Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Facts about Christmas Eve


The Soul of the Russian People (Mikhail Nesterov, 1916)

This day is full of intensive preparations for the holiday of Christmas; it is the eve of that great holiday, which begins on 7 January for Orthodox Christians. According to the strict letter of the rules, until the first star appears in the sky, the faithful abstain from food, and you can eat sochivo, a rice or wheat kutia with honey, only when the evening arrives. The forty days of the Christmas Lent, with its intensified prayer, prepares Orthodox people for this great celebration.

However, the ancient Christians did not celebrate this holiday, for the feast of Easter Sunday took the place of Christmas. By the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries AD, Christians began to celebrate Christmas and the baptism of the Saviour together on one day, 6 January on the Julian calendar. By the way, this tradition is preserved by the Armenian Apostolic Church. Only in the middle of the fourth century AD was the celebration of Christmas separated from the feast of the baptism of the Saviour and it was celebrated by the Roman Church on 25 December on the Julian calendar.

Precisely on the night before Christmas, according to popular belief, the world was dominated by two forces… one good, and the other, evil. What side people joined, gave rise to signs. On the one hand, there were those who sang kolyadki and celebrated the birth of Christ at their holiday tables, but, on the other hand, there were those who collected for the witches’ Sabbath. On this night, revellers walked through the villages, disguised in costumes and animal masks. They called on the masters of the houses to open up their doors and not to be stingy.

There were also old peasant beliefs connected with the holiday period. “If there is snowy weather on Christmas Eve, the harvest will bring us much bread”. It was believed that snowfall on the day before Christmas was a sure sign of prosperity for the household in the coming year. If there was frost on that day, the family would enjoy peace and happiness. Of course, the omens and the beliefs were only an “echo” of older pagan celebrations and traditions that have no relationship to the heart of this great Christian holiday.

“The festival of the Nativity of Christ is one of the days when we, with the greatest depth and happiness, encounter God. Prior to this solemn and marvellous day, the world and God were separated by sin, and man, however much he longed to encounter God, could not do so through his own exertions. God, in His immeasurable love, in His mercy, became a man. He effaced the line that divided fallen mankind from eternal life and eternal joy”, in the words of one of the sermons of the late Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Christmas Eve begins the Syatki (Holy Days), two weeks of winter holidays that continue until the Epiphany, which the Orthodox Church celebrates on 19 January.

6 January 2009




Gazprom said that Europe is a Hostage to the Reckless Behaviour of the Ukraine

Filed under: diplomacy,economy,EU,politics,Russian,the Ukraine,Vladimir Putin — 01varvara @ 00.00


Architectural rendering of the projected Gazprom headquarters complex in St Petersburg. The centrepiece is a 396-metre-high tower.

Europe is now a hostage to the reckless behaviour of the Ukraine, a first deputy CEO of the Russian energy giant Gazprom said Tuesday. “We face an undisguised theft of Russian gas by the Ukraine”, Aleksandr Medvedev told journalists, adding that an independent international company, SGS, registered the theft. “We are forced to use such terms as ‘gas theft’, as these facts were registered by an independent international company. Despite efforts by the Ukraine to prevent specialists from gaining access to its gas measuring stations, measurements of incoming and outgoing gas [volumes] led us to this conclusion”, he said.

Mr Medvedev said the Ukraine must observe the Russian gas transit contract, which is valid for three more years. “There are no grounds for revision of the transit contract. There is only one way out, the lacking contracts on gas deliveries should be signed and the Ukraine should ensure transit. We are always ready to continue talks day and night. But, even in this crisis situation, we don’t see a desire on the part of the Ukrainian side to return to the negotiating table”, Mr Medvedev said.

Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on 1 January after last-ditch talks with Kiev on a new deal for 2009 and debt repayments failed late on New Year’s Eve. Around 80 percent of Russia’s gas exports to Europe pass through the Ukraine. Gazprom accused Naftogaz of tapping Russian gas, which the Ukraine denied, blaming Russia for creating the shortfall by deliberately cutting deliveries to Europe. Mr Medvedev also said he assesses the situation concerning gas supplies to Europe as a very serious problem. “We have completely exhausted the potential of alternative deliveries… but, today, we are unable to compensate for the gas stolen by the Ukraine… This causes the most concern”, he told reporters in Berlin.

With the Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia from 2008 unresolved and no contract agreed for 2009 deliveries, the issue of Russian gas flowing through Ukrainian pipes to European consumers further west became contentious. Mr Medvedev said the Ukraine shut down three of four pipelines that export Russian gas to Europe. Deliveries of Russian gas via the Ukraine to Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, and Bosnia have been halted. Supplies to Italy, Poland, France, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Slovenia were severely disrupted. Gazprom said it would pump more gas through alternative routes via Belarus and Turkey to ensure European supplies were not affected.

The dispute between Moscow and Kiev has reawakened concerns in Europe about the reliability of Russia as a supplier. The 2006 gas row between the two former Soviet states resulted in a brief cut-off in supplies to the Ukraine. When shortages were reported in some Eastern European countries, Russia accused the Ukraine of siphoning off Europe-bound gas. Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Tuesday that talks with European partners on Russian gas deliveries to Europe will be held in Brussels on 8 January. Mr Miller told Mr Putin that Ukraine steals about 15 percent of Russian gas routed through Ukrainian pipelines. “The volume of Russian gas stolen by the Ukraine is increasing every hour. According to the latest data, the Ukraine steals about 15 percent of the gas fed to the Russian-Ukrainian border”, he said.

6 January 2009



Editor’s Note:

This is nothing but common thievery on the part of the Galician Uniate nationalists. Given their past, seeing that convicted criminals such as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich founded this bandit movement, and their documented collaboration with the Nazis in World War II (then, they turned on the Nazis when they were losing, great friends, weren’t they?), this means that all decent people must condemn this evil movement in the strongest terms.

I caution all those in Canada to be careful when they criticise these louts. The Galician nationalists use the draconian “hate speech” laws there to silence their opponents. Be careful. Be especially wary in the prairie provinces, because of the political clout of the Uniates. Right does not matter there, unfortunately.

Crime is crime, and we must call things by their proper names. How long must the peoples of the Ukraine suffer the misrule of this thuggish kleptocracy? May it be a part of the Greater Russian motherland again, and swiftly, for the good of the region, its people, and for the world at large.


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