Voices from Russia

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Despite Prohibition, Bishop Diomid refuses to Repent and Continues to Serve Liturgy

Bishop Diomid of Chukotka and Anadyr (1961- ), provisionally deposed by the MP Holy Synod for insubordination and heretical teachings

Bishop Diomid of Chukotka and Anadyr, provisionally deposed by the Archpastoral Council of the MP “unless he repents”, stated to his parishioners that he refused to repent or recant his views. “Today, Vladyki declared from the ambo that there was nothing for him to repent of, for he is not guilty of anything, and that he had explained his position personally to the patriarch and Metropolitan Kirill”, Aleksandr Nesterov, the nephew of the bishop, reported to Interfax-Religion. It is worthy to note that Bishop Diomid served liturgy on Sunday in the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Anadyr, in defiance of the interdict laid upon him by the Holy Synod on Saturday. According to Mr Nesterov, the bishop refuses to obey the decision of the Synod and shall continue to serve.

Over the last 18 months, Vladyki Diomid issued public statements in which he openly criticised Patriarch Aleksei and other prominent church hierarchs, and he called for the Church to retreat into isolation from the “sinful” world. That is, he condemned dialogue with the secular government and other religions and confessions, as well as active missionary activity amongst the youth culture. At its session on Friday, the Archpastoral Council called Bishop Diomid to immediately repent and cease his anti-church activity. They stipulated that he must repent before the next regularly-scheduled session of the Holy Synod. The normal summer session of this body is usually held in the middle of July on the feastday of St Sergei of Radonezh. If Bishop Diomid fails to repent during this period, the decision of the Archpastoral Council shall come into full effect, that is, Vladyki Diomid shall be officially and definitively deposed from his episcopal office.

29 June 2008




Russia Signals Determination to Freeze High Technology Ties with the Ukraine If It Persists With NATO Bid

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

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Kiev that if Ukraine joins NATO, Moscow shall freeze bilateral high tech and military ties. The announcement was made in the wake of Mr Putin’s meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Timoshenko in Moscow on Saturday. Any country’s military-industrial complex (MIC) is designed to produce arms according to NATO standards. I am sure that, irrespective of our stance toward Kiev’s bid for NATO membership, many Ukrainian MIC plants will hardly be able meet these standards. In this sense, we are ready to boost bilateral partnership, all the more so that in the past few years, Russia has entered the world market in terms of producing very advanced weaponry complying with NATO standards. But, as to sensitive and exclusive sectors, including high tech and missile equipment, we shall produce them solely on Russian territory”.

Mr Putin also stressed that any expansion of NATO would be counterproductive in providing international security. “It does not prevent any fresh threats, instead, it creates even more dividing lines”, Mr Putin indicated. The Moscow meeting was held within the framework of an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, which stipulates the creation of as many as 11 priority areas. The two also focused on the thorny issue of the future of the Crimea-based Russian Black Sea Fleet with Mrs Timoshenko assuring Mr Putin that her country will stick to a relevant agreement until it expires in 2017.

Dwelling on the sticky issue of natural gas supplies, Mr Putin warned against politicising the problem. He praised the fact that Ukrainian consumers had at last managed to pay all their current debts to Russian gas suppliers. Speaking of long-term contracts on supplying transit gas to Ukraine, Mr Putin said that the sides are currently in talks on the matter and the issue is yet to be resolved. Russia calls for a step-by-step shift to European gas prices for the Ukraine, a move that clearly angers Moscow’s Central Asian partners, who plan to increase the tariffs as soon as at the beginning of next year.

29 June 2008

Yelena Studneva


The West Should Start Treating Russia as an Equal

Filed under: diplomacy,international organisations,NATO,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

The West should start treating Russia as an equal, Aleksei Arbatov, a leading Russian political analyst, said. Asked to name the biggest threats to Russia’s national security these days, Mr Arbatov who is also a corresponding member of the Russian Academy and Sciences and the director of the Centre for Security Studies in Moscow, said, “The biggest external threat Russia is facing right now is the possible return of the Cold War in this or that form… I do hope this won’t happen, even though relations between Russia and the United States and NATO in general are at a 25-year-low now… As an expert on this matter, I’m positive that relations between us have never been so bad ever since the American’s deployed their Pershing missiles in Europe in 1983…

We are both responsible for what happened, but, I still believe the West bears a greater responsibly for this downturn… When in the 1990s Russia was living through a hard-hitting systemic crisis, it kept giving ground on just about everything and was letting others look down on it, and some people in the West though this would never change. When things began to change, and faster than anyone could guess, they started crying foul about our intransigence, big power ambitions, and traditional disdain for a civilised way of life… That’s what I blame the West for. Many of the problems we now have with the West are because we say we do not want our relations to be the way they were during the 1990s. What are they blaming us for? Because was want to have a long-term and equitable partnership with the US and NATO in nuclear non-proliferation and missile defence?”

Mr Arbatov puts the blame for the current cool squarely at the West’s doorstep. “To change the situation for the better they need to start regarding Russia as an equal partner and stop forcing on us all kinds of solutions we simply refuse to buy”, Mr Arbatov said.

29 June 2008

Vyacheslav Solovyov


Western Discussion of Democracy in Russia: Fair and Unfair

Filed under: diplomacy,international organisations,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, held debates on democracy and came out with lists of violations to rebuke many European countries, including Russia. Political analyst Sergei Markov feels western discussion of democracy in Russia can be split into two parts, the fair and unfair ones. President Dmitri Medvedev recently spoke on the subject in most unambiguous terms. Sometimes, the point of criticisms levelled at Moscow for violations of “democracy” is to lever preferences from Russia, whether it is a cheaper price for fuels, or agreement to a deployment of the US ABM system in Europe, or agreement to Kosovo’s independence etc. Moscow is offered a kind of a bargain, namely, if this country makes geopolitical and geo-economic concessions to the West, the West will shut its eyes to the drawbacks of Russian democracy. But, Russia is by no means interested in the plan, since it is not about to trade in democracy. However, a fair discussion of the problems of democracy, which all European countries are faced with, is an altogether different thing. Mr Markov feels it is precisely this kind of discussion that the PACE has launched.

“The discussion that’s under way at the PACE”, Mr Markov said, is rather fair and frank. In the framework of a fair discussion, Russia is not portrayed as some uniquely anti-democratic country. Russia is just one of a number of generally-democratic nations that have some problems related to democracy. In some ways, Russia happens to form part of those who excel in democracy, specifically concerning the rights of national minorities. Russia has guaranteed such rights a lot better than other countries”.

Some of the democracy-related claims to Russia are the following:

  • insufficient freedom of mass media
  • insufficient independence of the judiciary
  • the so-called imperative mandate provision in the Russian electoral law

The last mentioned means that if an MP has been elected to Parliament as part of a particular party’s election list, they cannot desert to another faction on obtaining their mandate. The PACE wishes for a cancellation of this provision in the Russian, Ukrainian, and Serbian legislations. But, the PACE not only criticised, but, also, commended Russia, also for democracy-related moves. Terry Davis, the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, said he welcomed Moscow’s decision to abrogate the visa régime for so-called “non-citizens” from the Baltic countries. Mr Davis even voiced hope that other countries will follow Russia’s commendable example. You may remember that President Medvedev signed a decree on the 17th of this month whereby those making their home in Latvia and Estonia, but, without citizenship, are from now on welcome to enter Russia visa-free. By the way, officials in Riga are very disgruntled with the decision.

28 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


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