Voices from Russia

Sunday, 21 December 2014

21 December 2014. Is It St Nick or Santa Claus? Why Not Both?

00 Choose Wisely. 20.12.14


I think that to make people “choose” between St Nicholas and Santa is a false opposition. After all, Santa’s a secular figure (as Ded Moroz is), and St Nicholas is a religious figure. There’s NO contradiction between the two whatsoever. If it were up to me, I’d have Santa (or Father Christmas or Papa Noël or whatever else you’d want to call him), St Nick, and Dede… all three! They don’t compete with one another. St Nick comes on St Nicholas Day… Santa comes on Christmas… and Dede comes on the New Year. Hell, I’d even throw in the Three Kings (if I ask kindly enough, perhaps, Julio will bring his stilts for a real Old School Tres Reyes blast) on Epiphany. Don’t go around making false conflicts. If you consider it carefully, and choose wisely, you’d see that you could have ‘em all… all in their proper place, of course.

Now, go off and fetch me the jug… that was thirsty work.


Friday, 19 December 2014

19 December 2014. It’s St Nicholas Day… The First Day of the Holidays

00 st nicholas 01. 19.12.14


00 st nicholas 03. 19.12.14


00 st nicholas 02. 19.12.14


Today is the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays run from St Nicholas Day until Epiphany on 19 January, via New Year on 1 January and Christmas on 7 January. It’s my Nicky’s angel day…


Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 December 2014. Yesterday was the “Angel Day” for All the Barbaras Out There

00 St Barbara. Russian. 18th century.


01k Angel Day


Yesterday was the “angel day” (Name Day) for all the Barbaras in the world (I guess that includes me, too!). OOPS! I had a note to myself on my machine, but I had “writer’s block” big-time yesterday. I just couldn’t come up with anything. It happens sometimes… you just sit back, let it run its course, and things DO return to normal. I’ve gotten over it and I seem to be as full of P&V as always! It’s interesting… my angel day is 17 December and Nicky’s is 19 December (St Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra)… there’s only two days difference. However, our birthdays are six months apart (mine is 8 April and Nicky’s is 16 October).

Raise a glass and cheer for all the Barbaras in the world. We emulate our heavenly exemplar, who’s the patron saint of miners and hard work… ponder that. Two years ago, I wrote:

St Barbara is venerated widely amongst our traditional parishes. Almost every old-school Russian Orthodox parish in America and Canada has an icon or stained glass window of her. That’s because she’s “the patroness of COAL MINERS and all who toil in the bowels of the Earth”. Many of our working-class forebears asked for, and received, her intercession and protection from harm. Have you noticed how, in certain quarters, she’s ignored and no longer honoured with liturgies on her day? Are some of us ashamed of the coal dust and sweat on their dede’s back? Are others so disdainful of the founders of our parishes that they deliberately turn a blind eye to Baba’s sacrifices? On top of that, do the half-converted Anglo new arrivals even consider these hard-scrabble “Polacks” and “Hunkies” worthy of respect (without the efforts of these solid working-class folk, there’d be no Church for these upper-middle “searchers” to come to)?

Three years ago, I wrote:

It’s why we have to continue the fight today. Our Orthodox forebears fought the good fight… it’s why our generation was blessed with prosperity. At present, the GOP and the teabaggers are trying to smash everything that our Orthodox grandparents won through a hard and arduous struggle. Don’t forget their legacy… it’s our past! Ask for St Barbara’s intercessions… she’ll point to our grandparents and say to us, “Do likewise”. That’s what we should do… it’s how we can honour not only their legacy, but Christ’s mandate to us to build a fair and just society. God wills it!

I haven’t changed my mind. Cheers to all of you!

Бог благословит!


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Russia Officially Gives Up Any Pretence of “Dialogue” with the Anglo Empire

00 There'll Always be a Russia. 12.08.14       


The full address of President Putin to the Federal Assembly is now available online. Since this is a very long text, I won’t re-post it here. What I propose to do here is to bring to your attention four verbatim excerpts from his speech with some key segments in bold type. Most of the speech was on economic and internal matters, but I think that these four points and, especially, the expressions chosen by Putin really “tell the story” of the Kremlin’s position vis-à-vis the West nowadays.

1. The Crimea is Russian forever

It was an event of special significance for the country and the people, because our people live in the Crimea, and the peninsula is of strategic importance for Russia as the spiritual source of the development of a multifaceted but solid Russian nation and a centralised Russian state. Before bringing Christianity to Rus, Grand Prince Vladimir’s baptism was in the Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it. In addition to ethnic similarity, a common language, common elements of their material culture, a common territory, even though its borders weren’t marked then, and a nascent common economy and government, Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation. All of this allows us to say that the Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism. This is how we will always consider it. 

2. Russia will never become an EU colony

By the way, Russia has already made a major contribution to helping the Ukraine. Let me reiterate that Russian banks already invested some 25 billion USD (1.72 trillion Roubles. 155 billion Renminbi. 1.6 trillion INR. 29.1 billion CAD. 30.4 billion AUD. 20 billion Euros. 16 billion Pounds) in the Ukraine. Last year, the Finance Ministry extended a loan worth another 3 billion USD (203 billion Roubles. 18.6 billion Renminbi. 192 billion INR. 3.5 billion CAD. 3.65 billion AUD. 2.4 billion Euros. 1.9 billion UK Pounds). Gazprom provided another 5.5 billion USD (377 billion Roubles. 34 billion Renminbi. 352 billion INR. 6.4 billion CAD. 6.7 billion AUD. 4.4 billion Euros. 3.5 billion UK Pounds) to the Ukraine and even offered a discount that no one promised, requiring the country to pay 4.5 billion USD (309 billion Roubles. 28 billion Renminbi. 288 billion INR. 5.2 billion CAD. 5.5 billion AUD. 3.6 billion Euros. 2.9 billion UK Pounds). Add it all up and you get as much as 32.5-33.5 billion USD (2.2-2.27 trillion Roubles. 202-208 billion Renminbi. 2.1-2.14 trillion INR. 37.8-39 billion CAD. 39.5-40.8 billion AUD. 26-26.8 billion Euros. 20.7-21.3 billion UK Pounds) provided only recently. Of course, we have the right to ask questions. What was this Ukrainian tragedy for? Wasn’t it possible to settle all the issues, even disputed issues, through dialogue, within a legal framework and legitimately? However, now we’re being told that this was actually competent balanced politics that we should comply with unquestionably and blindfolded. This will never happen. If for some European countries national pride is a long-forgotten concept and sovereignty is too much of a luxury, true sovereignty for Russia is absolutely necessary for survival. 

3. The Anglo Empire was Russia’s mortal enemy long before the Crimea

We remember well how and who, almost openly, supported separatism back then and even outright terrorism in Russia, referred to murderers, whose hands were stained with blood, none other than rebels and organised high-level receptions for them. These “rebels” showed up in Chechnya again. I’m sure the local guys, the local law enforcement authorities, will take proper care of them. They’re now working to eliminate another terrorist raid. Let’s support them. Let me reiterate, we remember high-level receptions for terrorists dubbed as fighters for freedom and democracy. Back then, we realised that the more ground we give and the more excuses we make, the more our opponents become brazen and the more cynical and aggressive their demeanour becomes. Despite our unprecedented openness back then and our willingness to coöperate in all, even the most sensitive issues, despite the fact that we considered… all of you are aware of this and remember it… our former adversaries as close friends and even allies, the support for separatism in Russia from across the pond, including information, political and financial support, and support provided by the special services… was absolutely obvious and left no doubt that they’d gladly let Russia follow the Yugoslav scenario of disintegration and dismemberment, with all the tragic fallout for the people of Russia. It didn’t work. We didn’t allow that to happen. Just as it didn’t work for Hitler with his people-hating ideas, who set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals. Everyone should remember how it ended.

4. No one will ever bully Russia

No one will ever attain military superiority over Russia. We have a modern and combat-ready army. As they now put it, a polite, but formidable army. We have the strength, will, and courage to protect our freedom. We’ll protect the diversity of the world. We’ll tell the truth to people abroad, so that everyone can see the real and not distorted and false image of Russia. We’ll actively promote business and humanitarian relations, as well as scientific, educational, and cultural relations. We’ll do this even if some governments attempt to create a new iron curtain around Russia. We’ll never enter the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion, and the search for enemies. All this is evidence of weakness, whilst we’re strong and confident.

In my opinion, what we’re seeing is a big “coming out”. For a variety of reasons, Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov chose not to say this kind of thing in the past, but for several months, we’ve seen a sense of utter disgust manifest itself more and more openly from Russia. Today, it finally truly came out in the open. It’s painfully clear that Russia considers the USA an arrogant bully that Russia can stop and that Russia considers the regimes in power in the EU as voiceless colonies. Equally clear is the fact that Russians are fed up with trying to plead or reason with anybody in the West. The Americans are too arrogant, the Europeans too spineless. Unlike the Americans, Russians always talk to their enemies and some form of “talking” with the West will continue. However, it’s rather obvious that the Kremlin has given up any hope of achieving anything through any kind of dialogue. From now on, Russia will mostly rely on unilateral actions. Since Russians never threaten, these actions will always come as a shock and a surprise to the Western plutocracies.

I’ve said this many times… the Anglo Empire has launched a real war against Russia, one in which military forces are less important than the informational war, but a real war nonetheless. What the Empire probably didn’t realise, is that this wouldn’t be a short war, but a long one. Whilst the Empire has already used most of its weapons, the Russians have just begun their defensive operations. This will be a long war, and it’ll only end when one of the two sides basically breaks down and collapses. On 1 March of this year, I wrote a piece entitled Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine…now, Russia is ready for war. Russia didn’t want that war; it was imposed on her at a time when Russia wasn’t ready. Nevertheless, today, Putin informed us all that Russia refuses to submit, that she accepts the challenge, and that she’ll prevail.

4 December 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker


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