Voices from Russia

Saturday, 28 November 2015

28 November 2015. A Thought from Metropolitan Athanasios Nicolaou of Limassol

00 athanasios nicolaou 281115

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For more information on Metropolitan Athanasios Nicolaou of Limassol, click here.

BMD

Saturday, 16 August 2014

16 August 2014. Now, For Something Entirely Different… There Be Orthodoxy in Darkest Africa, I Hear…

00 african orthodox church. 16.08.14

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Do you know WHY Holy Orthodoxy is the fastest growing religion in Sub-Saharan Africa? Of course, it’s the True Faith and it appears to simple innocent people with signs and wonders. However, there’s more to it… unlike the RCs and Protestants, Orthodoxy appeared in Black Africa as ANTI-imperialist. It didn’t come in under the protection of the colonialists’ bayonets. Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants all came to the black man as a part of the white man’s often brutal, sometimes patronising, but always condescending dictatorship.

On the other hand, Orthodoxy came to modern Africa from Greece and (especially) Cyprus. Cyprus, like much of Africa, had been under arrogant and arbitrary British rule and imperialism. Like the Africans, the Cypriots loathed their “paternal” overlords and their condescending snootiness… they struggled long and hard to break free. When Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda struggled for their freedom and dignity after World War II, they found rich support from Metropolitan Makarios of Cyprus, who furnished Africans with both spiritual weaponry (The Holy Faith) and material weaponry (military training and support from Cyprus).

The African peoples NEVER forgot this… Greeks and Russians (yes, even in the time of the USSR) won the love of the African peoples… and their Faith inspired Africans too… Orthodox Christianity. It was a Christianity free of the White Man’s Diktat. The struggle of the Kenyan freedom fighters against the Brit occupiers was a hard one, as the Brits had no scruples and spared no one. However, with God’s help, in the end, the natives kicked out the Brits and won their freedom. Cyprus was the first nation to recognise the sovereignty and independence of almost a dozen African states. Africans haven’t forgotten this… nor have they forgotten the cruelties of the conceited and snotty Western Europeans and Anglo Americans. We see their narcissism and wilfulness in the Ukraine today, don’t we? They sure haven’t changed, have they?

BMD

Friday, 18 April 2014

18 April 2014. A Picture IS Worth a Thousand Words: A Good Sign… Greek Bishop and Turkish Imam in Holy Friday Procession in Famagusta (Cyprus)

00 Greek Orthodox bishop and Islamic cleric. Holy Friday. 18.04.14

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Here’s a sign of GOOD NEWS. A Greek bishop and a Turkish imam walk together on Holy Friday in Famagusta in Cyprus. Mind you, the imam didn’t take part in the services, and there’s no set rubric for processing with the plashchanitsa (there are customs, but that isn’t the same, they differ from place to place, and rightfully so). This is isn’t the same as “sharing prayer”.

By the way, I didn’t post anything until after 15.00 EDT because this is the most solemn day of the Christian Year. In fact, I’m not going to post any “Church politics” today, as it’d be out of place. I AM posting on a VERY important story tomorrow. Stay tuned, kids.

BMD 

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Friday, 10 May 2013

“The Sentiments Expressed by the Bolotnaya Square Protesters are Different from those Expressed by Other Protesters in Russia”: Natalia Narochnitskaya

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Portrait of a Protestor. 2012

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Valdaiclub.com interview with Natalia Narochnitskaya, Director of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris and president of the Historical Perspective Foundation in Moscow

VC

Do you think the inspections of NGOs by the Prokuratura discredit these groups in the eyes of society, which is the goal, or do they discredit the government?

Narochnitskaya

It depends. The Western media are sure that these inspections discredit the authorities… that’s how they portray these audits. These NGOs, especially the most-high-profile ones, are their icons and they’ll portray them as heroes. As for Russian society, certain people, mainly in Moscow, share this view, but people in the rest of Russia don’t see these inspections as discrediting the authorities in any way. It’s important to understand that our society doesn’t have a united stand on this issue. The sentiments expressed by the Bolotnaya Square protesters are different from those expressed by other protesters in Russia. That’s my answer.

VC

Will these inspections further strain relations between activists and the authorities?

Narochnitskaya

Again, it depends. I think there are two unequal camps in the activist community. The *liberal Western-oriented camp that calls itself the “non-systemic” opposition is concentrated in Moscow and it’s very small on a national scale. However, this is the only opposition that the West notices, and, as a result, they’ll probably grow even more hysterical in their hatred of the Russian government.

*”liberal” in Russian terms is the same as the Anglospherelibertarian”. The latter term isn’t part of Russian intellectual/political discourse. That is, when a Russian attacks “liberalism”, they attack the non-regulatory Hobbesian anarchism of the Anglosphere Right. That is, Russians uncontaminated by Western constructs oppose and anathematise anarchy of any sort; it doesn’t matter if it’s religious anarchy (“evangelicalsectarianism… an Orthodox bishop called it “Christian atheism”… how true!), societal anarchy (libertarianism), intellectual anarchy (“anarchy” per se), or moral anarchy (immorality)… in Russian terms, all four have an intimate and indissoluble correlation.

As for the majority of activists in the rest of Russia, they lean more towards left-wing views. They aren’t sad that the 1990s are over, but they feel like the car broke down on the road leading away from the ‘90s. These people are more worried about pensions, re-industrialisation, jobs, fighting corruption, and the decline of Russians as the dominant ethnic group in the country. However, they like Russia’s strong foreign policy and tough response to Western pressure. I don’t think these audits had any effect on their attitudes. They might even welcome them.

VC

Do you think there’s a connection between the audits of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), during which the auditors removed their computers and papers with Angela Merkel’s position on Cyprus?

Narochnitskaya

Maybe, but I don’t think so. By the way, in the West, many experts believe this, and in private conversation they’ll say that EU leaders probably gave Cyprus an ultimatum… make no agreements with Russia, or you won’t receive any cash and the EU will simply engineer its collapse in one week. I’ve heard this from British and French experts. In a brief statement on Cyprus’s collapse, Viktor Gerashchenko said off-the-cuff that probably this decision was directed against Russia and that Cyprus was being punished for its pro-Russian position and refusal to let the West anywhere near the deposits discovered on the country’s continental shelf. There was a risk that Russia might get a hold in this key strategic area in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, I still believe that the EU had bigger motives in Cyprus. We can hardly consider the removal of computers as a “retaliatory measure”. They simply caught these NGOs in the same net as all the others.

VC

Do you think that these inspections are a pretext to put off the issue of establishing visa-free travel between Russia and Europe?

Narochnitskaya

For Europe and the EU, this is the pretext they’ve been looking for in order to hold up a process that they’re simply not ready for. No doubt, they’ll use it and cling to it. However, in reality… and experts have long known this… they aren’t ready for visa-free travel with Russia. They’re doing everything to impede the process, saying that they’ll have to deal with a wave of illegal workers from Asia and the Caucasus.

VC

What problems are Russian NGOs facing abroad?

Narochnitskaya

The media speaks ill of Russia or not at all. The French press is in the lead and the European media in general is acting in much the same manner. They welcome only those Russian NGOs that rabidly insist that no country in the world is worse and has fewer rights than post-Yeltsin Russia. They invite such people to speak on television very often. By the way, they’re from NGOs that receive official funds from the US budget. The US Congress is partially-financing institutions of the Republican and Democratic parties, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, and many Russian NGOs. I shudder to think what they would’ve written about my Institute of Democracy and Cooperation if we’d received a penny from the Russian budget.

By the way, I’ve just come back from America where I had a conversation with a prominent banking analyst. I asked him directly what he thinks about the campaign in the press against the new law requiring that NGOs funded from abroad must declare this if they conduct political activities in Russia. He laughed and said that in the USA foreign funding of political activities carries criminal penalties. He said a man from China contributed to a local election campaign in one city and received a 10-year prison term.

No matter what we do and what important events with distinguished people we hold, there’ll be little or no coverage. Sometimes, they invite us to be on television. If a Russian NGO in a foreign country doesn’t spew hatred for the government, even if it readily discusses our sins, they’ll always describe it as a Kremlin agency funded by the budget, even though this is a total lie. This is the constant insinuation you hear, based on some blogs. The academic community in Europe is much fairer and more objective, and it’s easier to work with them. We’re trying to involve them in serious roundtables where we always criticise corruption and other vices in Russian politics or the economy. Three years ago, our office in Paris opened with a seminar offering a comparative analysis of anti-corruption laws in France and Russia, which put Russia in an unfavourable light. We had interesting speakers on our side, and we acknowledged that corruption is a systemic problem that can’t be resolved quickly. However, nobody cares about this.

Here’s another example of what often happens. When my name came up in connection with the establishment of my institute’s office in Paris, many newspapers asked me for an interview… l’Express, Le Figaro, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and The Chicago Tribune {did Sophia Kishkovsky or Serge Schmemann interview Professor Narochnitskaya? Perspirin’ minds wanna know…: editor}. I talked with all of them at least for an hour about everything, including culture, insight into life in each other’s countries, and the desire to break the glass wall of misunderstanding that separates us. A French woman from l’Express and I even got to talking about Baudelaire’s poetry and hugged each other goodbye. You should’ve seen what her newspaper wrote! I regretted that I was so naïve and didn’t switch on the recorder. I could’ve published it online so that everyone could see that they clearly instructed her to write a negative story. Nevertheless, I didn’t say anything negative and she published in her newspaper three routine anti-Putin paragraphs that had nothing to do with our conversation and one sentence about our meeting… “This is the aim of the agency that will be headed by Natalia Narochnitskaya, whom I had a chance to meet”.

I can concur on Professor Narochnitskaya’s observation. Western media sorts NEVER tell it as you tell it and you must use the utmost caution in talking to them. Never be verbose… be concise, for they can edit your words in such a way that it’ll seem that you either support their position or that you’re a marginal nutter (this is particularly true of TV presenters). In fact, very few Western “authority figures” tell the truth (“winning by any means, fair or foul” is the most important component of the Western Corporate Weltanschauung)… be very, very careful in your dealings with them, especially, with clergy… never talk to a clergyman on substantive matters without a witness or two (doubly so, if he’s a convert or an SVS grad). As Paffhausen illustrated, all too often, they do lie whenever it’s convenient for them, and they’re bloody sincere and unctuous about it, too…

Frankfurter Allgemeine was the only newspaper to report what I said without sneering and in good faith. Its coverage reflected their understanding of what I said. An article in Le Figaro read, “Oh what a fierce debater they’ve sent from Russia!” I take pride in this! Speaking about freedom of the press in the West, the press is so subordinated to editorial policy that it’s long ceased to reflect the diversity of public thinking and public opinion in its own countries. Public opinion in these countries is much more complex, and many more people are quite fair in their views of Russia. I won’t say they’re fond of Russia, but they’re willing to listen calmly to positive information about the country. My European friends and partners tell me they’re sick and tired of hysterical Russophobia in the press. Incidentally, already, Russophobia has become marginal. The articles by André Glucksman have become so grotesque that they remind me of our incomparable Valeria Novodvorskaya {a pro-Western Quisling… she writes for the New York Times… did this traitor mentor Sophia Kishkovsky? Interesting angle, no?: editor}. The press has taken it so far that soon its coverage will have the opposite effect. This is what happened with anti-capitalist propaganda in the Khrushchyov era. We’ll discuss this problem… the origins of Russophobia… at a conference at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy in May, which I’m attending. The Italian side, not us, suggested the idea. This is already a good sign.

8 May 2013

Valdai Discussion Club

http://valdaiclub.com/politics/58200.html

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