Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

FEOR says that Statements about Jews Cooperating with Ukrainian Nationalists during WWII Are Political Manipulations

Filed under: Jewish,politics,religious,Russian,Soviet period,the Ukraine — 01varvara @ 00.00

Babi Yar Memorial in Kiev dedicated to the innocent Jewish civilians murdered by the Nazis and their OUN/UPA helpers

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FEOR) dismissed claims that Jews actively cooperated with Ukrainian nationalist groups during World War II as a politically-tinged myth. “There is unambiguous conviction amongst Holocaust scholars that Jews never voluntarily served as members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Attempts to unearth such ‘facts’ have been made for half a century and do not look as sensation to historians because they do not reflect reality”, FEOR spokesman Borukh Gorin told Interfax-Religion in comments on acting Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentin Nalivaychenko’s statement to the effect that the Security Service had declassified documents proving that the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) cooperated with Jews during WWII and during the Soviet reign. Mr Gorin acknowledged that the OUN was the best-known fighter for Ukrainian independence in the 1940s, “and this story is used as a very convenient illustration of fighting against Soviet ‘occupation’ for official propaganda. It would have been fine if the members of these squads had not besmirched themselves with involvement in the extermination of non-combatants, primarily Jews, which is an unquestionable crime in the eyes of Western public opinion”, he said. For Ukrainian Jews who survived the Holocaust, “OUN members are, of course, absolutely evil”, Mr Gorin said.

16 April 2008




PACE has a Selective Approach to Human Rights

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

Thomas Hammarberg of the PACE

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) gathered for a spring session in Strasbourg. On the agenda is a report by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, on the results of elections in a number of European countries. Judging by the prevailing moods, the discussion promises to be biased and selective. The participants in the session shall discuss the judicial system in Belorussia, democratic institutions in Armenia, and the situation in Tibet, issues marginal in essence, particularly the issue of Tibet, which is too biased and was included at the very last moment, in the run-up to the forthcoming Olympics.

Human rights have been a popular target for criticism. However, the parliamentary assembly is unwilling to resort to criticism in the case of Russian-speaking population in the Baltic countries. Russians, who make up nearly half of the population of Latvia and Estonia, are denied citizenship and portrayed as the main culprits in all sorts of historical tribulations. Apparently, Tibet is much more remote and is easier to stand for. Another issue of concern the Russian delegation plans to talk about is Kosovo. Countries that have acknowledged its independence are set on dragging it into the Council of Europe. But, membership in the Council of Europe is given by a simple majority vote. Konstantin Kosachev is the head of the Russian delegation.

Under conditions where Russia and its allies are bound to block Kosovo’s membership in the UN and OSCE, the Council of Europe looks a fairly attractive venue for those eager to legitimise Kosovo’s independence. In all probability, the participants in the April session will reiterate the position of Russia that the proclamation of independence and recognition of Kosovo by a limited number of countries have brought no changes for the better. Russian MPs are also planning to discuss the complicity of the current Kosovo leadership in crimes against Serbs and Albanians loyal to Belgrade. The State Duma delegation called for an inquiry into facts mentioned in the recently published book by the former Prosecutor for the Hague-based Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte.

14 April 2008

Aleksandr Vatutin

Voice of Russia World Service


Who is reading what…

Filed under: internet — 01varvara @ 00.00

I have been reading various sources on the crisis in Alaska, and what strikes me most of all is the unreality of what is being proposed. The most disconnected material is to be found on a website called Orthodox Christians for Accountability. It is a well-produced site, and one gets the impression that the webmaster is trying very hard to produce the impression that his site is the “last word” in news on this crisis. It would be good for us to see in figures “who is reading what” about this crisis. Let the figures speak for themselves, and be enlightened.

Well, I wished to find out who was reading that site, my site, and the site of Fr Andrew Phillips (Orthodox England). So, I went to Quanticast (http://www.quantcast.com/), which gives statistics for websites. Firstly, a definition or two. A “hit” is an individual visit, while a “unique” is an individual user. Therefore, “visits” tabulate how many times a site is accessed, whereas “uniques” measure (roughly) how many individuals visit that site.

Here are the figures for uniques for the three sites:

Orthodox Christians For Accountability (Mark Stokoe):

6,685 US uniques (56% addicts, 41% regulars, 3% passers-by)

Orthodox England (Fr Andrew Phillips):

5,346 US uniques (15% regulars, 85% passers-by)

Voices From Russia (Barbara Drezhlo):

6,675 Global uniques (4,078 US uniques) (4% addicts, 44% regulars, 52% passers-by)

“Addicts” are daily visitors, “regulars” visit often, but not daily, and “passers-by” are once-a-month visitors. To get a correct feel for the actual reach of a website, the Quanticast people suggest that one divide the number of addicts by 3, the number of regulars by 2, and the passers-by are unaffected. What is the adjusted reach for the three sites?

Orthodox Christians for Accountability (Mark Stokoe):

2,820 adjusted US uniques

Orthodox England (Fr Andrew Phillips):

4,946 adjusted US uniques

Voices From Russia (Barbara Drezhlo):

5,029 adjusted Global uniques (3,073 adjusted US uniques)

We see that the least-popular of the three sites is Orthodox Christians for Accountability. There are several reasons for this. One is that the site is very narrow in scope, and it only deals with the current crisis in the OCA. Another is that the site is dogmatically modernist, and its leaning is definitely to the left-wing of the theological spectrum. On the other hand, both Rev Phillips and I are more doctrinally “solid”, being more based in the traditions of the Church. Our websites are wider in scope as well, Fr Andrew having more of a “churchly” focus, whereas I have a broad spectrum of articles covering politics, culture, and religion.

Who is reading whom? The answers to this are interesting. I shall give the answers in the following tabulation. “S” is for Stokoe, “P” is for Phillips, and “D” is for Drezhlo. The figures in brackets are indexes, that is, how the figure differs from the norm.

Readers over 65 as a percentage of the total:

S: 40% (337)

P: 12% (101)

D: 17% (153)

This shows clearly that theological liberalism appeals to an aging crowd (probably silly-60s retreads).

Readers with Children 6-17 as a percentage of the total:

S: 2% (6)

P: 26% (80)

D: 28% [88]

The people with kids are speaking loud and clear! MAKE MINE TRADITIONAL! Another fact that shows that liberalism is a phenomenon of the aging Geritol lot.


S: 99% White (122) 1% Black (17) * Asian (10) * Hispanic (10) * other (14)

P: 60% White (74) 2% Black (30) 1% Asian (30) 12% Hispanic (182) 25% other (1702)

D: 83% White (103) 6% Black (83) 4% Asian (99) 5% Hispanic (73) 2% other [148]

If you want to hang out with the “rainbow coalition”, hang out with us traditionalists! “Other” in our case means Alaska natives. Fr Andrew, you’d best watch out, or the Tlingit elders are going to kidnap you and make you an honorary chief. The Alaska natives have abandoned the Stokoe website almost completely. This means that the Alaska natives have given up on OCA liberalism, and they are listening to that “good ol’ time religion”. “It was good for Papa Herman, it’s good enough for me!” These people are not going to turn Protestant, as some voices on Stokoe’s website are claiming. They are planning a move, no doubt, but… Protestant? Be SERIOUS.


S: 57% Female (110) 43% Male [88]

P: 53% Female (103) 47% Male (95)

D: 45% Female (90) 55% Male (110)

It looks like the guys prefer the ol’ time religion. Of course, putting up stories about a boxer killing a rapist or about Marshal Suvorov are going to attract some fellows.


S: 5% no college (13) 32% college [78] 63% grad school (431)

P: 15% no college (34) 54% college (131) 31% grad school (215)

D: 36% no college (79) 42% college (102) 22% grad school (156)

Looks like the ordinary folks want the ol’ time religion! Hooray for people who are like Pete and Andy at the Step Rite Inn and Nick and Spyros at the Olympic Diner. Liberals cannot appeal to more than a small overly-educated lot that are not representative of the whole.


S: 0-30k 15% (97) 30-60k 80% (242) 60-100k 3% (12) 100k+ 2% (11)

P: 0-30k 4% (30) 30-60k 42% [128] 60-100k 41% (130) 100k+ 13% (61)

D: 0-30k 17% (112) 30-60k 33% (99) 60-100k 30% (96) 100k+ 20% (96)

Stokoe’s message is not reaching the economically successful. They want the ol’ time religion too!

Readers 18-24 as a percentage of the total:

S: * (4)

P: 3% (19)

D: 14% (87)

Looks like our youngest readers want that ol’ time religion like everybody else!

Readers 25-34 as a percentage of the total:

S: 22% (103)

P: 20% (95)

D: 14% (69)

interesting anomaly in the statistics, no? It may be accounted for by “Red Diaper Babies” (children of the baby boomers).

Readers 35-44 as a percentage of the total:

S: 22% (103)

P: 23% [108]

D: 19% (93)

A dead heat here.

Readers 45 to 54 as a percentage of the total:

S: 11 % (51)

P: 26% (116)

D: 21% (102)

This cohort came of age during the nasty church wars of the 70s and 80s. They want that ol’ time religion back!

Readers 55 to 64 as a percentage of the total:

S: 4% (27)

P: 12% (92)

D: 17% (111)

This generation was in college during the time of Flower Power in the secular world and the “silly time” of Schmemann and Panteleimon of Brookline in the Church. GIMME THAT OL’ TIME RELIGION. Fie on all modernism, this cohort seems to say.

There one has it. Here are the hard figures that prove that the normal and ordinary Orthodoxy of the ages is going to triumph over the dying beast of liberalism and modernism. It is not over yet, but, we can see the image of the future. To use the title of a famous film, BACK TO THE FUTURE. Gimme that ol’ time religion… the blood of the martyrs was not spilled in vain.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Indian Dreams of Boris Grebenshchikov

Russian rocker Boris Grebenshchikov (1953- )



Concerts by the legendary Russian rock band Akvarium earned high praise across India. The musicians are playing an anthology of their works in Delhi and Bangalore as part of the Year of Russia in India. Commonly known as the “guru of Russian rock”, the leader of Akvarium, Boris Grebenshchikov, has paid regular visits to India since the 1970s. As did the Beatles, the Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana, or the American jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, Grebenshchikov sees India as the “Home of the Spirit”. The father of Russian rock said nothing’s as helpful in broadening a musician’s outlook as travelling and new experiences. “I put what I see around me into my songs. If I see churches, there’ll be church-related themes in them. Buddhist and Christian allusions are common in my texts”.




Grebenshchikov isn’t just travelling the entire length and breadth of the world studying the traditions of different peoples, he penetrates deeply into the peculiarities of their cultures. He said, “Religious thinking is the most significant of the assets acquired by humanity. It teaches us how to be your own self and take pleasure in it. No other science teaches us that. Strictly speaking, religion’s a science of human happiness, even though it’s often presented in quite a different light”. A passion for religious teachings, Buddhism included, produced a profound impact on Grebenshchikov and inspired him into a new activity, translating books by Indian spiritual masters.



“There must be a vast number of translators capable of translating the stuff”, he said, “but when I saw treatises on Buddhism in the translation of a scholar well familiar with the terminology but knowing little of the meaning they carry, I knew it wouldn’t drive the point home. I had to translate the holy book Katha Upanishad after I had read five translations into Russian from which it was clear that the translators knew nothing of what they were translating”. India responded with gratitude to the musical and literary legacy of Boris. In India, the musician has been dubbed “Purushottama”, which, translated from Sanskrit, means the person who goes beyond the bounds of any restrictions, and he’s been presented with the “Award Of Friendship”, which is conferred on people who have made a significant contribution to the development of friendly ties between the two countries.

15 April 2008

Tatiana Zavialova

Voice of Russia World Service


Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.