Voices from Russia

Monday, 31 December 2012

Russian Orthodox Church Supports Law Banning Americans from Adopting Russian Kids



Despite a wave of criticism from civil society groups and members of the Russian government, the MP backed the controversial “anti- Magnitsky bill” that President Vladimir Putin signed into law last Friday. As of 1 January, the new law bans adoptions of Russian children by American citizens. The new Russian law was in response to an American law, the Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights violations. In 2009, lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison under suspicious circumstances after exposing fraud involving the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The case of Dima Yaklovev inspired the Russian law; it was named for a Russian-born toddler who died after his American adoptive father forgot him in his car. An American court eventually found the father not guilty in the child’s death. The law also targeted American-funded Russian NGOs involved in political activities and foreigners involved in violating the human rights of Russians abroad. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the MP Department for Church and Society, said the law was “a search for a social answer to an elementary question… why should we give, and even sell, our children abroad?” Speaking to Interfax, Chaplin said the path to heaven would be closed to children adopted by foreigners, pointing up, “They won’t get a truly Christian upbringing”.

For the critics of the Russian Orthodox Church, its support for the law is the latest example of its submission to the Kremlin, in which it acts more like a government ministry than an independent spiritual body. Patriarch Kirill hasn’t spoken on the matter since the controversy broke out. Once Putin signs the bill into law, the patriarch said the Church would set aside an unspecified amount of money to help orphans and families in difficulty. Human rights activists are critical of the law, echoed even by some Russian government figures, including Putin loyalist Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov. Besides the ban, the law calls for an improvement in the conditions of orphans. It’d also provide incentives to Russian couples to adopt.

However, the problem in Russia is cultural. Adoption is seen as something to hide. In addition, only very young and healthy children are prized because of biases against alleged “genetic defects” passed on by poor families. The anti-Magnitsky law also stops adoption procedures already underway. Thus, 52 Russian children ready to leave for the USA will remain in Russia. The New York Times slammed the Russia law for upending the plans of American couples in the final stages of adopting in Russia. Already, it has cost many of them 50,000 USD (1.53 million Roubles. 38,000 Euros. 31,000 UK Pounds) or more, at a wrenching emotional price. American adoption agency officials said that the law would affect about 200 to 250 sets of parents who’d already identified children they planned to adopt.

UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children outside parental custody in Russia, whilst about 18,000 Russians are on the waiting list to adopt a child. The USA is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children… Americans took in more than 60,000 of them over the past two decades.

31 December 2012

Nina Achmatova



Editor’s Note:

Fr Vsevolod is right by pointing up, “They won’t get a truly Christian upbringing”. That’s right… the sectarians… Evangelicals, Pentecostalists, Mormons, and all the rest of the American Sects… aren’t Christian in the least. Look at their “services”… I rest my case. Lex orandi, lex credendi… “How one worships is how one believes”. “Three hymns and a lecture” do NOT make Christian worship. This was one of the most disgusting aspects of the economic collapse of the Nasty Nineties… the Americans stealing Russian kids to raise them as godless sectarians. That’s going to end, thank God. VVP isn’t perfect, but he’s right in this case. Ponder this… all too many of the konvertsy (Josiah Trenham and Freddie M-G are good examples) are indifferentist towards sectarians and sectarianism. That speaks volumes of their depth, doesn’t it? Rather, the lack of same, wot? Shitbirds of a feather do flock together…

OH, yes, the reason that these adoptions cost 50 Gs is that American lawyers wax fat on the sorrow of childless couples. I’m certain that a very cold corner of hell awaits such soulless brutes.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Vandals Take Chainsaws to Orthodox Crosses

A vandalised cross in Arkhangelsk Oblast in Northern Russia


The Russian Orthodox Church is calling for the punishment of vandals who used chainsaws to topple at least four wooden crosses in two regions over the weekend, prompting widespread outrage that some fear might lead to religious unrest. Unknown vandals cut down three wooden crosses in Chelyabinsk Oblast and one in Arkhangelsk Oblast. The motive was unclear, but the actions occurred two weeks after Ukrainian feminists sawed down a memorial cross in Kiev to denounce the harsh two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot musicians for singing an anti-Putin song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Anna Shevchenko, a member of FEMEN, the Ukrainian feminist group behind the Kiev incident, endorsed the chainsaw attacks in Russia and called for them to continue. However, Shevchenko, speaking during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday, didn’t claim responsibility on behalf of Femen for carrying them out. Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, who oversees Church/state relations in the MP called for the police to find those responsible and punish them, telling Interfax, “These actions speak clearly about the moral values of those who encroach on the church. By these symbolic actions, they’re trying to impose their will over the majority of the people”. Police said that they were looking into the incidents as acts of vandalism. They hadn’t opened any criminal cases as of late Sunday afternoon. Vandalism charges can carry up to three years in prison. The church found an unlikely ally in Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three jailed members of Pussy Riot. He condemned the vandalism and said the female punk group had nothing to do with it.

The church’s image was tarnished by a series of leadership scandals, including the Pussy Riot trial, which cast the spotlight on the close ties between the church and state; Patriarch Kirill’s ownership of an expensive Swiss Breguet watch and luxury residences; and a recent car crash involving a priest. Nevertheless, some observers see the sawing down of crosses as an attack on ordinary believers. Andrei Zolotov Jr, a RIA-Novosti journalist who closely follows the Orthodox church, wrote on his Facebook page, “There’s something meaningful in the fact that destructive power is turned, not on gold-plated houses or Mercedes cars believed to be driven by priests… but on a simple wooden cross… a very primary, very central, very indubitable Christian symbol. Is it because this symbol is the most defenceless?”

On Sunday, Fr Vasili, the top clergyman in Vnukovo Raion in Moscow’s Western Administrative Okrug, described the cross vandalism as, “Incivility in the worst sense of the word. All of our churchgoers are educated people, and whilst they look at the Pussy Riot action with a bit of humour, they observe these actions against the crosses with a deep sense of sadness”. A priest in Ryazan was more circumspect. Speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid reprimand from his superiors, he said, “We’re the ones provoking this situation. People dislike the authorities, and, in their eyes, the church is closely connected to the state. Even the muscle that we flex is state muscle”.

Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin criticised the vandals as “cowards” and demanded that they offer a public explanation of their actions. He said the vandals should borrow a page from Narodnaya Volya, or the People’s Will, a leftist terrorist group in the 19th century that assassinated Tsar Aleksandr II Nikolayevich, saying in an interview with Russian News Service radio, “They often stayed at the crime scene because they saw their outrageous crimes in the context of their ideas and they were ready to take responsibility for them”.

26 August 2012

Aleksandr Bratersky

Moscow Times


Editor’s Note:

I don’t think that these vandalisms are politically-inspired. Only Moscow-based zapadnik pseudo-intellectuals and their Western backers think that. Rather, as they occurred over the weekend, it leads reasonable people to conclude that they’re vodka-fuelled impulsive acts of juvenile hooligans. Reasonable oppositionists wouldn’t do this… not even the FEMEN people. The opposition isn’t all that powerful, nor, even well-organised. Trust me, it wasn’t the work of such organised groups as the KPRF or Left Front. They’d track down the perps and give them “rough justice” with the belt to inspire them to follow the straight-and-narrow in future.

It DOES take all kinds…


Saturday, 11 August 2012

11 August 2012. What the REAL Church Teaches on Social Justice… It Sure Ain’t What the Monomuckos Crowd Posts


There’s much fatuous and juvenile posting going on at Monomakhos, mostly in favour of rightwing extremism. Here’s what the Church has to say on the matter, as expressed by Fr Vsevolod Chaplin:

If your earnings are higher, consequently, that increases your moral responsibility to society, too; it follows that you can afford to pay more taxes to help those who can’t earn their own bread. … Society shouldn’t be a place where wolves chase rabbits; even a wolf pack has a certain amount of mutual support. If society refuses to support its weaker members, of necessity, it surrenders to the “law of the jungle”. … This isn’t vacuous moralising; all of human history validates these things.


THIS is what the Church (and Our Lord Christ) teaches. Any questions?


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

17 July 2012. A Point from the Past Well-Worth Repeating… Charlie Speaks on Responsible Fasting

By the way, this is “why” we abstain… any questions?


Fr Vsevolod Chaplin said that Monastic Rules of Fasting aren’t Obligatory for All Orthodox Christians

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Department for Church and Public Relations, said that monastic fasting rules don’t apply to all Orthodox Christians. “Ordinary folk quite often eat fish during the Great Lent”, he said at an international church community conference in Moscow. In his opinion, everybody’s aware of this, “but they’re afraid to say so at a time when some push the strictest monastic rules, which most lay people don’t follow, including people who work for the Church. Nevertheless, they’re presented by some sources as a compulsory rule”, Fr Vsevolod stated. He pointed up that Patriarch Aleksei Simansky gave his blessing to students of theological schools to eat fish in Lent, like ordinary lay folk do, except for the most demanding days of the Lent. Commenting on data that said that 7 percent of the population abstained from meat in Lent, Fr Vsevolod said, “To find 7 percent following the Lent, that’s pretty good, especially when only 20 years ago absolutely nobody observed Lent except for the families of clergy and monastics”.

11 April 2011



Editor’s Note:

Isn’t Fr Vsevolod a “stump-puller?” Firstly, he skewers all the loudmouths who try to get all of us to follow “pure” standards (and feel good about themselves in the process). Secondly, he sees things in perspective… 20 years ago, NOBODY kept the Lent (save for a VERY few)… today, 7 percent do. That is, it went from about 50,000 people all told to ten million… that’s some increase, and nothing to sneeze at! Yes… you CAN eat fish in Lent… it’s an old Russian custom, and the Church blesses it for ordinary folk (and priests and their families, too) in the world. We don’t live in a monastery; we shouldn’t act as if we do. Remember… it’s better to eat hot dogs in Lent with love, than it is to keep the strictest fast with a long face and a disposition to match… that’s the way it is!


Note 17.07.12:

Compare the sanity and compassion that Fr Vsevolod shows to the hateful and prideful nastiness of the Manton Six (for “monastics” to drag another Christian through the mud as they did… unforgivable!). Certainly, it does show the way home, doesn’t it?


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