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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov Warns of an 'Attack on Our Souls'

Politics, as the saying goes, makes for strange bedfellows, but it was nonetheless a stretch to see Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov mingling with monks Thursday and portraying himself as champion of the Russian Orthodox Church and spiritual freedom.

"I am a believer," the presidential candidate told a packed hall in the Duma. "First and foremost I believe in Russia."

Gathered at the meeting were Russian Orthodox priests and Duma deputies, who protested the moral genocide of the Russian people and called for a spiritual revival.

In an official appeal to orthodox believers on the eve of the second round of elections, Zyuganov warned that Russia's spiritual future was in danger and of a new round of repression against the church.

"To save our homeland we need a union of all sectors of society," Zyuganov said, assuring the religious community that if elected he would not resume Soviet-era repression but help contribute to the religious revival of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"We fully reject a governmental policy of atheism," the presidential candidate said, adding that he would help to create educational programs to develop Russia's understanding of its religion and culture.

"Now there is an attack on our faith, and on our souls," said Zyuganov. "But it will not succeed, because our people have learned how distinguish truth from lies."

The main weapon used in this attack against the soul of the Russian people, Zyuganov and his supporters said, is the mass media.

According to Thursday's gathering, the media is not only responsible for leading the country into moral decadence by publishing material on everything from striptease parlors to condoms for safe sex, but for repeatedly showing disrespect to Russia's culture and traditions. This anti-Russian position, they said, is highlighted by the media's import of the evil influences of the West.

"The first step is to realize the enemy," said Vsevolod Troetsky, a professor at Moscow State University who protested that cultural degradation has overtaken Russia. The enemy, he said, is the media, referring to the influx of foreign words and culture.

"How can we develop a normal country when all we hear is foreign boogie woogie?"

In an emotional address, one Russian orthodox priest recalled the violent murder of a young girl and his attempt to bring comfort to the grieving family.

"When I went into the next room to change I realized who the murderer was," said Father Vladimir Pereslegin.

The murderer, he said, was hanging on the wall of the girl's room in the form of an Arnold Schwarzenneger poster.

"There is only one enemy in this country -- television," said Duma deputy Stanislav Govorukhin.

"It may take us 100 years to be as rich as they are in America, but we will be as dumb as they are in three or four."