Voices from Russia

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A Servant to People


Luisa Savinskaya, President of the Women of Moscow Association

Every person should certainly use the abilities God bestowed on them. Luisa Savinskaya, a poet and President of the Women of Moscow Association, chose to serve people, so the abilities God gave her went to make people around her happier. Since Luisa is a very gifted person, those around her get the benefits of her attitude in profusion. A highly knowledgeable lady with years of experience in literary work behind her, Luisa is a glamorous model to illustrate feminine psychology and the ideal behaviour associated with it.

“Any human being must think of what or who surrounds him in the first place”, Luisa said. “Of people, of the natural environment, of other beings. Only then, will he be happy. He who cannot make others happy will never be happy himself. People come into this world to adorn it with beauty and harmony. I would formulate my life credo along the following lines. Do not seek vain honours, and never bask in praise. I am a candle burning, but, it lights the way for others. A silly person would think that if he is rich and revels in wealth, he would be truly happy for the rest of his days. However, the riches he stole from other people will run out one day, to leave him with nothing. There will be nobody left to support him in this kingdom of wealth he created.

I am a woman and, as such, I am different from a man. As a woman, I perceive the world around me from a different perspective. Making happy those who have become dear to me and spinning a cobweb of affection from heart to heart is what gives meaning to my life. I would hate to bury what I got from God, and I would love to see the grains of my love for my close ones sprout like wheat in them. I would love my close ones to remember me happy. When I go, I will go as one goes after a work-weary day, after breathing its last good-bye to the Earth. I want to be a healer to people. This is, in fact, a woman’s mission in life. To be ready to help, to be needed. Now”.

Luisa started to contemplate on life’s meaning when she was still very young, a student at the French language department at the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages. Those were the years during and after the war and Louisa thought it unworthy to study a foreign language when the country desperately needed experts in other, more down-to-earth areas of knowledge, such as production and agriculture. Therefore, she quit the Institute to enrol in the Timiryazev Agriculture Academy, from which she graduated. For years afterward, Louisa worked in agriculture and successfully participated in many innovative harvest-boosting projects. She prides herself on having done and continuing to do so much good to her country. Nevertheless, what has always seen her through and saved her at times of crisis is her unfading faith in God and in harmony, which is what makes life possible.

“Believers or non-believers, they all cannot but seek answers to the eternal question of how we came to live on this planet and where life itself came from”, Luisa said. “Of course, what we are here for. As an Orthodox believer, I look at a woman’s mission on Earth from the Orthodox point of view. This viewpoint never clashes with what other religions have to say on the matter. I believe that a woman is part of a human being in the broadest sense of the word. The Bible teaches us that God created us human and then He created us men and women. That means that a human being consists of two inseparable halves. When we say a human being, we never mean a man or a woman; we mean one undivided whole. That is why, what is lacking in men is made up for by women, and what women have is lacking in men. We can achieve harmony only if men and women walk through life hand in hand and build the world around them together.

It does not matter whether you are a believer or non-believer when it comes to the simple truth that the world and everything in it was designed to give new life. Then, men and women came into this world for the sole purpose of giving new life. This justifies our existence. The life we were created for is supposed to be free from discord or catastrophe, and no one has the right to intrude on another’s private world. No one has the right to take another’s life. No one has the right to say that he alone knows what happiness is and where to find it. That is because happiness means different things to different people. That is why your vision of happiness is all right as long as it does not interfere with other people’s lives. We have one globe to live on and we can escape nowhere from it. Whether we want it or not, we are destined to live on this planet in peace and accord”.

Luisa went on to say, “Woman was born to smooth out the belligerent nature of men. A woman is supposed to carry harmony. As a poet, I can understand in full the meaning that lies behind Dostoyevsky’s well-known saying that beauty will save the world. Sometimes, when I write poetry, I feel that something is wrong in it, some word probably. I try to find the defect, and after I have found it, I involuntarily re-write the whole passage to a degree where it acquires a more profound meaning. The true means the beautiful. I once mentioned this small discovery of mine to a mathematician. No wonder, he said. For us, it has long been as clear as day, he added. In mathematics, a formula is correct only if it looks nice. A composer I know told me that he had put a Mussorgsky score in a frame to hang on the wall because the notes on it were arranged so beautifully that they made a real work of art. Harmony, beauty, and truth make up one whole; they are inseparable. Chaos carries decay and has to be kept out of the human world to save it from self-destruction.

The battlefield of evil and virtue has always been the human heart. A woman can make a ruin into a home. I saw many destroyed houses during the war. Nevertheless, even when a house was reduced to no more than a big crater, life inevitably came back to it fairly soon. A woman’s mission to this world is to give new life in harmony and accord. She is destined to cultivate unity through being kind and merciful to people”. It is entirely to serve these high purposes that Luisa set up the Women of Moscow Association thirteen years ago. Her service to people should materialise in concrete deeds. Moreover, it has. The association unites women of art in every imaginable field. Since Luisa developed into a prolific poetess in her years of editing a newspaper at the Agriculture Academy, she is the mastermind of the organisation and its activities. “The Women of Moscow Association has nothing to do with feminist slogans and its members are far from being mysandrists”, Louisa said. “Men are as beautiful as women and they play an equally important role in maintaining life. Our association unites women only because it appeals to the best of best in a human heart. The idea that underlies our organisation is ‘The Ecology of a Woman’s Soul’. Our purpose for now is to reinstate the originally feminine principles of kindness, mercy, love, and compassion to their proper positions. People give their lives for others.

We Russians are known to be able to sacrifice our lives for those we love, but, we are totally incapable of living for those we love. No matter how bitter, the observation is true for now. If men would follow us in our striving to bring different people together, so that they could become good neighbours, we would consider our mission fulfilled. Women who reveal no kindness, mercy, love, and compassion are mutants of the feminine gender, if you will excuse my saying so. A woman driving tractors or trains is welcome, but, only on the condition that driving tractors or trains meets their natural propensities. There is nothing wrong about women flying a plane or even walking into outer space as long as this does not clash with their first and foremost mission of giving life, love, and harmony. Harmony is crucial in all aspects of life.

From my point of view, all people are believers to a certain extent, even atheists. We believe in God, the atheists do not believe in God, but non-believing is still a belief, isn’t it? What makes a belief a belief is that you cannot prove it intellectually. Your intellect is too limited for that. What guides you to a belief is your intuition. A person comes into this world naked, and he leaves it naked. However, he leaves behind the fruits of his work, and these fruits can be malignant or benign. Depending on which will outweigh, evil or virtue, humanity will follow the path of darkness or the path of light. Therefore, we women must serve to the best of our abilities to disseminate harmony and accord. To the man, the woman is the necessary supplement of harmony and a deterring force to rein in his innate aggressiveness, a supplement without which life will be just impossible”.

The Women of Moscow Association, of which Luisa is the leader, is an original answer to the mind-boggling problem of how to make people see the beautiful, come to love it, and through this to re-discover their God-given abilities and talents. The Association holds concerts and all kinds of literary events to introduce young or unknown talents to the public. In addition, the people attending the concerts feel refreshed and slightly bemused afterwards, which invariably sets them thinking along the lines of harmony. Moreover, this is exactly why Luisa organised this association. This is her service to humanity, and she happily continues to pursue it.


murzina-tamaraTamara Murzina

Ladies of Character

Voice of Russia World Service



Medvedev Puts Gas Transit Deal With the Ukraine on Hold


President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- )

On Sunday, President Medvedev said that a three-party deal to resume Russian natural gas supplies to the EU via the Ukraine shall not be implemented as Kiev had added new conditions to it. Moscow and Kiev separately signed agreements with the EU this weekend to set up international monitoring at gas inlets and outlets in both countries. Russia said it had to receive a copy of the Ukraine’s monitoring document with the EU to resume supplies. The Ukraine put forward certain demands that run counter to Russia’s position when it signed the monitoring deal with the EU, adding a handwritten note that attached an additional declaration to the document.

“Such conditions make a mockery of common sense and are a violation of the agreements we reached earlier”, President Medvedev said. “Such actions are meant to thwart the agreement to monitor the gas transits; they are blatantly provocative and destructive”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with President Medvedev, “The text, to put it straight, provokes utter astonishment because it partially contains false statements, including the theory that the Ukraine has not tapped any gas, and that all Russian gas was transited to Europe, whilst its other half consists of statements running contrary to the context of the agreement we signed with the EU”.

Mr Medvedev instructed Mr Lavrov, “Inform Russia’s European partners that they are facing quite a difficult situation, and that we would ask them to hold talks with the Ukrainian government so that it would drop the new conditions”. President Medvedev said gas supplies would then be resumed. International monitors are already arriving at gas transit inlets and outlets in both the Ukraine and Russia.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin slammed as unacceptable any amendments to the gas transit deal signed by Russia, Ukraine and the EU. Speaking by telephone to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Putin said Kiev’s new demands drastically changed the three-party agreement and dealt with commercial disputes between Russia and the Ukraine rather than the transit of gas to Europe. Mr Putin also proposed sending Russian energy officials to a meeting of EU energy ministers set for Brussels on Monday. “Our representatives are ready to voice and explain Russia’s position in full”, Mr Putin told Señor Barroso.

11 January 2009



Editor’s Note:

The Orangies are up to their old tricks. They must think that the neocons are going to be in power after the Obama inauguration. To put it bluntly, there is nothing left in the American store-cupboard. There is no money left for mewling neo-Fascist client states in the Russian Near Abroad. Reflect on the fact that all leading economists put the beginning of the current economic crisis in the summer of 2007. In short, the USA is exposed as a “gummi Löwe” (“rubber lion” in German) whose assets exist mainly on paper, as notional entries in dubious cooked books. This means that dodgy successor-states such as the Ukraine and Georgia cannot expect any further American handouts and largesse.

The Ukraine must either accede to Russia’s reasonable demands or face the consequences. At the least, it shall mean the collapse of the fragile Ukrainian economy. Neither the US nor the EU has the means to prevent this. Yushchenko and his evil cabal are marching like a pack of lemmings to their doom. I only hope that the innocent peoples of the Ukraine shall not suffer overly much in their self-inflicted political Ragnarok.


Who shall be the New First Hierarch of the Moscow Patriarchate? Three Possible Candidates…


Editor’s Foreword:

This has all the hallmarks of a puff-piece by the Kirill faction. It is useful, nonetheless. However, keep this in mind as you read it. I believe that the assessment of Metropolitan Kliment to be… interesting… very interesting. Kirill must fear him. Caveat lector.




Metropolitan Kirill Gundyaev of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (1946- ), the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, head of the MP Department of External Church Relations, the putative front-runner in the patriarchal election

The special session of the Archpastoral Council of the Moscow Patriarchate, which will meet at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 25-26 January, must propose three candidates for the office of Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias to the extraordinary Local Council of the MP. On 27 or 28 January, only one of these three nominees will become the new patriarch (unless the Local Council advances yet another figure to the post). Let’s try to guess who will be these three candidates.

Of course, the first, and most obvious, candidate will be Metropolitan Kirill Gundyaev of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (the head of the MP Department of External Church Relations) (the Patriarchal Locum Tenens: KM.ru). If one were to measure only worldly abilities, he has almost no competition. He has 20 years of experience on the MP Holy Synod, as he was named to it in the time of Patriarch Pimen, and he remained a member during the entire reign of Patriarch Aleksei (there are only two other “veterans” on the Synod with as much service, Metropolitan Philaret Vakhromeyev of Minsk and Metropolitan Yuvenaly Plyarkov of Krutitsa). Throughout the entire patriarchate of Aleksei Rediger, Metropolitan Kirill, in fact, led the external and, to a considerable degree, the internal policies of the Church.

He is always available to the press; on television, he presents the programme Slovo Pastyrya (A Word from the Pastor), which has enjoyed high ratings for 15 years. He is well-known in Russia and in the Near and Far Abroad. He has “a good name in secular society”, and, in addition, he is the ideal age to become patriarch, 62-years-old (the same age that Aleksei Rediger and Pimen Izvekov assumed the patriarchate). His ascension to the office of Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias will open a new and bright page in the history of the Church, with an accent on missionary and educational work, not only a quantitative growth in the number of churches, monasteries, spiritual seminaries, and other church establishments.


Metropolitan Onufry Berezovsky of Chernovitsy and Bukovina, serving Divine Liturgy in Sea Cliff NY

In all likelihood, the second candidate is likely to be a bishop from the Ukraine. It is unlikely that it will be His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan (the current First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church (MP): KM.ru), whose state of health does not allow him to accept the advancement of his name to stand for election to the patriarchal office. Obviously, the Ukrainian hierarchy will name another figure, for example, Metropolitan Onufry Berezovsky of Chernovitsy and Bukovina or Metropolitan Agafangel Savvin of Odessa and Izmailsk (this proposal has been floated by some in the administration of Ukrainian President Yushchenko).


Metropolitan Agafangel Savvin of Odessa and Izmailsk

Despite all his well-known positive qualities, Metropolitan Onufry is unlikely to be able to rally around him the entire Ukrainian episcopate. It will be all the more difficult for him to gather a majority of votes in the Local Council, for the prospect of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia being a man with a Ukrainian passport will certainly scare away a large number of delegates from Russia. Metropolitan Agafangel will be even less likely to rally the electors around him, since his supporters are convinced that he is irreplaceable in Odessa as the ruling archpastor, as he has defeated all attempts to form a so-called “Autocephalous  Local Church” in the Ukraine.


Metropolitan Yuvenaly Poyarkov of Krutitsa and Kolomna (1935- ), the Patriarchal Vicar for the Moscow region

The third candidate could be one of three members of the MP Holy Synod, Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk (the Exarch of all Byelorussia), Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomna (the Patriarchal Vicar for the Moscow region), or Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk (the Chancellor of the MP). Both Philaret and Yuvenaly are experienced and venerable bishops, as they have both sat on the MP Holy Synod for over 30 years. Both are 73-years-old. Philaret’s state of health leaves much to be desired, he recently underwent a serious operation and walks with a cane. However, the Byelorussian bishops and a number of bishops from Russia may vote for him. Metropolitan Yuvenaly possesses great authority in Moscow and in the region surrounding the capital, as well as in other regions of Russia. During his long years of service to the Church, he has managed to garner respect as an experienced and active archpastor. One assumes that those who favour one of these “veterans” anticipate and hope for a relatively short patriarchal rule.


Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk (1949- ), Chancellor of the MP

A special place in the list of potential candidates is occupied by Metropolitan Kliment. In particular, many journalists believe that he is most viable opponent of Kirill in the patriarchal election. Kliment is not a public figure, he rarely appears in media reports, and even if he does speak, then, for the most part, he is faceless and vague. He is 59-years-old, and has been a member of the MP Holy Synod for about five years, well below the experience of all the other permanent members. During his five years in office he has not done anything noticeable, for the most part, his projects have not come to fruition (he even failed to obtain recognition of the Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture as a part of the school curriculum). But, he is conducting a fairly aggressive campaign, in which an active role played by his brother, Archbishop Dmitri Kapalin of Tobolsk and Tyumen.


Archbishop Dmitri Kapalin of Tobolsk

Here, we should note that, in electing Kliment to the patriarchate, the delegates of the Council would simultaneously elect his brother to the role of the éminence grise of the MP. Of course, if his brother becomes patriarch, he will take one of the key posts in the MP Holy Synod. He will become the patriarchal vicar or the Metropolitan of St Petersburg. This tandem diarchy of the two brothers would have its advantages, but, also, its weaknesses. Its strength lies in the fact that, in the pre-election period, when the bishops are seriously considering the various candidates, Brother-2 can gather votes in favour of Brother-1, which he does very diligently, for he is not shy with the media (as the recent election of the delegates from the spiritual seminaries demonstrated). However, its weakness lies in the fact that the prospect of having two brothers at the head of the Church (although they each use a different approach, both favour a very rigid application of control) would, certainly, scare away many voters.


Archbishop Yevgeni Reshetnikov of Vereisk, head of the MP Educational Committee

The existence of this diarchy of the two brothers is no invention of journalists, it is a demonstrated fact. Shortly after Metropolitan Kliment was promoted to the MP Holy Synod, he attempted to take over the Educational Committee by ousting Archbishop Yevgeni Reshetnikov of Vereisk from the position of its chairman. Kliment’s programme was to create an “Educational and Theological Consortium”, which would include the Educational Committee, the Department of Religious Education, and the Theological Commission. This consortium would be headed by Archbishop Dmitri, with the status of permanent member of the MP Holy Synod. To promote this project, he established, a “Commission to Assess the Reform of the Spiritual Seminaries”, which for three years tormented and terrorised the rectors of the spiritual academies and seminaries.


Archbishop Feofan Ashurkov of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz

One of the results of the activities of this commission is the fact that the Russian government has not yet recognised religious school diplomas, although such recognition was in the works. Even though he had championed Metropolitan Kirill in the past, Archbishop Feofan Ashurkov of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz played an active role in the commission. Currently, he is a wholehearted supporter of Kliment and actively promotes his interests. In time, the late Patriarch Aleksei recognised the plan of the two brothers, and the MP Holy Synod vetoed the work of the Commission. Archbishop Yevgeni retained his post, and Brother-2, already having collected his belongings in Moscow, continued in his post in Tobolsk. The project fell through, but, as the saying goes, “there was a bad taste in everyone’s mouth”.

So, the most likely outcome of the Archpastoral Council is the naming of a combination of three candidates: Kirill, Onufry, and Kliment, or Kirill, Metropolitan X from the Ukraine, and Yuvenaly. It is possible that Metropolitan Kirill will win over 50 percent of the votes in the first round, sealing his election. If this does not occur, the outcome of the second round will depend on the votes cast by delegates from the Ukraine. It is difficult to imagine that they would cast their votes for Metropolitan Kliment, who practically unknown in the Ukraine. Therefore, most likely, most of them will vote in favour of Metropolitan Kirill.

What shall be end result of all this? Metropolitan Kirill will win the vote in the Local Council either in the first or second round. Today, there is no other real alternative available. No other candidate has the sufficient authority or has obtained the necessary number of votes to become the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

11 January 2009

Dmitri Logachyov


As quoted in Interfax-Religion


Editor’s Afterword:


Metropolitan Mefody Nemtsov of Astanai and Alma-Ata, one of the fiercest opponents of Kirill Gundyaev (he was sent to Kazakhstan due to Kirill’s machinations… a great way to win friends and influence people, wot?)

My, my, my… Mr Logachyov is truly one of Kirill’s hack flacks and must be treated accordingly. Kirill has many enemies, not least Metropolitan Sergei Fomin of Voronezh and Borisogleb and Metropolitan Mefody Nemtsov of Astanai and Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan). Both hate his guts (but, of course, do not say so in public, they are bishops, after all). The tone of this piece bespeaks desperation in the Kirill faction. It is clear that he has NO support in the Ukrainian delegation. They shall not vote for a Russian candidate based in Moscow, that much is clear. They hold the key to this election (Mr Logachyov is correct in pointing this up). I expect the next patriarch may well be a hierarch of non-Russian background… as Patriarch Aleksei was, don’t forget! Hmm… I wonder who it shall be? Does anyone have a working crystal ball? Mine is on the fritz…


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