Voices from Russia

Monday, 19 January 2015

Russian Ice Bucket Challenge: Russians Celebrate Orthodox Epiphany

00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 02. 19.01.15


Epiphany in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF


00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 01. 19.01.15


Epiphany in Vorkuta (Komi Republic. Northwestern Federal District) RF… that be above the Arctic Circle, kids… that’s FAR North


00 Orthodox epiphany. siberia 03. 19.01.15


On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Christians across Russia marked Orthodox Epiphany, immersing themselves into freezing waters on a cold January night. Epiphany is on 19 January according to the Orthodox Church tradition. The Church teaches that St John the Baptist baptised Jesus Christ in the Jordan River on this day, so, Orthodox Christians mark the occasion by jumping into frozen rivers or ponds.

More than 150,000 Muscovites took part in the tradition this year. Russia’s capital offers A-one conditions for believers by constructing specifically designed areas for plunging. The authorities built 60 ice-dipping spots across Moscow, with medical personnel and volunteers present and ready to provide assistance at all specifically designated areas for the cold plunge. For those who truly believe in the holy powers of healing and blessing of the water on Epiphany, even extremely low temperatures in Arctic Siberia didn’t stop them from making the plunge. With temperatures being below -40 degrees in Norilsk (Krasnoyarsk Krai. Siberian Federal District), one of Russia’s most northern cities, hundreds of people showed up to test their faith, Norilsk TV reports. In Vorkuta, situated north of the Arctic Circle, where visibility was less than ten metres (33 feet) because of freezing fog, hundreds of people lined up for the plunge. As they walked out of the ice-hole cut out on the surface of the frozen Usa River, water droplets turned into ice a split second after reaching the ground.

Prior to Epiphany, the Orthodox Church holds a series of religious services that conclude with a blessing of the water. Those who didn’t jump into the icy waters took blessed water home with them. Epiphany concludes the traditional Christmas holiday season in Russia. Russian authorities built more than 3,000 plunging spots across the country. Last year, over 1.3 million people across Russia celebrated Orthodox Epiphany.

19 January 2015

Sputnik International


Monday, 12 January 2015

12 January 2015. A Photo Essay. Islam in Russia: An Integral Part of the Rodina

00 The Friendship of the Peoples. 30.05.14

The Friendship of the Peoples was no joke!


00 Islam in Russia 01. 12.01.15

Muslims pray at a mosque in St Petersburg (Federal City of St Petersburg. Northwestern Federal District) RF to celebrate Kurban-Bayram (Eid al-Adha/Feast of the Sacrifice).


00 Islam in Russia 02. 12.01.15

Roza Yevloyeva, in an interview at her house in Ali-Yurt (Nazran Raion. Republic of Ingushetiya. North Caucasian Federal District) RF, said, “I’m very sorry and sad”. Her son, 20-year-old Magomed Yevloyev, detonated explosives strapped to his body at Domodedeovo Airport in Moscow on 24 January 2011. The blast killed 36 people. Not even the relatives of the bombers want terror… a fact overlooked by Fox News.


00 Islam in Russia 03. 12.01.15

A scene from K A Karaev‘s ballet The Seven Beauties, presented by the State Theatre of Azerbaijan on the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF.



00 Islam in Russia 04. 12.01.15

More than 90,000 Muslims prayed namaz in Moscow to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.


00 Islam in Russia 05. 12.01.15

Laser show on City Day in Grozny, capital of the Russian federal subject Chechen Republic (North Caucasian Federal District).


00 Islam in Russia 06. 12.01.15

Never give up! Players from local football club Laman Az, made up of landmine victims, practise in a sports hall in the Chechen Republic capital of Grozny. According to data from UNICEF Russia, more than 3,000 mine accidents occurred in Chechnya since 1994.


00 Islam in Russia 07. 12.01.15

Muslims pray to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, in Moscow.


00 Islam in Russia 08. 12.01.15

Muslims praying outside the Cathedral Mosque during Eid al-Adha, also known as Feast of the Sacrifice in St Petersburg.


00 Islam in Russia 09. 12.01.15

Participants compete during the Mud Race in Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan. Volga Federal District) RF.


00 Islam in Russia 10. 12.01.15

E R Abdrazakova from Mezhdurechensk (Kemerevo Oblast. Siberian Federal District) RF waves after winning the annual national “Miss Russia” beauty pageant at the Barvikha Luxury Village Concert Hall outside Moscow in 2013. She represented Russia at the “Miss World” and “Miss Universe” beauty pageants that year. Many Muslims of the Bashkir nationality are natives of the Siberian region (Elmira Rafailovna is of Tatar background through her father).


00 Islam in Russia 11. 12.01.15

A F  Mustafina prepares to compete on the uneven bars in the women’s individual artistic gymnastics qualification of the European Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastic Individual Championships in Moscow. Many consider her one of the best female gymnasts of all time.


00 Islam in Russia 12. 12.01.15

Thousands of believers take part in morning prayers to celebrate the first day of Eid-al-Fitr in Moscow. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.


00 Islam in Russia 13. 12.01.15

Participants of a cooking show in Kazan holding a record-length shashlyk, 180.9 metres (594 feet) long! Where’s the beef?


00 Islam in Russia 14. 12.01.15

Gymnast E N Garibov trains at the sports camp at Lake Krugloe, before the World Championships.


00 Islam in Russia 15. 12.01.15

Muslims pray outside Moscow’s main mosque during celebrations of Eid al-Adha, a feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Russian Muslims call it Kurban-Bayram. About 4,000 police, VV MVD troops, and civilian volunteers ensured security during Eid celebration events.


00 Islam in Russia 16. 12.01.15

Family members comfort a bride in the parental house during preparations for a wedding in Achkhoi-Martan (Achkhoi-Martan Raion), near Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic.


00 Islam in Russia 17. 12.01.15

Girl in national costume during the celebration of the Tatar-Bashkir holiday Sabantui in Chelyabinsk Oblast (Ural Federal District) RF.


00 Islam in Russia 18. 12.01.15

Muslims attend Eid al-Adha prayer in Moscow. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the haj pilgrimage by slaughtering sheep, goats, camels, and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God’s command.


These are images pulled from Russia Behind the Headlines… they show that Islam and Russia live in harmony… quite unlike the horrid vacuous lies about “Muslim terrorism” circulated by American “conservatives”… a hateful and hate-filled scurvy lot, if there ever was such. Islam in Russia… religious… cultured… fun-loving… sporting… nothing like what Ted Cruz says that Islam is! If I had to choose between a Muslim Tatar or a Southern Baptist/Mormon sectarian as a neighbour, I’d choose the former… they’d be more decent, more considerate, more stand-up, and certainly less intrusive.

ALL of the peoples… or NONE of the peoples… accept them all or go home. The friendship of the peoples IS no joke…


12 January 2015. The Russian Holiday Season is Still Goin’ Strong!

00 Sergei Yolkin. Holiday Week, Work Year... 2013


Today, Monday 12 January, will be the first day back to work for most Russians after the New Year Holiday Break. Therefore, if you read anything in the Western Corporate Media about supposed rules taking effect in Russia… well, there was no one in the offices to put them into effect! What can you say of people so dense and idiotic that they didn’t know that all of Russia was on holiday and that no one was in any office processing ANY applications for ANYTHING? As you well know, it takes awhile to get back up to speed… so, take some reports with a BLOCK of salt.

Even though people are going back to work, the holiday season isn’t over yet. It starts with St Nicholas Day on 19 December and it ends with Theophany on 19 January. Mind you, in Old Russian peasant culture, the holidays began with the three feastdays of Ss Barbara, Sava, and Nicholas… 4-5 December OS, 17-19 December on the Gregorian calendar. This ushered in the holidays, with Christmas on 25 December OS, New Year on 1 January OS, and Epiphany on 6 January OS (the Svyatki, or “Holy Days” are the period between Christmas and Epiphany, party time after fasting time)… a bit longer than the contemporary celebration. Some country areas still begin with Vavarin Dyen… but not many. Today, some even keep “Old New Year” on 14 January, but these are people who don’t keep the secular celebration on 1 January.

So… the holidays in Russia are going to continue for another week (but folks will be going back to work today)… if you will, pass me the selyodka pod shuboi… I’ll have seconds, if you please…


Sunday, 11 January 2015

11 January 2014. Vox Pop on the Church War and Christmas… a “Read n’ Heed”

01a carolers Byelorussia


I came to the USA from Poland, being from an area next to what are now Slovakia and the Ukraine. The Orthodox Service Books printed in the early 1600s call this area Podkarpatskaya Rus. You can see this name on the first pages of the very oldest Slavonic Service Books printed in Mukačevo. I know my heritage, I know my faith, and I know what I am… I’m “Ruska”, a Russian woman from the Carpathians. My family has always been Orthodox. Always. My great grandparents would go to Yablechno or Pochaev to confess their sins every year when they could. Everyone in Europe knows who we are. It’s only here I’m informed I’m “really” Ukrainian or Ruthenian or Rusyn or whatever. I came to America when in the late 60s, looking for work. Poland needed American dollars. Life wasn’t too restricted in communist Poland. In fact, the communist government defended Orthodox from Roman Catholic persecution all the time. Sometimes, they rebuilt Orthodox Churches, too. Officially, it was because of “cultural value”, but they really helped the Church. I came to America and found work and husband. My husband and I (he was a Pole with a worker’s visa, too) ended up staying here. We found a good Orthodox church in a town nearby and joined it. Life went on.

In 1982, our American Orthodox Church did something even the communists wouldn’t do in Poland. They took on the Roman Catholic calendar. We weren’t happy, but we were able to keep our tradition by going to another church not too far away. Others elsewhere were not so lucky; for almost 25 years, the American Church attacked them. Sometimes, real persecution took place. Again, the communists never did such a thing in Poland or Czechoslovakia! The American Church said we couldn’t have “two Christmases”. It was wrong to keep one as the civil day and the other as a holy day. They always told us that we had to “sanctify” America by using only American Christmas. They showed much animosity against those who couldn’t accept this change.

Then, the White Exile Church and the Moscow Church made peace. They even united. They buried the hatchet. OK. However, now that the two Russian Churches united, what do we see? Every Orthodox Christmas, OCA people fill our churches! Even priests! They come, sing, eat festal foods, and go sing Russian Christmas carols. They keep two Christmases! What they persecuted others for doing for 25 years! It’s outrageous! I want to tell them what I feel! Either go back to the old calendar or go away and “sanctify” 25 December! You don’t have the right to be with us for Orthodox Christmas. You threw it in the garbage… with it you tossed out many of your own brothers! Maybe, you secretly preferred the old calendar? Nevertheless, you did nothing to defend it or defend the people who kept it. You sat on your hands as other people better than you suffered. I can’t forget this. I forgive you, but really, your appearance at our church for Russian Christmas is an insult. You sour my holy day and other people’s too! Go “sanctify” your calendar, please. If not, at least, issue a sincere and heartfelt apology… ask forgiveness from those you hurt. If you can’t do that, you’re not entitled to any Christmas at all!



As I always say, there was a REAL Church War and those who fomented it hurt many people, but the powers-that-be never gave a ruby-red goddamn, as the victims were “little people”. To hell with the First Families, their institutions, and their lies… the sooner that they disappear, the better it’ll be for the rest of us.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Gospel according to St Matthew 18.6


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