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In Lebanon, Moscow Supports Political Christian Orthodoxy

Russia, through its missions in the Middle East, has been building alliances with Orthodox Christians to strengthen its support base and counter Western criticisms of its Syria policy, writes Nasser Chararah.

The origins of the Russian embassy building in Beirut stretch back to the beginning of the last century. It became a Russian property when it was taken over by a group of ecumenical missionaries. However, it was closed at the beginning of the First World War because the Ottoman Empire, which was occupying Beirut at the time, was at war with Russia.

These days, Russian embassy diplomats in Beirut are proud of the symbolism of their storied headquarters. One of the reasons for this is because of is its notable location in a neighborhood which boasts a mixed demography, wherein Orthodox Christians, Sunnis, Shiites and Druze all live side by side. One senior embassy staff member said, “Moscow was considering moving our embassy to another area of Beirut, but that idea has been abandoned.”

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