Last month the Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement that supported Moscow’s squashing of the gay pride parade there.  But it seems limiting the rights of gays isn’t the only issue on which the church has found a chance to work with the state.  The New York Times reports that the Russian government and the ROC are working together to keep the native Russian population from being overrun by immigrants by fostering a US-like “pro-life” movement.

Writes Amelia Thompson-DeVeaux at Care2, “pro-life” is a new US export to Russia:

Predictably, the anti-abortion movement in Russia is heavily tied to religion – although instead of evangelical Christianity, the driving force is the Russian Orthodox Church.  In an attempt to drum up support for the pro-life movement, the Church is beginning to “draw on fears that Russians may become an ethnic minority in their own vast country.”

Russia’s white population has been declining for some years now and the government has concerns that the “native” population will age out in what has been called by religious groups concerned with international demographics a Demographic Winter.  (See Kathryn Joyce’s article on declining birth rates here.  See The New York Times‘s article on Russia’s call for emigres to return here.)  One way to boost the population is rewarding families for having babies.  Another is to limit the number of abortions.  Which is where picketers outside Russian abortion clinics comes in.  From the NYTimes (link above):

The campaign is heavily influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church, which is drawing on the tacit support of the first lady, Svetlana Medvedeva, and prominent politicians. The church, increasingly vocal on social issues under Patriarch Kirill I, draws on widespread fears that Russians may become an ethnic minority in their own vast country.