawmakers in a bill on health protection in Russia, due to be signed into law shortly.
Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate are against the wording which defines childbirth as “the separation of the product of conception from the mother’s body”. The deputy head of the Orthodox Church’s department for relations between the church and society, Father Georgy Roshchin, shared his views in an interview with the Voice of Russia:
"The bill’s wording regarding childbirth devalues the concept of personality, suggesting that an unborn child is nothing but a biological mass, whereas, according to religious teachings, a child is a person from the moment of conception. The church maintains that a human’s life starts not after birth but immediately after conception, which is enshrined in church holidays, such as Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Conception of the Savior. For this reason, the “product of conception” sounds cynical and may lead to dangerous trends in present-day society. People will thereby get a green light to have abortions because in this case they will know that they are getting rid of an unwanted piece of flesh, not a child."
Investors Need Independent Judiciary (Moscow Times)
Throughout October, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has personally met with potential foreign investors to calm their fears about doing business in Russia. He has described Russia as an enormous market awaiting money and technology from developed countries. And that’s true: Russia is a huge and unique market with vast potential for modernization and the introduction of new technologies — and not just in the planned Skolkovo innovation hub.
We do need new standards and more efficient production. But how do we resolve the obvious problem of ensuring the safety of future investments? How can potential investors be guaranteed that the assets they create in Russia will remain theirs?
Without first resolving the situation for Russian businesses, there’s no way to attract foreign investors. It is impossible to trample domestic businesses while creating attractive conditions for foreign firms. Likewise, foreigners will only feel secure once Russia reforms its judicial system and passes legislation favorable to business. Raiders have attacked not only private property in Russia, but the entire judicial system. Property seizures of everything from individual plots of land and small buildings to major companies have become commonplace throughout the country.
Generally speaking, there are several clear categories of people ordering raids and actually conducting them. The people ordering the raids are, as a rule: a) monopolistic companies that seize ownership of independent businesses to swallow up their assets and neutralize any nascent competition; b) officials seeking property at practically no cost, which they then register in the name of a wife or other relative; c) former business partners who, lacking a legal tradition of civilized asset splits, opt to “eliminate their opponent”; or d) law enforcement agents who open criminal proceedings against businesspeople to coerce them into a forced takeover or as a means of confiscating goods or property that can be resold on the market.
State officials also go after entrepreneurs to punish them for not cooperating in corrupt schemes, which could mean interfering in the business or even initiating trumped-up criminal proceedings against the individual who refused to “cooperate.” Falsified evidence is widely used by the state to make its case, which is possible because of the complete absence of an independent judiciary. As a rule, judges at all levels side with the prosecution.
I admire the Church's efforts to morally reform Russia, but I'm not sure they always pick the right battles. It puts the idea in my mind of a homeowner setting mousetraps while his house is on fire.