Voices from Russia

Monday, 11 June 2012

The MP Urged Monasteries and Parishes in Rural Areas to Develop Environmentally-Friendly Agricultural Methods


The MP will develop a fully-faceted environmental programme in-house. According to the draft document Principles of the Environmental Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, “We should see the Church’s environmental programme as a discrete track within our diocesan and parish work”. The document is available on the official MP website, and it’s open for discussion, as one can leave online comments. It’s also been sent to the dioceses for feedback.

The Church is in favour of creating a specialised department to deal with environmental problems on a systematic basis, to provide support to various church environmental projects, and to facilitate the exchange of information between environmental groups and church bodies. The document noted, “Orthodox believers are encouraged to contribute to the development and implementation of technologies and management techniques aimed at protecting the environment, as well as to participate in government and public environmental initiatives. They should also support environmentally-oriented projects, activities, and research, and to promote, implement, and use them”.

The Church also reserved the right to criticise the actions of the authorities, public organisations, and scientific institutions, if they have adverse effects on human health and on the natural environment. The draft document said, “Ecological concerns should be a component of our mission and pastoral work. It’s important to provide practical support for voluntary initiatives, in particular, for keeping public areas clean and for keeping our water supply pure, and in landscaping streets, squares, parks, public gardens, and green belts. We should organise environmental competitions and support the implementation of the winning proposals”. Besides that, the document proposed that monasteries and parishes in rural areas should develop environmentally-friendly means of agricultural production, to be an example of sound environmental management for the surrounding farms.

1 June 2012



Editor’s Note:

Contrary to what many rightwing konvertsy believe, the Church does NOT support the rants of the Hard Right of the Republican Party. The Church supports the aspirations of labouring people, the Church supports the giving of state subsidies to those in need, the Church does call upon us to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, not unfeeling “consumers” in McMansions driving out for our golf game. It’s quite simple, you can follow Christ’s Church, or, you can follow Mammon the Great. “For no man can serve two masters”… do recall who said that, and reflect on what it means for the affluent effluent and their profligate and greedy ways.



Russia Celebrates 1,150 Years

Millennium of Russia monument in the Novgorod KremlinVeliki Novgorod (Novgorod OblastNorthwestern Federal District) RF


1,150 years… that count comes from the version found in the Primary Chronicle of St Nestor the Chronicler, as the monk-chronicler dated the invitation from the Rus to the Varangian prince Rurik to 862 AD. By St Nestor’s time, most people considered Rurik to be the founder of the dynasty of Russian princes and tsars. All the medieval chroniclers regarded it the foundation of the state, and of the ruling dynasty. Therefore, the monk-chronicler, wondering what the genesis of the Russian state was, responded to his question with the story of Rurik ruling near Lake Ladoga (or a settlement near Novgorod). The Rurikid Dynasty ruled Russia until the end of the 16th century.

The name of the ancient state of “Rus” is Scandinavian in origin. A few dispute this, thinking somehow that a non-Slavic foreign origin of the name of the state diminishes its prestige. Precisely, from a linguistic point of view, it comes from the Old Norse word “ro”… to “to row”. After all, the Scandinavians came to Russia in oar-propelled vessels, as they couldn’t proceed downriver under sail. At first, the Swedes used this name for the Finns. Today, the Swedes call the Finns “Ruotsi”, that is, “rowers”. Later, the name “Rus” was taken over by the Slavs. In the beginning, it only referred to the Scandinavian ruling class, then, it covered all of the people subject to the Grand Prince of Rus, and, lastly, it applied to the country itself. Similarly, the medieval Arab, New Roman, and German writers all wrote of those who lived in the Slavic lands as being subject to the “Russian” Grand Prince. Ergo, the ancient Russian monks-chroniclers did likewise.

What developments led to the emergence of Russia as a state? Professor Yelena Melnikova, doctor of historical sciences, told VOR, “In the ninth century, Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes in the north-western region of Eastern Europe paid tribute to the Varangians, the Scandinavians. However, there came a time when the people rebelled, they stopped paying tribute and drove out their overlords. Then, shortly thereafter, they began to fight each other over money and power. As a result, the chroniclers write, they sent an embassy overseas, to find a prince. Because of this overture, the Varangians Rurik and his brothers Sineus and Truvor came to Rus and Rurik began to reign in the region of Lake Ladoga. The chroniclers wrote about Novgorod, but Novgorod, according to archaeological research, didn’t exist yet. Rus is definitely an old Scandinavian name modified when a Slavic language took it over as a loanword”.

According to Melnikova, we should regard this entry in the annals as legendary. It does accurately reflect the economic situation that prevailed in the north-west of Eastern Europe in the second half of the ninth century. Rus had control of an extremely important trade route, one that served all of Europe. It began in northern France, went through England, Germany, and Scandinavia, over the Baltic Sea, to Russia. It went across Russia to the Caspian region, i.e. to the countries of the East. Due to this trade, Eastern and Northern Europe received a huge amount of silver from the Arab Caliphate. In modern times, archaeologists found thousands of Arab silver coins in hoards in Russia and Scandinavia.

Melnikova told us, “The fact is that in the early Middle Ages, Europe had a ‘silver crisis’. At that time, silver was the main means of exchange in commodity trading. Because of this wealth, a new road to the East opened; this transcontinental route ‘from the Varangians to the Greeks’ had a solid economic basis. During the Middle Ages, the Vikings were marauders in Western Europe, but in the East, they were primarily traders. Their main impetus was the desire to get silver. In exchange for specie, the Arabs and New Romans received precious furs such as sable, marten, and squirrel. Besides this, they bought slaves… Europe, New Rome, and the Arab Caliphate were in need of labour. Therefore, the Scandinavians seized a large number of prisoners during their trips through the Slavic lands, mostly unarmed country folk, men, women, and children, whom they sold in other countries. For example, Arab historians write that Varangian traders sold Slavic slaves in Baghdad. They were sold in Constantinople, in France, and in England”.

In the late ninth century, according to the Primary Chronicle, Rurik’s kinsman Oleg and Rurik’s son Igor, led their host down the Dnepr and captured Kiev. During this campaign, as one would say today, their sphere of influence was a narrow strip of land from Lake Ladoga to the south along the Dnepr to Kiev. In the first half of the tenth century, Kiev gradually conquered the Slavic tribes living to the west and east of the Dnepr. This, together with the lands of Novgorod, gradually formed the basis of the united ancient state of Rus. By this time, the Scandinavian military élite had assimilated and integrated into the Slavic population. Already in the mid-tenth century, amongst the names of the rulers of Rus, we see such Slavic names as Svyatoslav and Vladimir. Probably, in the first half of the tenth century, the princes and their entourage, even though they were Scandinavians by heritage, began to use the Russian language. Scandinavians married Slavs; they “melted into” the Slavic culture.

The formation of the primeval state of Rus was a lengthy affair; it took nearly three centuries. During this time, the social structure and political organisation of Eastern European Slavic societies underwent radical change. The Scandinavian Varangians participated in this development, playing the role of a catalyst. Rising on a multiethnic foundation, including Finno-Ugric, Baltic, and Turkic peoples along with the predominant Slavic population, by the beginning of the eleventh century, the ancient state of Rus emerged as a mighty European power, firmly integrated into the medieval world.

11 June 2012

Irina Gardenina

Voice of Russia World Service


11 June 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Six Working Days…

Six Working Days…

Sergei Yolkin



The Federal Labour and Employment Service (Rostrud) reported to RIA-Novosti that many Russians worked on the Saturday before the three-day holiday on Tuesday, 12 June, for Russia Day.

11 June 2012

Sergei Yolkin



Anti-Hitler Coalition Principles

Together We Win

Unknown Artist

circa 1942-43

US World War II poster


Don’t fall for the lies of the Grand Old Phonies! The USA won the Second World War as part of the Anti-Hitler Coalition under the most socialistic government it ever had, bar none. It’s won no victory of equal magnitude since… hmm… are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?

By the way… workers organised under the uncut and undiluted Wagner Act won the US production marvel; that is, union workers in union shops produced the sinews of victory. Would the wage slaves of today do as well? After all, Wafflin’ Willy needs to fatten his Cayman Islands account!


70 years ago today, on 11 June 1942, the USSR and the USA signed an Agreement on the Principles Applicable to Mutual Aid in the Prosecution of the War Against Aggression. It determined the parameters of relations between the allies in the Anti-Hitler Coalition. It also made the US pledge to supply defence equipment to the USSR as part of the Lend-Lease Act legally-binding.

According to contemporary researchers, the leading world powers in alliance against Nazi Germany started their talks much earlier than 1942. The Soviet Union had talked with Great Britain since September 1939, whilst it had discussions with the USA since April 1940. Therefore, the prerequisites for a coalition were in place even before Nazi Germany attacked the USSR on 22 June 1941, when Fascist hordes invaded Soviet territory. On that day, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered a speech over the radio in London, saying specifically that Great Britain would give Russia and the Russian people what aid it possibly could. Two days later, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a similar statement. The USSR and Great Britain signed an agreement in Moscow in July 1941, concerning the joint efforts necessary to fight Nazi Germany.

Viktor Gavrilov, a chief researcher with the Institute for Military History, noted, “One year later, the USSR signed a similar agreement with the USA in Washington. Certainly, it was quite a breakthrough, both in terms of Soviet-American relations and in terms of Soviet-British relations. It was quite a leap forward in terms of setting up a united front against Nazi Germany”. The Washington Agreement formalised de jure the supplies of US defence equipment to the USSR, which had started de facto more than a year before, in August 1941. During the war years, the USA sent the USSR, which bore the brunt of the war against Nazi Germany, 18,000 warplanes, 12,000 tanks, more than 1,000 steam locomotives, and over 400,000 jeeps and Studebaker trucks. This wasn’t free, with Moscow reciprocating the 41 allied Arctic convoys with 36 of its own, loaded with nickel, chrome, manganese, and gold. Mikhail Myagkov, a Moscow-based historian, said, “Lend-lease supplies played a role in our victory, although not a decisive one. The USSR Union would’ve won even without foreign help, but these supplies helped us all win that war…”.

When asked if we could revive the wartime allied partnership today, Gavrilov said, “There’s a global war on terror now, but until the 11 September 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, Russia had fought this war alone. After 9/11, the West finally woke up to reality and pulled all of its effort against this global challenge. Russia, for its part, made its territory available for vital supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan…”. Gavrilov also observed that the world’s nations should work together against existing and future global threats and challenges.

11 June 2012

Mikhail Aristov

Voice of Russia World Service


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