Voices from Russia

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Rav Berel Lazar Hopes That Generations to come shall Remember the Bravery of Those who Defeated Fascism

Filed under: inspirational,Jewish,patriotic,religious,Russian,Soviet period — 01varvara @ 00.00

Rav Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, greeted World War II veterans on the eve of Victory Day, noting that their courage and self-sacrifice “gave life and dignity to all the peoples of Europe. Every year on this day, not only do we remember your bravery, but, we also think of what the world would be like today without your achievement. Then, in the first half of 1940s, the Nazi empire managed to conquer almost all of Europe, its armies invaded Africa, and through its allies, it extended its influence into Asia”, Rav Lazar said in Victory Day greetings given on Thursday to Interfax-Religion.

Rav Lazar commented that if the Nazis had won, “the world would have faced a catastrophe for several generations, if not for centuries. Many states of that time have disappeared from the map, but, the memory of your victory still stands. I am confident that your courage shall be remembered not only by the people living now, but, also by many generations to come”, his greetings said.

Rav Lazar believes that the victory in the Great Patriotic War not only defeated the Nazis, “but, also created a world order where fascism has no chance to regain power”, and because of that victory, “the present generation lives in a free and democratic world. Today, we shall pray for those who gave their lives for the present generation. We shall always remember those who did not live to see the Victory and those who later died due to their wounds or from diseases contracted on active service. But, for you, our dear veterans, we shall ask God to give you long years of life filled with joy, spiritual achievements, and deep respect from your descendants”, Rav Lazar said.

8 May 2008




Fr Vsevolod Chaplin spoke in Favour of “True Collegiality” in the Church

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968-), zamglavy of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, spoke against attempts to transfer the authority in the church to the laity, which he believes to be a destructive step. “I am a determined opponent of the slogan ‘All power to the laity!’ In this world corrupt with sin, and in our social and political situation, such a slogan shall mean only one thing: all power to business tycoons and government bureaucrats”, Fr Vsevolod said at a roundtable meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

Fr Vsevolod believes that if the slogan “All power to the laity!” is implemented, “business tycoons and government bureaucrats would name the priests, bishops, and patriarchs. This cannot and should not happen in the Church. All power in the Church is and should remain in the bishops’ hands. It guarantees the Church’s independence of secular elements and the high and mighty of this world”, he emphasised. At the same time, he has “a strong belief that discussions of all critical decisions related to Church life must be conducted in a spirit of collegiality, and the episcopate must confer in a spirit of conciliarity with the clergy and the laity. It is by the use of such consultation, and through the mechanism of true collegiality, that we shall be able to reach the fullest possible participation of all our Church in any decision made”, Fr Vsevolod said.

Other members of the discussion group included Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz and Bishop Longin of Saratov and Volsk, both members of the Public Chamber of Russia, Archpriest Vladimir Silovev, head of the publishing division of the MP, Priest Vladimir Vigilyansky, head of the press service of the MP, Archpriest Vladislav Sveshnikov, professor at St Tikhon Orthodox University in Moscow, Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington DC (USA) (ROCOR), Priest Andrei Lorgus, Dean of the Department of Psychology at St Tikhon Orthodox University in Moscow, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, of the Department of External Church Relations of the MP, Hierodeacon Pavel Shcherbachov, editor of the website Pravoslavie.ru, Archpriest Sergei Pravdolyubov, Master of Theology, amongst others.

8 May 2008



Gorbachyov Fears New Cold War

Mikhail Segeyevich Gorbachyov (1931-), last President of the USSR (1985-1991)


Former (and last) Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachyov said in comments published this week that the USA risks starting a new Cold War by its proposal to go ahead with a missile shield in Eastern Europe. The US military hopes to establish a limited anti-missile shield comprising 10 interceptors in Poland and a tracking radar in Czechia. However, Moscow dismissed US claims to be setting up the shield against emerging military powers such as Iran, saying that the system could be used against Russia. This war of words has continued ever since the US administration came up with the proposal to set up such a missile defence system in Eastern Europe. Despite continuing consultations between Moscow and Washington to address Russian concerns, there seems to be little progress achieved so far. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters recently that Russian concerns over US plans to site parts of an anti-missile shield in Europe haven’t been allayed despite US claims to the contrary. “Several people representing the United States, briefing their NATO partners, have given the impression that all of Russia’s problems have been resolved”, Lavrov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. However, he noted he clearly told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that “this isn’t the case”.

At a meeting last month between Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W Bush in the southern Russian resort of Sochi, Moscow “agreed that we would discuss the transparency measures that the Americans proposed”, Lavrov told Interfax. “These measures require agreement and we might have our own additions to these measures. Only in this case”, Lavrov emphasised, “if we reach agreement on these measures, might our concerns be softened”. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph this week, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachyov took issue with Washington’s assertion that the anti-missile shield is aimed exclusively at countering the threat from so-called “rogue states”. Instead, he said, the military build-up, plus the eastward expansion of NATO into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, was aimed at containing a resurgent Russia, where a new President, Dmitri Medvedev, has just been inaugurated. While Russia doesn’t threaten anyone, Gorbachyov pointed out, “we see the United States approving a military budget and the Defence Secretary pledging to strengthen conventional forces because of the possibility of a war with China or Russia. I sometimes have a feeling”, the former Soviet leader noted ruefully, “that the United States is going to wage war against the entire world”. Gorbachyov, who presided over the dismantling of the Eastern bloc military alliance in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991, told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans promised that NATO wouldn’t move beyond the boundaries of Germany after the Cold War, but, now, half of Central and Eastern Europe are members. So, what happened to their promises?”

8 May 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov


Voice of Russia World Service

Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz says the Iraq War is Wrecking the American Economy

Filed under: politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz

Five years ago this month, President George W. Bush declared the mission in Iraq accomplished. Today it looks like there is a lot yet to accomplish in that country. Much has transpired in the five years since President Bush stood aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” and proudly declared: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended”. This was quite true as far as “major combat operations” in Iraq were concerned. Few people in the US administration and outside it realised, however, what lay ahead at the time.

Five years ago in May, 139 American troops had died in Iraq. Now, that number is over 4,060. Five years ago, 542 American troops had been wounded in Iraq. Now, that number stands at over 29,400. Writing on this occasion this month, the Washington Post pointed up that that “five years ago, the national debt was 6.5 trillion dollars. Now, it’s 9.3 trillion dollars. Five years ago, your average gallon of gas cost 1.44 dollars. Now, it costs 3.57 dollars. Five years ago, Bush’s job-approval rating was at 70 percent. Now, it’s at 28”. One thing that is not so different today, according to the Washington Post, is that there were about 150,000 American troops in Iraq. Now, there are slightly more.

Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz told Foreign Policy magazine that the United States is spending money on the Iraq war that is urgently needed at home. In his view, war spending exacerbates the economic downturn in the United States. He said the US economy is weaker “to the extent that the war caused the price of oil to go up, and the fact that the war expenditures don’t stimulate the economy as much as domestic expenditures would have”. Mr Stiglitz calculated that in keeping with the projected costs of the Iraq war, each American household will be expected to expend around 25,000 dollars on that war as long as it lasts. That estimate, in his view, is “very conservative”, “pretty straightforward and totally non-controversial. (It is) the amount that the US government admits is going into Iraq”.

As The New York Daily News took stock of the current Iraq imbroglio this week: “Five years after President Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech about Iraq, America’s twin wars are looking more like ‘Mission: Impossible’.

5 May 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov


Voice of Russia World Service

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