Voices from Russia

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Greek Leftists Refuse To Participate In Government

The Cat’s in the European Cradle…

Avital Alter



The corporate media isn’t telling you that there’s a “but” in the Greek austerity plan… all the austerity “pain” falls on the working people who didn’t benefit from the nutter loans made by the Greek government. On the other hand, the Greek affluent effluent, who were the only gainers, got no penalty or “austerity” at all. They intend to ride out the crisis by stamping unmercifully on the faces of the Greek working class… just as the US Republican Party wants to do here.


State television reported that Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical left coalition SYRIZA, stated that his party wouldn’t participate in any Greek coalition government. Greek President Karolos Papoulias held talks on Sunday to form a government  after the leaders of the three major parties consistently rejected to form a cabinet. In the 6 May parliamentary elections, supporters and opponents of austerity policies in exchange for the EU and IMF loans won approximately the same share of votes, no one faction can form a government. Tsipras told the leaders of the centre-right New Democracy and the centre-left PASOK, “You’re asking us to support a mistaken course of action. You need legitimacy… you don’t have it now, and we won’t give it to you”.

SYRIZA strongly opposes the loan agreement with the EU and the IMF, whilst New Democracy and PASOK support this agreement. Tsipras accused his opponents of wanting to form a three-party government with a small moderate leftist party, the Democratic Left, which broke from SYRIZA about two years ago. Observers expect Papoulias to hold talks Sunday evening with leaders of four small parties in parliament, including the KKE (Communists), the neo-fascist Golden Dawn, the Democratic Left, and the rightwing Independent Greeks {national conservatives, NOT money-grubbing pro-business Neoliberal slimers like Western “conservatives”: editor}.

13 May 2012

Aleksei Bogdanovsky



A Note for Orthodox Christians:

The “austerity” plan is evil and against all the teaching of the Church, and the Church of Greece opposes it. I’ll not mince my words… if you vote for the Republican Party this year, you vote for an anti-Christian ideology of greed and hubris that’s all the more horrid for dressing itself up in make-believe tawdry “Christian” vesture. I shall not be coy… the clergy who support the Republican rightwing are wrong… the convert elements who trumpet the lies of the rightwing media are wrong… I’ll stand against them, even if I stand alone… and I confide to you, I’m NOT… ponder that if you will…



Anniversary of the Sandwich


Exactly 250 years ago, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, playing cards, put meat between two slices of bread. That was the birth of the true English sandwich. According to legend, the Earl of Sandwich became very hungry during a card game. As he was an avid player, he sat at the card table for hours, without even taking a break for dinner. That day, the cook prepared meat sauced with brown gravy. To ensure that the gravy wouldn’t drip on the cards, Sandwich asked his servants to place the meat between two slices of bread. Upon seeing this appetising concoction, the other card players shouted, “We want the same as Sandwich!”

That’s how the sandwich first saw the light of day; it was a relative of the German butterbrot {in Russian, we call it a buterbrodik: editor}, but with an extra slice of bread on top of the butter and meat. This story first appeared in French historian, writer, and traveller Pierre-Jean Grosley‘s book A Tour to London; it was contemporary with the Earl of Sandwich. However, since then, there’s been much discussion whether this story is true or if it’s just a pleasant myth. There’s another, more prosaic version. Allegedly, the Earl wasn’t an avid gambler, but he was an amateur strategist who pored over military maps for hours, snacking on meat between slices of bread. No matter what its real origin is, in Britain, nobody calls the butterbrot anything other than a sandwich. In the UK, the sandwich is probably the most popular food. Traditionally, its luncheon fare, as the British eat a light meal at midday. Sandwiches not only have meat fillings, but they can also contain cheese, seafood, and vegetables instead. For example, some of the most popular sandwiches in London cafés and snack bars are shrimp with avocado and turkey with cranberry sauce.

British supermarkets decided to mark the 250th anniversary of a truly British culinary invention. Next week, they’ll stock sandwiches wrapped in the colours of the British flag under the trademark “Best of British” on their shelves. Amongst them will be a sandwich called the “British Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Wrap”, stuffed with topside beef, roast potatoes, and horseradish sauce, and a Scotch Egg-style sandwich with haslet pork, an egg, and pickle. All throughout the anniversary year, vendors promise to offer buyers some interesting sandwich fillings symbolic of traditional British cuisine. Yet, at the same time, they’ll also have on offer some innovative taste treats, as the British do like to try out new things. For example, last summer, sandwiches with strawberries and cream were a special hit with Tesco supermarket customers at the time of the Wimbledon championships, and a year earlier, they test-marketed a sandwich with an Italian lasagne filling.

12 May 2012

Yelena Balayeva

Voice of Russia World Service


13 May 2012. A Point to Ponder…

Fr Ioann Krestiankin (1910-2006) with President Vladimir Putin (1952- ) in 2000… the konvertsy Republicans don’t show you this picture, do they? Fr Ioann is one of the major dramatis personæ in Fr Tikhon Shevkunov‘s Несвятые святые и другие рассказы (Unholy Saints and Other Tales).


Fr Ioann Krestiankin said that, nowadays, fervent Christians work out their salvation in the world, and feeble ones do so in monasteries. When you hear confessions and mingle with believers, you see just what kind of remarkable strugglers (подвижники) there are amongst ordinary people; we, who fancy ourselves monastics, need to learn from them.

In connection with this, I recall an incident from the mid-80s. I was strolling about the grounds at the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery with Fr Ioann. Suddenly, an anxious young man, “pale with a piercing gaze” {a quote from the Symbolist poet Valery Bryusov: editor} ran up to Batiushka and started to whine loudly, “Batiushka, Moscow’s such a dreadful town! It’s a new Babylon full of godless people! It’s just frightful!” All of a sudden, Fr Ioann placed his hand tightly over the young man’s mouth, and he spoke sternly to him, “Why are you talking like that? Every day, the clergy serve 40 Divine Liturgies in as many churches in Moscow! Remarkable strugglers (подвижники) live there, unnoticed in the urban sprawl, hidden on the eighth or twelfth floor of faceless apartment blocks! There are true saints there, of a sort that you couldn’t even conceive of”.

Back then, his words surprised me because I thought that all the strugglers (подвижники) lived in remote monasteries somewhere on Solovki or in the Egyptian desert. Today, truth be told, I see incredible strugglers (подвижников) who’re just simple believers. Their humility teaches and saves me; they show how it’s possible for contemporary people to embrace a heroic (подвижнически) and Christian life.

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

Superior of the Sretensky Monastery

Moscow (Federal City of Moscow) RF



The Battle of Prince Pozharsky with Hetman Chodkiewicz Near Moscow



Niva magazine


Pozharsky was a “struggler” (подвижник); his action was a “подвиг”… these words are NOT exclusively religious.



“Подвижник” is NOT “ascetic struggler”… it merely means “a struggler”, “one who does great deeds”, “an extraordinary hero”. For instance, “подвиг” simply is the strongest-possible Russian word for “heroic act”… its full panoply of meaning is lost in English translation (there’s simply no equivalent for the strength and depth of emphasis in this word). I’ve seen these two words used in connection with the VOV and the First Great Patriotic War of 1812 (as in, “The Podvig of General Raevsky”)… they’re not exclusively-religious words. Indeed, for a Russian, the full import is so much more meaningful. Beware translations done by konvertsy… they often lack the grounding and background necessary to discern a correct word-choice to bring across the full impact of this-or-that Russian idiom. Not only that, what’s worse, they’re either “hyper-correct” (such as their goofy ungrounded practise of putting a cross in front of a bishop’s name or putting it in all caps) or they give a “merely-religious” meaning to words, concepts, and phrases that are broader in scope.

One last thing… this year is the 200th anniversary of the First Great Patriotic War of 1812… and the 400th anniversary of the Liberation of Moscow from the Poles by Minin and Pozharsky in 1612. These were two “podvigs”, and Minin and Pozharsky were two “podvizhniki”. Beware all konvertsy renderings… there be cow pats in that field… do mind your step…


13 May 2012. Video. Some of My Favourite Things… Цирк (Circus) (1936). In Colour



Circus is one of my fave Soviet films. Even if you don’t know Russian, it’s so visually interesting that you’ll find that you can follow it. It’s a somewhat offbeat comedy… laughter IS universal. Trust me; the Soviet Union wasn’t all heroic tractor drivers and buxom milkmaids…


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