Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Same Thing as Before: The Lessons of the War and the Holocaust

Pyotr Krivonogov. Victory! 1948


Pyotr Krivonogov



Opposition to attempts to write revisionist history about World War II’s outcome and that glorifying fascism is inadmissible were main topics of discussion at the conference Lessons of World War II and the Holocaust in Berlin. More than 500 well-known European, Russian, American, and Israeli politicians and public figures participated in this event. This topic is particularly relevant on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. On the one hand, the still-fresh wounds of those terrible events are still alive to those who saw and experienced all the horrors of that time. On the other hand, there’s more than one generation that got its information about the war from history books, in which political expediency dictated interpretation of past events. Moreover, revisionist history has a forbidding quality; in it, black is white and vice versa. There are many examples of this; for instance, the Baltic states turned former SS and Wehrmacht soldiers into national heroes. A fascinating historical metamorphosis is taking place in the Ukraine, the country most affected by the fascist invaders; the state considers UPA terrorists equal to [Red Army] veterans of World War II.

Ilya Altman, a participant on the forum in Berlin, co-chairman of Russian “Holocaust” Fund, emphasised in an exclusive VOR interview that rehabilitating fascism is inadmissible, saying, “The farther away from us World War II becomes, there’s an amazing transformation in historical science and at the level of popular consciousness. There are many versions that attempt to change the true story of the war, as one can see, for example, in attitudes towards the Holocaust. It reaches a point that even very powerful politicians, such as in Iran, asserted that there wasn’t any genocide of Jews during World War II; it simply didn’t happen. In the West, in some of the republics of the former USSR, and even here in Russia, one hears those who want to whitewash Nazi collaborators. Most recently, there were attempts within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to canonise General A A Vlasov. However, the general’s choice wasn’t between Stalin and Hitler, or between the homeland and treason. The Ukraine and the Baltic states clearly demonstrate double standards in assessing World War II. Yes, they don’t deny that the Holocaust was factual. However, they awarded a [posthumous] decoration upon Roman Shukhevich, a man who wore a Nazi uniform {Editor’s note: Shukhevich was a Standartenführer in the SS.}. Latvia and Estonia also seem to honour the memory of Holocaust victims, but they allow public marches of former SS legionnaires. Some say, ‘Why rake up the history of war and seek the facts?’ That’s a vicious attitude! Firstly, forgotten evils tend come back. Secondly, such an attitude completely neglects those who won the victory at an incredible price over Hitler’s fascism and brought deliverance to the peoples of Europe”.

After all, Soviet soldiers hoisted the flag of victory over the conquered Reichstag, and during the Vistula-Oder operation, on 27 January 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the remaining prisoners left at Oświęcim. A UN resolution linked this date, 27 January with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. One outcome of the three-day meeting was a declaration on countering revisionist attempts to distort the history of World War II’s outcome and that glorifying fascism is inadmissible. The organisers and participants of the conference hope not only to be heard by politicians, but to rally leading anti-fascist forces on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory.

15 December 2009

Voice of Russia World Service

Sergei Kopylov



World War II Memorial at Poklonnaya Gora, Moscow. All glory to those who cleansed the world of the filth of Nazism at great personal cost. Honour the veterans who’re left… they’re precious. All that I can say is, “Thank you”.



Some of the most controversial things I’ve posted are those posts on the Chisinau riot and the Jerusalem church desecration. In the latter affair, a friend of mine who reads Hebrew pointed up that the Hebrew is badly written. That is, it could be a provocation… nonetheless, all sorts of troglodytes crawled out from under their rocks defending the rioters, expressing poorly concealed anti-Semitism. The fact that so-called “Orthodox Christians” (mostly konvertsy by the way, their Anglo-Saxon names give them away) peddle such rubbish disgusts me. I can’t stop you if you wish to spout such on your own websites. I believe that you should have the right of free speech as long as you aren’t making actual threats or publishing dangerous articles (such as how to make bombs, etc). However, I’m under no obligation whatsoever to give free air to those who disagree with me on this site. Why, no journalist does that. The New York Times doesn’t open its op-ed page to those who disagree with it… it’s making a point, after all. I’m doing the same. So, you disagree with me and think that I’m all wet? That’s great. Go join that long line on the left… you’re nowhere near the head of the line. You think that I’m a great gal who speaks her mind out and you agree with me? Well, join the equally long line on the right. I’m the sort of person that one either loves or hates… no one’s insipid about me. I’ll say this, I’m not going to be quiet when I see evil… if I do so, I’m an equal participant in that evil. Never forget the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller (a former U-boat captain in World War I), who survived imprisonment in a concentration camp under the Nazis:

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.


Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.


When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

That is what I believe. That’s what I stand for. Hier stehe Ich… Ich kann nicht Anders!

If you have a problem with that, I suggest that you go elsewhere.



– 20, and Not Warming Up

Filed under: EU,Russian,science — 01varvara @ 00.00

Snow outside of Moo Moo, a popular Moscow restaurant (on the Arbat, get out of the Filyovskaya Line metro at the Smolenskaya stop, walk to the Arbat and turn left, it’s not far).

Frost moved down from the Arctic, more precisely, from the eastern portion of the Arctic region over the Kara Sea. Heavy snowfalls took place in Spain and disrupted railway and bus service schedules. In the Balkans, Croatia and Slovenia were the hardest hit. The ski resorts are empty because snow clogs the roads, making access very difficult. Many drivers simply do not dare get behind the wheel in such weather. Frosts are omnipresent in Poland… one day, the temperature dropped from 0 degrees down to -20 C (32 to -4 degrees F), and a sharp cold snap and heavy snowfall caused many road accidents. In Moscow, it is also -20 C, although according to the climatic norm, the thermometer should show -5 C (23 degrees F).

In general, this December has been full of surprises. Earlier this month, the temperature was above-zero C (32 degrees F), and the Russians in some regions of the country generally thought that we wouldn’t see any snow, and there would be none before the New Year. Everybody was saying, look, global warming has already begun. Then, the snow fell; all were delighted… and then began looking for wool socks, winding on scarves and shawls, and pulling on gloves and mittens. It was what meteorologists call a high polar surface temperature inversion. No one was talking about global warming anymore.

Usually you go to the metro station and you see a crowd of people at the entrance… some are rushing to appointments, some are smoking, and some are just loitering, but, not these days. Today, no one goes out on the street without a cause. Aleksei Lyakhov, the Director of the Moscow Hydrology and Meteorology Bureau, warned, “It’ll only get colder. We expect the most severe frosts on Wednesday, the daytime temperature will be about -20 C, and, in some places in Moscow Oblast, it could go down to -28 degrees C (-19 degrees F) that evening”. Abnormal cold is a threat to human life. In Moscow, frost kills five people per day. In addition, 19 people go to hospital because of frostbite. Most of these are the homeless or the severely inebriated. For them, the frost has been fatal.

According to some forecasts, it may be less than -30 C (-22 F) in the Moscow Oblast, extremely unusual for mid-December. If you think that’s something, it’s -45 C (-49 F) in Karelia right now! In Trans-Baikalia and the Urals, it’s -40 C (-40 F). The Perm region and Bashkortostan expect the same. In the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District and in the Komi Republic there are places where it’s -47 C (-53 F). Meanwhile, such a sharp drop in temperature occurs in December only once every five to seven years. The last time this happened was at the turn of the millennium, and the one before that was twelve years ago. Therefore, even though it is bitterly cold and a deviation from the norm, we cannot call it extreme.

15 December 2009

Yekaterina Antropova

Voice of Russia World Service


Thank You to My Friends in Québec: “Minuit Chrétiens” and “Petit Papa Noël” by Tino Rossi

Filed under: Christmas,cultural,domestic life,music,popular life and customs — 01varvara @ 00.00

Today, I heard from friends in the Great White North (in Outremont on the Island, to be exact).  It was a pleasant surprise. They were there for me at a low point in my life, and I have never forgotten it. Merci pour votre aide et votre amitié… Je ne sais pas comment vous rembourser. Dieu aller avec vous.

Here are two old chestnuts from Tino Rossi that every Canuck knows and loves.

Petit Papa Noël

Minuit Chrétiens

With God’s Help

The Chapter of Christ the Saviour Cathedral published a 4-volume anthology of Russian poetry, Круг лета Господня (Krug Leta Gospodnya: The Circle of the Year of Our Lord). The collection included more than 700 poems by 94 authors, from Polotsky to Pushkin, Fet, Mandelshtam, and Iosif Brodsky. The earliest pieces date back to the 17th century, the most recent come from the 20th. This expensive edition came from the Golden Fund of Patriotic Poetry (Золотой Фонд Отечественной Поэзии) and weighed in at a hefty 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds).

The cycle of the seasons is the organising principle of the work. Respectively, the four volumes are devoted to autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Each volume has two parts, secular and religious. In the first, entitled Времена года (Vremena Goda: The Seasons (lit. The Times of the Year)) one finds poems by different poets. The second, Православные праздники (Pravoslavnye Prazdniki: Orthodox Festivals) tells about religious holidays, both in the form of poetry and in prose. Every holiday has an explanation with detailed commentary on the history of its origin and celebration written by Olga Nersesova.

This anthology is sumptuously published in a large format, on excellent paper, using selected fonts, with many centrefold illustrations (dozens of paintings by the best Russian landscape painters) and reproductions of icons from the collection of the Central Museum of Old Russian Culture and Art. These include works by St Andrei Rublyov and specially restored vignettes from the Khludovskoy and Kiev Psalters (9th and 14th centuries), which are presented to the general reader for the first time.

One asks, “What do I do with all this beauty?” We might give several responses. You could keep it in the living room as an expensive coffee table-book. You could surprise someone with it as a luxury gift for a wedding or a baptism. You could buy it yourself and your family to read during those long winter nights (soon, there’s going to be a cheaper, but, no less beautiful edition). In any case, it can help us revive the tradition of family reading, bringing the moral experience of previous generations to our kids and help us to form an Orthodox lifestyle. That was the hope  our late patriarch, His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei Rediger, expressed in blessing this publication.

14 December 2009

Natalia Kochetkova

Известия (Izvestiya)

As quoted in Interfax-Religion


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