Study theology, modernize the economy

Russian Orthodox church leading clerics confer...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

If you haven’t heard, modernization and also innovation were really in for this year’s Russia fall/winter collection. Most of the talk has centered on reversing brain drain, improving education, fostering technological and nanotechnological innovation, and pulling the Russian economy out of its narcotic reliance on raw materials extraction.

Sounds promising, important.

Then, two days ago, news leaked that deep thinkers inside the ruling, not-so-vaguely monopolistic United Russia party wanted any modernization to be founded in the doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church, lest technology over-rattle “the foundation of society.”

Today, we find out that theology will now be a “scientific specialization,” and those who study it will receive official state diplomas on par with those that certify an education in computer science or, say, biochemistry. The plan is almost ready to be signed by Science and Education Minister Andrei Fursenko, who met Wednesday with big-baller American tech executives — and Ashton Kutcher — visiting from Silicon Valley.

Not sure that the American delegates know about this plan, but I’m sure they’d agree that taking education back to the High Middle Ages is actually stunningly innovative.


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