Voices from Russia

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Church Presented a Festival for Tens of Thousands of Kids in the Ukraine

The Baptism of Grand Princess Olga (Part One of the Triptych “Holy Rus“)

Sergei Kirillov



Why are we noting the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia this year? What’s so special about this date? Possibly, the way to find the simple and obvious answer shall be paradoxically complex, but the answer’s there. True, it isn’t so much connected with a concrete date as it is with church and public events and those who initiated them. A shared historical journey and economic collaboration aren’t the reasons for, but rather, the consequences of the unity of Russia and the Ukraine. The baptism of Prince St Vladimir’s realm became the basis for the spiritual centre of Kievan Russia. Today, for Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, this isn’t simply a memory; this is a reality, which must be proclaimed as widely as possible, including in the language of the contemporary youth culture. “The 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia is a joint church/state celebration in which we send up prayers of thanksgiving to Almighty God for the fact that our motherland was enlightened by Orthodoxy, first, in Kievan Russia, and, then, to the farthest corners of the Russian land”, noted His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias. Those working on the various activities of the international public project “The Day of the Baptism of Russia” take these well-spoken words as their guideposts.


A setting from the liturgy by Bishop Ionafan Yeletskikh of the UOC/MP (a determined foe of the schismatical and Uniate opponents of the Church)


In 2006, the proposal that the Day of the Baptism of Russia become an annual public holiday in Russia and the Ukraine united well-known people prominent in the fields of culture, business, the church, and the general community. It was such a brilliant and obvious idea that the Presidents of Russia and the Ukraine supported it, as did Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias and Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all the Ukraine, the First Hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP. The first event of the festival project attracted some 100,000 people. A concert on the Pevcheskom Pole (Singer’s Field) in Kiev was opened by Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all the Ukraine in his office as president of the organising committee of the festival. Amongst the participants were the chorus of the Kievo-Perchersky Lavra, the jazz singer Nino Katamadze, and the rock bands Bratya Karamazovy (Brothers Karamazov) and DDT. In the intermissions between the musical offerings, the crowd was addressed by Academician Pyotr Tolochko, Archpriest Andrei Tkachev, and Deacon Andrei Kuraev. Other festival activities were divine services, the laying of the cornerstone of the Church of Prince St Vladimir, and the blessing of a complex of bath-houses on the banks of the Dnepr River, not far from the Assumption Kievo-Pechersky Lavra.



“The Baptism of Russia, the Embrace of the Faith by Holy Prince Vladimir, became a turning-point in our civilisation. I wish to draw your attention to that action from which everything began. This celebration should proclaim the message that we possess ancient and common roots, spiritual, historical, and cultural, and all of that’s due to our common baptism in the font of the Dnepr. We desire to unite the efforts of prominent people in cultural life, including contemporary musicians, historians, and clergy around this central objective of our project”, said Yuri Molchanov, deputy chairman of “The Day of the Baptism of Russia”. Molchanov went on to say that “The Day of the Baptism of Russia” is a charitable project. “No commercial or political advertisement of any sort was allowed at any of our festival presentations. We’re staging a large and colourful holiday event, which we hope shall be interesting and well-liked by all who come”. In 2008, the project widened its scope considerably whilst retaining its original form. This first wide-spread celebration of the Day of the Baptism of Russia happened to coincide with the 1,020th anniversary, and, unexpectedly, this date resonated loudly. Many young people saw it in a symbolic sense, for the 1,020th anniversary is a combination of the numbers 1,000 and 20. The present generations in their 20s were too young to participate in the celebrations in 1988 of the Millennium of Russia, so, they wished that the holiday would be repeated for them.


Deacon Andrei Kuraev (1963- ), great contemporary Orthodox preacher


The first part of this year’s tour was completed on 29 May in Chernigov. The Russian rock group DDT, the band Bratya Karamazovy from Kiev, and the young rockers of Skay from Ternopol performed in the squares, parks, and stadiums of 18 Ukrainian cities. Along with the rockers, church choruses, folk ensembles, and Orthodox missionaries and preachers appeared. The most-well known Orthodox preacher was Deacon Andrei Kuraev, who accompanied the musicians for the entire trip.



“We’re trying to combine the word of the preacher with contemporary art”, explained Yuri Molchanov, before the tour began. “The clergy can take advantage of the fact that we can gather a large crowd of people together, so that they can reach them with the word of the Church, which sometimes seems ineffective in the midst of today’s world”. All possible means of contemporary multi-media technology were employed in this missionary effort. All the concerts were opened with a video welcome by Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and all the Ukraine, which were transmitted on large monitors on the sides of the stage, and during the intermissions computer animations of the Baptism of Russia were shown. Deacon Andrei Kuraev shared his impressions. “Ten years ago, when I first started to go to rock concerts, of course, many said nothing, but they pointed their fingers at me in church. Oh, there were so many who posted on the Internet about the sorry behaviour of Deacon Andrei.



Today, my work has the blessing of the church, and, indeed, some of our metropolitans give sermons at rock concerts. Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev did so at our rehearsals in Kiev last year. During our tour, Metropolitan Nifont of Lutsk, Metropolitan Iriney of Dnepropetrovsk, and Bishop Panteleimon of Ivanovo-Frankovsk preached from our rock stage. In all the other cities, the bishops sent their priests to give a message to the audience at the concert. This means that there are changes happening in the church. In one city, I shared the stage with a local priest, but I said nothing, for it was simple to look from the stage to the audience. We were standing quietly in the corner, and I whispered in his ear, “Father… THIS is your flock”. You know, it seemed to me that he shuddered. Could it be…? This was the first time in his life that he realised that his flock was not only the grannies at services, but all the people in town. Here were young people, perhaps, even with a glass of beer in hand. This change is very important for the church itself. It’s a reshaping of its pastoral and missionary vision, which, I hope, shall result in many clergy going beyond the curtain that separates parish life from the ordinary life of our cities surrounding our churches”.



Who can restore our memory of the past? This is a difficult question, and not only do historians, politicians, and public figures search for answers, but, the Russian Orthodox Church is also involved in the search for the evidence of the spiritual heritage and history of Rus-Russia. The experience of missionaries shows that any conversation about the past that isn’t reinforced with a firm and obvious connection to the present is never convincing. Preaching is only successful when we turn to the needs and problems of contemporary mankind and answer its questions and incomprehension concerning the spiritual life. This is why we must recognise that the experience gained by the organisers of the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia tour is important and relevant.

22 June 2008

Sergei Chapnin

Senior Editor, Tserkovnogo Vestnika (Herald of the Church)

Arkhiereisky Sobor Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi 2008

Official website of the Archpastoral Council of the MP 2008




22 June 2008. Out and About…

Russia and Serbia strongly opposed a replacement of the UN Mission in Kosovo

Vitaly Churkin (1952- ), Russian ambassador to the UN

During a UN Security Council meeting, Russia and Serbia strongly opposed a replacement of the UN Mission in Kosovo with a European Union mission. Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, and Serbian President Boris Tadic pointed out that the replacement of UN officials by EU emissaries that took place in Kosovo was not authorised by the Security Council, and, therefore, is illegal. Mr Tadic also said that Serbia continues to see the UDI of Kosovo as unlawful, and it shall never put up with it. “We shall press for a peaceful solution to the problem, for a negotiated settlement”, President Tadic emphasised. US officials and representatives of the Kosovo Albanian leadership came out for deploying a EU mission in the province.

21 June 2008


Russia encourages more transparency in the work of the United Nations mission in Kosovo

Emerging from a session of the UN Security Council in New York on Friday, Russian UN Ambassador Vitali Churkin said opponents of the UDI of Kosovo had foiled underhand attempts by outgoing mission head Joachim Rücker to illegally transfer many powers of the mission to delegates from the European Union. Mr Churkin insisted that this cannot be done without Serbian approval. The new UN mission head in Kosovo is the Italian diplomat Lamberto Sanier.

21 June 2008


Russia can significantly increase its production of food in order to alleviate shortages around the world

Russia can significantly increase its production of food in order to alleviate shortages around the world. Aleksei Gorbunov, the head of the RF Gosduma Agriculture Committee, made this pledge at a meeting with his Czech counterpart, Ivan Adamec, in Moscow on Saturday. He pointed out that Russia enforces much stricter food safety and quality standards than most European nations. Mr Gorbunov also said that foreign companies are seeking access to Russian agricultural technologies.

21 June 2008


OPEC members meet in Saudi Arabia

OPEC members are meeting in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah today to discuss the current rise in oil prices and ways to normalise the situation on the world oil market. Non-members of the cartel, such as Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan, China, India, and the USA, shall also take part in the forum.

22 June 2008


Russia marks the Day of Mourning and Commemoration

Entrance to the Brest Hero-Fortress Memorial

Today, Russia marks the Day of Mourning and Commemoration, as 67 years ago, on 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. President Dmitri Medvedev arrived in Brest at the invitation of Byelorussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The two leaders shall pay tribute to the memory of Soviet troops at the border who were the first to resist the Nazi attack. Mr Medvedev and Mr Lukashenko shall lay a wreath at the Eternal Fire of the Brest Hero-Fortress Memorial and meet with World War II veterans, the Kremlin press-service reported.

22 June 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

Russia-EU Summit to Focus on Energy Issues

Filed under: diplomacy,economy,EU,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk is hosting a Russia-EU summit on 26-27 June. According to Vasily Likhachev, the Vice Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council, the sides shall focus on a new partnership treaty and the development of energy cooperation.

It is expected that the summit in Khanty-Mansiysk shall bring progress to the negotiation process on a new partnership treaty between Russia and the EU. Mr Likhachev said the new treaty consists of several parts, with the first four dedicated to the aspects of international security, legislation, economic cooperation, and science and culture. He also noted that Moscow and Brussels were on the way to a brand-new form of strategic partnership. In 2007, the trade turnover between Russia and Europe reached 284 billion dollars (6.679 trillion roubles. 181.732 billion euros. 143.619 billion UK pounds). Mr Likhachev also added that ahead of the summit, Russia and EU launched 14 industry dialogues to cover such spheres as space exploration, telecommunications, agriculture, and many others.

In Mr Likhachev’s opinion, energy issues shall be the core of the future strategic cooperation treaty between Russia and the EU. “We should keep in mind two principles whilst looking for a solution to energy issues. Firstly, Russia always fulfilled its commitments in the sphere of energy security. It is of great importance for us to rely on the EU as a stable and transparent partner. We want our partners to know that Russia never used its energy resources as a means of pressure. We need clear-cut agreements with Brussels on the perspectives of our energy dialogue. Equality and mutual respect, these are principles we would like to see as the foundation of any future strategic cooperation treaty”.

Mr Likhachev thinks the forthcoming summit shall live up to expectations. A true strategic dialogue between Moscow and Brussels is a guarantee of stable energy cooperation for the whole world.

22 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Fearful America, Confident Russia

Filed under: Dmitri Medvedev,politics,popular life and customs,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Editor’s Foreword:

These two stories begged to put together with appropriate commentary. It should make you think. La Russophobe should stick THIS in their hillbilly-moron crackpipe.


Everything seemingly is spinning out of control

Is everything spinning out of control? Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against terrorism. Horatio Alger, twist in your grave. The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance. The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, “Yes, we can”.

Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003. An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood. “It is pretty scary”, said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, MN. “People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven’t been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change”.

Recent natural disasters around the world dwarf anything afflicting the U.S. Consider that more than 69,000 people died in the China earthquake, and that 78,000 were killed and 56,000 missing from the Myanmar cyclone. Americans need do no more than check the weather, look in their wallets or turn on the news for their daily reality check on a world gone haywire. Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet’s weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge? It hardly matters to those in the path. Just ask the people of New Orleans who survived Hurricane Katrina. They are living in a city where, 1,000 days after the storm, entire neighbourhoods remain abandoned, a national embarrassment that evokes disbelief from visitors.

Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs, turning corn into fuel, is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the US, rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple. Residents of the nation’s capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought. Want to get away from it all? The weak US dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage.

Want to escape on the couch? A writers’ strike halted favourite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail. But there’s always sports, right? The moorings seem to be coming loose here, too. Baseball stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens stand accused of enhancing their heroics with drugs. Basketball referees are suspected of cheating. Stay tuned for less than pristine tales from the drug-addled Tour de France and who knows what from the Summer Olympics.

It’s not the first time Americans have felt a loss of control. Alger, the dime-novel author whose heroes overcame adversity to gain riches and fame, played to similar anxieties when the US was becoming an industrial society in the late 1800s. American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the US has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s. “All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored”, he said. “Of course, that doesn’t mean it will happen again”.

Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House. This period has seen intense interest in the presidential primaries, especially the Democrats’ five-month duel between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Records were shattered by voters showing up at polling places, yearning for a voice in who will next guide the country as it confronts the uncontrollable.

Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington’s inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it’s even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.

Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now. Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about, a great unravelling of some things long taken for granted.

22 June 2008

Alan Fram

Eileen Putman

Associated Press


Russian Society Boasts Increasingly Greater Numbers of Optimists

Preved! (Surprise!) (Russian poster, 2006)

According to the recently published returns of a many-year survey by Russian sociologists, the number of optimists in Russian society is steadily growing. The sociologists asked the respondents to formulate their personal attitude towards Rusisa’s development policy, as well as towards the general and personal economic situation, and also assess the political situation.

Sociologist Olga Kamenchuk offered this comment. “Russians feel increasingly that the policy of national development is correct, that’s judging by the trends of the past four years. In 2004 and 2005, the general development vector was taken by the Russian public largely negatively, with pessimists accounting for a whole 40 percent, while optimists were only some 20 percent of respondents. Just a bit later, in 2006 and 2007, the negative and positive assessments split fifty-fifty. Now, in 2008, the percentage of positive estimates has doubled that of negatives. Russians feel the economic situation in the country is improving faster than their material condition is. In May of this year, the respondents still felt negative about their personal financial situation. The assessments of the political situation have grown largely positive. Russians felt bitterest about the political situation in 2005. In May last year, the negative and positive assessments of the political situation were almost even. In May of this year, positive assessments percentage-wise proved almost three times higher than the negative assessments”.

In general, the poll returns prove that the quest for a policy that would prove acceptable to society stands a chance of success. The political stability of the recent years made it possible for the government to concentrate on the economy, on the development of industries that immediately affect the population’s social well-being. Major achievements have indeed been made to that end. The leadership used the four national projects that were originally supervised by then-Deputy Prime Minister and current-President Dmitri Medvedev, to rectify the situation in public health protection, housing construction, education, and agriculture.

What effort has been made in the fields in question is clearly insufficient for the people to feel the fruit of general economic growth. Small wonder, since the scale of the problems is too big to settle them within a couple of years. According to President Medvedev, Russia needs at least 10 years of peaceful development to reach living standards comparable to those of Europe.

21 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Afterword:

There one has it. Americans view the future with fear, whereas Russians have cautious optimism. The Russian economy is booming, as oil profits have been wisely invested in diversifying it. The American economy is stagnating, because its globalising executives destroy American jobs in favour of cheap and brutalised Third World labour. America is gripped by a spiritual malaise that saps its traditional faiths, whereas Russian Orthodoxy is growing by the day, giving the country something to believe in.

Again, there is no need to go on and on. The short version is simple. America had best not try to rile the bear… his swipe is stronger than ever. Look for the old empire to be re-established, and America shall not have the will or means to stop it.

May God bless both countries. We deserve to be friends, not enemies.


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