Voices from Russia

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Archpastoral Council of the Moscow Patriarchate shall Support the Canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The Archpastoral Council of the MP, which shall be in session from 24 to 29 June, is resolved to support the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church because it is being attacked by various political and nationalist factions, according to Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk, the MP Chancellor. “All serving hierarchs within the canonical umbrella of the MP, not only those from the Russian Federation, but, also those from beyond its borders, from the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Central Asia, Europe, and America shall come to Moscow to participate in its sessions”, Metroplitan Kliment said in an interview posted on the official website of the Council (http://sobor2008.ru). He said that this would demonstrate the unity of the Local Russian Church and show “its adherence to the traditions of apostolic succession”.

“We shall express our unconditional support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, Metropolitan Kliment emphasised. He explained that there are various political and nationalist factions trying to provoke a church schism in the Ukraine. “Today, there are several church bodies in the Ukraine that claim the status of ‘the national church’. However, the only canonical and legitimate church body is constantly being attacked”, he noted.

In his view, this creates a threat not only for the unity of the Ukrainian church, but, it also poses a threat to “ecumenical Orthodoxy” at large. “Our Saviour told us that all believers are like the branches of a tree fed from a united stem and root. If disease affects one branch, it also affects all the other branches”, Vladyki Kliment explained. He expressed regret that there are forces at present inside the MP that are directed to the separation of believers. He thinks that such things are the result of an incorrect understanding of the essentials of spiritual life by not only some of the laity, but, even some of the clergy, as well.

In particular, the last session of the Holy Synod of the MP adopted resolutions condemning the publications Dukh Khristiana (The Spirit of Christ) and Paskha Tretyego Rima (The Easter of the Third Rome) because of their anti-church tendencies. “This should be a warning to all of us. There is always room inside the church for discussion of many questions, including those that touch on theology. However, open calls for resistance to the canonical hierarchy show us that some ‘enthusiasts’ struggle for a ‘pure’ faith, forgetting that the Creed, which we all confess, contains unequivocal ecclesiastical dogmas”, Metropolitan Kliment warned. He explained that our ecclesiology rests on the assertion in the Creed of “One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church”. However, he thinks that some who struggle for “holiness” in the church forget about its other attributes:

  • Unity
  • Conciliarity (Sobornost)
  • Apostolicity

Besides the unity of the church, the agenda of the council shall discuss the events that passed since the last council in 2004 and review the progress made in the twenty years since the present spiritual revival began in 1988. “There has been much dynamic growth in the MP in recent years. We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia. Then, we were an enslaved church, but, we rose from the ruins, and we converted the decades of state atheism into victory”, Metropolitan Kliment noted. He cited statistical data to back up his claim, saying that 20 years ago there were 68 dioceses, now, there are 154. Then, there were 6,000 parishes, today, there are 27,000. The number of monasteries increased from 20 to 732.

“Now, that we have restored, by and large, the foundations of church life, we must keep moving further forward. This movement implies, first of all, that we understand the new historical realities and search for the proper answers to the questions that the present-day world places before us”, Metropolitan Kliment said. Therefore, the council shall also examine the problems of harmonising a vision of human rights with the Christian world-view, the canonisation of new saints, missionary and social service, youth work, and the organisation of ecclesiastical tribunals.

12 June 2008


As quoted in Sedmitza.ru



Changes to UN Mission in Kosovo Imminent

Filed under: diplomacy,EU,Kosovo,politics,Russian,Serbia,United Nations — 01varvara @ 00.00

Joachim Rücker (1951- ), former head of the UN mission in Kosovo, he is being dismissed for favouring Albanian separatist extremists

Changes are coming to the UN mission in Kosovo. The relevant report was circulated by the UN headquarters. The changes, in the first place, shall affect its personnel. According to Michelle Montas, the spokesman for UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Mr Ki-moon is planning to dismiss the head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Joachim Rücker. The move comes as nothing unexpected, for Mr Rücker’s performance in the past few months has run into severe criticism. After the unilateral declaration of independence by Albanian separatists, he ventured to take steps to curtail the UN mission and restructure the international presence, both in violation of Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council. The head of the UN mission acted readily on orders from Washington and Brussels, but, ignored those from UN leadership. As a result, the Russian Foreign Ministry was forced to appeal for administrative measures against Mr Rücker, up to removal from office.

Another change looming over the UN mission in Kosovo is connected with Mr Ki-moon’s plans to restructure the international non-military presence in the province. In an extraordinary report published on Tuesday, the UN secretary-general suggests handing over part of the UN mandate to an EU mission. Some 300 highly-paid European officials are currently in the province in accordance with a decision taken by the EU. This, however, shall require approval of the Security Council, which shall be hard to obtain in view of the EU’s biased approach to the UDI of Kosovo. Even if the leading EU countries acknowledge the independence of the province, the problem is still in place.

Yelena Guskova, an expert in Balkan affairs, said, “The secession of Kosovo and Metohia will remain unrecognised until they are pronounced independent by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. This won’t happen because of the position of Russia, which is backed by China, the number 2 member on the Security Council”.

Mr Ki-moon was quick to emphasise that the United Nations shall stay neutral on the status of Kosovo. In other words, recognition of the province’s independence by the world’s most influential international body is nowhere in sight.

13 June 2008

Yevgeny Kryshkin

Voice of Russia World Service


On Russia Day, State Prizes Awarded in Kremlin

On 12 June, the country’s main national holiday, Russia Day, President Medvedev awarded State Prizes in the Kremlin. State Prizes are recognition of distinguished service to the state and society of scientists and cultural figures. The awards ceremony is broadcast by national TV, and it always takes place in the Kremlin. President Medvedev said, “On this day, we are deeply aware of the grandeur and historical path of our country, our inseparable connection with our native home and motherland. 12 June is a symbol of democracy and freedom. We are aware that the free development of society, the education of the people, and their opportunities to materialise their abilities to the full is a good basis to promote Russia’s intellectual and technological leadership and its competitiveness by breakthroughs in fields of creative endeavour”.

The president went on to say that major role in this belongs to people who dedicated their life to a search of new ideas in intellectual and artistic spheres. Their labour, energy, and success inspire younger generations and compel them to set up more noble goals and higher targets, to assimilate more progressive thinking, and to keep up with progress. He believes that this is most important thing for Russia today. State Prize winners are, no doubt, some of the most distinguished people of Russia.

The president introduced both scientists and cultural figures, whom he awarded with Russia’s highest and most prestigious awards. They were such distinguished figures as the outstanding mathematician Vadim Arnold, the author of the modern catastrophe theory, the linguistics expert Andrei Zaliznyak, and polymers researcher Aleksei Khokhlov. The name of the fourth laureate was not announced since he is involved in classified research. State Prizes in literature and art went to Vladimir Gritsenko, Andrei Naumov, and Vladimir Danilov, who work at the Kulikovo Pole military-historical/natural museum-reserve, one of Russia’s holy sites. Sculptor Andrei Kovalchuk and actress Alice Freindlikh were also awarded State Prizes.

The State Prize for humanitarian achievement went to former French President Jacques Chirac. Earlier, such prizes were awarded to the Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and all Russia and world-famous writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Speaking at the awards ceremony, M Chirac said he is convinced that Russia’s role in the world is indispensable, and Europe would have been incomplete without it. He talked about the need of campaigning for cultural flexibility and a more balanced and just world. M Chirac suggested that Russia should disseminate its beautiful language and rich culture everywhere, which he, fortunately, knew since his youth. In conclusion, he emphasised that he firmly believes in Russia’s future.

The awards ceremony in the Kremlin was followed by a reception. This is the biggest reception given by the Russian president. Traditionally, over a thousand persons are invited, including representatives of all branches of the government, State Prize winners, military leaders, and ambassadors of foreign states accredited to the Russian Federation.

12 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


The Ukraine and Georgia are not prepared to Join NATO

Filed under: diplomacy,Dmitri Medvedev,NATO,politics,Russian,the Ukraine,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Ukraine and Georgia are not prepared to become NATO members so far. This is what Victoria Nuland, the US ambassador to NATO, told journalists in Brussels. As is known, Kiev and Tbilisi were rebuffed in joining the NATO Membership Action Plan at the summit of the alliance in Bucharest last April. The summit decided that the issue would be discussed at the bloc’s next summit in December.

Do the words “so far” used by the US ambassador to NATO refer to the period ending this coming December? Do they mean that by some miracle those former Soviet republics shall be ripe for joining the NATO Membership Action Plan by that time? Any sensible person clearly understands that it is impossible within such a short span of time. Nonetheless, Washington, Brussels, and other NATO capitals are experts at brainwashing, so, that in December the Ukraine and Georgia could join the NATO Membership Action Plan. The thing is not that they are much concerned about the development of democracy, economic freedoms, and human rights in those two countries, as the US ambassador to NATO claims, since all these benefits of civilisation are not the privilege of that particular military-political bloc alone. Actually, NATO wants by fair means or foul to make the first step toward full membership in NATO of Kiev and Tbilisi.

NATO appears to be ready to pay any cost for this. The temptation is too big to tear the Ukraine and Georgia from Russia and to get access to regions politically, economically, and militarily important for Moscow. What causes surprise is the hypocrisy that Washington and Brussels use to convince Moscow of the innocence of their plans and their good intentions. They continue to fully ignore the fact that 70 percent of the Ukrainian population is against joining NATO. Moscow said more than once that NATO’s expansion at the expense of the Ukraine and Georgia would radically spoil relations between Russia and NATO, notably, this was repeated again by President Medvedev during his recent visit to Germany. Many Russian politicians now call for Russia’s withdrawal from its treaty of friendship with the Ukraine if it becomes a NATO member.

The West appears to forget that in our time it is impossible to ensure security of a country or an alliance by damaging interests of other countries. This is, no doubt, an example of the bloc thinking of the time of the cold war. What appears to be much better is that all parties concerned should heed President Medvedev’s call for concluding a binding treaty on European security to replace the Helsinki Final Act adopted in the mid-1970s.

10 June 2008

Viktor Yenikeyev

Voice of Russia World Service


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