A sombre event, A Candle by the Temple, took place in Moscow last night. The event was organised by the leaders of various youth organisations and was the final act of the day of mourning in Russia for those killed in South Ossetia. It was 15 minutes past midnight Moscow time. A small square in front of the largest church in Russia, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, was crowded with young people, all holding lit candles in their hands. There is a reason that the time and the place were selected, it was not random. You may remember that it was a quarter past midnight on the 8th of this month that Georgian troops attacked the republic of South Ossetia. Over 2,000 people died in the first two days of fighting, mostly old people, women, and children…
Quite a few young Ossetians came to attend the event, their eyes full of tears and their hand trembling. Those around them tried to console them the best they could. But, few were able to control their emotions. Diana was born and grew up in Tskhinvali, and she said, “We are all people, whether good or bad. We all want to live and speak our native tongue. We have long been denied the opportunity. This is the reason why my family and I have lived in Moscow for several years now. This is the reason why all of us have Russian names. We realise that it is a lot safer to be with Russia and in Russia”.
Maksim Mishchenko, the leader of the youth movement Young Russia, said, “We gathered in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour because it symbolises Russian Orthodox Christianity. Moreover, Christianity unites people and helps them survive in the most difficult times. We mourn together with the people of Ossetia and we’ve come to this event both to support the people of Ossetia and make it clear to the rest of the world that cynicism and double standards in politics are not acceptable. Russian young people will prevent this from happening.
Today, Russians are faced with a very real danger, and young Russians are well aware where the threat comes from. Everyone has long since realised that there are only 140 million people living in Russia, whilst this country has two-thirds of the world’s mineral resources. Everyone is envious of Russia, and efforts are made both from within and without to destabilise the situation. But, I am positive that nothing whatsoever will come out of this. Any aggression only helps us to pull ourselves together. The tragedy of the people of Ossetia has united all the peoples of Russia. All of us have again experienced, and stronger than ever before, the feeling that we are a family, with a common history, a common past, future, and present. Now, let the world see that the young people of Russia stand for peace and justice. But, let the world also realise that we’ll tolerate no aggression, wherever it may come from”.
14 August 2008
Voice of Russia World Service
After the Pearl Harbour attack by the Japanese navy, Admiral Yamamoto reputedly said, “I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. Russia needed a shock to awaken it, to bring it to its senses. Many zapadniki are not aware that Russians are at their best when their backs are to the wall. Many times in history, invaders have come to Russia in many guises, not only in the garb of soldiers. Yet, the Russian people have always arisen. Just as Dmitri Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin led the people in the time of the Smuta, just as St Aleksandr Nevsky arose to face the Swedes and the Teutonic Knights, just as St Dmitri Donskoi vanquished the Tatars on the Kulikovo Field, just as Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn faced down the Marxist secularists with the power of his character, today, Russia has been challenged and leaders have arisen, Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev.
They are not angels; they are not saints. However, they are the men called forth in this emergency. The USA threatened Russia. Russia said, “Do your worst, we are ready. We shall not allow the blood of our people in Ossetia to be mocked. We shall do what we must”. So far, this response has cowed the Americans. Russia was supposed to be weak, Russia was supposed to be incompetent, and Russia was supposed to be friendless. None of that was true. One of our strengths was shown by the young people gathered on the square in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
WE SHALL NOT BE COWED.
We wish to live in peace with all. We covet nothing that is not traditionally ours. We wish to live in our house in peace, and wish the same for the West. However, it is clear, all who march on Russia, all who intend to weaken her, shall be defeated. George Bush is simply the last in a long line of those who thought that they could destroy us as an independent and free Orthodox people. We wish to live in our way, and we extend the same to you. This is not only true of Russians in the rodina; it is also true of us in the Russian diaspora. If you wish to live according to your lights, do so, and may you prosper. Leave us be to live in the traditional Orthodox manner of our Russian ancestors. It is what we choose to do. Is that truly too much to ask?