Voices from Russia

Friday, 3 April 2015

Samokhina Sez Food from Turkey Arrives in the DNR

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Today, DNR Minister of Economic Development Yevgeniya Samokhina announced at a media conference that the DNR began to receive food from Turkey, saying, “Negotiations are underway to contract food supplies with different countries, but we’ll only know exactly what’ll be available after we close the transactions. In particular, we’ve already received the first batch of salt from Turkey”. In early March, due to the economic blockade of Novorossiya by the junta, the DNR began to face acute shortage of basic foodstuffs, especially salt. Samokhina noted why there were deficiencies in key commodities, “The Ukrainian government introduced new rules to restrict imports. The latest requirement is that the driver of each lorry that carries food must have a special pass issued at the headquarters of the so-called ATO in Kramatorsk, with endorsements from the SBU and the MVDU”.

3 April 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency

http://dan-news.info/ekonomika/v-dnr-nachali-postupat-prodovolstvennye-tovary-iz-turcii-samoxina.html

The Fall of Rome and All That

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Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People)… this is what Professor Boin wants us to attend to… that’s there a spiritual aspect to things that interacts with all “practical” affairs…

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Editor:

Lots of good stuff here, I’d call it a “read n’ heed”, even though it has flaws due to its “West-o-centric” orientation. However, it’s not crank, and I read this twice. It’s a good read, with nary an idle word in it.

BMD

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Last November, Ted Cruz of Texas stood on the Senate floor and claimed that America, like ancient Rome, faced a moment of grave, existential danger. He’s not the only one telling scary stories about ghosts in togas. Over the past six months alone, media outlets (including this one) averaged about one gloom-and-doom essay a month, citing everything from America’s cultural relativism to the increasing use of drones in military conflict to the spread of gay marriage as proof that Rome’s history is repeating itself. As a historian of the Roman Empire, I’d like to suggest there’s really no need for alarm.

One of the most well-known moments in history, the “Fall of Rome” isn’t a historical event. It isn’t even a series of unfortunate mistakes. It’s more akin to a theological idea, and the time has come to stop screwing up the way we talk about it. Understanding the place of religion in history is an urgent one, too. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the rise of the so-called Islamic State, many commentators, even President Obama, began to wonder whether it was fair to call Islamic extremism “religious”. Everyone was and is eager to find ways to talk about a world faith without condemning it as inherently intolerant. Unfortunately, our track record in this area isn’t good.

Edward Gibbon was one of the first of the modern era to wrestle with this dilemma… he failed miserably at it. Gibbon, one of the brightest stars of the Enlightenment, a learned man whose name became synonymous with the disease he studied, “Decline and Fall”, was adamant that “the intolerant zeal of the Christians” led to the “fall of Rome”. Gibbon’s broad, anti-religion thesis was popular for the 18th century, when science and secularism were the hottest buzzwords. It also set off an explosion of interest in the late Roman Empire. By the 1980s, there were 210 explanations for what had caused Rome’s “fall”… from a lack of moral character to a pervasive “tiredness of life”. Archaeologists soon started to claim that they could see the “end of civilisation” in their pots and houses. Nevertheless, no one ever stopped to point out the flaw at the root of all these experiments.

Romans predicted the downfall of their own empire for decades, even centuries, before anything remotely “disastrous” ever happened to it. Blinded by an ideological contempt for people’s beliefs, intent on talking about religious identity in monolithic ways (“the Christians”), Gibbon overlooked some key data. In the late Republic, conspiring citizens put their trust in the gods that a military man would come to save them during a time of crisis. It never happened. The state rounded up and executed the group. Later, one of Jesus’ followers did something similar… summoning the spectre of Rome’s fall to rally his base. Christians were attending festivals, showing their neighbours they could be good citizens. To the writer of Revelation, their ability to do two things at once was an abomination. Christians were supposed to be fighting a spiritual war, he argued, not building bridges with people in town.

Of course, Rome’s empire never came to a fiery end in a war fought between “angels and demons”. Within two decades, the entire Mediterranean would be living through the greatest economic prosperity it’d ever know, and Christians raised their social profile everywhere. Crackpot Romans and zealous Christians weren’t the only ones obsessed with the end times, either. One Jewish writer in Egypt drew upon the same ideas to encourage his followers to take up arms against the state. He predicted Rome would finally suffer defeat for annihilating Jerusalem. His rebels foolishly fought the Roman army. They lost. Within two decades, Rome forced the Jewish community to live as exiles from their homeland.

Gibbon’s eagerness to see history through the “secular” lens of the Enlightenment blinded him to the most important “religious” story of the empire… it left us woefully unprepared to talk about the complexities of religious identity today. Anxious notions about the last days, notions of spiritual warfare, and a righteous belief that a divine hand endorses a specific law or policy were ideas in Rome that crossed the theological aisle. However, that doesn’t make them any less “religious”.

In Rome, these were the ways many people grappled with uncertain times… from the late Republic to 476 AD… when a Christian king replaced the Christian emperor of Rome. Traditionally, we associate that latter year with the “Fall of Rome”, but it’s time to drop the historical charade. Just because the government changed, it wasn’t the end of the world… despite the people who saw it that way. That’s why today’s ghost stories are ultimately so revealing. We keep pretending we’re doing Roman history when what we’re really masking is our own severe anxiety about the fast-changing changing world… using the same ideas that our ancestors did, two thousand years ago. It’s time we put these beliefs back into our history books instead of doing as Gibbon did… ignoring them or, worse, pretending they were never there. What people believe… and what people are taught to believe… can’t be left out of history.

29 March 2015

Douglas Boin

Assistant Professor of History at Saint Louis University (St Louis MO USA)

History News Network

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158768

Zakharchenko Sent Official Passover Greetings to the Jewish Community in the DNR

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OFFICIAL

My dearest compatriots!

To all members of the Jewish community in the DNR!

I greet you on the sacred holiday of Passover, which draws all believers to spiritual and moral values, to the ideals of freedom, goodness, and justice. During their long history, the Jewish people experienced many tragic times, often they faced destruction. However, during the most serious tests, your indomitable faith and devotion to the spiritual values of your ancestors helped you to stand tall. The Jewish community of our multiethnic Donbass is an extremely important element that strengthens our society, helping to bring us interethnic peace and harmony. The Jewish people have always been an example for us of diligence, fortitude, and natural talent. I sincerely wish all of you good health, happiness, domestic prosperity and abundance, family happiness, and most importantly… a pure and peaceful heaven over your head.

00 A V Zakharchenko 01. 25.03.15

A V Zakharchenko

Chairman of the DNR Government

3 April 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency

http://dan-news.info/politics/zaxarchenko-pozdravil-evrejskuyu-obshhinu-dnr-s-prazdnikom-pesax.html

3 April 2015. Happy Passover to All of My Friends Keeping the Feast

00 Passover 04.2012

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Happy Pesach to all of my friends keeping the Feast of Passover. It starts at sundown today and runs until sunset on Saturday 11 April. If you wanna know what they’re celebrating, click here. The Seder is the centre of the Jewish Year, just like Easter is the centre of the Christian Year. So, give your friends some space, it may seem that they may have some “weird” things going on diet-wise for the next week… hey, it’s their religion, so, give ’em some room.

My best wishes to all of you.

BMD

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