Voices from Russia

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Malankara Patriarch Calls Upon Government to Ensure Religious Freedom

00 Malankara Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose. 13.12.14

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Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose Paul, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, underscored the need for the authorities to take steps to ensure constitutionally given religious freedoms to uphold communal amity and secularism in India. On Friday, he talked to the media here to announce the valedictory of the 50th anniversary observance of the death of his predecessor Catholicos Baselios Gheevarghese Kallaserri, the pontiff said that while incidents of forced reconversion attempts and burning of churches reported from north India upset him, he viewed them as isolated incidents. The Catholicos, who had courted controversy by praising then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his administrative acumen during the run-up to the last general elections, said that he still stood by his earlier stance on Mr Modi.

He said that the important thing was for the government to put things in order and rein in the extreme fringes who engaged in such activities. He thought that unless those in power take steps to ensure the confidence of all sections of society, they wouldn’t be able to put the developmental agenda into practise. Reacting to a question, the Catholicos said that corruption pervaded society and the political leadership had to take corrective measures, noting, “People are losing faith in their leaders and the nation witnesses a major crisis on account of the leadership vacuüm, not only in politics, but in all sections of society”.

He observed that there was a dire fall in adherence to values and that unbridled consumerism had led to a scramble to make money at any cost. He believed that the political leadership wasn’t insulated from this trend, so they had to address the issue and take steps to regain the confidence of the people. Referring to the schism in the Church, the Catholicos said that he hadn’t received any information from the Patriarch of Antioch (Mar Ignatius Afram al-Tani Karim) regarding any peace moves. Reacting to a question, he said that the Orthodox Church thought that the government was moving back from its avowed policy on the liquor issue.

13 December 2014

The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ensure-religious-freedom-catholicos/article6688817.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

Editor:

The Oriental and Eastern Orthodox form one sociological family. No, we’re not in communion, but we’re related, and far closer than we are with the papists. Russian Orthodox have always been friendly with Oriental Orthodox… much closer than the Greeks are. We wish them well… so should you…

BMD

Khodorkovsky Contradicts USA When Commenting on Crimea’s Reunion with Russia

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. A Crimean Salute. 2014

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There is a certain type of Russian liberal, who holds to particular beliefs with the same stubborn commitment as followers of a religious sect do. For these liberals, three such beliefs are paramount and to question them is heresy. The liberal catechism is as follows:

  1. V V Putin is Lucifer’s Viceroy on Earth. Everything he does is evil. Therefore, everyone who opposes him, almost by definition, is good.
  2. The USA is God. Its actions are wise and good especially when targeting Putin, the embodiment of evil.
  3. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is God’s representative in Russia; he’s a saintly figure, martyred for his beliefs.

Of these three, the third is the strangest. Khodorkovsky is an unlikely hero. Through a series of ruthless manipulations, he managed to capture control of a large part of the Russian oil industry, becoming Russia’s richest man.  His methods included setting up an intricate web of companies through which, according to the Russian courts, he defrauded his investors and minority shareholders. Besides this, according to both the Russian courts and the European Court of Human Rights, he systematically cheated the Russian state of billions in unpaid taxes. There were darker rumours as well… of methodical bribery and intimidation of officials and parliamentary deputies and even of contract killings, although since these remain unproven in court, perhaps, it’s better to avoid placing weight on them.  After all, the proven facts are bad enough.

In itself, that Russian liberals ever rallied to the cause of this man is a sign of their blindness to reality. That they persisted in doing this, whilst the European Court of Human Rights opposed him is testimony both to the fanaticism of their beliefs and to the extent of their blindness. Given the extent to which liberal belief in Khodorkovsky stands reality on its head, however, it was inevitable following his release at the end of last year that his actions would test this belief system to the breaking point.

Firstly, Khodorkovsky dismayed his liberal followers by saying that he didn’t intend to engage in politics. However, he then appeared to contradict himself when in March he turned up at Kiev’s Maidan Square and made a vitriolic speech supporting the seizure of power that had just happened there. Therefore, Russian liberals seem to contend that the Euromaidan movement was good, despite what the facts might say, just as they contended that Mikhail Saakashvili, the pathologically Russophobic former President of Georgia who launched the American-backed 2008 South Ossetia War, was also good for the same reason.

In March and September, Russian liberals marched through Moscow waving Ukrainian flags and chanting their support for the present Ukrainian régime. Of course, for such people, we must blame Putin, not the Maidan movement, for the Ukraine’s problems, despite what the facts might say; after all, the USA says that he is. Having pleased his Russian liberal followers by supporting the Maidan movement, then, Khodorkovsky pleased them further by announcing that he was going to involve himself in Russian politics after all.

The subsequent horror for these same Russian liberals when Khodorkovsky, in a series of tweets, that first avoided giving a straight answer, and then categorically confirmed that he wouldn’t hand over the Crimea to the Ukraine, is easy to imagine. God’s representative in Russia, the martyred Khodorkovsky, contradicted God, i.e., the USA, and appeared to side with Putin and evil against Maidan and good. Khodorkovsky’s refusal to return the Crimea makes perfect sense. The Crimea is a historic Russian land that only found itself part of an independent Ukraine because of an accident. Crimeans overwhelmingly consider themselves Russians, and they overwhelmingly want to be in Russia. The vast majority of Russians agree and support the Crimea’s reunification with Russia.  No political figure, not even Khodorkovsky, who wants the world to take Russia seriously, can argue otherwise.

If one thing has however become abundantly clear, it’s that Russian liberals simply don’t think in a serious political way. In order to remain firm in their beliefs, however factually wrong or even absurd they may be, and however much this distances them from the Russian people, is always more important. More important still, is retaining the favour of the USA, whose good opinion is of immeasurably greater value to them than is that of their own people, whom they hold in contempt.

Therefore, what this bizarre episode shows is the difficulty even Khodorkovsky would have if he tries to reach out beyond his liberal core supporters by challenging their beliefs. Since Khodorkovsky’s actual chances of attracting widespread support are in fact non-existent, the probability is that he’d fall back onto his liberal supporters and that they’d forget this “lapse”. That Russian liberals can’t accept reality even as it stares at them in the face, even when someone like Khodorkovsky tries to point this out to them, shows why they’re doomed to remain a politically isolated marginal force. This episode also teaches an important lesson for the USA and for the West. If even someone like Khodorkovsky realises that the handover of the Crimea to the Ukraine is an impossibility, then it’s never going to happen. That’s the simple truth, and the sooner the USA, the West and Kiev accept it, the better.

5 November 2014

Alexander Mercouris

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20141017/194223592.html

Editor:

”Liberal” in the Russian context means ”conservative” in the Anglosphere. That is, it denotes a belief in privatisation, deregulation, and unbridled laissez-faire crapitalism. A Russian “liberal” is an American “conservative”… they’re closer to Ted Cruz and Rod Dreher than they are to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. “Liberal” means someone who puts money and power above people and morality… true conservatives such as Bismarck, Stolypin, Ike, and Diefenbaker would disavow the Ted Cruzs and Rod Drehers of this world as ignorant grasping selfish peasants. Compare Ike’s Military Industrial Complex speech to the shit purveyed in the American Conservative. Ike or Pat Buchanan? Which do YOU prefer?

BMD

American Government Backed Ukrainian Nazis 70 Years Ago… Same Group Supported the Coup that Toppled the Legitimate Ukrainian Government in February

00 The Faithful Hound. 19.06.14

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Oliver Stone’s documentary Untold History noted:

Truman approved creating a guerrilla army code-named “Nightingale” in the Ukraine. Originally set up by the Nazis in 1941, it was a group of ultra-nationalists. They would, as Stone describes, wreak havoc on the “famine-wrecked region where Soviet control was loose, carrying out the murder of thousands of Jews, Soviets and Poles, who opposed a separate Ukrainian state”. The CIA would parachute “infiltrators” into the country as well to further “dislodge Soviet control”.

Sounds nuts, right? However, American historian and former Under Secretary of the Air Force Townsend Hoopes and Rice University history professor Douglas Brinkley confirmed:

One group that particularly attracted CIA attention and support was the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), a political-military underground movement that long fought for Ukrainian independence… first against the Poles in the 1920s when Poland controlled the Ukraine and after 1939 against the Soviets. Although violently anti-Russian, the OUN was itself totalitarian and Fascist in character, as well as anti-Semitic. The Nazis poured money into the OUN after the German invasion of Russia and pretended to support the goal of Ukrainian national independence. In return, a large OUN militia, code-named Nachtigall, or Nightingale, provided local administrators, informers, and killers for the German invaders. Nazi-sponsored OUN police and militia formations participated in “thousands of instances of mass murders of Jews and of families suspected of aiding Red Army partisans”. …

When the Soviets drove the Germans out of the Ukraine, many OUN members who had served the Nazis’ police formations and execution squads fled with them, but several thousand retreated into the Carpathian Mountains to fight another day against the hated Soviet government. This remaining Nightingale group fascinated the CIA and it recruited them essentially en bloc. To bring its leaders to the United States for training and indoctrination required special bureaucratic exertions, as well as an immigration law permitting admitting 100 such immigrants per year, provided the Director of the CIA, the Attorney General, and the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service all personally stated that the action was vital to national security. As one army intelligence officer noted sardonically, one wing of the CIA was hunting Ukrainian Nazis to bring them to trial at Nuremberg, while another wing was recruiting them. …

After training in the USA, the CIA parachuted Nightingale leaders into the Ukraine to link up with their compatriots and to carry out measures of subversion, agitation, and sabotage, including assassination. …

[US Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal] vigorously supported the program and presumably participated in the approval of the basic NSC charters as a member of the National Security Council.

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The leader of the Nightingale group was S A Bandera. See this. The leader of the “protests” in February 2014, which led to the ouster of legitimate Ukrainian President V F Yanukovich, was neo-Nazi and follower of Stepan Bandera A V Paruby. In other words, 70 years ago, the USA supported the types of fascists who’re now in control of the Ukraine.

Postscript:

Another little known historical fact is that… in 1997… former US National Security Advisor and high-level Obama policy advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński called for the USA to take the Ukraine away from Russia. Almost a month before the ouster of the Ukrainian president in February, a high-level US State Department official… Assistant US Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland, wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan… announced plans to promote a “new government” in the Ukraine.

 5 May 2014

Washington’s Blog

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/america-backed-fascists-ukraine-73-years-ago.html

Big Break: Russians Search for Cat Who Snitched Sneak Feast at Pricey Seafood Shop

00 ginger cat. 12.12.14

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Just some funny cats… for funsies…

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A ginger tomcat who broke into a closed shop at Vladivostok international Airport and treated himself to seafood worth 63,000 roubles (6,700 Renminbi. 67,900 INR. 1,080 USD. 1,260 CAD. 1,320 AUD. 870 Euros. 690 UK Pounds) has gone missing. The fishy story sparked a media frenzy… both in Russia and beyond. The four-legged seafood lover… who nibbled on and scarfed down squid, flatfish, and octopus from the shop counter under the cover of night… quickly rose to stardom, as his crime made world headlines for two straight days. The little ginger thief overshadowed record-low oil prices and the plunging Russian rouble; he dominated news reports on Russian online media services. However, now, the story took a dramatic turn… the cat is nowhere to be found.

ITAR-TASS announced that cops launched a search at the airport when the feline went missing. The seafood store’s owners blame the airport for the loss of their goods, as they had to write off the entire inventory of fish on the counter that the cat laid its paws on, due to health and safety regulations. A source told TASS, “The cat disappeared. He was here yesterday, but today, he’s not here anymore. He’s been here [at the airport] for some time before the incident, but where he came from and where he’s now gone remains unknown”, suggesting the cat could have been left at the airport by a passenger who didn’t want to pay the extra fee for pet transportation. An airport official source previously stated that security regulations strictly prohibit any unsupervised animals in the terminal, and blames the shop for the stray cat’s intrusion.

People across Russia… and even beyond… are worried about the tomcat’s fate. Some added fuel to the fire, claiming that the shop owners killed the cat, whilst others believe that his death could be impending if well-wishers don’t find him first. Vladivostok locals have launched their own investigation on social media, to find and save the feline. Local source PrimaMedia reported that requests to find the animal bombarded the airport, whilst the seafood shop became an attraction for both travellers and locals. Shop owner Irina Kuzmina told PrimaMedia, “Literally, passengers and those who see them off or meet them occupy the shop. People come here straight from the terminal, asking us about the cat. Nevertheless, they don’t buy anything; they’re just curious”, adding that she’s also been receiving international calls regarding the store’s furry visitor. Dvtur reported that some worry about the cat’s health… he did eat a lot of dried salty fish… but experts say that the animal should be fine, and could have helped himself to some water.

Both local and social media have chosen names for the seafood lover, with some suggesting Hooligarch or Inflatio. St Petersburg’s Onion-like “communist” website anointed the cat a hero and promised him “party membership”. The site quoted its fake party head as saying, “This cat is Robin Hood or Che Guevara”, adding that the feline simply brought revenge upon “bourgeois and foreigners” who could afford buying goods at the seafood store, unlike “proletarians”. Russia’s well-known cat trainer Yuri Kuklachyov also promised the now famous ginger thief permanent employment. The founder of the Moscow’s Cats Theatre wasn’t joking when he said that he was eager to pay for the damage the hungry feline cost the shop, and feature him in the theatre’s performances. Cat lovers on Facebook went even further, suggesting that the Vladivostok airport erect a monument in honour of the feline, which would become a symbol of “optimism and desires” for Russians.

12 December 2014

RT

http://rt.com/news/213931-seafood-russian-cat-missing/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

For more read this, this, this, and this… the last one has three funny demots in Russian. Also, check out this vid.

Editor:

Now, this is something that I enjoy doing. Normally, I cover politics, religion, history and culture… this is a welcome break from all that. I hope that they find the little guy and that he gets a good home. We have three of the furbies (one of ‘em is trying to get my attention big-time… I think that I need to attend to their food bowl). We’re animal lovers (but no more than three… that’s all that we can afford and have sufficient room for).

BMD

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