Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Majority of Russians Regret Breakup of USSR

00 Unknown  Artist. We're Coming to the Victory of Communist Labour. 1970s

We’re Coming to the Victory of Communist Labour

Unknown  Artist

1970s

______________________________

On Tuesday, independent pollster Levada Centre said that more than half of Russians polled regret the breakup of the USSR; they believe that we could’ve avoided it. Of 1,600 respondents polled in 45 Russian federal subjects, 57 percent bemoaned the collapse of the USSR, whilst 30 percent said that they didn’t regret it, and 13 percent had difficulty answering. Seniors tended more to nostalgia than younger people. Only 37 percent of respondents aged 25 to 39 said that they regretted the collapse of the USSR. However, that figure reached 86 percent amongst those 55 and older. Only 29 percent said that the breakup was inevitable, whilst 53 percent said that we could’ve avoided it. The rest of the respondents couldn’t say one way or the other. The USSR formally ended on 26 December 1991.

15 January 2014 (MSK)

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140115/186524071/Over-Half-of-Russians-Regret-Loss-of-Soviet-Union.html

Editor’s Note:

When asked who the most influential politician in Russia was, VVP answered, “Gennady Zyuganov”. Pro-Western journalists sniggered at that. I believe that Vova knows the country better than they do. As a former member of the organy, he has no illusions about life, none at all. He knows that the “provinces” want the USSR back, and that the KPRF is the only real political party in the country. Besides that, only the KPRF is looking to the future in a real way, Gennady Andreyevich wants the young firebrand Sergei Udaltsov to replace him as leader when he steps down.

VVP wants no chaos when he steps down. The country agrees with him. I believe that Sergei Udaltsov will be the next real leader of Russia, and he may very well restore the old Union under the guise of the Eurasian Union (EvrAsS). Russia will end its present infatuation with the West and sweep away the godless neoliberal crapitalism now regnant. I wouldn’t want to be an oligarch, then… there’ll be a new emigration (the Affluent Effluent will flee to the USA, where the Republicans will ooh and ah over them)… the citizens of the Union will say, “Good riddance to bad rubbish”, and most of the world will agree with them. I wonder what the ROCOR will do when (not, if) that happens (will Potapov, Lebedeff, and Whiteford flip yet again?)… perspirin’ minds wanna know!

BMD

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Five Years After the Five-Day War, Everyone’s Learned Their Lessons

01g South Ossetia 2010

______________________________

Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict. Georgia was the first post-Soviet republic to engage in a direct military clash with Russia, certainly an extraordinary event. Georgia changed politically since then, with a new government coming to power last fall. The five-day war didn’t topple Mikhail Saakashvili, as many in Moscow hoped it would, but it did seriously mar his moral and political image. Little by little, Saakashvili’s government abandoned its pro-reform policy and turned into a repressive régime that wanted only one thing… to remain in power at all costs. When a strong political rival appeared three years later, it turned out that Saakashvili’s chair was much shakier than many thought.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream, which won the parliamentary elections last fall, promised to examine the causes of the military conflict and the role of Tbilisi in it. Some members of the current Georgian government said that the government made gross mistakes, but Georgia is unlikely to do a U-turn on its attitude toward the war. The war did major damage, and if a leading politician tried too abruptly to change the idea that Georgia was a victim in the events, the political consequences might be unpredictable. It’s unclear whether anyone should do this at all, although such a positive change would be of truly revolutionary importance for relations with Russia and a breakthrough in relations.

The new Georgian authorities are grappling with many problems. However, most predictions agree that the Georgian Dream will easily win the presidential election in October and that Saakashvili’s United National Movement is losing weight. Firstly, Georgia still heavily depends on the West, which sees Georgian Dream’s attempts to restore political order as a persecution campaign, even if there may be very serious reasons behind it. Therefore, the government should move slowly and act prudently. Secondly, people heaved a sigh of relief when the previous government’s pressure eased, but they soon became aware of drawbacks in the new democratic rule. Georgians are heatedly discussing their problems, and political life is in full swing, but there are few practical results so far. Furthermore, with the United National Movement discredited and no other serious political forces in the country, the government is in a dangerous position, with no opposition to keep it in check. Life without opposition corrupts, as we know from history. Nonetheless, it looks like Georgia learned its lesson and is unlikely to act opportunistically again.

The West took a warning from the Georgian example. The August 2008 war put an end to the idea of NATO’s eastward expansion, which the West hasn’t discussed since, at least not in practical terms. Only a major change in American policy would bring this issue back in focus. However, so far, events have gone in the opposite direction. NATO’s extensive development, which masked the lack of a strategy in the 2000s, gave way to attempts to adapt the bloc to the more practical tasks at hand. These tasks have very little connection with the Caucasus, and the bloc is no longer enthusiastic about the post-Soviet space as a whole.

The five years after the South Ossetian war were a time of quest for Russia. Many saw the defeat of Georgia as a major landmark and a psychological resurgence after more than 20 years of geopolitical retreat. At the same time, it became clear that Russia wouldn’t pursue an expansionist policy to regain the losses it sustained after the dissolution of the USSR, which the West and some neighbouring countries feared would be the case. Moscow is gradually abandoning the post-imperial mentality rooted in the Soviet collapse and related feelings in favour of a new vision of itself and its interests in the neighbouring countries. The Customs Union idea proposed several months after the war was a major improvement on all previous plans. It focuses on economic expediency and the logic of mutually beneficial integration rather than reunion for the sake of reunion.

Russia’s most controversial postwar move was the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the five years since, Russia hasn’t convinced any major country to do the same, and it’s unlikely to succeed any time soon. Moscow had to make the decision because the situation was rocky and they needed to stabilise the state of affairs. Nevertheless, it hasn’t resolved the problem. It only put the political and diplomatic conflict on ice, and it’s a fact that what’s frozen sometimes melts. A final settlement will come only when we find a solution that suits all sides, which means that aggravation is still possible, even though the status quo is stable and no one wants an escalation.

One can describe the South Ossetian war, which is deeply rooted in the dissolution of the USSR, as the closing page in a long chapter. The global financial crisis, which broke out a month later, put into question the results of an era that began in the 1990s and was a time of triumph for the West and its market ideology. It also engendered processes that have made things even more problematic. The Arab Spring, which began two-and-a-half years after the South Ossetian war, further complicated matters. There’ll be many more such events before a new world order emerges from the chaos. Russia paid a high price for being a lead actor in 20th-century history. It had its share of shocks and would rather be a spectator from now on, unless a new play develops in direct proximity to its borders.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti8 August 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130808/182661056/Uncertain-World-5-Years-After-the-5-Day-War-Everyones-Learned.html

Editor’s Note:

The above is far different from the narrative that’s still bruited in neocon and interventionist circles. They claim that Georgia was the totally-innocent victim of Russian neo-imperial aggression. Such wasn’t so… indeed, they’re the most disgusting apologists for AMERICAN neo-imperialism. Since 1991, American neocons and interventionists have been drunk on their ”victory” in the Cold War. Factually, the Cold War ended in 1987, after the Reykjavik Summit, not the 1991 implosion of the USSR, which was something else altogether (and had nothing to do with Socialist vs Market ideologies, in any case). America has run riot… showing all concerned that the leading elements of the USA are greedy, self-centred, and violent; they’re incompetent, uncivilised, uncultured, and indecent, not fit for the role of a “world leader”. That’s true of both the Right and Centre in American politics (there’s no Left in the USA… the last Leftists were FDR and Henry Wallace).

We see the moral bankruptcy of the trend in the USA (and the West, in general) that’s been regnant since the time of Slobberin’ Ronnie. “Might makes right” has run rampant in the USA… “Greed is Good”, “The race goes to the swiftest”, and “You earned it” sum up its evil credo. It’s Social Darwinism (actually, a misnomer, as it owes everything to Spencer, not Darwin) writ large. America’s become a McMansion… glitzy on the outside, cheap softwood plyboard inside (with the termites busy at work). It’s time to put things right… but shall we? That’s up to YOU…

If we don’t, the consequences will be dire… I’m not advocating chaos and bloodshed, I’m predicting that it could happen if we don’t scrap our present neoliberal Rightwing arrangements… that’s two very different things…

BMD   

Saturday, 21 April 2012

On 22 April His Holiness Will Serve Molieben at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Defence of the Faith, Desecrated Holy Places, the Church, and Its Good Name

______________________________

On 22 April 2012, in the 2nd week of Easter, On the Sunday of St Thomas, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias will celebrate Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour at 09.30 MSK. After the Liturgy, he will serve a molieben in the defence of the Faith, desecrated holy places, the Church in General, and its Good Name. Before starting the molieben, Patriarch Kirill, bishops, and clergy of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour will process with reliquaries with a piece of the Lord’s Robe and a particle of the Holy Cross, as well as holy objects subjected to desecration… the veneration cross from Pokrovsky Cathedral in Nevinnomyssk (Stavropol Krai), an icon from the Church of St Prokopy the Righteous in Veliki Ustyug (Vologda Oblast), and Kazan Icon of the Mother of God from the Church of St George in Veliki Ustyug, shot through with bullets in the early 1920s.

The molieben will begin at 14.00 MSK. The public procession (on Volkhonka Street) will start at 11.00 MSK on Gogol Boulevard (near the Kropotkinskaya Metro station (Sokolnicheskaya Line… bright red “line 1” on most maps)) and from the A S Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Multiple screens installed in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour will broadcast the Liturgy and the molieben. In addition, clergy will serve moliebens in all the cathedrals of the MP dioceses in the Russian Federation. On 3 April 2012, the MP Supreme Church Council resolved to serve moliebens in the defence of the faith and for desecrated holy places.

18 April 2012

Patriarchia.ru

Official MP Website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/2169115.html

 Editor’s Note:

There was NO mention of this on the official websites of the OCA or the ROCOR. In the case of the OCA, it’s understandable, as its metropolitan is an unhinged rightwing nutter who favours the konvertsy lunatic fringe elements. In the case of the ROCOR, it’s shameful, as it shows that Potapov controls the official website (or, at least, he controls Perekrestov, who’s in charge of it).

Every Russian Orthodox parish in the diaspora should be serving moliebens, as well… in repentance for the attacks of Western elements against our Church. The main culprits are in the USA, but Western Neoliberalism (“conservatism” in Anglosphere terms) is a ravening beast intent on rending Christ’s Church (and the Orthosphere in general) because it stands against the greediness and hubris of “Me First” Vulture Capitalism (as embodied in Mitt Romney, Darrell Issa, and Stephen Harper). We should stand in repentance for what the US and British special services did at the Phanar (deposing a patriarch for his political stance), and for what Langley’s attempting on the former territory of the USSR. It isn’t subtle; it isn’t hidden. The USA’s attempting to decapitate Russia and make it a running-dog lackey of Western multinational corporate interests (with Navalny as president? C’mon, be serious…).

We should bow before Almighty God and ask forgiveness for those amongst us who’ve become loyal servants of Mammon… not just Paffhausen (who’s always been a Far Right Nutter, I’m told)… not just Potapov (who was/is a high US government official in a CIA-front organisation with an official passport)… but for our general torpidity towards the cosiness of certain elements in the diaspora Church and the “Conservative” Rightwing.

Prelest infected us in the Soviet times, blinding us to the real situation. Prelest infected us in the Nasty Nineties, leading to the ROCOR’s stab in the back against the Mother Church and a prideful insistence that the Mother Church “repent”… of what, pray tell? Of having survived a state-imposed official atheism and persecution? They did better than we would’ve done under similar circumstances. Why? Look at us today… all too many of us cooperative with the godless “conservative”, “Evangelical”, and papist enemies of Christ’s Church. In short, prelest infects us still, and it’ll persist until we look in the mirror and SEE it.

Therefore, we need to join the Mother Church in public prayer tomorrow (and have more need of the same than the Mother Church does, as too many of us cooperate with the West’s attack on Christ’s Church in the name of “conservatism”). However, I doubt that we shall. I’d be pleased if a single priest and parish did so… but I’m a realist… sad world, ain’t it. Pass me the jug, please, I know that the world’s crank and crook, but this?

BMD

Thursday, 16 February 2012

An Interview with Fazil Iskander: “Illusions about Democracy have vanished without a Trace”

Author Fazil Iskander (1929- ), originally from Abkhazia, now resident in Russia

______________________________

Recently, writer Fazil Iskander received two awards for his works, the literary prize “Yasnaya Polyana” in the “modern classics” category and a Russian state decoration for his cultural work. However, this patriarch of domestic and world literature, who’ll celebrate his 83rd birthday in March, isn’t resting on his laurels, but he continues to write; moreover, he still speaks quite bluntly on our Russian reality. Today, he said, “Illusions about democracy have vanished without a trace”. What should we expect from him in future? On this, and on other questions, the author of Детства Чика (Detstva Chika: A Chick’s Childhood), the epic novel Сандро из Чегема (Sandro iz Chegema: Sandro from Chegem), and the story-parable Кролики и удавы (Kroliki i Udavy: Rabbits and boas), spoke to Argumenty i Fakty.

******

“’Shame’ is Obscene”

Maksim Volodin

Fazil Abdulovich, you said, “Democracy robbed us of something… the dream of democracy”. The dream of communism dissipated even earlier. What should we strive for? An allegiance to a brighter capitalist future?

Fazil Iskander

We should try to see to it that there’s no war. All sorts of people in our country dream of a peaceful future and, indeed, demand it. Today, the class struggle morphed into a struggle for money. Therefore, it’s better, but the blatant injustice towards the poor is glaring and striking. We moved from a Declaration of Human Rights to an imitation of human rights. In the end, most people hope that we can transform our country into a social system with a human face somehow. However, what would we call it? Is that important?

Maksim Volodin

They say that you’re very worried today because the freedom that Russia won in ’91, which you yourself advocated as a member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, brought us not only the liberation of society from totalitarianism, but also a disgrace of conscience and morality…

Fazil Iskander

Yes, that’s so. Contemporary life is full of disturbing paradoxes. Today, the word “shame” is obscene, offensive, or a profanity, along with it the words “selflessness” and “conscience”. People give the “fish-eye” to anyone who speaks them. They think, “What do I expect from him?” I’ve long thought… what’s the deal? Then, I realised, the focal point of our human lives is a striving for the absolute. The quest for the absolute, our conscience, aroused the masterpieces of Russian literature. A desire for absolute freedom coupled itself with great savagery in society. However, what remains to be done? We see that the whole country acts boorishly to one another. Internally, many decent people no longer resist. One member of the intelligentsia told me recently, “I’m tired of honesty. This doesn’t mean that I’d become dishonest, but I could become indifferent…”

Maksim Volodin

Maybe, subconsciously, we want to “free” ourselves of morality? All the more, since I reached the top?

Fazil Iskander

You know, that’s a secret human wish. Our conscience prevents us from living the way we want. We try to restrain it; after all, look at what others do. Few people are satisfied with such “brakes” on our behaviour. It turns out, rather than trust our free will, we follow “the maddening crowd”…

Maksim Volodin

Doe this mean that freedom, after all, is just evil?

Fazil Iskander

If it takes off the restraints of morality and allows lawlessness… of course. A freedom that protects the natural rights of mankind is good. How do we distinguish one from the other? This is the “to be or not to be” of Russia’s future. In the USSR, it was easier to be honest; in those days, evil had clearly-defined boundaries. If someone violated them against his conscience, at least, they were aware of what they were doing. The present evil is vague and poorly-defined; therefore, it’s much worse…

Soviet power drove the people into a pit, thereby unwittingly protecting them from the abyss. Now, nothing’s withheld from us, but we balance on the edge of a moral abyss. We see noisy rallies, but people remain silent because they don’t know what to make of it all… “to be or not to be”… shame or conscience”? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? In any case, here’s some advice… “If out of pessimism, you find cynicism, turn back …” The changes in our country aren’t over yet. In the West, freedom came a century before it came to Russia. They’ve learnt to curb its excesses. As for us… no.

Maksim Volodin

Nevertheless, some say that the price paid by ordinary people for freedom is disproportionately dear.

Fazil Iskander

One can’t begin to measure the price that they paid. However, still, it was necessary to free the country. Take yourself in hand, live in the present; in any case, a man must live an honest and full life. Here we are, nothing remains, yet, we obey this law. Of course, I‘d like it if everything were easier and more sensible, who wouldn’t want that? However, we’re stuck together in the Russia “that is”.

“’Non-Russianness’ didn’t Hinder Many People in Russia”

Maksim Volodin

Vakhtang Kikabidze explained why he refused the Order of Friendship awarded on his 70th birthday, after the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008, which raged whilst he was on tour in Russia, by saying to Argumenty i Fakty, “Georgia, my motherland, is very dear to me. In the film Мимино (Mimino), one of the characters says, ‘A man must live in his homeland’”. What’s dearer to you… Russia or Abkhazia?

Fazil Iskander

I’ve never really given a thought about it. Although I sometimes ask myself, “Why did you choose to live in Moscow and not in your native Sukhumi?” What can I say to that? I’m a Russian writer. I write in Russian, but I sing of my Abkhazia. In Moscow, I don’t feel like an outsider. In fact, I didn’t “choose” my situation. Life chose it for me, even in my youth. I studied here; then, I worked here… for a very long time. Recently, my son Aleksandr asked me, “Dad, has the fact that you’re not Russian ever hurt you?” I thought about it, and I replied, “You know, Sasha… no, never!” That’s just not me, you see, “Non-Russianness” didn’t hinder many people in Russia. Only recently has it become a problem for some. However, this problem is alien to Russia’s essence. This means that everything will return to normal.

Maksim Volodin

The Georgians say about Abkhazia, “This is our internal affair! We’ll work it out; we’re neighbours, for the Abkhazians are next-door in the Caucasus, our close relatives. Even if we don’t climb together, we’re always one in mind with each other”. What do you think of that?

Fazil Iskander

Please, God, let that be so. If both sides would have a desire to make it possible, it’d do away with blood, war, and foreign interference. Can Abkhazians and Georgians live peacefully together in future? Why not? It depends on them. However, better still, I think it’d be best that they wouldn’t be in the same state, indeed, they’d be good neighbours. You must be able to forgive offences.

Maksim Volodin

What about the blood shed on both sides in the wars? Wouldn’t you need to forgive that too?

Fazil Iskander

Well, what do you suggest? Should we take revenge against each other? Then, what? That isn’t a solution; it’s a road to nowhere. Russia managed to avoid a civil war after the breakup of the Soviet Union… that’s a sign of its strength.

Maksim Volodin

To quote you, “Wisdom means that you come to terms with life, to go forth and cooperate with it”. What do you accept and what do you reject?

Fazil Iskander

I reject evil. I understand that evil is embedded in the human soul; so, we can’t cast it out from social life, we just can’t do it. Some evil will always remain. I, as I could, fought with it, but I never won complete victory. You can only contain evil; just try to do it yourself. At all times, society must develop in the direction of not tolerating darkness and chaos. Nevertheless, man’s always an unfinished project. He always thinks that if he just has a strong enough desire, he can take on anything and change it for the better. However, this is the business of many generations. We must have patience.

Maksim Volodin

Do you follow the same philosophy in your works?

Fazil Iskander

My books are another thing altogether. It’s necessary to spare people’s feelings, but we need to think ruthlessly. To write… it’s editing life so that one could live. That’s what I’m doing.

15 February 2012

Argumenty i Fakty

Quoted in Люди Peoples.ru (Lyudi Peoples.ru)

http://www.peoples.ru/art/literature/poetry/contemporary/iskander/interview2.html

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.