Voices from Russia

Thursday, 3 May 2012

3 May 2012. Of Cabbages and Kings… Of “Helga” and “Diogenes”… Of Reality and Internet Will o’ the Wisps…


Some kind friends have kept me informed of what’s going on over at the loopy Monomakhos blog. It’s par for the course, sadly enough… ignorant, unfocused, and poorly-centred… the usual dreary slog (which is why I normally avoid it… I’ve little enough time to follow the legit Russian press and Church, thank you very much). However, it’s time to speak of a thing or two in order to keep OURSELVES focused and on-track (I hasten to tell my Kitchen Cabinet members, “Do keep me informed of what goes on in places like Monomakhos, for I don’t have the time to monitor them”).

Firstly, don’t forget that the internet’s a megaphone. Small groups, if they use the ‘net skilfully, can make themselves seem much larger than they are in reality. According to Qunatcast, the audience for Monomakhos is so small that they can’t estimate it with any accuracy. What that normally means is the readership is below 2,000 “people” per month. This isn’t “hits”… this isn’t “page views”… this isn’t “cookies”… rather, it means actual people. For instance, a blog with an “addicted” readership (over 50 percent of all readers logging in more than once daily) will accumulate quite a few page-views and hits on a small readership base. It’s simple for such a site to record over 100,000 hits a month. If there are 30 days per month, multiply that by 2,000 (readers), and you get 60,000 just there. If there’s a hot thread going on, an addict could very well “log in” several times a day. Therefore, sites such as Monomakhos and Byzantine Texas aren’t as important as they claim to be. As for this site, 74 percent of my hits come from one-timers, “passers-by” in jargonese. Therefore, 26 percent are from “regulars” and “addicts” (and addicts are a small percentage of my readership). That’s more typical of the average “mature” site (I’m in my fifth year of operation).

Just how many people do the Monomakhos crowd represent? If we’re talking the konvertsy cohort as a whole, they’re a minority of Russian Orthodox in this country indeed, probably far less than 10 percent of the total. My SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess) on the number of US Russian Orthodox is 125,000 in total. Do NOT rely on the crank figures in the latest survey from the “Episcopal Assembly” (much touted by oca.org)… it’s nothing but unsupported self-reportage (mucho opportunity for cooking the books, no?). My guess is based on ARDA figures (click here for the table) for 2010, which are more accurate than the “soft” Krindatch study (he was just following orders, no doubt). Very few of the Monomakhos lot come from ROCOR or MP/US parishes, who’re some 40,000 of the US Russian Orthodox total (about a third of all US Russian Orthodox believers). I’ll go so far as to say that the number of Monomakhos-minded konvertsy in the OCA’s less than 10 percent. In my experience, and from what people report to me, the average konvertsy conventicle, as compared to a normal parish, has less than 100 attendees in all. The absolute outside figure for konvertsy, therefore, can’t be more than 7,500 individuals, who, however, may be scattered in over 100 miniscule “congregationlets” (which is to a congregation what a statelet is to a state). That’s to say, they’re “over-clergied” and “over-parished”, having more parishes and clergy than their numbers would normally warrant.

Remember, we’re talking about the “blind leading the blind”. Most of the konvertsy clergy have no Orthodox formation, and, what’s worse, they DO have a heterodox formation (Patrick Henry Reardon being an all-too-typical example). What I’m talking about isn’t minor or picayune. It means that many of the neophytes are being led by those just as “green” as they are, meaning that there’s no one about to correct missteps and outright errors. Formation is, in not only my opinion, but of all clergy that I’ve asked, the MOST critical thing in priestly background. Ergo, a man with a heterodox formation is stunted and deformed in Orthodox terms. Yet, this is what one finds in the “average” konvertsy conventicle. What people have told me of what goes on in these establishments! It’s enough to curl your toes and frizz out your hair… no need to go into all the gory detail. Therefore, don’t be alarmed at what the sorts like “Helga” post… they’re such punks that they won’t sign their legal names. I DO. As for Eric Wheeler denying that he’s “Diogenes”, Kitchen Cabinet members advise me that “Diogenes” has a habit of posting what Mr Wheeler holds in private. Of course… that’s NOT conclusive, but it sure does point that way, nicht wahr?

Illegitimi non carborundum! Pass me the jug and take a hit yourself. Don’t let the yahoos get you down… for all that’s holy, don’t argue with them, all that does is to encourage them… SHEESH!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 3 May 2012

Albany NY


European Presidents Shun the Ukraine over Timoshenko


On Thursday, international pressure mounted on the Ukraine over its treatment of jailed opposition leader Yuliya Timoshenko, but Kiev warned that any boycott of the European football championship next month would only hurt the interests of football fans. Nine European leaders plan to shun a Central European summit hosted by the former Soviet republic this month in a show of displeasure at Timoshenko’s plight, which the West says highlights a decline in democratic values in the country. The move appeared to foreshadow similar action by European politicians at the Euro-2012 football championship, which Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland in June and July, and which it hopes will be a showcase for the country as a modern European nation.

The Presidents of Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Czechia all said that they wouldn’t attend the 11-12 May gathering in the Black Sea resort of Yalta hosted by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso said that he had no plans to visit the Ukraine because of Timoshenko’s imprisonment, as she said that Yanukovich ordered her imprisonment, and that she fears for her life. On Thursday, the delegation of the EU to the Ukraine said the other 26 commissioners would follow a similar line. The boycott of the informal summit, held in Poland last year, which attracted 20 heads of states then, risks embarrassing Kiev, which says it wants to join the EU eventually. The snubbing of the summit could be a precursor to an even more painful boycott of the Euro tournament, which the Ukraine hoped would cement its position in the European mainstream.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that attempts to politicise the Euro tournament were destructive, saying, “A successful championship would be a victory not for politicians, parties, or ideologies, but for all Ukrainians and Poles. Its failure would be a loss for millions”. Last October, Timoshenko, a former prime minister and Yanukovich’s main political rival, received a seven-year prison sentence for abuse of office after a trial that the West called politically-motivated. Last week, Western politicians reacted with horror after she alleged that guards beat her in prison. Timoshenko’s prison is near Kharkov, one of the Euro-2012 venues, and she’s been on a hunger strike since 20 April in protest at what she said was an assault by prison guards, an allegation denied by the prison administration.

Issue Divides Poles

On Thursday, the issue prompted a domestic political dispute in Poland, as the main opposition party urged a boycott of matches held in the Ukraine, whilst Polish President Bronisław Maria Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke against such a step. Yet, Tusk warned the Ukraine that its reputation would “suffer dramatically” if no humanitarian solution were found, saying, “I’ve left the Ukrainian Prime Minister and President in no doubt that the (Timoshenko) case is a test of credibility for the present Ukrainian authorities, and that the reputation of the Ukraine would suffer dramatically if it doesn’t find a civilised solution before the European championship”. The ITAR-TASS news agency reported that Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin also spoke out against a boycott, saying, “I think that under no circumstances should one mix politics, business and other issues with sports. One should leave sports alone”. In June, 16 European teams will hold matches at Ukrainian and Polish venues, leading up to the final in Kiev on 1 July.

Timoshenko, 51, was one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution that derailed Yanukovich’s first bid for presidency. Her family says that she’s in poor health due to the hunger strike and chronic back pain, but Timoshenko refuses treatment, saying she that doesn’t trust state-appointed doctors. A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman reacted angrily to news that German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel wouldn’t attend the Euro championship, calling the move a return to Cold War tactics. The Ukrainian government and businessmen invested billions of dollars in preparations for the Euro-2012, as it would be the biggest sports event during Yanukovich’s current term in office.

However, the government’s shown no signs of heeding Brussels’ calls to free Timoshenko. Instead, the Prokuratura brought to court fresh tax evasion charges against her, which carry a sentence of up to 12 years. The EU warned the Ukraine that its members wouldn’t ratify milestone bilateral agreements on political association and free trade as long as Timoshenko remains in prison. Kiev-based political analyst Igor Zhdanov said, “These (boycott moves) are the first steps towards international isolation, not for the Ukraine, but for Yanukovich personally. This will go on for as long as Timoshenko remains in prison. However, one must understand that Timoshenko simply exemplifies all the problems with democracy in the Ukraine”.

3 May 2012

Olzhas Auyezov


As quoted in Yahoo News


Editor’s Note:

The EU move’s as dumb as dirt. Right now, VVP’s manoeuvring the Ukraine into agreeing to become part of the future Eurasian Union. Ukrainians want no repeat of the Western-financed and sponsored “Orange Revolution”… that led to Western corporate landsharks, diaspora Galician Uniates, and anti-patriotic pro-Western forces taking power and raping the Ukraine for four years. The glorification of the criminal terrorist Stepan Bandera by Yushchenko was the last straw, I think. No patriotically-minded Ukrainian wishes a return to that, only “nationalist” Galician Uniates and pro-American lickspittles (combined, less than 10 percent of the population) desire such a return. In short, I say, let the EU pull this juvenile shit. Let them intensify it, I say… and they shall, for the Ukraine’s rejection of the nostrums of the American Neocon Republicans and Interventionist Democrats enraged “both sides of the aisle” in the USA (which led to a loud campaign of vilification in the Western media). Not only that, the EU’s pissed off that the Ukraine insists that its internal affairs are its internal affairs, and they’re none of Brussels’ business. It’s all to the good… it’ll push the Ukraine into the Eurasian Union, and Ukrainians will have such a bellyful of Western arrogance, condescension, and hubris, it’ll put them off Western influence for centuries.

In other words, let the Westerners act out their infantile peevishness. It will only hasten the reunion of Historic Holy Rus… and that’s a very GOOD thing.


A Subjective Assessment


Recently, the American NGO Freedom House {it’s a pro-US government lickspittle front: editor} published a list of countries rating their stance on “freedom of speech”. Compared with a previous similar list by Freedom House, Russia’s rating rose one point higher… mainly because of an increased number of Internet and satellite television users. Freedom House makes similar reports every year. This year’s report brought no sensations. The main conclusion that one can draw from it is that the situation with freedom of speech in the world didn’t worsen very much within the last 8 years. Well, no news is good news, as the proverb says.

There are 197 countries in the rating list, divided into three categories… countries with free media, countries with partially-free media, and countries with no free media. This year, the numbers of countries in all three categories are approximately the same. European countries head the list. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Andorra, and Iceland occupy the first ten places, respectively. Germany is only in the 16th place. However, the US’s rating fell from its previous 17th place to 22nd place. Experts connect this with the current economic crisis in the US, which affects the financial welfare of independent media companies. Moreover, some experts say that the current US Congress won’t provide full security to media sources.

It surprised many Russians (and, probably, not only Russians) to find that Russia was only in 172nd place on the list, next to Zimbabwe and other African countries. This raised many questions among Russian experts. Elena Zelinskaya, the Vice President of the Russian journalist union MediaSoyuz, said, “I’ve commented on reports by Freedom House for many years, and I always wonder what methods they use whilst determining the amount of media freedom in a country. We’ve asked them this question several times, but never got any answer. Thus, I’ve no other option but to conclude that they don’t base their rating of Russia on any serious research, it’s only their opinion. Moreover, I believe that their opinion has nothing to do with reality. Since the Russian parliamentary elections in December, and the presidential elections in March, Russians have become much more politically active… the political competition was and still is very lively. Since December, Russian TV channels started to devote much more attention to politics. There are many more political discussions on the web as well… everyone who can log onto the web can attest to this statement”.

Of course, it’d be wrong to say that the relations between mass media and the authorities are always smooth in Russia. However, it’d also hardly be right to say that there’s less freedom of speech in Russia than, let’s say, in Sudan or Nigeria, currently gripped by civil wars. Nonetheless, Freedom House placed these two countries higher on their list than Russia. Namely, they placed Sudan in 170th place and Nigeria in 104th. Freedom House put Libya in 132nd place, even though the new government’s very intolerant of critics, where they can execute a journalist merely for having worked for the Gaddafi régime.

Vsevolod Bogdanov, the head of the Russian Union of Journalists, also disagreed with such a low assessment of freedom of speech in Russia, saying, “I believe that Russia has enough freedom of speech. After all, it’s very hard for a public figure to hide some secret from the public today in Russia. Sooner or later, this-or-that media source will reveal their secret. True, not everything’s always perfect in the relations between the authorities and the media in Russia, and we still have room for improvement in these affairs. But, all in all, there aren’t any grounds to call contemporary Russia a country without freedom of speech”.

Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights called Freedom House’s assessment “ungrounded”. Mr Fedotov pointed up that, recently, on the initiative of his council, the Russian government decided to create a public TV channel. Besides, the RF Gosduma adopted laws to ease responsibility for slander and to toughen penalties for hindering journalists in carrying out their professional duties.

2 May 2012

Roman Mamonov

Voice of Russia World Service


3 May 2012. Latest on JP’s Latest New Convert Clergyman… Link to Documentation on Court Case with Multi-Mill Settlement


Here’s the link to the story on JP receiving an RC priest at St Tikhon’s. Here’s a link to documentation on the court case against said priest. Look at the following:

Suit Against Priest Over Injuries in Car Accident Settles for 8.75M USD

Mancini v. Obico:

On 26 March, an Ocean County judge approved 8 million USD (236 million Roubles. 6.1 million Euros. 4.95 million UK Pounds) in settlements on behalf of a minor and a mentally incapacitated man who were part of a group of pedestrians struck by a car, bringing total recoveries to 8.75 million USD (260 million Roubles. 6.7 million Euros. 5.4 million UK Pounds). Plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael Breslin, of Hackensack’s Breslin & Breslin, said that Carmelena Mancini, then 7-years-old, was left brain-damaged and blind by the accident on 14 May 2005, and her uncle, James Craven, broke his legs and injured a nerve in his left foot. The child, who is in need of 24-hour care, will recover 7.8 million USD (230 million Roubles. 5.9 million Euros. 4.8 million UK Pounds). Her mother and guardian ad litem, Joanne Mancini, received 200,000 USD (5.9 million Roubles. 152,000 Euros. 124,000 UK Pounds) for loss of her daughter’s services. Craven got 600,000 USD (17.7 million Roubles. 450,000 Euros. 370,000 UK Pounds). According to his lawyer, Point Pleasant NJ attorney Cornelius Daniel III, Carmelena’s father, Vincent Mancini, accepted 150,000 USD (4.4 million Roubles. 114,000 Euros. 93,000 UK Pounds) for a broken left tibia, a torn knee ligament, and a lingering limp.

The accident occurred on Fischer Boulevard at Hazelwood Road in Toms River Township NJ at about 9 pm. The car’s driver was Chrispin Obico, a priest at St Justin’s Roman Catholic Church in Toms River Township. The plaintiffs alleged Obico didn’t have his headlights on, which he denied, and that he was supposed to wear corrective lenses while driving, which he admitted he didn’t. The suit named Obico, St Justin’s, and the Diocese of Trenton, and the defendants cross-claimed against Vincent Mancini, claiming that as the only capable adult present, he was at fault for crossing the busy four-lane road in the dark where there was no cross-walk or lighting. His carrier is paying 150,000 USD of Craven’s settlement to resolve the counterclaim. Obico’s lawyer, Robert Billmeier, of Backes & Hill in Trenton NJ, didn’t return a call. Dorine Sirota, of Stephen Gertler’s firm in Wall NJ, who defended the counterclaim, confirmed the settlement.


This is proof that Fathausen did NO vetting of this candidate prior to receiving him. I wonder who spoke up for him? Bobby? Iggy (he has links to Garfield NJ)? Was it Michael Dahulich (who has links to the RCs via a PhD earned at a papist institution)? Fr Sergius Bowyer, the abbot at St T’s? C’mon… step forward! Now, I’ll bet ya that whoever spoke up in favour of receiving this questionable POS is backtracking… and quite smartly, too.

I’d say to His Nibs, “Sir, this guy continues to hack at Christ’s Church by his (at best) questionable actions. The OCA autocephalist crowd looks the other way to defend their sorry ‘independence’… it’s time to rip up the Tomos and reintegrate the Metropolia into the MP. In addition, Fr Sergius Bowyer, the superior of St Tikhon’s, was probably well-aware of this court action, yet allowed this abomination to proceed. As the MP gave the OCA ‘autocephaly’, any of its crank actions rebounds on the Mother Church, and weakens it against the crook claims of the EP. Act now, sir”.

This is too much of a muchness…


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