Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Minister of Health of Lithuania Advocated Euthanasia for the Poor



The website pro-life.by reoported that the new Lithuanian Minister of Health Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė, who took office in July, stated that euthanasia could be a good option for poor people who, because of poverty don’t have access to palliative care. Šalaševičiūtė proposed this and immediately began discussion about legalising euthanasia in Lithuania. In media interviews, Šalaševičiūtė noted that since Lithuania isn’t a welfare state, palliative care isn’t available to all those who need it. Therefore, euthanasia could be a solution for those who “don’t want to burden their families with the spectacle of their suffering”. Šalaševičiūtė also raised the issue of paediatric euthanasia, telling the Lithuanian public that Belgian children already have this “right”. Of course, one could only adopt such a law will after a long public debate. Andrei Narbekovas, a priest and a doctor (surgeon), a member of the Bioethics Committee of the Ministry of Health, told the media, “The Ministry of Health should protect health and life, instead of looking for opportunities to take it. Obviously, some find it more cost-effective and economically efficient. However, a democratic society should make it very clear that we need to care for the sick, not kill them”.

12 August 2014


Parish of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all Who Sorrow” (Minsk BELARUS)



I got the link for this off a website affiliated with Just Russia … one of the LEFTIST political factions in Russia. The LEFT people are the real pro-lifers… the righties are for cutting expenditures on social spending and healthcare, but they’re for continual warfare in foreign parts, the indiscriminate use of the death penalty, and for the unchecked proliferation of handguns amongst the populace… that’s what the US Republicans really advocate. That’s what “austerity” is all about… gutting health and social spending to enrich godless Affluent Effluent slugs so that they can spend more on wetback nannies and country club parties. Note well that the Ukrainian fascists slashed healthcare spending at the behest of the IMF and of the Republican greedster banksters. That’s why no Orthodox Christian can support the Republican Party (or the Conservatives in the UK and Canada or the Liberals in Australia)… they worship money and power and smash their boot full-force into the faces of those less well-off… they bow down before the Koch brothers, Willy Romney, and the Walton family (the store moguls, not the TV clan). Don’t be fooled by their pro-life rhetoric… someone who opposes general single-payer healthcare is someone who’d vote for euthanasia to keep down costs (we only exist to make money for them). They don’t believe that we’re worthy of life… quite simply, we don’t have enough money, so, we’re not as human as they are (one can see this in such supremely corrupt and avaricious individuals such as Rick Perry or Donald Trump… both of whom stole and bullshitted their way to the top).

If you don’t want euthanasia… keep the right out of power (indeed, keep all with liberal agendas out, whether they’re neoliberal “conservatives” or Clinton/Blair-style so-called “liberals”… they’re two sides of the same debased worthless coin). You can worship success, money, and “The race goes to the swiftest”, and emulate Ted Cruz, Chilly Hilly Clinton, Marco Rubio, John Kerry, or Franklin Graham, or you can say, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, and emulate the Lord Christ. It’s up to you…

One last thing, Ms Šalaševičiūtė is a “professional politician” with no professional/academic background in medicine or the health professions (she’s a stinking lawyer who claims to be a “children’s advocate)… does that surprise you?



Saturday, 13 October 2012

Is Dignity in Death Too Much to Ask?

Don’t forget… “Pro-Life” means ALL of life… not just prior to birth… Cardinal O’Connor was right in that…


When the tragic details of the final days of Russian bard Ada Yakusheva emerged on Facebook… I was stunned. I heard that Yakusheva was battling cancer, but what I hadn’t realised is that her doctors denied her pain medication, on the basis of some bureaucratic error. When her relatives confronted them about her suffering, her doctors curtly told them, “Everyone suffers”. Only on her final day alive did Yakusheva find some dignity and peace. A hospice doctor transferred her to a palliative care facility, where they gave her a shot of morphine; she curled up, and slept, for what was probably the first time in a month. The following morning, Yakusheva passed away peacefully.

I found out about this through the Facebook page of noted critic and TV presenter Irina Petrovskaya. Irina, who was a close friend of Yakusheva and practically considered her family, cursed the doctors who made the old woman suffer so much. Her post soon went viral. Practically everyone saw it… even trolls who tried to attack Irina for her “liberalism” (liberalism? Really? An elderly lady, an admired and respected artist, was left to die in agony… and their first concern is liberalism?). It was shared hundreds of times over. In the comments, people related their own stories of despairing over dying relatives who weren’t allowed to depart this earth with any kind of dignity.

Narcotics legislation is murky and convoluted in Russia. The authorities have pulled out all the stops in their attempt to fight high addiction rates. Yet, the bureaucratic hassles that are routinely associated with trying to get dying patients decent care are unconscionable. Animals are treated no better, with veterinarians subject to such stringent rules regarding pain medication that most simply don’t offer adequate care for pets and other animals in need of invasive treatments such as surgery.

The other issue here is, of course, the attitude of the actual doctors. Most simply don’t have the training to make their patients comfortable. Once it’s clear that the patient is dying… a lot of them simply stop caring. Even though palliative care is certainly a major aspect of healthcare in modern Russia, many doctors still resist any urge to call a colleague who works in that field, if only because they don’t want anyone taking over their case. Yakusheva’s doctors went as far as accuse her relatives of trying to use the dying woman’s condition to score drugs for themselves. The fact that this happened to a well-known personality speaks to the enormity of the problem.

There was no way that these fine and caring individuals were unaware that the details of her suffering and their response to it… or lack thereof… would be made public. They knew. They just didn’t care all that much… convinced that their colleagues would stand in solidarity with them and that their jobs wouldn’t be in any danger. However, you might ask, what about their professional reputation? Well, as Konstantin von Eggert once told me, the whole notion of a reputation has yet to take hold among many Russian professionals. We were talking about politicians at the time, but the same can easily apply to doctors.

Sometimes, I think that doctors wield even more power than politicians… at the very least, their authority’s more immediate. My colleague Anna Arutunyan once said, “It’s because doctors deal with death”. Russians don’t shy away from death… they deal with it head on, and have much more respect for the people who often act as death’s watchmen. I suppose that’s why the whole culture of “let’s get a second opinion” is not very big in Russia… although, perhaps, I’m overanalysing it. Perhaps, it’s really an issue of long lines and rudeness at your local hospital… and the suspicion that the professionals at the hospital next door may be just as rude. For whatever it’s worth, Ada Yakusheva is now at peace. It’s her grieving relatives I worry for now… and the sick and dying who will come after her.

12 October 2012

Natalia Antonova



Editor’s Note:

Yes, Russians do deal directly with death. In fact, all of the Orthosphere does so… yes, it’s the same from Ethiopia to Egypt to Syria to Serbia to Greece and Romania… throughout the entirety of our civilisational space. On the other hand, suburban Americans (especially, the Affluent Effluent) avoid the subject, as they’re voracious grasping brats and self-absorbed immature children. You can see this in the konvertsy. One of the reasons that Real Orthodox are more “forgiving” and more understanding of idiosyncrasy and “marginal” people is our gut knowledge that we’re all going to die and face our Maker, like it or not.

Death is the ultimate reality. All Orthodox, both “Eastern” and “Oriental” know this… in an inarticulate (but immediate) fashion. This gives us an ultimate sobriety about life in general, our fellow human beings, and our personal lives. American konvertsy show the shallowness of children without a child’s very real innocence and purity (indeed, they glory in dwelling on nasty subjects and of accusing this one or that one of impurity). That’s why we should never ordain konvertsy until they’ve been at least a decade amongst us… and never ever ordain former heterodox clergy.

They lack the sobriety of the Real Orthodox… they’re like blind people. Blind people aren’t to blame for lacking sight… konvertsy aren’t to blame for lacking understanding and insight. However, to ignore that one can’t see or one isn’t really one of us isn’t a tragedy… its stupidity. Sometimes, a blind person needs your elbow to navigate around an obstacle… just as konvertsy NEED the constant presence of Real Orthodox around them for the first decade to gel properly (that’s why the konvertsy conventicles are so “off”).

Death is real… deal with it. Life is real, too. That means that either we deal with reality, or, reality will deal harshly with us. For instance, let’s make sure that Bishop Mel (he ain’t perfect, but he’s the best of the current lot to pick from) gets the white hat at the Parma Sobor, not Dahulich, Peterson, or Golitzyn. We didn’t elect the right guy the last time… and reality did deal with us, didn’t it? Let’s not step in the same cow pat again… God did give us brains, after all.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Euthanasia: A Right to Die


Ten years ago, the Netherlands legalised active euthanasia, becoming the world’s first country to do so. However, debates continue to run deep on the moral and ethical aspects of helping people end their lives, even if they suffer from incurable illnesses. Euthanasia is normally divided into passive and active, the former meaning that a patient completely rejects treatment, which isn’t prohibited by law except in a handful of countries, with politicians, doctors, and human rights advocates unanimous in their view that any person’s free to decide whether or not to accept treatment or medication. As for active euthanasia, only the Netherlands, Belgium and two US states, Oregon and California, allow it.

In 2005, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe strongly condemned active euthanasia. However, rapid progress in health sciences and a shift in moral values may prompt it to review its stance in the future. More and more people are beginning to see euthanasia as a more humane way of relieving a person from unbearable sufferings rather than prolonging those sufferings by forcing such patients to live. If society accepts euthanasia, this means it would also have to change its view of medical ethics. All doctors begin their careers by taking the Hippocratic Oath, swearing that they will give no deadly medicine to anyone even if the patient asks for it, nor shall they suggest such to anyone through their counsel.

Aleksandr Saversky, President of the Russian Patients Rights Protection League, thinks that a commission of physicians and relatives must be set up in each individual case for an ultimate decision that must also have the approval of an executive, for example, a governor. He said, “Thereby, we’ll assert that we have done everything possible for the person experiencing terrible suffering and that we can’t do more. Only then, can we consider euthanasia as a last resort. If a patient can press the button himself, we should give it to him. If not, several people should press the button simultaneously so that none of them could blame the other. However, there must be no doctors among those people”. Dmitri Aivazian, a lawyer with the Patients Rights Protection League, echoed that there can’t be any uniform euthanasia rules, each such case is unique; we must approach each one individually.

1 April 2012

Anastasia Pershkina

Voice of Russia World Service


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