Voices from Russia

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov Proposed that Schools Add the Subject “The Meaning of Life” to their Curriculum

Fr Dmitri Smirnov


On Tuesday, Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, the First Deputy Chairman of the Patriarchal Commission on Family and Maternal Assistance, thought that Russian schools should teach a new subject, “The Meaning of Life”. During a lecture at Northern State Medical University in Arkhangelsk, according to the local diocese, Fr Dmitri said, “Algebra and geometry are good, geography and biology are nice, and Russian literature is delightful, but they don’t address the main problem”. In his opinion, it’s tragic that mankind pursues false goals. “In our country, it’s particularly noticeable… all too many people are mostly sullen and unhappy. Life doesn’t bring them joy… this terrific gift, to use the colloquial expression, ‘goes down the drain’”{идет коту под хвост, literally, “the cat goes under its tail”, its Russian idiomatic analogue: editor}.

According to Fr Dmitri, every baptised Christian must “change the meaning of their life and its direction, to realise their responsibility before God and society for their actions”. Touching on the theme of large families, he expressed regret that many people are afraid to have children, and “dodge having them, which is criminal”. He pointed up, “Perhaps, they think that they can’t support children properly. I support 50 orphans. The state doesn’t give us any money, not a busted kopeck, but there wasn’t a single day that these kids didn’t have enough to eat and have proper clothes to wear. Everything works out; God helps… through people’s good will, of course. None of my three children’s homes are in want”.

26 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

Fr Dmitri isn’t a greasy and smarmy eunuch from the Blunder’s set in Bolshaya Ordynka. He’s a tough “rough diamond” street sort who’s the liaison between the MP and the forces and the police (one of his dedes was a White officer). Anyone who wanted to give Marat Gelman the belt for his blasphemous exhibitions has my vote (he also hates Neoliberalism and Crapitalism, which ain’t bad, either). His thesis is simple and straightforward. Our goals are skewed; therefore, we screw up our lives. You can follow Fr Dmitri, or, you can follow Victor Potapov and James Paffhausen (who cheerlead for the rightwing advocates of American consumerism). It’s your choice…


Sunday, 24 March 2013

24 March 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Global Event “Earth Hour”: History, Purpose, Participants

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Global Event 'Earth Hour'. History, Purpose, Participants. 2013


Click here for an “Earth Hour” image gallery

The World Wildlife Fund sponsors “Earth Hour” annually. On the last Saturday in March, at 20.30 local time, all participants turn off lights and electrical appliances for an hour. This is the fifth “Earth Hour” held in Russia; last year, about 20 million people in Russia took part in it. According to WWF, about 70 Russian cities will participate in the action in 2013. The WWF specifically mentioned that Moscow, St Petersburg, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Lipetsk, Serpukhov, Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Voronezh, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Vologda, Nizhny Novgorod, and Syktyvkar would have special events. For the first year, Novy Urengoy will take part.

In Moscow, on 23 March, more than 80 buildings will plunge into darkness for an hour. On Saturday, the main attractions of St Petersburg… the Winter Palace, Palace Square, and the Petropavlovsk Fortress… will turn off their architectural and artistic lighting. The same thing would happen at St Petersburg State University, as well as at Troitsky Bridge, Blagoveshchensky Bridge, Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge, and Aleksandr Nevsky Bridge.

A giant ball, symbolising planet Earth will be set on fire in Nizhny Novgorod on Rozhdestvenskaya Street. The organisers of the action said, “The contours of the Earth’s continents would burn only for a short while, thus, presenting a representation of the limited and exhaustible basic resources used by mankind”. The event will take place on Markin Square near Rozhdestvenskaya Street. Residents of Krasnodar shall place candles outside a shopping mall on Stasov Street. The candles will have the inscription “Kuban +” as a symbol that the Krasnodar Krai joined the “Earth Hour” event. The shopping mall will turn off all its lights and signs.

23 March 2013




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Man Stomped to Death in Russia for Performing Rap



Sometimes knowing your audience can be truly vital. A hip-hop aficionado in the Russian Far North proved this with his life when he was stomped to death this weekend for rapping at a sports bar. On Monday, the Arkhangelsk Oblast SKP said on its website Monday that the incident took place in the city of Arkhangelsk. Aleksei Gorlishchev, 25, was rapping at the local Bookmaker Pub, sparking the ire of some patrons, Lifenews.ru reported. One of the critics, Artyom Furzikov, 21, told the rapper to “take it outside”… where he threw the artist on the ground and jumped on him, the tabloid said. The SKP said that the victim died of internal bleeding shortly after hospitalisation; it didn’t release any names, but confirmed rapping to be the cause of the brief fight. The irate listener faces 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of intentional infliction of grave bodily harm that resulted in death.

Hip-hop has had a hard time in Russia, with the 1990s seeing street wars between rap and heavy metal fans complete with beatings and stabbings. It remains unpopular among many sports fans, especially, those who tend towards nationalist views, who prefer punk, rock, and related genres such as “oi”, favoured by skinheads worldwide. Russian music fans in Russia have killed before. In December, police in Astrakhan Oblast reported that a taxi driver murdered by his two passengers over a music-related argument. They didn’t release any specifics on what caused it. Last July, in Nizhny Novgorod, a drinking companion stabbed a Deep Purple fan to death. They’d asked in vain to hear some “shanson”, a specific Russian genre of music combining folk and cabaret influences with sappy lyrics about criminal life.

18 February 2013



Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Alrosa Finds “Unique” Diamond, Pegs Price at One Mill

00 Alrosa diamond. Yakutia. 12.02.13


In a statement released on Tuesday, diamond-mining giant Alrosa said that it found a “unique” diamond weighing 145.44 carats (29 grammes/1 ounce). According to specialists at Alrosa’s Diamond-Sorting Centre, the gem could fetch up to 1 million USD (30.13 million Roubles. 750,000 Euros. 640,000 UK Pounds). Alrosa said that it discovered the clear octahedral-shaped diamond (with a yellowish cast) late last month in Yakutia; it measures 35 x 20 x 26 millimetres (1.4 x 0.8 x 1 inch). Last September, Alrosa found an even larger gem-grade diamond at another of its Yakutia mines, which it valued at more than 1.5 million USD (45.2 million Roubles. 1.125 million Euros. 960,000 UK Pounds), and said that it could split it into several high-quality cut diamonds.

The latest find comes from deep within the Yubileynaya diamond pipe at Factory No 14 of Alrosa’s Aykhalsky facility. In October, the same pipe yielded an enormous industrial-grade diamond weighing 888.15 carats (178 grammes/6.25 ounces). The company said that the unclear (greyish-green in hue) stone was the fourth-heaviest diamond ever produced in Russia. Russia has the largest known diamond deposits in the world and Alrosa accounts for 97 percent of Russian production. The principal regions of production are Yakutia (AKA Sakha Republic), Perm, and Arkhangelsk. Alrosa accounts for 25 percent of the world’s diamond production. In 2011, the company produced 34.6 million carats (6,920 metric tons/7,628 US tons) of diamonds, which fetched 4.45 billion USD (134.1 billion Roubles. 3.3 billion Euros. 2.85 billion UK Pounds). Experts expect that the figures for 2012 production, not yet fully calculated, should total about 34.4 million carats (6,880 metric tons/7,584 US tons), which would garner 4.5 billion USD (135.6 billion Roubles. 3.4 billion Euros. 2.9 billion UK Pounds).

12 February 2013



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