Voices from Russia

Friday, 8 January 2016

8 January 2016. Translated Russian Demot… I Just Laid Down and Got Comfy!

00 cat and baby 080116


I wrote this to young friends of mine:

Keep the jug at hand. You’ll never know such joy… you’ll never know such frustration. That’s parenthood. They WILL carry on after us, and it’s amazing how much we turn out like our folks (including looking just like them!).

Get it together… even when it seems that the shit has hit the fan in all possible directions. We survived it all… so shall you. Remember… the most important thing is to give your kids “good memories”… that’s the most pressing thing on your agenda. Expose them to all sorts of things… they won’t end by loving the same things that we do… but do your best to make them “lovers” and expectant of the wonder in God’s Good World. You’ll not regret it…



2016 Nativity Epistle of His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

00 Orthodox Christmas 2013. 07.01.13


In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

First Epistle General of St John 4.9 

Most Reverend archpastors, venerable fathers, honourable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!

With a heart overflowing with joy, I greet all of you and address you on the radiant and life-giving Feast of the Nativity of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, which celebrates His Incarnation. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Gospel according to St Luke 2.14). Year after year, we glorify the ineffable benevolence shown to us by the Saviour, as we, as did the shepherds of Bethlehem, hear from the angel, “Fear not… for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Gospel according to St Luke 2.10). With the eyes of the spirit, we hasten to see the coming of the Messiah, whose advent was foretold by the glorious prophets and awaited by a great multitude.

Thus, the Prophet Haggai put it that the Desire of All the Nations (Prophecy of Aggæus 2.7) “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Epistle of Apostle St Paul to the Philippians 2.7). The Lord of the Universe chose for himself not an imperial palace, not a dwelling of the rulers of this world, not a mansion of the rich and well-placed. No room was even found for Him at the inn. The Son of God is born in a cave, a stable for cattle; His cradle is a manger for the feeding of animals. “What, then, is poorer than the cave and humbler than the swaddling clothes in which the richness of the Godhead has shone forth?” He chose the utmost poverty for the Mystery of our Salvation (Hypakoe for the Nativity of Christ). Christ consciously rejected values considered important in our world… power, wealth, fame, noble birth, and high social status. He offered to us another law of life, a law of humility and love that vanquishes pride and enmity. Under this law, human frailty unites with the grace of God, becoming a force unstoppable by the powerful and mighty of this world. The power of God manifests itself not in earthly majesty and worldly comfort, but in simplicity and humility of heart.

As St Seraphim Sarovsky put it, “The Lord seeks out a heart overflowing with the love of God and neighbour. This is the altar upon which he loves to ascend. He says, ‘Son, give me thine heart, and the rest I shall give to you’, for the Kingdom of God is within the human heart (Conversation on the Goal of the Christian Life). The Lord doesn’t disdain the poor and homeless, He doesn’t despise those with little money and no prestige, even more so, He doesn’t hold in contempt the physically disabled or terminally ill. None of these things in themselves separate us from God; therefore, none of them should lead us into paralysing despair or cause destructive despair. The Saviour seeks us out. He exhorts us, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23.26).

The wondrous Nativity feast reminds us of the need to unceasingly follow Christ, Who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Gospel according to St John 10.10), and who is the only sure path, the only unchanging truth, and the only genuine life (cf. Gospel according to St John 14.6). God is with us! We shouldn’t let inevitable difficulties frighten us, nor should any of us let the trials that befall us break us. God is with us; He takes away all the fear in our lives. God is with us, so, our souls find peace and joy. God is with us; we can complete our earthly path with steadfast hope in Him.

In following Christ, we go against the powers of this world. We don’t submit to the temptations we encounter; we firmly trample down the barriers of sin that stand in our way. Indeed, sin draws us away from God and can make our lives bitter. Sin can obscure the light of Divine love, it can plunge us into many and varied afflictions, and it hardens our heart towards others. Only the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is given to us through the Church, can vanquish sin. The power of God transforms our inner world and helps us to change the outer world according to the Lord’s will. Thus, those who fall away from Church Unity in any way lose the ability to offer truly good fruits, just like a dried-up tree.

Today, I’d like to speak in particular to the Ukrainian people. The fratricidal conflict that arose in the Ukraine shouldn’t divide the Church’s flock by sowing hatred in their hearts. True Christians can’t hate their neighbours or even hate strangers. “Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy’. But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’” (Gospel according to St Matthew 5.43-45). May these words of the Saviour become a guiding force in our lives and may anger and hostility towards others never find a place in our hearts. I call upon all believers in our multinational Russian Orthodox Church to pray fervently for the speedy cessation of all hostilities in the Ukraine, for the healing of all physical and spiritual wounds that this war imposed on people. Both at church and in our homes, let us earnestly implore God for this; let’s also pray also for those Christians in foreign lands who suffer due to armed conflicts.

On this light-bearing Nativity eve, and on all the following holy days, let’s praise and exalt our Lord and Saviour, Who, in His great love for mankind, deigned to come into the world. Like the biblical Magi, let’s bring the divine Infant Christ our gifts… instead of gold, our sincere love… instead of frankincense, our ardent prayer… instead of myrrh, a charitable and caring disposition towards both neighbours and strangers. Once more, I greet you all, my beloved, on the radiant feast of the Nativity, and I prayerfully wish you abundant blessings and bounty from the greatly compassionate Lord Jesus during the forthcoming New Year. Amen.

01 Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev+KIRILL

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

6 January 2016


MP official website


Nativity Greetings from Comrade Zyuganov… The Idea of the Family and Folk Wisdom in Christmas: Peace, Justice, Equality, and Lofty Ideals

01 candle


Dear brothers and sisters, my friends, comrades, and compatriots!

I send you my greetings on the Nativity of Christ, a holiday of light, joy, and hope!

We celebrate this holiday with family and loved ones; we bring our parents, children, and grandchildren close to us. We remember those who gave us life, who raised us, who educated us, and who defended us in the most severe trials, who gave us our right to live in a great country. Now, before our eyes, enormous changes are taking place, giving birth to a world order in which Russia is once again called upon to take its rightful place, to become the centre of attraction of all positive and just elements.

On the eve of the New Year and the Nativity, we are like millions of voices, calm and resonant, childlike and adult, rereading the immortal pages of Lev Tolstoy’s War and Peace. We see all of our forebears who defended the motherland in Natasha and Andrei, in Platon Karataev and Tikhon Shcherbatov, and in Captain Tushin and Vasili Denisov. The crowds of Napoleonic Europe throbbed with joy as Russian troops marched into the Parisian squares. Less than a century-and-a-half later, Soviet soldiers crushed the fascist vermin, proudly hoisting the banner of victory in Berlin over the defeated Reichstag. We remembered the podvigs* of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Aleksandr Matrosov, of Panfilov’s division and of Nikolai Gastello, and of the millions of frontline soldiers and homefront workers this past year. We also recalled the leadership, brilliance, and military prowess of G K Zhukov and K K Rokossovsky. Indeed, the main event of our celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory were the Marches of the Immortal Regiment, held across all over our country.

  • Podvig: Should NEVER be “Englished”… one of the most powerful words in the Russian language. There are literally no English equivalents strong enough. Podvig has overtones of “epic”, “heroic”, “bravery”, “self-sacrifice”, “victory”, “effort”, and “triumph”. It’s best to leave it as is, and admit that English lacks the necessary material to give meaning to this word.

Such is the historical destiny of Russia… to resist invaders and tyrants and their cronies, then, to accept the thanks of the rescued. Our “Folk Wisdom”, formed over hundreds of years of battles and campaigns, is once again relevant. Noting the podvigs of our ancestors, of our victor-fathers, reminds us of their hopes for a better and brighter future for Russia. In these days of the Nativity Feast, we hope that our children would live in a society of justice and equality, in a country whose main emphasis would be on the dignity of human labour. We’d honour our workers, whose efforts create national wealth; all of our people would have access to affordable health care, the right to education, and a sense of personal security. That’s what I call the “Idea of the Family”.

However, we can only do this when our national interests guide our government, not when the whims of a handful of oligarchs and their political lackeys steer the state. Does the current government satisfy these requirements? Public health is in decline, education is becoming a pig-sty, rents are up, and the dilapidated state of housing leads to despair amongst old and young. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings forth not good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Gospel according to St Matthew 7.18-20). In order to bring the country out of crisis, it’s necessary to form a government of national trust, change the socioeconomic policy, orient it in the national interest, in the interests of society and the working people, to protect our children, women, and the elderly.

Our current national crisis isn’t only due to the impact of the worsening foreign policy situation. Nor is it only due to the long-running internal Russian economic and financial crisis. Nor is it just a social crisis, with the problems associated with the sanctions and the lopsided hydrocarbon-focused economy passed on to the people. Rather, it’s a crisis of values ​​and ideals. Nevertheless, our young people have become the barometer indicating the “weather” of our society and world. Young souls thirst for justice. The collapse of the modern consumer-market society and the loss of ideals brings a response from young souls… a hunger for something other than what’s on offer from liberal society, a thirst for ideals worth fighting for, a longing for something to which one could devote one’s life. Who has ears to hear, let him hear … Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened (Gospel according to St Matthew 13.9, 7.7-8). After all, a lot of it depends on us, on our voices, our choice.

You must choose… on the one hand, there are the fakirs of this passing era, the cunning demagogue orators, obediently singing praises to the powers-that-be, and on the other hand, there is inescapable truth, the eternal truth. The most important thing is the working people… their hopes and aspirations. They want a better world, with justice and equality for all, regardless of wherever they live, in all cities, towns, and villages… in all places where all our families live. They want a society where the older generation has a dignified old age, where fathers and mothers have confidence in the future, and where children and young people have equal access to education, sports, art, and science.

Think and confer with one another… then, decide.

We long for peace… peace for our brothers, peace for our neighbours, peace for everyone in our so beautiful and so fragile world. We have always fought and shall continue to fight for justice and friendship amongst peoples and for the truth. Our main strengths are our Folk Wisdom and our Idea of the Family.

On this joyous holiday, I wish health, happiness, satisfaction, and success to every family and to every person. We hope that all your desires will come true.

To the Nativity of Christ!

01 Gennady Zyuganov

G A Zyuganov

Head of the KPRF faction in the RF Gosduma

Chairman of the TsK KPRF

6 January 2016


KPRF official website



Superficially, it doesn’t appear to say much about the Nativity. However, remember that the Incarnation is meaningless without the Resurrection. Ergo, any talk of Incarnation necessarily points to Resurrection, and vice versa. Therefore, Comrade Zyuganov is on-point and spot-on. He speaks of a “resurrection of society”… with an optimism that can only come from grasping Christianity’s essence. He grasps the fundamental truth that the REAL meaning of the Incarnation is the Resurrection… it’s not merely celebrating the birth of an infant in a cave in Bethlehem.

People want to escape from the present Crapitalist Hell. They want hope… they want something REAL to believe in. That, my dear friends, is the TRUE meaning of Christmas… Christ came amongst us to save us from ourselves… but we can only grasp His salvation if we CHOOSE to… in the same manner that He CHOSE Incarnation. That is Comrade Zyuganov’s point… we must CHOOSE the good… we must CHOOSE to turn away from the present neoliberal “conservative” Gehenna. That is the only way out of the diabolic situation that we’re in now.

In short, people must reject “conservative” neoliberal nihilism in its entirety. That’s why Our Lord Christ took flesh… to destroy the power of Evil. Whenever we oppose Evil, we tap into the power of the Incarnation, into the power of the Resurrection. So, even without mentioning it, Comrade Zyuganov gave a deep meditation on what the Incarnation truly entails. That’s why I’m voting for Bernie… if we’re to have a society that embodies the ideals of the Incarnation, we must reject the Mark of the Beast peddled by the Republicans and Establishment Dems. Do think long and hard on that…


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