Voices from Russia

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12 January 2013. RBTH Infographic. From Russia With Food

00 RBTH Infographic. Niyaz Karim. From Russia With Food. 2012


Russia is one of the major exporters of raw materials to the West, but its share of the world’s food imports is less than 1 percent. Nevertheless, Russian food manufacturers have grand ambitions to introduce Western customers to their goods. Today, Russian specialities like ryazhenka, tvorog, and kolbasa are little known and hard to find in the EU, but that could change soon.

29 March 2012

Russia Behind the Headlines



12 January 2013. RBTH Infographic. Would You Like To Live In Another Country Permanently?

00 RBTH Infographic. Would You Like to Live in Another Country Permanently. 2012


According to state-run pollster VTsIOM, the desire to emigrate from Russia is at a record low despite a turbulent election season marked with a rise in protests. However, the young and the supporters of political hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov, a presidential candidate who participated in the recent demonstrations, are the most likely to voice a desire to leave the country.

29 March 2012

Russia Behind the Headlines



12 January 2013. A Photo Essay. It Happened on Orthodox Christmas in 2013…

00a Orthodox Christmas 2013. Jerusalem. Patriarch Theophilos. 12.01.13

Most Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on 7 January. Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos Giannopoulos of Jerusalem served on Christmas Eve in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in Palestine.


00b Orthodox Christmas 2013. Cairo. Patriarch Tawadros. 12.01.13

Coptic Orthodox believers came to St Mark Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo for a service led by newly-elected Patriarch Tawadros Sulayman of Alexandria and all Africa.


00c Orthodox Christmas 2013. Ethiopia. 12.01.13

Ethiopian Orthodox believers celebrated the holiday.


00d Orthodox Christmas 2013. Serbia. Badnjak. 12.01.13

In Šabac, west of the Serbian capital of Belgrade in Mačva Okrug (Šumadija and Western Serbia Region), believers took part in the badnjak, a traditional Serb Christmas Eve custom.


00e Orthodox Christmas 2013. Belarus. Verbovichi. 12.01.13

Believers in Verbovichi (Gomel Oblast. Narovlya Raion), a town south-east of the Belarusian capital of Minsk, at Christmas services. Most Orthodox Christians follow the Julian Calendar for calculating the feasts of the Church Year. There isn’t any such thing as the “Revised Julian Calendar”… that’s just a cobbled-together pseudo-intellectual abortion consisting of the Julian Calendar for calculating Easter and the Gregorian Calendar for fixed feasts… neither fish nor fowl, it isn’t defensible in scholarly terms, nor is it logically-sound in its argument or application, and it shows a lack of charity towards the faithful majority of Orthodox believers who continue to follow the Received Tradition.


00f Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Patr Kirill. 12.01.13

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias served at Christmas at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (he visited Maternity Home nr 3 afterwards to bring holiday cheer to the mothers, families, and staff).


00g Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Dmitri Medvedev. 12.01.13

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev was amongst the believers that attended Christmas services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.


00h Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Krasnoyarsk. 12.01.13

Fireworks were part of the celebrations outside the newly-built Church of the Nativity of Christ in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.


00i Orthodox Christmas 2013. Gaza. Palestine. 12.01.13

In Gaza, Greek Orthodox believers attended Christmas service at St Porfirios Church.


Over 80 percent of all Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on its traditional date. The rest should reconsider their position. Don’t you want to be in union with the rest of Christ’s Church? What the heterodox do is of no moment to us… they do what they do, and that’s that, and it has NO relevance to the Church. There are three midwinter holidays called “Christmas”:

  • Xmas: C S Lewis used this term for the secular midwinter holiday… it’s a good distinction. When most people wish you “Merry Christmas”, this is what they refer to. Show them kindness and charity… say, “Thank you, and the same to you and yours”. Orthodox can keep this as a secular holiday… we keep all the rest of ‘em like the Fourth of July, Fête du Canada, Australia Day, and the May Day Bank Holiday, don’t we? In any case, to give your kids some gifts on this date is good, as it allows them not to feel out-of-place amongst their mates at school. It’s a secular bank-holiday… keep it as such.
  • Catholic Christmas: This is the 25 December religious holiday. The Proddies keep this date, too, as they’re the bastard children of Rome. This is a heterodox celebration, and the Church enjoins us to show respect to other religions and their believers. If you’re wished “Merry Christmas” in this sense, again, show charity (for that’s what Christ’s Church COMMANDS you to do), and say, “Thank you, and the same to you and yours”. Many religious people will be hip to the fact that Orthodox Christmas is a different day. Be kind… show respect to their holy day. Oh… don’t forget to break the opłatek with the Soloniewiczs down the street and get the scungilli and calamari for Nona Sophia next-door (she’ll call ‘em scungil and calamad in Sicilian). You might get an invite to the feast… accept and show your gratitude… that’s what real true-blue down n’ dirty Christians do.
  • Orthodox Christmas: This is on 7 January on the civil calendar for the rest of this century (it’ll be 8 January in 2100). Most Eastern and Oriental Orthodox believers keep this date; this is Orthosphere Christmas. Don’t you wish that all of us celebrated together on this day?

If you’re not keeping Orthodox Christmas… you should. Most Orthodox who follow Catholic Christmas are guiltless… they didn’t decide to do such… that was the work of notional and misguided heretics such as Meletios Metaxakis and Aleksandr Schmemann. All Russian Orthodox believers in the diaspora should follow the Mother Church… we should not only celebrate when she celebrates, we should be as one, and scrap all the foolish divisions that split us now. The OCA, Paris Exarchate, ROCOR, and MP Abroad are false and pernicious artificial constructs. We should be as one, under the omofor of our Mother Church. God willing, that day will be soon…

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12 January 2013. You Can’t Make Up Shit Like This… What Did They Make That Snake Sculpture Out Of in Chilly Yakutia?

00 dung Cobra Snake in Yakutia. 12.01.13


00 dung Cobra Snake in Yakutia 02. 12.01.13


His loathing of “capitalist pigs” led Piero Manzoni to can his faeces and put it up for sale as artwork in 1961. However, when 61-year-old Mikhail Bopposov created a giant cobra out of frozen cow dung, he did it for the kids. Speaking about his 400-kilo (882-pound) creation, the native of Yakutia in Siberia told RIA-Novosti by phone Friday, “I made it so that the kids could play around it and have some fun”. The snake… coiled, with head upright and hood widened… is on display in the village of Yolba, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of the republic’s capital, Yakutsk. Bopposov created it to mark the coming of the Year of the Snake, which begins 10 February according to the Chinese calendar.

Cattle-raising is widespread in Yolba, which has about 500 people. Bopposov works as a building manager at the village school, but his 17 cows provide him with an ample supply of dung, or “balbalkh” as it is in his native Yakut language. When asked about his artistic aspirations, Bopposov said modestly, “This isn’t sculpture, it’s just a piece of work that I did”. Bopposov first dabbled in the medium in 2008, when, inspired by his military service in a tank division, he created a tank out of dung. Encouraged by the reception from local children and adult villagers alike, he proceeded last winter to mark the Year of the Dragon by sculpting a winged serpent, also using cow manure.

Yolba villagers also sculpt from snow and ice… Bopposov and his son contributed a rabbit in the Year of the Hare in 2011… but the medium isn’t as convenient, as it’s hard to shape when temperatures fall far below freezing. January temperatures in Tattinsky Raion, where Yolba is located, hover between -42 and -44 degrees (-44 to -48 degrees Fahrenheit). Come spring, the dung sculptures are always dismantled, both out of aesthetic concerns and because “balbakh” is a valuable fertiliser sold for compost or used locally in the fields during Yakutia’s short summers. Carefully enunciating the words in his correct, but heavily accented, Russian, Bopposov said with a laugh, “Guess I’ll have to try to do a horse in 2014, if I can pull it off”.

12 January 2013

Aleksei Yeremenko



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