Voices from Russia

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Bishop Mark said that Russian Culture and Spirituality are Welcome in the Middle East

“Harvard Bells” at Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal Region) RF


In the near future, a Russian research centre and two institutes will be built in the Middle East. Within the next few weeks, the locations and terms of implementing this project are to be determined. Bishop Mark Golovkov of Yegorevsk stated such as he addressed a regular session of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in Moscow. The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which initiated this project to expand Russian cultural presence in Middle Eastern countries, was set up under the patronage of Tsar Aleksandr Aleksandrovich in 1882. The Society has been behind many projects to build Russian schools, hospitals, Orthodox churches, monasteries, and centres to support compatriots and pilgrims in the Holy Land. It was the force behind a project to build the first Orthodox Church in Saudi Arabia and an Orthodox pilgrim centre in Jordan. Countries in the Middle East readily render assistance in carrying out its projects and eagerly engage in constructive dialogue with Russian culture and civilisation. Bishop Mark commented:

Pilgrims from Russia are arriving in Israel, the Palestinian Autonomy, Syria, the Lebanon, and Jordan in increasingly large numbers. They’re welcome in the Middle East because Russians have always carried peace, help, support, and the spiritual values that Russia is so noted for. The Society’s programme for the Middle East provides for opening Russian schools, initiating courses in the Russian language, and for organising annual conferences and forums. A dialogue between the different religions in the Middle East is vital for mutual understanding and spiritual enrichment, for it’s only through this dialogue that we can build a lasting peace, whose only basis would be mutual respect and cultivated tolerance.

14 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s note:

Bishop Mark is NOT speaking of syncretistic ecumenism. Rather, he’s advocating a “good neighbour” policy towards other Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Middle East. Truly, it’s the only way that we can achieve anything constructive in the region (or anywhere else, for that matter). Results DO count.  For only a good tree bears good fruit…


Splits amongst the Serbian Elite over Kosovo

Filed under: Kosovo,politics,Serbia — 01varvara @ 00.00


The Kosovo issue has caused splits among the representatives of Serbia’s political élite. The parties of the ruling coalition differed in opinion about interaction with the European Union (EU) and with the countries that recognised the UDI of Kosovo. Early parliamentary elections are set for 11 May.

The Democratic Party of Serbia, headed by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, is of the opinion that Serbia should not seek to establish closer relations with the European Union, unless Brussels recognises Serbia’s right to govern Kosovo. The opposition Serbian Radical Party has taken a similar stand. As regards the Democratic Party of Boris Tadic and its partners, they give priority to the closeness with the European Union, saying that they can ensure Serbia’s best interest only under the conditions of integration into the European Union. Their opponents say that such an approach factually means that they are ready to give up Kosovo in exchange for joining the European Union.

In the meantime, the prospects for Serbia’s Euro-integration are not so visible, Yelena Guskova, the head of the Centre for the Study of the Modern Balkan Crisis said. “Well, the European Union was not ready to welcome Serbia in the organisation. At first, they said that the whole process will take 21 years, ten to 12 years. In any case, this will be a sluggish process. Trade rather than something else… you give up Kosovo, and we’ll start thinking whether we should grant you membership in the organization or not”.

Despite all that, the pre-election campaign put focus on the vague European prospects. Officially, it has not begun yet, but there’re signs that the pre-election battles are in progress now. In an interview for the newspaper Blitz, Mr Tadic made it clear that Mr Kostunica would not occupy the post of prime minister in a future Cabinet, should the Democratic Party form it. A return reaction was not long in coming. Velemir Ilic, the leader of the New Serbia Party, said that possibly a new ruling coalition would be established with the participation of Mr Kostunica’s party and the Serbian Radical Party. Besides, threats and open pressure from the outside are visible as well.

The centre-right European People’s Party, which forms the biggest faction in the EuroParliament threatened to expel Kostunica’s party from its ranks, unless the Serbian leader took the road of cooperation with Europe. Crying interference… and the opinion of Serbian voters means nothing to the European MPs.

14 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


The Mariinsky Theatre opens a world ballet festival Thursday

Filed under: music,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


The Mariinsky Theatre of St Petersburg is opening a world ballet festival Thursday. Russian, American, Italian, and British stars will dance in Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, now into its second century on the Mariinsky boards. The festival will last to 23 March 23, ad it shall end with a star-studded gala. The Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Companies are running their 225th season this winter.

Stars of the leading ballet theatres shall take part in the 8th International “Mariinsky” Ballet Festival in Saint Petersburg. It opens today with a première, Heart of Glass, staged by choreographer Kirill Simonov, set to music of Alexander von Zemlinksy. The troupe will also perform the traditional favourite Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky. Apart from Russian dancers, soloists of the American Ballet Theatres, the Royal Ballet of London, and the Italian La Scala company shall perform in St Petersburg. A gala-concert is scheduled for 23 March to close the festival.

12 and 13 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



Russia awards the Medal of Aleksandr Pushkin to Swedish scholar


A Portrait of Aleksandr Pushkin

Vasili Tropinin



Russia awarded Hans Rudolf Björkegren, a Swedish scholar of Russian literature, the Medal of Aleksandr Pushkin. Dr Björkegren translated the works of Boris Pasternak and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

14 March 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


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