Voices from Russia

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ho, Hum… Tempest in a Teacup Department… “Russian Orthodox Church” Under Fire Over Stalin Calendar

Unknown Artist. Long Life to the Stalin Cat! contemporary

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Editor’s Note:

One of the reasons that non-stories such as this have tread is that all Russia is on holiday until Monday. Every year, Russia “shuts down” from 1 January to the Monday closest to 10 January. It’s like France in August. Nothing happens… so, of course, 24/7 news agencies are frantic for SOMETHING to report. The guy responsible for this calendar got the shitcan back in July… ergo, it’s a dead story. As for Andrei Kuraev, he’s become a crankish figure, only taken seriously by the Western media apparat (he’s a new Yakunin… only half the brains, but twice the chutzpah). Kuraev lost out to Vsevolod Chaplin, Varsonofy Sudakov, and Mark Golovkov in the turf war that followed HH’s accession in 2009 (Kuraev doesn’t have the savoir-faire of a Kliment Kapalin, who managed to hang on to cred despite being out of favour with the Gundyaev Mafia). He and the Blunder were the biggest losers (remember, the Blunder’s only a “Patriarchal Vicar”… a vicar bishop with a bigger title, that’s all) in the reshuffle after Aleksei Ridiger’s death. They were bright stars in the early 2000s… much dimmed as of late (justifiably so)…

Oh, should I mention that this story (like the Pussy Riot non-event) has no cred in Russia? Don’t get your knicks in a knot over an obvious media non-event. When will they ever learn? Silly wabbits…

O Tempora! O Mores!

BMD

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This week, the MP came under heavy criticism on the internet this week over a 2014 wall calendar published by a revered monastery’s printing-house featuring portraits of Soviet leader Iosif Stalin. The publisher flogs the black-and-white calendar, entitled Stalin, costing 200 Roubles (USD. CAD. AUD. Euros. UK Pounds), as “a great gift for veterans and history fans”. Historian Mikhail Babkin brought it to public attention on his blog on 7 January. One person wrote in one of nearly 200 comments under Babkin’s post, referring to the millions who died because of Stalin’s farm collectivisation and political repression, “Disgrace, shame, and insult to all those who perished”.

Stalin severely persecuted the Church, but it’s enjoyed revival since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. A Church official said that the head of the printing-house got the boot in July once authorities found out about the incident, but only after the delivery of the calendars. A Church spokesman, Vakhtang Kipshidze, told Reuters, “The Church was subject to the most severe repressions during Stalin’s rule when he ordered the deportation and execution of thousands of priests. Releasing such a publication in a Church establishment … is morally unacceptable”. However, reflecting the sympathy for Stalin still felt by many Russians who credit him with victory in World War Two, and giving their country superpower status, Kipshidze added, “Nonetheless, one should work on the assumption that both in the Church and in Russian society there are differing views on the role Stalin played in Russian history and everybody has the right to hold to their own views”.

Critics of the Kremlin accuse President Vladimir Putin of burnishing Stalin’s image and celebrating the USSR’s modernising achievements to prop up national pride. Since returning to the Kremlin in mid-2012, Putin also seeks to appeal to conservative voters to boost his authority; increasingly, he promotes the Church as a standard-bearer for national values. In turn, the Church faces growing criticism from critics who say that it fosters excessively-close ties to the Kremlin and seeks too powerful a role in secular life. Andrei Kuraev, a {disgraced: editor} cleric and religious activist, wrote on his blog, “This is business. The Church uses its resources to make money. This is where the trouble is, not in Stalin pictures”.

9 January 2014

Maria Tsvetkova

Gabriela Baczynska

Reuters

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-orthodox-church-under-fire-over-stalin-calendar-210940027–sector.html

 

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