Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

7 May 2013. The Pot Boils in the Midwest… Is Mollard Going to Russia Any Time Soon?

01 pot calls kettle black

Some call me a “yellow journalist”… I wonder why? Bear in mind, “Pay, pray, and obey” ain’t Orthodox


In the Midwest, the deaneries held elections for their deans. In 2011, Moriak appointed one of the deans. Does it surprise you that this dean was the only one supported Moriak’s reinstatement? Did Moriak force the old dean out? You pays your money and you takes your choice. Recently, when the priests met to elect a new dean, they promptly chose the previous dean, not the one appointed by Moriak. That says something about Moriak’s general popularity, doesn’t it? In other words, only the drooling konvertsy toddlers supported Moriak and his culture war ravings… everyone else wanted the nutty-squirrel nightmare over, and as soon as possible.

Rumours are swirling that a parish invited Mollard to preside at a special event, but has since taken back the invitation. Huh? Who the hell invites the Metropolitan for a special event… then, disinvites him? I’ve never heard of such a thing! No one knows why Mollard got the disinvite… this is one of those things blandly denied by Syosset. They call people like me “yellow journalists”… I know what the First Families say… my contacts tell me. Some of the First Family worthies would be SURPRISED to know some of my contacts. I frankly label some things “buzz”, “rumours”, or “it’s what’s out there”… you have a right to know what’s what, even if some arrogant clergyman too big for his britches thinks otherwise. Remember, the clergy are just as bound by morality as we are… they get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for NOTHING.

The OCA is moaning that it can do nothing about Ray Velencia. They claim that they have no control over him, “we suspended him, we notified the Greeks”… yadda, yadda, yadda. That’s bullshit. The OCA Holy Synod can DEFROCK Ray Velencia for daring to sue a priest in good standing whilst under suspension. The OCA HS can DEFROCK Ray Velencia for representing himself as a priest in good standing whilst under suspension. The OCA HS can DEFROCK Ray Velencia for going to a parish of another Orthodox Archdiocese and pretending to be a clergyman in good standing whilst there. The OCA HS can send a public and sharp protest to the GOAA for having allowed one of its parishes to “enable” Sir Ray’s shenanigans. In short, it’s not that the OCA HS can do nothing… they refuse to do anything about it, which is something else altogether. One of my contacts told me that Bishop Mel (he has an article in the Russian Wikipedia, but not in the English one… my, my, my) was down in the dumps over some of the HS bullshit… I couldn’t blame him… you see, if the OCA HS refuses to discipline Ray, it loses all moral cred. It’s become a case of “all the king’s horses and the king’s men”… one can see why Bishop Mel wouldn’t care for that.

One of the things out there is that stories circulate that Mollard’s going to Russia. Is he or isn’t he? I haven’t the foggiest. The only thing that people seem to know is that Tosi (the clueless commissar of the Syosset Mafia) might accompany him. So far, there’s no buzz about Lyonyo or Jillions. I’ve no doubt that HH wants to have a sit-down with Mollard personally. There’s also word that Mollard’s trying to get some ethnic clergy to accompany him, to make it look legit for HH. The whispers on that are that Mollard doesn’t have the gelt to pay for anyone’s fare, so, it’s clear that HH isn’t footing the bill, save for Mollard himself, a cell-attendant, and Tosi. We’ll have to see on this one. It makes sense… HH is the Godfather and Mollard’s the latest button man in America… Mr Big wants to meet the latest cop on the beat. As I say, we’ll have to see on this one.

Bear in mind that no edifice collapses overnight. The OCA could stumble on for years in its present disarray… unless an event precipitates a fall. Mollard’s placid bovine incompetency does increase the chance of that… but that’s nothing that I (or anyone else) can predict. Stay tuned…

BMD barbara-drezhloBarbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Albany NY  



Will Georgia Ban Abortions?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Respect for Life from Beginning to End. 2012


The Georgian state has begun thinking of banning abortions after influential Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili pitched the idea in his Easter sermon on 5 May. Many churches may be pro-life, but in this devout Christian country, which cherishes the Church leader above any other public figure, words from the patriarch can carry as much power as papal bulls once did in Europe. During his sermon, the patriarch called on the government to stop the “terrible sin” of abortion and “filicide”, aside from a few circumstantial exceptions. He blamed both Bolshevikatheists” from the past and modern liberal philosophy for the prevalence of abortions. Georgia tops the South Caucasus for abortions, with 408 performed per 1,000 live births, according to a study by the WHOthe Caucasus Research Resource Centres reported (By comparison, the EU rate is 222 per 1,000 live births).

Georgian government officials, who can’t hold a candle to the patriarch in terms of public support, quickly gave the nod to the Church on considering an abortion ban. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili responded by saying that baby-boosting legislation is in order. However, he sensibly suggested that if one wanted to improve the country’s bleak demographic situation, the focus should be on economic incentives rather than abortions. Amongst top Georgian officials, only female Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani ventured to express outright scepticism, saying that the ban could make abortion an underground business. She said that prohibiting informing parents about the sex of a future child is as far as she is personally willing to go as a way to prevent selective abortions, which favour boys.

With one eye on the country’s modest population of 4.48 million, the patriarch has long pushed Georgians to have more babies. After he offered to baptise every third child as an incentive, the Church held mass baptism ceremonies several times a year. Now, he’s proposed to cash-strapped parents that, rather than aborting any additional children, they hand them over to the Church’s care. However, gender researcher Nargiza Arjevanidze cautioned that Georgia’s Soviet experience actually illustrates the dangers of an abortion ban. She said in comments to EurasiaNet that a ban during the Stalin era “led to the rise of back-room abortions that often ended in health complications and even death. Another ban could result in similar problems. Those who can afford it would travel to neighbouring countries; others would resort to illegal procedures”. She believes than an anti-abortion law would do little to reduce Georgia’s high abortion rate. Rather, Arjevanidze thinks that promotion of contraception and family planning is the real need.

7 May 2013

Georgi Lomsadze



Editor’s Note:

There are those who believe that we can solve the problems associated with abortion by simply outlawing it, and making those who provide it criminals. That’s simply hogwash of the worst possible sort. Before Roe, abortion was readily available to women who had the money to pay for it. Those who didn’t have the money to access proper medical intervention turned to quacks or “homebrew solutions”. In short, there was plenty of abortion going on despite the formal ban on the procedure.

In any case, the Church doesn’t bless political action to solve moral problems. That’s a Catholic solution (said with no rancour towards individual Catholics). It’s not Christ’s solution… it’s the solution of Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. That is, when we try to address moral problems with the police power of the state rather than with the moral authority of Our Lord Christ, not only does the effort usually fail, it ends in exacerbating the problem. Thus, to march in “Pro-life” rallies and to support rightwing politicians because they’re anti-abortion is clearly anti-Christian (it certainly ain’t Orthodox).

St Serafim Vyritsky didn’t carry on a political protest… he prayed for the Soviet state and for its conversion. He prayed for the victory of the Red Army in the VOV, as that was preferable to a Fascist victory. He was typical of many in the Church. We didn’t carry signs… we didn’t sign petitions… we prayed. That’s right… we prayed. It worked. By the 1980s, the KPSS abandoned the anti-religious struggle… the rebirth of the Church began, not in 1991, but in 1985. If all things are equal, then, Christ calls on us to pray. He calls on us to aid unwed mothers anonymously. He calls on us to show civility to Pro-Choice people. I’ll tell you a “secret”… virtually all Pro-Choice people view abortion as a nasty alternative, one that they’d like to see minimised. They’re not pro-abortion ogres. We should have nothing to do with Randall Terry and all those even remotely of his ilk.

To take the current Pro-Life narrative as a given is to reduce a full-blown moral dilemma (for there’s no “clean” moral solution to the abortion mess) to a cartoonish, juvenile, and fundamentally-untrue fairy tale. It’s not simply “good anti-abortionists” against “evil pro-abortionists”. It’s a case where all people who favour life over death (and most Pro-Choice people DO fall in that category) have to face stern reality and unyielding facts. We can have our own opinions, but we can’t have “our own facts”.

Are we Christians? Are we Orthodox Christians? Then, we face the dilemma that Dostoyevsky posed using the figure of the Grand Inquisitor. Think hard on that one… remember, “simple” doesn’t mean “easy”, it doesn’t mean “obvious”. Do bear in mind St Serafim praying for four years for the victory of the Red Army… it led to setting up a situation that led eventually to the relaxation of the ‘80s that led to the Church’s liberation. In like manner, we may have to keep abortion legal in order to reduce it.

I fear that many will call me pro-abortion for what I’ve written. One takes that risk. I’m not such, but you have no control over what others think of what one says or does. However, I’ll say this much… I’ve got the guts and grit to speak my mind, and that’s being “honest to God”. I don’t think that displeases the Almighty… and I’m not alone in thinking that way…


7 May 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. An All-Nighter with Kafka

00 Sergei Yolkin. An All-Nighter with Kafka. 2013

An All-Nighter with Kafka

Sergei Yolkin



This is a holdover from Sov times… you can say what you will, but the Sovs weren’t as crass and grasping as the Affluent Effluent American business class is. They did try to make high culture available to common people… and they did a good job of it, too. They weren’t *beskulturny (бескультурный) moneygrubbers as the American Right is… let God see and judge!

Yolkin portrays a woman dancing the tango with Kafka… do note the arm coming from the book around her waist. Let’s see, a woman follows a man’s lead in the tango; ergo, that means that Yolkin’s suggesting that we should follow the lead of our best minds, not our own low imaginings. That’s not a bad idea, at all…


On the night of 19-20 April, Moscow will hold the Biblionoch (Библионочь: Book Night)… an annual event during which libraries, bookstores, museums, and galleries stay open all night, offering their visitors competitions and meetings with authors. Of course, the caricature is by Sergei Yolkin.

19 April 2013

Sergei Yolkin



*Beskulturny literally means “uncultured”, but it’s closer in meaning to the French incivilité. That is, it denotes someone who’s uncouth, a boor, and uninterested in cultural matters such as art, literature, music, and drama. To wit, it describes the typical American suburban businessman dweeb to a tee. It’s a VERY strong word, not deployed lightly. If you call someone beskulturny, you’re saying that they’re unfit for decent educated company. For instance, Willard Romney was beskulturny, boasting of his tax dodging and of his “charitable donations”. Hmm… most of the latter were donations to the Mormon sect… that’s NOT charity. If you exclude such, he truly didn’t give much in proportion to his income. As for squirrelling away money in hidey-holes in foreign parts to avoid taxation, he deserved to sit in the slam for such (he ought to have had the same as Khodorkovsky got in Russia). Do note that the Republicans nominated such an unrepentant and unashamed slimmer to high office. Mark it down and don’t forget it…


7 May 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Anything, for the Sake of Income

00 Sergei Yolkin. Anything, for the Sake of Income. 2013

Anything, for the Sake of Income

Sergei Yolkin



In the original Russian, the caption rhymed (Чтоб не лишиться добра и мандата, жена разводиться ведёт депутата), so, I did likewise. Yes, Virginia, it’s possible! In the original, the sign read ЗАГС (Записей Актов Гражданского Состояния, ZAGS: literally, Recorder of Acts Regarding Civil Status, “Registry Office”). All Russians know that’s where you go to register your marriage or divorce. By the way, all of continental Europe requires couples to have a civil marriage, even if they have a church ceremony. That’s a good idea. It keeps the church out of the marriage debate… and out of the state’s affairs. That’s how it should be (we should do that here, too… priests shouldn’t act as agents of the state in any way). Do note that the wife is pulling her perplexed husband to the ZAGS with some determination and vigour (she looks rather like a overly-made-up floozy, doesn’t she?). Is this Yolkin’s wry comment on the known vast greed of political wives? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…


In this caricature, Sergei Yolkin comments on the RF Gosduma Committee on Ethics investigation that found out that Gosduma Deputies don’t cavil at fictitious divorces to hide their true income and property holdings.

22 April 2013

Sergei Yolkin



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