I did NOT pass this by Fr Andrew for vetting for the simple reason that I didn’t wish the plug-uglies in the First Families to shit on him. Hey dere, you guys (you know who you are)… this is my work, my work alone… leave Fr Andrew in peace. He’s a good guy (we don’t always agree, but that’s OK… mature people know that no one agrees with one completely). There are all kinds of good folk in the Church… some are even in opposition to one another for this-or-that reason! Real-deal people know that and make allowances (“Don’t tell X that you got that from Y… they’ll never speak to you again”). Again… THIS IS MY WORK AND MY WORK ALONE. I’m the guilty party… solely and absolutely. ‘Nuff said…
Let’s start with a quote from Fr Andrew Phillips:
Firstly, reunited Russian Orthodoxy has a view of humanity as spiritual beings, beings with a spiritual destiny, as free children of eternity with immortal souls, not slaves of death and determinism, shackled to contemporary fashions and passions. Secondly, therefore, our society has it basis in spiritual and moral values, so, its purpose is to transfigure humanity positively. It encourages in humanity spiritual freedom, freedom from fashions and passions, and it doesn’t bring it down to a bestial animal level, as does the apostate West. Thirdly, and finally, so, the Orthodox Christian State exists to raise humanity up through providing all means for both physical and spiritual life. This means encouraging traditional values, specifically those of Orthodox Christian culture. Such culture is universal in its spirit and meaning, for it’s the fruit of a Church whose emblem is the double-headed eagle, uniting, not dividing, East and West, Asia and Europe.
The symbol of Holy Rus is the double-headed eagle, as it was of the (Orthodox) New Roman Empire before it. By the way, the “Ecumenical Patriarch” is of “Constantinople New Rome”… not “Byzantium”… “Byzantine” is a hopelessly ignorant Western construction. Most of those who use it, therefore, confess an utterly Western and non-Orthodox Weltanschauung by that usage. There is no “Byzantine rite”… there IS Russian and Greek Orthodox usage and traditions… but NO “Byzantine Rite”. I say this to clear the decks for my argument below, which owes nothing to Western thought, ethos, and historiography. It comes from the heart of Orthodox sobornost and tserkovnost… two untranslatable Russian Orthodox concepts. “Collegiality” and “Churchmindedness” are very weak (and somewhat deceptive) analogues. Yet, they’re vital to my thesis (and I think that Fr Andrew would agree with me on that).
The eagle does look east and west… but it also looks to the past and to the future. It looks at the entirety of our past… it looks at the totality of Kievan Rus, the Mongol Rule, Muscovy, the Tsardom of Rus, the Russian Empire, the USSR, and its successor states. That is, in modern terms, the double eagle unites the White and Red streams of Russian reality. In Hegelian terms, the Reds and Whites were thesis and antithesis, not irreconcilable opposites… they acted upon each other (and are acting upon each other still)… their ferment caused the present Orthodox revival in Holy Rus.
“Was dead, but came back to life, was lost, but was found again…”
Without the Reds, there’d be no revival. FULL STOP. Let me repeat that… without the Reds, there’d be no revival. Firstly, the Reds burned out the cancer in the Church’s vitals… God does have diverse instruments for His Will… some are rather “interesting” indeed. The Church in late tsarist times was deeply compromised with Hard Right forces such as the Black Hundreds… no, not all clergy were involved, no, not all believers were involved. However, all too many were involved (they even suckered in St Ioann Kronshtadtsky… but he condemned the Kishinyov Pogrom publicly, to his credit). The Church, in the eyes of many common folk, was just another oppressor. When the Reds killed priests and burned churches, they had many who applauded them for doing that or who said, “They had it coming”.
Secondly, the early Reds gave an example of what a godless society would be… this had both positive and negative aspects. Many in the West overlook the positives… many leftists overlook the negatives, but if we’re Russian Orthodox in mind and soul, we must look at both sides (that IS the vision of the double-headed eagle, after all). Firstly, the main negative lesson is that you can’t build “good” on a foundation of “bad”. You don’t bring in a just society by killing even a small part of it. Secondly, you can’t control people’s thoughts. You can control their expressions… you can control their education… but you can’t control what they think or what they take from the education offered them. Thirdly, you can’t constrain the human longing for spiritual meaning… people “just know” that there’s more to life than mere earthly reality… it’s a Sisyphean task to try to uproot this. Fourthly, you can’t fuck over the earth… it bites back. We need only mention the Aral Sea Disaster and the Virgin Lands boondoggle.
However, don’t forget the positive aspects. Firstly, the idea that “all men are brothers” (that IS the meaning of “Workers of the World Unite!”)… Ilyich played no favourites. He treated everyone equally… he treated the “low” with the same consideration as he did the “high”. Don’t listen to White propaganda… Ilyich was a VERY complex person. On the one hand, he did order the deaths of hundreds without flinching… on the other, he wasn’t corrupt, he was modest (in the Churchly sense, no less), and he was no respecter of “position”. He’d treat a dustbin man with the same civility and hospitality as he would a cabinet minister. He wasn’t a boaster or an aggrandiser. He was the exact opposite of George W Bush, Sarah Palin, Willy Romney, or Rush Limbaugh. In short, in many ways, he was an exemplary man. People respected Ilyich for a reason. For instance, he exiled Ivan Ilyin… he didn’t kill him. Actually, Ilyich was much more pragmatic than I V Stalin was… he was willing to overlook “doctrine” in favour of “results”. That is, he was more a Deng than he was a Mao (Stalin was more like Mao… perhaps, that’s why there wasn’t any Sino-Soviet split in Stalin’s time). The NEP is abundant proof of that.
Secondly, the Sovs unleashed great positive forces amongst the people. Think of the bravery of the Ossoaviakhim-1 aerostat crew on their fatal mission… the hardiness of the icebreaker crewmen and scientists in the Sedov rescue… the building of new industrial centres in the Urals and in Siberia… the podvig of the Great Victory over Fascism… the launching of Sputnik and Gagarin being the first “man in space”. The standard of living in the USSR was higher than it was in late imperial times. Sorry, ROCOR, the Empire wasn’t nirvana… it was a society where the aristos and merchants took more than their rightful share (as they do in the contemporary USA… and the Republican Party wants to give them MORE).
Yes, there were shortages in the USSR… that was due to the arms race brought about by the American/British-instigated Cold War. It started in Greece… not Berlin. The West poured all of its resources into defeating the leftist rebels in Greece. It knackered Britain… then, the USA stepped in (Truman was an old-line Southern Dem… that is, he was more “conservative” than “liberal”). It wasn’t “directed from Moscow”… local leftists had legit grievances against the local ruling classes. The same was true of Korea… Kim Il-sung invaded on his own nickel. One can see that in that it took months for the PLA to intervene, ditto for the VVS MiGs that drove most of the USAF from North Korean skies… most American air activity was south of the 38th Parallel… the MiGs would’ve torn apart the older aircraft used for close support (that’s why most B-29 missions were flown at night… the USAF didn’t have air supremacy or superiority over the DPRK). Indeed, the Kremlin kept the MiGs from even approaching the FEBA, so, the Americans had a monopoly in the actual contact zone.
The USSR put its effort into providing necessities for the people, not into producing “quality goods” for the Affluent Effluent. That is, it put more effort into subsiding housing, food, and utilities than the West did. People didn’t understand what that meant until after the fall of the USSR. As the people say, “We knew that they were lying to us about communism, but we didn’t know that they were telling us the truth about capitalism”. That is, the USSR put more effort into making an effort to raising the level of life of the common people than the West did. Never forget, the USSR had to repair the damages of the Civil War and of the VOV… considering that, it’s clear that the USSR put more governmental effort into the people’s welfare than the West (especially, the USA, which suffered NO war damage) ever did.
That’s what the leftward-facing head of the eagle sees. There’s a rightward-facing head too. However, it doesn’t look towards Anglosphere “conservatism”, for that isn’t conservative at all… it’s far MORE radical than communism ever was. Anglosphere “conservatism”, plainly put, is an evil ideology… it posits that greed is the driving force behind everything and that we should place no constraints upon it. We should cut all government social action to the barest minimum or cut it out entirely. “Conservatism” is Social Darwinism in its starkest and most rabid form. “The race goes to the swiftest”… “Winning is the only thing”… “Money makes the world go around”… “We must have economic freedom”. This is NOT what the rightward-facing head of the eagle sees… no, indeed!
The rightward-facing head sees the Empire… it sees the White Movement… that is, the best of the Empire and the best of the White Emigration. It sees Graf Stolypin… it sees Tsar St Nikolai… it sees interwar Paris, Harbin, Berlin, and Shanghai… it sees Ilyin and Berdyaev. The Empire wasn’t “fated to fall”, but it did have internal contradictions that led to a rapid collapse. There wasn’t a fair distribution of the “goods” of Russia’s modernisation… most White thinkers realised that. Eurasianism (the present ideology under Putin) originated in the emigration. Yes… there were fascist elements, as well… as the existence of KONR indicated. However, most Whites refused to collaborate with the Nazis… indeed, most joined the Resistance against the Hiltlerites (to their credit).
Yes… there are Whites who “live in the past” and want to efface all traces of the Soviet era. Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov was, perhaps, the most apposite personification of this trend. He cooperated with Langley’s efforts to attack the Mother Church… an effort that didn’t end until an intra-Church coup toppled him. One need only recall Victor Potapov’s nasty and cruel remarks about Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger at Georgetown to see how repulsive that policy was. This was, perhaps, the nadir of the White Idea… it was on an even lower level than the Vlasovtsy were… the ROCOR had a chance to help, but its leadership CHOSE to smite their brethren when they were down. That’s why I find it amazing that the Mother Church forgave them for that… not that they shouldn’t have done it, but in the normal course of events, such treachery usually leads to suspicion and mistrust.
The rightward-facing head not only sees Vitaly Ustinov, Agafangel Pashkovsky, and Victor Potapov… it sees Antony Khrapovitsky, Anastassy Gribanovsky, Filaret Voskresensky, Antony Medvedev (who came to mistrust the so-called St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood), Hilarion Kapral, and St Ioann the Wonderworker. Like the Red legacy, the White legacy is mixed. If we don’t discard the good in the Red heritage… we shouldn’t forgo the good in the White heritage either. If we ignore either, we spit on our heritage as Russians (or Russians in the emigration or Russian-Americans, the terminology doesn’t matter). In fact, this applies not only to people of Russian and Slavic derivation, it applies to all those who chose to join themselves to Holy Rus through the Russian Orthodox Christian faith. You can’t pick n’ chose American cafeteria-style… as Graf Stolypin put it, if you cut off one head of the eagle, all that you’ll do is make it bleed to death.
You HAVE a joined a Church that blesses the Left and has grave reservations about the Right. In short, the Church does NOT bless the theomachistic programme of the US Republican Party (and its Anglosphere analogues)… it does NOT bless the anti-family anti-people bias of “conservative” ideology. It does bless the Left… as HH showed by blessing Belarus, Cuba, China, and Venezuela. You HAVE joined a Church that stands against the demonic hegemonic drive of the American oligarchy (which gives the orders to the US Republican Party and to many Democrats, too… there’s nothing to choose between John McCain and Chilly Hilly).
The eagle looks both ways… that means that we should as well. Graf Stolypin and Ilyich… Tsar St Nikolai and Gagarin… Yekaterina Velikaya and I V Stalin… they’re all our history. To deny it is to deny our very soul. Look at the so-called “Ukrainian Nationalists!” They’ve created a mythic “history” out of lies and they try to impose it in place of the real history. This effort creates nothing but bloodshed and chaos. That’s what’d happen if we denied ANY part of our heritage. It’s ALL ours…
OR, NONE OF IT IS OURS!
As for me, I embrace the whole banana… what about you?