Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I have just seen insanity on TV…

Filed under: diplomacy,George W. Bush,military,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

George Bush is an affront to the memory of the brave Americans who died in the coalition against Hitler. How low have we fallen? God preserve us in the coming days.

I am listening to absolute mendacious and false reporting on CBS at present. The murderer Saakashvili is lying to the world, and CBS is not giving an opportunity for Russia to respond. There is no doubt Saakashvili is a murderer, as he ordered deliberate artillery strikes on the residential districts of Tskhinvali. 2,000 civilians lie dead in the ruins of the city, and it is the direct result of the orders of Mikhail Saakashvili.

He is only sorry that his offensive failed. It is clear from the Russian actions that they were caught unawares, but, they reacted quickly to a fast-breaking situation. The 58th Army is permanently-based in Vladikavkaz, which is near the war zone, so, its fast reaction is not surprising. The force used was not disproportionate, as only two division-equivalents were used in both Ossetia and Abkhazia (a division-sized battle group in each sector). The speed of the Russian victory was due to the incompetence, low morale, and corruption endemic in the Georgian forces.

Furthermore, the Russian forces have not violated the ceasefire agreement negotiated by President Sarkozy. Russian forces have the right to ensure that Georgia is not in a position to threaten the people of South Ossetia again. The munitions dumps in Gori were a direct threat to the area, so, the Russian action to destroy them was within the mandate of the agreement.

As for Georgia being a democracy… well, that is so incredible that I cannot believe that anyone can believe such an outrageous lie. Saakashvili merely knows what buttons to push in the western media. As for Russia being “isolated”, repeat after me… GAZPROM. Western Europe needs Russian-supplied energy, and it is not going to queer relations with Russia at Washington’s diktat.

Bush is beating the war drums… with nothing to back it up, and Russia knows it. Mr Lavrov has already called him a liar (when a diplomat uses the word “untrue”, he is calling you a liar), and there has been no reaction from either Mr Medvedev or Mr Putin. Bush is playing chicken with a foe that is capable of defeating him. What shall happen if Washington’s surrogate is turned out of office by his own people? What shall happen if an American adviser is killed by the Russians?

We are in a dangerous position. Bush and Rice are still playing with matches. God willing, we shall pass through this, but, sinful-ginful humanity being what it is, we shall all have to hold our breath for the next 48 hours.

Bush is playing at war with a serious foe… Russia is not Afghanistan, Serbia, or Iraq. Bush is acting like Galtieri at the time of the Falklands War, and our deepening economic woes are tempting him to grasp for a “foreign victory”. I hope that this is not our “bridge too far”. If any American boy dies as a result of this, it is on the head of George W Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

Bozhe, spasi i sokhrani nas.

Vara Drezhlo

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Albany NY


Ukrainian Schismatics Return To Canonical Unity in the Moscow Patriarchate


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church/Moscow Patriarchate (UOC/MP) believed that the visit of the Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias to the Ukraine late last month promoted church unity. A proof of this was the repentance of some schismatics and their return to canonical Orthodoxy. On 12 August, the whole Ss Joachim and Anna community of the self-proclaimed “Patriarchate of Kiev” returned to Orthodox unity with the MP. Representatives of the MP and the UOC/MP believe that this is just the beginning. The festivities celebrating the 1,020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia showed that the policy of the Ukrainian government aimed at driving a wedge between the UOC/MP and the MP and creating an “autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church” was futile. As is well-known, recently, the Ukrainian political establishment was making all sorts of efforts to disassociate the Ukraine from Russia not only politically and economically, but, also in the religious sphere. The Ukrainian church was on the verge of a schism. Believers are divided into three groups, the self-proclaimed “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” and “Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Kiev)”, both of which are uncanonical, and the UOC/MP, which is the only one of the three to be canonical and recognised by the other Local Orthodox Churches. Fr Kirill, a spokesman for the UOC/MP, said that the Ukrainian government, led by President Viktor Yushchenko, pinned great hopes on the creation of an independent Ukrainian Church with the help of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Fr Kirill said, “The Ukrainian government had the intention of using the jubilee festivities to have the uncanonical bodies regularised [by the EP]. We were concerned that church problems and the church schism in the Ukraine were discussed bilaterally by some political and church groups, that is, they conducted separatist talks. There were bilateral contacts between the EP and the Ukrainian government, the EP and representatives of schismatic groups, and the representatives of schismatic groups and Ukrainian government officials. Yet, the plans of Ukrainian government officials were fruitless. Patriarch Bartholomew refused to recognise the Ukrainian schismatics, saying that only a united church could be strong and set an exemplar for all other Christians. The arrival of Patriarch Aleksei in the Ukraine shattered the belief that the schismatic groups were viable bodies, for hordes of believers came to greet ‘their Patriarch Aleksei’. This return of a schismatic group to the Orthodox Church was just a natural thing. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will spare no effort in its efforts to remain within Russian Orthodoxy, so it can overcome the church schism in the Ukraine as soon as possible”.

13 August 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

It is highly significant that this event is taking place at this particular time. The schismatic groups are favoured by Yushchenko, indeed, he is a member of one of these bodies (therefore, he is not Orthodox, in the fullest sense of the word). If a group leaves the UOC (KP) for the canonical church, this means that it is consciously leaving a body with government backing and blessing, and going to a body that is opposed and oppressed by the Orangies.

Of course, this is related to the events unfolding in Ossetia. Most of the population in the Ukraine are Russophones (only 23 percent of the “Ukrainian” population speaks the dialect known as “Ukrainian” as their main language), and Yushchenko’s loud support for the Saakashvili junta is probably resonating badly in the Ukraine, especially in the eastern portion and in the south (especially the Crimea). Yushchenko has not condemned the genocide of the Ossetians and looks as though he is going to support NATO. This shall be his political death sentence. 70 percent of the Ukrainian population opposes NATO in any form, and if American forces were to cross Ukrainian territory, it would cause riots and civil disturbances.

This is actually a political action. It is saying that this group is breaking allegiance with the extreme Galician Uniate nationalism of the Orangies. Do not minimise such an action. These people are knowingly embracing a body not in favour with the Orange junta in Kiev. What do they know? Or, rather, what do they see in the current events? There is no doubt that not only do most people in this sickly successor state see the imminent end of the Orange junta, they are seeing a return of the Russian state as not only possible, but probable. The Russian tanks would be welcomed everywhere, perhaps even Galicia! Just because it is the stronghold of Uniate fanaticism does not mean that the majority of the population supports it! For instance, the present commander of the Russian navy, Admiral Vysotsky, is from Lvov oblast, and he is a patriotic Russian (as are many, if not most, of his compatriots in Lvov!).

This is an omen of the future, and it is good. Russia is on the march, and it is gathering her scattered children. The most battered bezprizornik is the Ukraine, and it seems that there is much support there for a “realignment” of the border. May it happen soon, God willing.



South Ossetia: This Wicked, Dirty, Bitter War…

Filed under: military,politics,Russian,war and conflict — 01varvara @ 00.00

Ossetian civilians fleeing Georgian bombardment

It is evening of 7 August. The South Ossetian capital is quiet. After so much shelling and endless gunfire it feels like the silence can be smelled and breathed. A deep breath fills the lungs, and straightens your insides crumpled in the fist of war like the cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack. I breathe in the calm. The silence is only broken by mice stirring somewhere between the ceiling and the garret. It is hard to believe that anyone can go about one’s daily chores at such a time. The rodents up there are busily moving things, rolling from place to place as if they know that several hours ago the Georgian president promised not to shell the Ossetian capital any more. If there is to be no shelling you can go back to your daily chores.

However, the rodents and I have only five more minutes to attend to our household chores. At 22.05, the “mice” play comes to an end: Mikhail Saakashvili breaks his word. Rockets and shells rain on the city, shaking the walls and windows. It is as if every blast chips away parts of the sky and hurls them against the window. Along with several other people we rush to the basement of the house in Stalin Street (now probably destroyed) in the centre of Tskhinvali. We are dressed in what the raid caught us in, slippers, bathrobes, and shorts… Many had already gone to bed when the Georgian shells started raining on the city and all the agreements and promises flew away with the chunks of house foundations and twisted metal that used to be cars. “Ma tars, ma tars…” (Ossetian: “Don’t be afraid”), a mother calms her son Batradz. The boy, aged about 8, has buried has head in his mother’s lap and, jolting with every explosion, asks her, “Mum, why are they shooting, don’t they know that the Olympics start tomorrow? Why doesn’t anyone tell them that there should be no fighting during the Olympics?”

At around 23.00 the lights go out in the basement where we are hiding, like in the whole of Tskhinvali. Your senses become sharper when it is pitch-dark. Like a blind man you distinguish the slightest shades of sounds, which immediately translate themselves into pictures before your mind’s eye. Up on the surface, the black night sky is illuminated by the white flare of exploding shells, momentarily making it look like a huge photograph negative. Splinters whiz by like bumblebees flying close to the ground. Bullets emit a strange whistle as if somebody has shaped his lips to whistle but instead just breathes air in. The gun of an armoured vehicle goes “ta-ta-ta… ta-ta-ta”. “Iratta razma!” (“Come on”), a focused, almost businesslike voice comes from the street. Quick steps of six pairs of military boots on broken glass and splinters of brick and plaster. “Ma tars, Batradz. Ma tars,” the mother’s words are drowned out by the deafening echo of a shell which blasts a neighbouring block of flats to smithereens. It is as if somebody banged a heavy door close to your ear. Pieces of concrete fall from the basement ceiling…

But, even the howitzers in nearby Ergneti and Nikozi do not sound as terrifying as the salvos of the Georgian Grad (Hail) artillery rockets fired from much further away, in Gori. As the rockets zero in on the target, they emit a sound like a flame on gigantic arrows with burning tips. The Grads are fired at random so that the clouds of “arrows” fall on the roofs of Tskhinvali’s peaceful houses. As the shelling goes on, people get ready to spend the night in the basement.

…The morning of 8 August, 05.00. The bombardment of the city from Georgian positions is in its seventh hour. My cell-phone shows me that the battery is about to die, leaving me with no communications. I ring the editorial office in Moscow to say that communications are about to be cut because I have nowhere to recharge my cell phone. The battery in my phone is dead by 09.00. It is already light in Tskhinvali. Remembering the great rule that “in war he who runs survives”, I leave the basement to move to another place. I run along hugging a wall, my head drawn into my shoulders. Bullets and fragments hit the road raising little fountains of dust. In the city, Georgian commandos and Ossetian fighters are exchanging fire. I hear the Ossetian OMON fighters shouting: “Come on, quick! A ‘box’ (armoured vehicle: A.Ts.) is stuck on Hetagurova Street”.

Insensible to fatigue, I’m running very fast and turn the corner. “Bang!” I fall on my stomach after being hit in my ears and eyes. Clouds of dust rise over the ground, approaching my feet. They are caused by a grenade that exploded five meters away. I get up and run, spitting out dust. Moving in my direction on the other side of the street are four Ossetian fighters. One of them reloads his automatic rifle as he runs. The oldest looks no more than 23. A few more steps and I dive into the entrance of a five-storey block of flats. I see silhouettes of men in the doorway. Women and children are taking shelter in the basement beneath the staircase. I hear muted weeping from below. “How long will the bombing last? Let us raise our hands and surrender before they have killed us all. It looks like Russia has forgotten us”, a tired woman’s voice is heard from the basement. Surrounded by old people, women and children you cannot help feeling guilty. A young man’s place now is in the war, defending his people; he has no place among the elderly and the children.

There are about twenty people in the basement and hardly anyone dares to go up. Only an old man, Inal, a former peacekeeper who saw action in 1992, calmly strolls the street opposite the entrance while the shelling is still on. “F— the war, exercise is the main thing”, the veteran mumbles as two Ossetian policemen carry a fighter with arm and leg wounds towards the entrance. …The wounded man has glazed eyes over which his long lashes flutter like the wings of a butterfly. He is dazed by pain. His fatigues are pierced in two places, and red arterial blood is streaming down his left hip. The fighter is carried into the entrance. A stocky policeman slings the rifle from his shoulder with a practiced movement and unwinds a bandage wound around the stock to twist a tourniquet. Someone has brought ammonium chloride. “Shai ho, kuyzh kuylyhai na maly” (“OK, a dog doesn’t die from lameness”), the policeman tells the fighter, who clenches his teeth in pain. That is the Ossetian equivalent of the Russian proverb “it will heal by the time you have your wedding”. The stocky South Ossetian policeman rubs the wounded man’s chest and face after dipping his huge work-beaten hands into a bucket of cold water. “OK, we have to go”, the policeman says grabbing the wounded man under his armpit.

“Where’ya from?” the old man Inal asks me. “I’m a journalist from Moscow”, I reply. “Let’s go and have a bite”, the former peacekeeper says in a voice hoarse from smoking. “War or no war, you gotta eat”… “The Russians’ll come today, they’ll help us”, says Inal setting fire to a piece of dry spirit which he puts on a gas stove, “I wish they would strike Gori and Tbilisi, I want nothing more. Georgian tanks are already in town, it’ll be hard without the Russians”, the former peacekeeper says, sipping the freshly made coffee. The best I can do is to keep silent. However, our silence is broken by two Georgian Su-25 planes. One of them opens fire on the house where we are, just for kicks. Inal and I hasten to the basement. Once again, damp darkness. There is a small hole where the pipes run through the wall. It faces south to where the Georgian commandos are advancing. Putting your head in the hole is dangerous: bullets come through the hole and hit the concrete basement ceiling with a hollow sound.

I catch myself thinking that my whole short life, the efforts of my grandparents who brought me up, my universities, and the clever books I have read, all this was but preparation for this moment when shells explode over your head, you instinctively draw your head into your shoulders, and sweat streaks down your spine. It looks as if death is nearby and it smells of dampness and the dryness of your lips. Now, when the planes make another dive to fire on you, and you know that they will fire on you as the roar of the engines approaches, you feel that it may be your last day. This is not fear, but, rather grief over what you might have said and done. Suddenly, the planes stop bombing and fly south towards Georgia. What’s happening? Within seconds, a deafening chorus of a thousand voices shouting “Ura!” comes from the street. A crowd is welcoming a column of Russian armoured vehicles that have entered Tskhinvali. “Ura-a-a! You’ve come, boys,” Inal shouts. “Now, we’ll show ‘em!”

I run into the street, the roar of Russian armour is heard nearby. The Russian soldiers are driving the Georgian troops out of Tskhinvali. A man, his eyes bulging with horror, runs up to me. “Help me. What shall I do? I am Georgian, I worked here in Tskhinvali. I am a worker, where shall I go?” he shouts in broken Russian. “Run”, I tell him, and again wonder at the wickedness of war in which innocent civilians are the first to suffer. The clock shows 15.00.

At 19.00, when the shooting and shell blasts subside and the bursts of machinegun fire are petering out, I leave Tskhinvali, engulfed in flames and sorrow. The Russian troops have driven the Georgians out of the city, but, this is not yet the end of the war. There are still civilians in the city. Tskhinvali is still in the grip of the dirty hands of war. A war unleashed without warning under the cover of night. A war whose victims were and will always be civilians. A war that seizes your soul and rubs it between its bloody palms like the cellophane wrapper of a cigarette pack.

13 August 2008

Alan Tsorion



Lavrov Slams Bush Statement on South Ossetia

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (1950- ), takes GWB out to the woodshed yet again

Foreign Minister Lavrov criticised on Wednesday comments made by the US president on the fighting in South Ossetia as being based on unverified reports. Mr Lavrov also said Washington has to choose between cooperation with Russia and Georgian leaders who he described as a “virtual project” for the United States.

President George W. Bush said on Wednesday Russia must observe a ceasefire in the province and said he would send military aircraft and naval vessels with humanitarian aid to Georgia. Mr Bush also said he was alarmed by reports that Russia had blocked Georgia’s Black Sea port of Poti. “I listened to George Bush’s statement … and was surprised … the facts he cited are untrue”, Mr Lavrov said, echoing earlier denials by Russian officials that Russian troops were not advancing on Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. “We understand that the US is concerned about the fate of this project, but, the United States will have to choose between defending its prestige over a virtual project or a real partnership that requires joint action,” the minister said

But, what Bush failed to mention, Mr Lavrov said, was the arming of Georgia in recent years, including by the US, which also trained Georgian troops. He said Moscow had warned Washington that it was “a dangerous game. No mention was made about what happened on 8 August, when Western leaders fell silent while Tskhinvali was shelled and bombed”, Mr Lavrov said. He said “the Western political elite only got excited, when Russia made the decision not to abandon its peacekeepers and to prevent ethnic cleansing, sending reinforcements to carry out an operation to force Georgia to accept peace. There was also no mention of our efforts in recent years to broker a ceasefire deal between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi”.

13 August 2008



Editor’s Note:

Yes… where was George Bush’s voice on 8 August? He was silent. He does not care how many Ossetians die as long as he gets his childish way. Mr Lavrov, in diplomatese, called him a liar outright. This is unusual in international relations. Sergei Lavrov takes GWB out to the woodshed in public, again. Mr Bush has dragged America through the muck for seven years. Thankfully, he cannot run again. Shall he disgrace this country before he leaves office? I pray that he does not.


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