Voices from Russia

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Eternal Love Certificates are being issued in St Petersburg on St Valentine’s Day

Filed under: domestic life,inspirational,patriotic,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


Activists from the Moldoi Gvardy Yedinoi Rossii (Young Guard of United Russia) youth movement shall operate an “eternal love registration station” on St Valentine’s Day. It shall be open from 15.00 to 21.00 at the intersection of Nevsky Prospekt and Duma Street in front of the Perinniye Ryady shopping mall. “Our Amor shall register each couple in the presence of witnesses in a festive setting. Every couple shall get a ‘certificate of eternal love’, free and without charge”, according to a release received by Interfax. There is no age limit for participants; the only requirement is that the couples express mutual consent to it. “We shall use balloons, flowers, and cherubs to create a romantic mood (for the occasion)”, a spokesman for the Molodoi Gvardy movement promised.

13 February 2008



Editor’s note:

Those nasty skinhead kids from Nashi are up to their old tricks again! They are doing… perfectly wholesome and downright sweet things. Do NOT believe what you hear in Western media concerning them. They are good kids you would be proud to have living on your block. In fact, they (and their adult leaders) are opposed to skinhead extremists, so, one wonders what kind of crack Western journalists are smoking to write the reports that they do!



If I were Sultan…

President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya

Is it possible to reconcile Russian legislation concerning marriage with Islamic Sharia traditions that permit polygamy?

President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya recently raised the question of polygamy. Islamic leaders followed suit and fanned interest in the topic. Mr Kadyrov’s arguments were pragmatic and based in demographics, as there is an excess of single women in post-war Chechnya. The arguments of Islamic leaders were, of course, couched in religious terms. That is, the state should not interfere with the inner life of a religious group; otherwise, the state is showing bias and discrimination. However, is the question of polygamy truly urgent for the majority of Russian Muslims?

Yes, the Koran allows a man to have four wives simultaneously, but it does not make this a fixed rule. This is found in the third ayat of the fourth sura of the Koran, which is entitled “Women”. It is also true that this same sura teaches that monogamy is a more valid path as it is difficult to show equal affection to all wives simultaneously.

In the Islamic world at large and amongst Russian Muslims in particular, polygamy is rare. It has an exotic flavour because it is not typical of modern customs and usages. Indeed, in the modern Northern Caucasus widespread poverty prevents the fast reappearance of “the Sultan’s three wives”. Under modern economic conditions, and their instability in some regions, can a husband guarantee support to more than one wife and their children? Most would not wish to jump over that precipice…

Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the chief mufti of Russia

Polygamy in Islam is a subject that attracts the attention of the common man, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike. This was true even in the time of St Vladimir, who, according to the chronicle, rejected Islam based upon this (editor’s note: I always heard that he rejected Islam because of its prohibition of strong drink. Go figure!). In fact, there is a great deal of attention given the topic in the Russian media. It is not clear what result shall come of all this, but, we can say that Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the chief mufti of Russia, has authoritatively stated that such discussion in the media is inadvisable.

Muslims in Russia have great difficulty in communicating their ideas to the bulk of Russian citizens. Speculations about a Eurasian symbiosis between Christianity and Islam do not impress most simple Orthodox believers. However, polygamy is understandable because it is so basic. Are there other occasions for conflict? For example, there is a khadith where Mohammed curses not only drinking, but, also the making and selling of such beverages. This raises a question about the survival of the highly developed structure for viniculture and distilling in Muslim Daghestan should Sharia be recognised.

Recently, a prominent Muslim thinker said the following to me, “There are only two absolute constants in Islam. That is, one must believe in God, and one must perform good deeds. Everything else from dogmatics to spiritual laws is subject to change and reconsideration”.

20 January 2006

Valery Emelyanov

Moskovskie Novosti


The Son of a Ukrainian Church Warden was caught with His Hand in the Till

Filed under: humour/wry/"people are funny",Orthodox life,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


On Christmas Eve (6 January), the son of a Ukrainian churchwarden stole 4,000 grivna (790 USD, 544 Euros, 404 pounds, 19,510 roubles) from the parish treasury, according to information released by the Volyn UVD (Internal Affairs Department). The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported on Thursday that Nikolai, the 17-year-old son of the warden, helped his father with church work and saw the money that was being collected for a new iconostas. Before he was arrested, Nikolai had the opportunity to spend only a quarter of his loot. He confessed his crime readily to the police, and he admitted that he had stuck his hand in the till before, but he had taken only 10 to 20 grivna (2 to 4 USD, 1.50 to 3 Euros, 1 pound, 50 to 100 roubles) at a time. The locals do not yet know the reaction of the warden to his son’s crime, but they waggishly noted that the son was not taken to the hospital after speaking to his father.

14 February 2008



Editor’s Note:

The Russian text for the above cartoon is:

(hamster on stilts) Врёшь – Не возьмёшь! (over the Ukrainian)Почему украинец за хомяком на ходулях погиался?

In English, the text is:

(hamster on stilts) You lie – I didn’t take it! (over the Ukrainian)Why does the Ukrainian want to kill the hamster on stilts?

Hmm… this looks like a current situation in the church, does it not? I do daresay that the American faithful are as steamed as the Ukrainian in the cartoon, and for good reason!


In the Garden. a cartoon by Valentin Dubinin

Filed under: humour/wry/"people are funny",Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


In the Garden (a cartoon by Valentin Dubinin)

On St Valentine’s Day, a wry caricature from a “Valentine” (“Valentin” is the Russian form of “Valentine”). My Nicky believes that this cartoon is a perfect metaphor for the current state of the campaign of Hilary Clinton. A black cat has crossed her path, has it not?



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