Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

From Munich to Kosovo

Bomb damage in Belgrade after the neocon-inspired war of 1999. This is how the Bushes and Clinton exported “democracy”

The 70th anniversary of the Munich agreement, reached on 30 September 1938, opens what will doubtless now be many years of formal reminiscence about the Second World War. As the events of the 1930s and 1940s recede in time, indeed, the shadows they cast over the present seem to grow ever longer. Contemporary politics is now guided by only a single (and negative) moral lodestar, the black hole of Nazism.  The memory of Munich is therefore very important. The agreement between Britain, France, and Fascist Italy to allow Nazi Germany to annex the Sudetenland (the Western, German-inhabited, parts of Czechoslovakia) was the fruit of that policy known as appeasement by which London and Paris tried to mollify Hitler. The failure of this policy became spectacularly obvious when Hitler occupied all of the Czech lands in March 1939 and then attacked Poland on 1 September 1939.

As a result, Munich stands as a symbol for shameful capitulation towards aggression. Faced with the threat of the use of force by Hitler, the Western powers agreed to destroy the very state they had themselves created at Versailles only twenty years previously. Czechoslovakia’s immediate neighbours behaved no better, Poland, which later succeeded in presenting itself as the supreme victim of World War II, annexed the territory around Tešin, while Hungary occupied parts of Southern and Eastern Slovakia. Munich is therefore frequently invoked, especially by American neo-conservatives, in justification of contemporary wars that, they say, are also responses to aggression. Whether it is with respect to the Yugoslavia of Slobodan Milosevic in 1999, the Iraq of Saddam Hussein in 2003, or almost any country or situation in the world, the mantra is that the mistakes of 1938 must never be repeated.

How strange, therefore, that in the 70th anniversary year of Munich, the Western powers have indeed precisely repeated it. In February 2008, in the face of the threat of the use of force by Albanian separatists in Serbia, the United States, and the European Union recognised the independence of Kosovo. They had in fact strongly encouraged the original proclamation of independence, and indeed the use of force itself to the extent that they attacked Yugoslavia in 1999 in support of the Albanian cause. They thereby unilaterally destroyed the territorial integrity of Serbia, just as the integrity of Czechoslovakia was destroyed 70 years ago. The EU then immediately dispatched a 2,000 strong team of administrators to run the province, which in any case is already home to a massive United States military base housing thousands of GIs. To that extent, the “independence” of Kosovo resembles the bogus “independence” of Slovakia under the puppet regime of Monsignor Tiso, which Hitler encouraged Rev Tiso to proclaim in March 1939 and which he used as a pretext for the simultaneous German occupation of the Czech lands.

Both recognitions destroyed the governments of the countries affected. In 1938, Munich led to the immediate collapse of the patriotic government of President Edvard Beneš; in 2008, the recognition of Kosovo immediately destroyed the government of Vojislav Koštunica, the very man the West hailed as a great democrat in 2000 when he toppled Slobodan Milošević from power. In Prague in 1938, a collaborationist government took power under Emil Hácha, who promised to try to protect Czechoslovakia’s position in the New European Order that was then emerging (many of his ministers were convicted as war criminals in 1946).  In 2008, the new Belgrade government under the leadership of the Democratic Party President, Boris Tadić, has similarly confirmed that Serbia’s “principal strategic goal” is to become a member of the European Union, the same organisation which now illegally administers Kosovo. (The EU administration is illegal because United Nations Security Council 1244, passed in the aftermath of the NATO attack on Yugoslavia, reaffirmed that Kosovo is part of Serbia and that it is administered by the UN; its existence emphasises that the so-called “independence” of Kosovo is, in reality, a kind of annexation.)

The parallel even extends to the last-ditch attempts made respectively by Prague and Belgrade to hold on to their territories. President Beneš negotiated with Konrad Henlein, the Sudeten German leader, and promised both substantial autonomy for the German-inhabited parts of the country and a cabinet post for Herr Henlein himself. The government of Vojislav Koštunica was prepared to give so much autonomy to Kosovo that the province would have been freer in Serbia than it now is as a US-EU protectorate. In both 1938 and 2008, more importantly, the domestic negotiations then under way were deliberately wrecked by outside intervention. Hitler’s occupation of the Czech lands in March 1939, on the basis that the “artificial state” of Czechoslovakia had collapsed and that Germany needed to preserve peace and stability, then invoked exactly the same logic as the Western interventions in the former Yugoslavia today.

It is obvious that the EU and the US, unlike Nazi Germany, do not secretly harbour any plans for wholesale genocide. The evil they have perpetrated is therefore not in the same league as Hitler’s. But, it is evil nonetheless, in particular, because it represents a unilateral abrogation, backed by military force, of international laws (general principles of law as well as UN Security Council resolutions) to which these powers have themselves signed up. It is here that the similarity with Munich is strongest. As for the consequences of the Kosovo recognition, it appears, also like Munich, to have started a dangerous ball rolling in the Caucasus. It must be our fervent hope that the parallels stop now.

1 October 2008

John Laughland

Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris




The Murder of the Romanovs: The Presidium of the RF Supreme Court to Decide Whether to Rehabilitate the Family of the Last Russian Tsar

Memorial Church of the Spas-na-Krovi (the Saviour-on-the-Spilled-Blood), Yekaterinburg

Today, a session of the Presidium of the RF Supreme Court is going to examine the case for the rehabilitation of the royal family. The question of the legal rehabilitation of the murdered members of the royal family, who are already considered New Martyrs and Passionbearers by the Orthodox Church, was raised in a particularly pointed manner this year. Yekaterinburg, the site of the tragic occurrence, was the venue for the “Tsarist Days”, an event marking the 90th anniversary of their deaths. Both clergy of the church and representatives of the House of Romanov expressed the necessity of the legal rehabilitation [of Nikolai II and his family].

At the end of 2007, a panel of the RF Supreme Court issued a preliminary determination that no repressive measures were carried out against the royal family on the part of the Soviet state, and that their rights and freedom were not infringed by it. As a result, Nikolai II and his family were not subjects eligible for rehabilitation. It was decided that their murder was a result of local and particular capriciousness. This was not acceptable to the House of Romanov. Grand Princess Maria Vladimirovna (the so-called “pretender to the throne”: editor’s note) filed a complaint to the RF Supreme Court requesting that the verdict be set aside and that the matter be subjected to a new examination. German Lukyanov, the attorney for the House of Romanov, noted, “The judges of the Supreme Court, after studying the brief of the complainant, Grand Princess [Maria Vladimirovna], found that the complaint was substantiated and transferred the examination of the brief to the Presidium of the RF Supreme Court”.

The moral judgement of these long-past events has already been given, but, it was impossible to leave them without a legal conclusion. To hide behind a juridical smoke-screen by saying that there were no orders from the highest levels concerning the shooting of the royal family was impossible, given that a formal brief was filed. Nikolai II and his family were killed on the basis of a decree of the Ural Soviet, which was, after all, a component part of the Soviet régime. In this situation, to claim that there are no grounds for legal rehabilitation indirectly says that the royal family did not meet their deaths as a result of political repression.

The facts are well-known… they differ from such juridical opinions.

1 October 2008

Yelena Yakovleva

Rossiskaya Gazeta (The Russian Newspaper)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion


Russian Human Rights Advocate Welcomes the Rehabilitation of the Last Tsar and His Family

Filed under: history,martyrs,politics,Revolution/Civil War,Romanovs,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Memorial Church of the Spas-na-Krovi (the Saviour-on-the-Spilled-Blood) as seen at sunset against the skyline of Yekaterinburg

Now, that the last tsar and his family are officially recognised as victims of political repression, it is necessary to rehabilitate the White movement and to remove the symbols of the “Red Terror”, Arseny Roginsky, the head of the human rights organisation “Memorial”, said to Interfax on Wednesday. “This is very good news and an eminently just decision. I have waited for this for many years. Finally, right has triumphed over shallow political expediency”, he said in comments on the verdict of the Presidium of the RF Supreme Court rehabilitating Tsar Nikolai II and his family. “Let’s face it; the reason for the rejection of the rehabilitation of Nikolai II over the past several years was political manoeuvring. It is a victory for truth that the verdict [clearing the royal family] was issued”, Mr Roginsky said to us. In his opinion, the recognition of the royal family as victims of political repression clears the way for the rehabilitation of those members of the White movement who did not commit crimes against innocent civilians.  “We must accept the reality that this verdict is connected with a host of other matters that have great historical symbolism. Now, that Nikolai II is rehabilitated, is it not strange that the body of Vladimir Lenin remains on display in Red Square? I don’t think that we should defile his remains, but, isn’t it logical that we should bury him in the usual sort of grave?” Mr Roginsky concluded.

1 October 2008



Editor’s Note:

What is necessary for the health of Russia, both in the rodina and in the diaspora, is a healing of the wounds of the Civil War. White must bow to Red, and Red must bow to White, at one and the same time. President Putin had the right idea when he re-introduced the old Aleksandrov anthem (albeit with new words) in 2000. That brought many people together.

I believe that one of the vehicles for unity between “White” and “Red” is to contemplate the two Great Patriotic Wars, the first against Napoleon and the second against Hitler. In the first, although Moscow was lost, Russia rose up and led the coalition armies into Paris in 1814. In the second, the Fascists advanced to the suburbs of Moscow (they were occupying suburban stations of the electrichka line), but, Russia rose again, and the Russian Soviet army marched into Berlin. The same Great Russia won both victories. In the first, it secured the general peace for 100 years (not counting local conflicts). The second secured the peace for around 50 years, until the fall of the USSR sparked off the current round of American neocon warmongering.

As for the reburial of Lenin, reflect on the fact Vladimir Ilyich would not have wanted his body to be on public display. Bury him next to his mother, and show his remains no disrespect. That is not only Christian, it is decent and humane.

Russia crushed the head of Revolutionary France. Russia slew the Nazi Fascist beast. Shall it be necessary for Russia to lay the hedonist nihilistic neocons of the USA low? I hope not… the other victories were costly enough. May God give us peace… but, not at any price.


MP Hails the Rehabilitation of the Royal Family

Monument to the Royal Martyrs, at the Memorial Church of the Spas-na-Krovi (the Saviour-on-the-Spilled-Blood), Yekaterinburg

The Moscow Patriarchate hailed the rehabilitation of Tsar St Nikolai II and the members of his family. “We hail this decision, there is nothing more to say”, Fr Georgy Ryabykh, the press-secretary of the MP Department of External Church Relations, stated to our Interfax-Religion correspondent on Wednesday. He went on to say that the Church had repeatedly asked the state to take the steps necessary to condemn the murder of the royal family as a matter of historical justice. Fr Georgy emphatically noted, “I do not doubt that this verdict shall have far-reaching consequences for modern Russia. It strengthens the rule of law, it restores our historical continuity, and it re-establishes our ancient state traditions”.

1 October 2008



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