Voices from Russia

Saturday, 13 July 2013

13 July 2013. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words… “To Serve Your Motherland is a Holy Duty!”

00 To Serve Your Motherland is a Holy Duty! Russian Army. 13.07.13

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Literally, it comes out as, “Holy Duty – Serve the Motherland”, so, to follow traditional English word-order and grammatical imperatives, it “Englishes” as “To serve the Motherland is a Holy Duty”. Patriotism isn’t dead in Russia… and the biggest patriots are the commies (many of the commanders* are commies, more so than the national average)… who would’ve thunk it…

* In Russian usage, “commander” means any officer. It’s a holdover from the early days of the Red Army, when the word “officer” was avoided (only to return in the VOV).

BMD

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Thousands Queue In Russia to See Religious Relic

00 Cross of St Andrew. St Petersburg, Kazan Cathedral. 13.07.13

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On Saturday, officials said that around 65,000 people queued for hours in St Petersburg to see a religious relic brought from Greece, in the latest sign of the Orthodox Church’s influence in post-Soviet Russia. The Cross of St Andrew… said to be a relic of the X-shaped cross on which Apostle St Andrew the First-Called was crucified… was placed in St Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral (Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God) on Thursday after arriving from its historic home in Patras in Greece. A representative of the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called, which helped bring the cross to Russia, told RIA-Novosti that there were some 65,000 visitors in just the first days of its display, and that the numbers are increasing all the time.

The cross came from Greece as part of commemorations of the 1,025th anniversary of the Baptism of the mediaeval Slavic state of Rus. The queue to see the relic snaked all around the cathedral with the faithful having to wait for several hours to venerate the relic. Local officials said that the atmosphere in the queue was cheerful. Tatiana Koroliova, 60, told AFP, “It’s a great event for all Orthodox. I came especially to St Petersburg from my house in the country which is 200 kilometres (125 miles) away”. The excitement recalls the frenzy that surrounded the appearance of the Belt of the Virgin Mary in Russia in 2011… also on loan from Greece… which attracted gigantic queues when it arrived in Moscow.

The communists suppressed the Orthodox Church, but it’s staged an astonishing recovery in post-Soviet Russia to become one of the country’s most powerful institutions. Symbolically, the Cross of St Andrew cross is being shown in the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg, which under Communism was a museum of atheism. However, the anti-Kremlin opposition accused the Orthodox Church under its powerful Patriarch Kirill of meddling in politics and instigating the harsh treatment of the Pussy Riot punk group. Two members of the punk collective are serving two-year prison colony terms for performing an anti-Kremlin song inside a Moscow church, in a case that divided Russian society. The relic is due to stay in St Petersburg until Monday, and then be taken to Kiev in the Ukraine, Minsk in Belarus, and to the Russian capital of Moscow before returning to Greece on 2 August.

13 July 2013

AFP

http://www.afpbb.co.kr/html/view.html?ano=21492

Editor’s Note:

The journey of the Cross of St Andrew is so “newsy” that even the Western press agencies are covering it. Take all Western reportage on the Rodina with a block of salt… much of it is nothing but meretricious and lying pro-crapitalist propaganda (especially, mistrust “Orthodox” lickspittles such as Sophia Kishkovsky and Serge Schmemann… they’ve sold out for the proverbial “mess of pottage“). Look at the inclusion of a blurb on Pussy Riot… most Russians don’t give a shit about these zapadniki poseurs… only a small English-speaking minority in Piter and the Centre do… and the clueless Westerners just eat it all up. However, don’t argue with Amerikantsy idiots about it… it’ll do you no good, it’ll just frustrate you to no good end, and it’ll just drive the Fox News propaganda deeper into your interlocutor’s (shallow) mind. Do mind this, though… the worst, most fanatic, and most closed-minded Amerikantsy are found amongst the “Orthodox” konvertsy… fancy that. Have a care…

BMD

Conference of European Churches Demands Release of Orthodox Archbishop Jovan in Macedonia

00 Archbishop Jovan in Prison. 06.12

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SIR agency reported that the Conference of European Churches (CEC) stated in a document published the day after its recent assembly (Budapest, 3-8 July), “The detention of Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski by the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is linked to the fact that he’s exercised his human right of religious freedom”. Archbishop Jovan has been in a Skopje prison since December 2011, without trial or sentence. He faces charges of fuelling inter-religious hatred. Archbishop Jovan returned the Archdiocese of Ohrid to the authority of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC). It’d been part of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, founded in 1967 with a unilateral declaration of autocephaly from the SPC, that is, a schismatic organisation.

According to SIR, this is the Archbishop Jovan’s third arrest. Therefore, the CEC requested the competent UN and EU authorities “to investigate this case carefully”, to verify, firstly, “if the conditions of detention are in conformity with the rules established by the Council of Europe”. In addition, the CEC requested the FYROM government and its Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, “to guarantee a fair trial, and to release the Archbishop immediately” whilst awaiting trial, whose hearings, according to SPC sources, continue to be postponed. The CEC invited European Churches “to unite themselves in prayer and in solidarity” with the Archbishop, and to “send letters of protest to the responsible authorities”.

11 July 2013

Zenit

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/conference-european-churches-call-for-release-of-orthodox-archbishop

Confusion and Irritation Reign in Global Politics

The World According To Americans

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The events in Egypt came to represent a colourful culmination of yet another fall-summer season in world politics, the keynotes of which are, on the one hand, a general inability to reconcile extremes and find a happy medium, and on the other, total conceptual turmoil. The latter was most clearly manifest in the deposition of democratically-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which took place under the motto, “the general is the best friend of the liberal”. The army command joined forces with the instigators of the first Tahrir Square protests, who’d been pushed to the side by the Muslim Brotherhood. Legitimacy came into conflict with expediency, and the letter of democracy was at odds with its spirit. Outside forces seem disoriented; it’s no longer possible to make out whom the “forces of progress” favour (that group the USA is so fond of supporting).

The main event of the season… or, to be more precise, an interminable process… is the civil war in Syria, to which no end or limit is in sight. The country is a tangle of antagonisms, with citizens clashing with a régime they call autocratic, faiths clashing with other faiths, and regional powers wrestling with other regional powers over geopolitical advantages. The major powers seem to have an axe to grind, or, possibly, they’re just out to minimise the damage or posture as a world leader. This knot of contradictions has accumulated so much negative energy that the conflict is nowhere near abatement. It seems that the Syrian public, however frightening this may sound, must “have its fill” of this war and catch sight of a point of no return portending a national disaster. Only then, will talk of a peace process and new political models have meaning. Only then, shall foreign mediation have some meaning. So far, the outside forces are behaving as if they were visitors to a vanity fair and are more anxious lest the “right” side that they’re supporting should lose, than to propel the internecine strife toward an end.

Russia and the USA, who have presumptuously volunteered to establish peace in Syria, are behaving rather arrogantly, as if seeking to create the impression that the fate of Syria depends on their agreement (or, as the case may be, lack of agreement). After decades of repressive rule, which the Syrian people may well soon remember as a golden age, the Syrians are fighting for delimitation, not unification. Of course, the external factor is important, but in reality, the fate of the country is being decided on the domestic battlefronts, and neither Moscow nor Washington is able to bring the opponents to the negotiating table. Once again, the EU demonstrated that it lacks unity on Syria, and no consensus is on the cards. They simply agreed that supplying or not supplying arms to the rebels was everyone’s own business, thus sending a signal that a common position was out of reach. The united Europe showed, over the last few months, an aspiration toward consolidation, but again based on disunity and divergence of interests. Germany demonstratively wiped the floor with Cyprus, pronouncing a verdict to the effect that the Cypriot economic model had no right to exist (as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble put it). Five years ago, when Nicosia was joining the Eurozone, the same model elicited no objections.

Berlin demonstrated to all underachievers… Italy, where one in every four voters favoured a party led by a comedian in the general election; Spain, which was wallowing in debt; Greece, caught in a vice of austerity; and others… that the time for horseplay was over and a “tough struggle for Europe”, to quote Russian political scientist Sergei Karaganov, had begun. To be sure, someone will have to assume responsibility eventually. The EU is likely to become a very different, stratified organization a few years from now, comprising various categories of countries with different rights and capacities. However, it’s unclear how this can be reconciled with the philosophy of solidarity and equality that lies behind the European idea of the latter half of the 20th century.

America’s facing sequestration because the administration and Congress failed to reach an amicable settlement. Barack Obama won the election, but he isn’t a unifying figure… quite the contrary. The USA is looking for new forms of world leadership, and, to this end, is attempting to sort out its priorities. Many interpret the president’s unwillingness to interfere in everything around him as weakness. Washington is automatically expected to be everywhere at the same time and play the decisive role. On the contrary, Obama believes that his administration should address the backlog of existing problems before allowing new ones to pile up. Against this background of abstinence on other issues, the White House’s idea to create an American-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership appears quite assertive. In effect, it’s an attempt to revive, albeit on a new basis, the united political West of the Cold War era. Whether the plan works or not is an open question, but if it does, Russia will have a dilemma as to how to behave in relation to the new economic monster.

The Middle East is still feverish, with waves of popular excitement rolling over the face of the world and engulfing not only problem countries, but also those acknowledged as rising stars. India, Turkey, and Brazil, each for their own reasons, have ended up in the grip of completely unforeseen protests. In contrast, the presidential elections in Iran, proved surprisingly calm… the national leadership managed to reduce the build-up of public pressure and facilitate the coming to power of a moderate and respected person. China, for its part, went through what was perhaps the tensest changing of the guard since the times of Deng Xiaoping. Everything went off smoothly, but there were serious apprehensions about a less-than-successful outcome.

Admittedly, Russia in this season followed a rather direct path, avoiding its typical zigzags. Vladimir Putin consistently implemented the election programme that he suggested in a series of articles early last year. Internationally, the Kremlin’s moves reflected the program particularly closely. Putin described the outside world as an uncontrolled and unpredictable space, where the key players were acting irrationally and seemed bent on shattering the remnants of order. Since the membrane between the two worlds is thinner than ever before, outside turbulence is threatening the inner stability that proved so hard to acquire. Therefore, one must defend and shield the country from the hailstorm of external impulses, including the “unlawful soft power” mentioned by President Putin in his election campaign. All the developments of the last few months have corroborated this idea. However, the Russian public and the government… entirely in the spirit of the global divisive trend… have moved apart, rather than towards each other. There’s a clear conflict between an artificially-cultivated traditionalism (or its simulation) and its rejection by a progressive-minded minority. The authorities are leaning on the majority and tend to give the cold shoulder to the active stratum.

If we sum up the global atmosphere, the prevailing feeling is one of irritation resulting from the fact that nothing is working out as planned, that one can’t reconcile various sections of society, and everyone is dissatisfied with the result, although for different reasons. Those who just recently were posing as arbiters of world destinies are now demonstrating their impotence. America tries to feverishly adapt to the constantly-shifting situation, but is unable to evolve any strategy. Europe plunges into a crisis and its strenuous efforts to show off as a world force resemble a farce. China’s lying low, fearful of contamination from the general instability. A wary Russia is biding its time, preferring to cling to a shaky status quo.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti11 July 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130711/182187802/Uncertain-World-Confusion-and-Irritation-Reign-in-Global.html

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple. The USA has only the appearance of a major power (Bush’s unwise tax cuts, wars, and expensive Security State gutted what was left of American power). The Republican Party is doing its best to strangle the American future, in the name of its Affluent Effluent paymasters. Sequestration is their latest attempt to crash the economy. Yes, kids, they want to wreck it DELIBERATELY… then, they can rebuild it without those annoying New Deal programmes. However, its gobbledygook ideology (it’s a “steal from the ordinary folks and give it to the plutocrats” affair) only appeals to Old White Men. Its strongest demographic is Over-70 White Men (that is, those born before 1940)… and that cohort diminishes in each election cycle. Ponder this… Wet Willy Romney’s strongest showing was amongst Old White Men. Jim DeMint saw the handwriting on the wall… as did Rick Perry. Both are getting out of politics (as DeMint put it, “Pandering to angry white men won’t work forever”).

Will the coming America be as stridently nasty and lawless as the present rogue state is? I have no idea… but I do hope not…

BMD 

 

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