Voices from Russia

Monday, 17 February 2014

17 February 2014. Whatever Happened to Deacon Andrei Kuraev? What Meaning Can We Pull from His “Fall?”



In the early 2000s, Deacon Andrei Kuraev was one of the leading lights in the Orthodox cyberworld. Lately, he’s become more and more strident, making all kinds of oddbod statements. I asked around and one source told me:

For years now, Kuraev has gone off. His problem is his self-obsession. Pro-Western media outlets, eager for any scandal, pay him much attention. Moreover, producing scandal so that people quote him consumes him; besides which, he’s obsessed with how many hits he gets. Charlie‘s right… Kuraev’s going Protestant; he’s gone Renovationist. He’s become an enemy of the Church in his egoistic quest for celebrity.

I agree. Deacon Andrei has gone off the rails. Once, he was a “go-to” source… today, he’s an embittered “dissident”. I think that he’s well on the way to being another Gleb Yakunin (who was one of the few people personally anathematised by the Church). I don’t think that he’ll be another Rusantsov, but he does have the potential for being defrocked.

Remember, the Church always does the least-invasive thing to solve a problem. For instance, in this case, the Centre used the least-invasive method of shitcanning him. “He didn’t attend to his duties as an MDA faculty member”. This was like the ROCOR Holy Synod stopping the Toll House Wars about thirty years ago by saying, “There’s not much revealed on this topic. All discussion of it should cease” (they should revisit that decision and muzzle the loud konvertsy who perpetually call the Toll Houses “an important Church Doctrine” (which it isn’t)). In the case of Podmoshensky, the ROCOR gave him the drop for serving under suspension (Lebedeff said that was a great relief; nobody wanted to go near the issue of sexual perversion unless that they absolutely had to).

This first disciplinary action… removing Kuraev from the MDA faculty… was a salutary warning. If he continues to fuck up… well, the Church hopes that he doesn’t. I noted that they said nothing of his connection with PSTGU… I wonder, does such need approval from the Vorobyov Mafia (perspirin’ minds wanna know)? Bear in mind how the Church dealt with the rank heresies of Bulgakov and Florensky… it condemned the heresies, but it showed mercy to the people involved.

For instance, to give a good example of such, the Church should send Seraphim Storheim off to live in a monastery, far from children, without any pastoral role. This would be fair to all parties. It’s fair to the victims… for it’d show that the Church implicitly believes their story by denying Storheim a public role. It’s fair to the believers… for they’d be spared worrying that there’d be a relapse. It’s fair to Storheim… for it’d spare him some shame and pain (look, a court found him guilty… that’s harsh enough for me… it DOES put the “Scarlet Letter” upon him, after all). It shows respect to the Court… it shows that the Church intends doing something to neutralise Storheim, removing the need for further legal action or imprisonment. Last of all, it’s fair to the Church… it means that the issue will die a natural death (that is, it’ll persist for as long as Storheim’s alive…  but after he’s dead, people would say, “Y’know, they did the right thing…”. Shall this happen? I’d truly like to see it happen, but given the nasty-ass attitude of Syosset and the First Families, I expect more legal manoeuvring, obfuscation, and denials… I’m not hoping for such, but that’s what I see.

It’s not just Deacon Andrei… it’s our whole attitude to dealing with dissidence and malfeasance. Frankly, we’d do well to stick to our traditional ways… they work. Take it one step at a time, and don’t dump on someone all the way all at once. Shall Deacon Andrei turn back? I don’t have a working crystal ball, do you? Things are never boring following the Church, are they?



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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Kuraev Meets Pussy Riot

00 Pussy Riot


Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev, an outspoken Russian Orthodox cleric, said that there’d be no more controversial protest performances inside another Russian Orthodox church by the all-female band Pussy Riot, after holding a meeting with two of the band’s recently released members. He met with freed members of the Pussy Riot band, Mariya Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. After the meeting, he said that he was confident that they’d never stage another protest inside a church. Pictures published after the meeting showed Kuraev having a cup of tea with Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova. Kuraev posted on his Facebook page after the meeting that he was glad that the women would seek to open churches in prisons and to help inmates. According to him, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova recognize that the church world had both diversity and change. Immediately after Pussy Riot’s controversial stunt at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and during their subsequent trial, Kuraev’s reaction was more lenient than the official Church position. He condemned the Pussy Riot performance as “ugly and unacceptable from a moral standpoint”, but urged mercy and forgiveness on the part of the church. Snob magazine organised Kuraev’s meeting with Pussy Riot.

Kuraev himself was in the spotlight recently. Late last year, the MDA sacked him from his teaching position. He responded by saying that he had fallen victim to “the gay lobby”. Kuraev was referring to his blog post about the Kazan Theological Seminary, where students allegedly complained of sexual harassment from some teachers. Kuraev believes that he lost his post because he made the controversy at the seminary public. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, an official Church spokesman, insisted that the Church wasn’t persecuting Kuraev for ideological reasons. However, Chaplin pointed up that Kuraev often missed his lectures and violated internal regulations, which may have prompted his dismissal.

13 January 2014

Marina Obrazkova

Russia Behind the Headlines


Editor’s Note:

Usually, those with oddbod theological views try to justify them by quoting a fictitious “gay lobby”. Now isn’t the time to go into detail, but we all know how the konvertsy caterwaul about gays and how they’re so “expert” in ferreting them out. Hmm… a lot of ‘em were ordained by Feodosy Lazor and those like him… a lot of ‘em hung out with the nutty crew in Platina (even after Podmo got le sabot from the ROCOR… such as Paffso, Freddie M-G, Reardon, and Eliel, just to name a few)… need I go on? In short, the ranting about false gays (whilst accepting ordination from the hands of gay clerics!) and persecuting relatively harmless sorts such as Lazar Puhalo leads me to a conclusion. Those who rant the most about gays are the ones most likely to be led astray by a gay guru.

They all revere Podmo… they all think that the toll houses are an “important doctrine of the Church” (it had NO real push until Rose brought it up in the 70s)… that says it all, doesn’t it? They’re all Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and nothing else. Beam me up, Scotty


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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ho, Hum… Tempest in a Teacup Department… “Russian Orthodox Church” Under Fire Over Stalin Calendar

Unknown Artist. Long Life to the Stalin Cat! contemporary


Editor’s Note:

One of the reasons that non-stories such as this have tread is that all Russia is on holiday until Monday. Every year, Russia “shuts down” from 1 January to the Monday closest to 10 January. It’s like France in August. Nothing happens… so, of course, 24/7 news agencies are frantic for SOMETHING to report. The guy responsible for this calendar got the shitcan back in July… ergo, it’s a dead story. As for Andrei Kuraev, he’s become a crankish figure, only taken seriously by the Western media apparat (he’s a new Yakunin… only half the brains, but twice the chutzpah). Kuraev lost out to Vsevolod Chaplin, Varsonofy Sudakov, and Mark Golovkov in the turf war that followed HH’s accession in 2009 (Kuraev doesn’t have the savoir-faire of a Kliment Kapalin, who managed to hang on to cred despite being out of favour with the Gundyaev Mafia). He and the Blunder were the biggest losers (remember, the Blunder’s only a “Patriarchal Vicar”… a vicar bishop with a bigger title, that’s all) in the reshuffle after Aleksei Ridiger’s death. They were bright stars in the early 2000s… much dimmed as of late (justifiably so)…

Oh, should I mention that this story (like the Pussy Riot non-event) has no cred in Russia? Don’t get your knicks in a knot over an obvious media non-event. When will they ever learn? Silly wabbits…

O Tempora! O Mores!



This week, the MP came under heavy criticism on the internet this week over a 2014 wall calendar published by a revered monastery’s printing-house featuring portraits of Soviet leader Iosif Stalin. The publisher flogs the black-and-white calendar, entitled Stalin, costing 200 Roubles (USD. CAD. AUD. Euros. UK Pounds), as “a great gift for veterans and history fans”. Historian Mikhail Babkin brought it to public attention on his blog on 7 January. One person wrote in one of nearly 200 comments under Babkin’s post, referring to the millions who died because of Stalin’s farm collectivisation and political repression, “Disgrace, shame, and insult to all those who perished”.

Stalin severely persecuted the Church, but it’s enjoyed revival since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. A Church official said that the head of the printing-house got the boot in July once authorities found out about the incident, but only after the delivery of the calendars. A Church spokesman, Vakhtang Kipshidze, told Reuters, “The Church was subject to the most severe repressions during Stalin’s rule when he ordered the deportation and execution of thousands of priests. Releasing such a publication in a Church establishment … is morally unacceptable”. However, reflecting the sympathy for Stalin still felt by many Russians who credit him with victory in World War Two, and giving their country superpower status, Kipshidze added, “Nonetheless, one should work on the assumption that both in the Church and in Russian society there are differing views on the role Stalin played in Russian history and everybody has the right to hold to their own views”.

Critics of the Kremlin accuse President Vladimir Putin of burnishing Stalin’s image and celebrating the USSR’s modernising achievements to prop up national pride. Since returning to the Kremlin in mid-2012, Putin also seeks to appeal to conservative voters to boost his authority; increasingly, he promotes the Church as a standard-bearer for national values. In turn, the Church faces growing criticism from critics who say that it fosters excessively-close ties to the Kremlin and seeks too powerful a role in secular life. Andrei Kuraev, a {disgraced: editor} cleric and religious activist, wrote on his blog, “This is business. The Church uses its resources to make money. This is where the trouble is, not in Stalin pictures”.

9 January 2014

Maria Tsvetkova

Gabriela Baczynska




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Friday, 3 January 2014

Kuraev Gets the Boot for Thumbing His Nose at Church Authorities in Blog Posts

andrei kuraev


Editor’s Note:

Andrei Kuraev was at his zenith in 2008 (along with the Blunder). However, he lost out when HH became patriarch. Bit by bit, he became increasingly cranky. The Church doesn’t allow that in its clergy (under normal circumstances… the American Russian Orthodox diaspora isn’t “normal” yet, and it won’t be until we wise up and unite)… at least, not in public. As a priest told me once, “I have to be diplomatic, as I represent the Church. You, as a laywoman, can be more direct”. You see, Kuraev wanted the post that Vladimir Legoida ended with. Finally, the Church shitcanned him… he’s been spouting off for some years now. Will he spin off into heresy? I don’t know… I do know that he’s spun off into irrelevancy. It’s a sad end for him… we all had great hopes for him in the early 2000s…



The MDA sacked Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, a prominent Orthodox academic and well-known blogger, from his post as a professor for writing blog posts and giving interviews at variance with the MP’s official position on current affairs. On Tuesday, according to sources at the MDA, the Church fired him from the faculty for “scandalous and provocative activities…in the mass media and in the blogosphere”. Frequently, Kuraev aired his views on current events on his personal LiveJournal account, including the anti-Kremlin protest group Pussy Riot and a recent church sexual harassment scandal. Although the MDA didn’t specify which of Kuraev’s comments attracted the Church’s ire, it said that he’d ignored how his public statements reflected on the academy and the church.

Kuraev complained that the decision about his sacking was on the MDA’s Monday meeting agenda without a vote and in his absence. He wrote in a post on LiveJournal, “[The decision] happened not by reason, but by fervour. I couldn’t recall a similar case in the 300-year history of the Academy”. Kuraev criticised the Church’s handling of a scandal in Kazan in mid-December, when a clergyman dismissed for allegedly sexually harassing male students went immediately into another diocese in Tver. Kuraev said on his blog that the incident was “proof of the existence of an influential gay lobby in our Church”. Kuraev has a kandidatura in philosophical sciences, being on the MDA faculty since 2004.

Besides that, he questioned the motivation behind Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” protest in a Moscow cathedral last year. Three of the group’s members received two-year prison sentences for the stunt; one got out on probation, while the other two got early release due to a presidential prison amnesty earlier this month. Kuraev called a Pussy Riot documentary made by a pro-Kremlin TV journalist untruthful, and told liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta that a top city official might’ve staged the protest to boost support for President Vladimir Putin before the election.

31 December 2014



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