Voices from Russia

Friday, 8 August 2014

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin Welcomed Russian Food Sanctions saying that to be “Content with a Modest Share” Wouldn’t Hurt

00 Pelmeni. Russian food. 26.06.13


Russian food sanctions, imposing a ban on the import of a range of products from Western countries, brought forth approval from Archpriest V A Chaplin, the Chairman of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society (OVTsO). He said that the ban on food imports would help Russians “to stop chasing Western standards of consumption”, which Russia can counter with visions of a social system “based on a higher truth”. Fr Vsevolod thought that the sanctions would be difficult for Russians, but he said, “We need to learn moderation, self-restraint, sufficiency in consumption, the ability to be content with a modest share. Russian people always knew the reasonable limits of consumption; since they realised what the limits were, they were far happier than those who endlessly chased consumption for the sake of consumption and growth for the sake of growth”.

He also believed that the debate on whether we’d put foreign or Russian products on our table would show us how deeply entrenched the cult of consumption is in Russian society, saying, “In these circumstances, we need to stop chasing Western standards of consumption… they’re so exaggerated that if everybody on the planet tried to follow them, half of the people couldn’t survive”. Fr Vsevolod called on VIPs in Russia to change their lifestyle, perhaps, remembering D A Medvedev’s criticism of Russian oligarchs in September 2013, when he said, “They should stop sitting on two chairs”, slamming them aping Western ways and living outside the country. Fr Vsevolod is sure that the sanctions wouldn’t only improve the Russian moral character, but it’d also contribute to the growth of the national economy as a whole, noting, “It’d be strange if Russia didn’t answer the sanctions, which I see as discriminatory, and the answer, I think, would prove useful for our economy, particularly for agriculture”. He thinks that the ban would help domestic farmers, who faced discriminatory regulation before the sanctions, observing, “Russia can produce food of the highest quality; I’d say that the policy of favouring of international agribusiness networks in recent years was deeply wrong”.

In conclusion, Fr Vsevolod submitted that the topic of Slavophiles and Westernisers was once again gaining momentum, “It’s necessary for us to make a final choice… the West or Russia… shall our nation remain independent and free in future, or, will we listen to the rants of Washington, Brussels, and Wall Street, but not to the voice of our countrymen?” He even found a “very clear” quote from the Gospel on the topic, “On this, the Gospel very clearly says, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Gospel according to St Luke 12.34). In the next few months we’ll have to keep these words in mind more and more”.

It’s worth noting that the explicit statements of V A Chaplin could contain encouragement of nationalist ideas. In his column on Slon.ru, journalist I F Davydov concluded, “In recent days, events brought out a contender for a national idea, even though this isn’t the first year that we’ve looked for it, nor have we found it yet. On the surface, it seems rather simple. It’s a piece of cake, really… Russians should live poorly. In the most ordinary, everyday, mundane sense… that’s bad! No frills and no frou-frou… no comfort and no amenities… but on the other hand… we understand that it isn’t just a matter of living poorly, for we could give the bird to Europe and we could moon America”.

7 August 2014




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