Voices from Russia

Friday, 9 January 2009

Metropolitan Kirill Urged that All Orthodox should Act as a United Family


Still from a scene from the Russian TV programme Gromovy (The Gromovs), a popular (and good!) show about a Russian family in the 70s

On the second day of the Christmas season, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, served liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin, after which he called on believers to keep the commandment concerning love of neighbour. “The Lord gave us the school of love. Sometimes, parents forget about their children, and growing children ignore their parents. Brothers forget their sisters”, Metropolitan Kirill said, who went on to say that this happens, in his opinion, because “we did not cultivate in ourselves the capacity to love. We are all relatives, brothers and sisters. This is as it should be. But, does this happen amongst us?” In his opinion, we can relate in many different ways with our relatives, but, in this sense, all believers should act as a single-minded and united family. Vladyki Kirill believes that it is the special responsibility of the clergy to preserve and multiply the love amongst us, and encouraged the clergy to do such, “so that people would not only be parishioners who come and go, but, the members of a single family”. According to our Interfax-Religion correspondent, after the service, Metropolitan Kirill venerated the icons and relics of the saints in the church, and blessed the many believers who filled the interior of the cathedral.

8 January 2009




Medvedev: Europeans must be made Aware that Ordinary Ukrainians Paid Double the Price Charged by Gazprom for Russian Gas


Aleksei Miller (1962- ), CEO of Gazprom

In the wake of his meeting with Aleksei Miller, the head of Gazprom, President Dmitri Medvedev said that Europeans must be made aware that Gazprom delivered gas to Ukraine at one price, but, ordinary Ukrainians had actually to pay double that price for Russian gas. Mr Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, informed President Medvedev about the lack of progress at the talks on gas deliveries to Ukraine. The dialogue resumed, but, it gives the impression that the Ukrainian negotiators have no mandate or no instructions on the level of 2009 prices and volumes of gas purchases. Asked by President Medvedev if Kiev came up with any suggestions, Mr Miller emphasised that the talks are going nowhere. The head of Gazprom stressed that the Ukraine is not prepared to sign a contract.

In his turn, Mr Medvedev directed Gazprom to cooperate with the Ukraine in the gas sector only after they sign all the necessary documents. In this case, he noted, “It is the only way to stop them from stealing gas”. He also emphasised, “Unfortunately, I do not trust the Ukrainian side”, and explained it by saying, “I would like to remind you that when we delivered gas to Ukrainian users at 179.50 dollars (5,232 roubles. 133.35 euros. 118.30 UK pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres last year, that same gas was sold to them at the price of 320 dollars (9,327 roubles. 237.72 euros. 210.91 UK pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres. The difference was pocketed by unknown parties, which, most probably, uphold the corrupt interests of others, and the money realised in such a way, in all probability, was used to attain certain political ends or to resolve someone’s personal problems. This is very upsetting. Our European colleagues should know about this”.

Bearing this in mind, and recalling the fact that the Ukraine rejected Russia’s previous proposal of a privileged gas price, Mr Medvedev declared that, in future, Russia would give no more preferences or gas discounts. He said, “The financial model for any future contract, which we shall use for all customers, should be based on universal regulators, including the fixing of prices. Therefore, in future, I believe, we should make use of no preferences; we should give no discounts to any states. The price should be the standard one, the same for Europeans and Ukrainians, without any preferences or discounts. Ukrainians should pay the price the Europeans are paying”. At present, the price of Russian natural gas in Europe is approximately 450 dollars (13,116 roubles. 334 euros. 296 UK pounds) per 1,000 cubic meters. This is the specific price currently being negotiated by Gazprom at talks with the Ukraine.

9 January 2009

Konstantin Garibov

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

As Alice said, things do get curiouser and curiouser. It appears that the Ukie nationalist extremists have beaten the record for bald-faced corruption, edging out such strong competitors as Boss Tweed, Dick Daley, Yassir Arafat, King Saud, and Robert Mugabe (reflect on the fact that Yushchenko’s wife comes from Chicago, the home of the Daley Machine). They negotiated a discount price from Gazprom, and then stuck the Big Green Weenie to the peoples of the Ukraine. Whenever you hear a loudmouth Galician Uniate nationalist shouting out their diatribes, reflect on the following. Since 1991, Russia has been selling not only natural gas, but other goods and services, to the Ukraine at knockdown discount prices. Where’s the gratitude?


If it were not for this effectual subsidy by Russia, the Ukrainian economy would have collapsed in ruins. In short, Russia has propped up this shaky and dodgy edifice. It is time for that to stop. The leadership of the Ukraine is comparable only to Enron, WorldCom, and Bernie Madoff in the depth of its corruption and deceit. Let this weak successor-state die naturally. The world will be no poorer; indeed, the suffering peoples of the Ukraine would be freed from misrule and kleptocracy. As for Yushchenko and his cronies… let them come to the West and sponge off their American sponsors instead of the Russians. I wonder how long it would take for them to wear out their welcome? Perspiring minds want to know!


Medvedev: Russia is Ready to Resume the Transportation of Natural Gas to Europe via Pipelines in the Ukraine


Aleksei Miller (1962- ), CEO of Gazprom (left) with President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ) (right) (Mr Medvedev was formerly the CEO of Gazprom before becoming President of the RF)

Meeting in Moscow Friday with Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller, President Dmitri Medvedev named the conditions under which this country would immediately resume the pumping of natural gas to Europe across the Ukraine. He said that in his latest phone conversation with President Viktor Yushchenko, he gave the main conditions as joint monitoring of the transit flow by Russia, the Ukraine, European corporate customers, and the EU, and the signing of a new agreement with Kiev. Mr Medvedev noted that he has no confidence whatsoever as to the good faith of the Ukrainian side.

He said, “I spoke with the Ukrainian president and passed on to him the six conditions under which the Russian Federation and Gazprom propose to use in working with the Ukraine. Part of the discussion dealt with the creation of a monitoring body. Many European leaders already approved this proposal. As a part of this monitoring body, there should not only be representatives from Russia and the Ukraine, there should also be members from European corporate customers, and governmental and expert observers from the EU. They should wield real powers and track the functioning of all parts of the supply chain including pipes and underground storage facilities with the requisite technical equipment.  Only monitoring can bring about transparency and expose who is stealing Russian natural gas”.

Why is there such difficulty in resolving the question concerning the creation of an international monitoring commission to oversee the delivery of Russian natural gas through pipelines on Ukrainian territory? Why did the Ukrainian side oppose, until today, the inclusion of Russian representatives on the commission controlling the flow of Russian natural gas? Mr Miller had a good idea why they acted in such a manner. “It creates the impression that a fear of exposure and economic loss, to put it mildly, is the main motive for opposing the creation of such a board. We know full well that the Ukraine has stolen Russian gas for quite some time. Indeed, it has gone on for many years, according to our sources in the Ukraine. Independent supervision of transit would force it to act in an honest and above-board manner. Not all would be happy on the Ukrainian side”.

Meanwhile, bargaining has been rumbling on. Under strong pressure by the EU, the Ukraine accepted the presence of representatives from Gazprom and the RF Energy Ministry on the proposed monitoring commission. The Ukrainian side also accepted the EU proposal that the international commission shall include members from Russia, the Ukraine, European consumers of natural gas, and independent expert observers. Mr Miller said that Naftogaz, the Ukrainian gas company, has finally entered into negotiations with Gazprom. As soon as an agreement concerning the creation of an international monitoring commission, as stipulated by the Russian side, is signed, and the observers of the commission are in place to monitor the transit of natural gas at both Russian and Ukrainian locations, the deliveries of natural gas to Europe via Ukrainian pipelines shall resume.

9 January 2009

Voice of Russia World Service


Metropolitan Kirill Issued a Call to the Clergy to be Active in Missionary Work so They could Carry Out the Dream of Patriarch Aleksei to Revive all Human Souls


Christmas/New Year decorations at the GUM mall in Moscow

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the patriarchal Locum Tenens, issued a call to the clergy to resist the temptations of division and jointly develop the mission of the Orthodox Church in Russia. “It was a very important step towards the rebuilding of Holy Russia and the strengthening of the Orthodox faith (in reference to the reign of the reposed Patriarch Aleksei: Interfax). Both parishes and monasteries were established and built so that we could accomplish the enormous task of bringing people to salvation, to enable them to encounter the Living God”, Vladyki Kirill said on Wednesday in his sermon after the Christmas Vespers at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

However, in his words, “There are still other steps that we must take, so that the churches and monasteries are always filled with people, that there are always children and young people present, so that the Church would have the potential to develop its great and saving mission in the years and decades ahead, and, if God wills it so, even for the centuries ahead of us. If we wish to continue to carry out the desires of His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei, to teach people and heal their souls, we must be able to talk to these people in an understandable way, we must show them that there is no other way to salvation, to fullness of life, except for the path that God Himself opened to us”.


Christmas Tree in Vorobieyevy Gory in Russia

Then, he went on to say, “All human conceptions of happiness are surprisingly cramped and distorted, their weakness and imperfection is obvious to all, in short, they lack the capability to truly lead people to fullness of life. Today, it shall only be when our brothers and sisters, those who have not yet found the road to Orthodoxy, accept these wonderful words of God concerning the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that change shall come into their lives and into our lives as well, in our personal lives, in the life of society, and in the life of the state. If the whole world comes to comprehend this teaching, then, we shall transfigure all of mankind”.

He pointed up that, today, much is being done in the parishes, parochial schools, prisons, hospitals, and in the forces. “We have done much to ensure that the coming generation would accept Christ into their hearts”, but, Vladyki Kirill considers, “We must do more. To ensure that our ministry would be successful, we must support and help one another, we must exercise our ministry in singleness of heart and humility. We must erect impenetrable barriers against the actions of those who would introduce temptation into the life of the Church, who try to divide our ranks, and who seduce ‘the little ones’. They forget the terrible warning of God addressed to those who would tempt and seduce their neighbour”.


Christmas tree in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Kaliningrad

He wished that all would “preserve unity, brotherly love, and openness to one another, to enable us to stretch out our hands to one another in our common pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God. We believe that, in response to the work of the Church of God, the Lord shall show us His favour, and the vision of His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei concerning the restoration of human souls will be fulfilled. We should understand that he will be with us as we walk this difficult, but, blessed, path”.

According to our Interfax-Religion correspondent, the church was filled to overflowing, and, in the centre of the interior, the icon of the Nativity of Christ was placed, decorated with white flowers. According to the traditional usage, the clergy served the services of Christmas in gold-coloured vestments (the golden colour symbolises the Sun of Righteousness, Christ: Interfax).

7 January 2009



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