Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Trust is Crucial in Russian-American Relations

00 atomic fireball. 16.07.13

THIS is what WILL happen if we don’t stop the American Drive for Global Hegemony… it’s not benign… it’s not humane… it’d be a Dark Night of the Soul… it’d be the Danse Macabre of a “ChristianAntichrist. Do ponder it…


Barack Obama’s proposal to cut nuclear arsenals by one-third didn’t win the support that he expected that it would in Moscow. Russia mistrusts the American peace initiative. Washington considers the speech delivered by Barack Obama in Berlin on 19 June an important political move. Really, the proposal presented by the American President to Russia to reduce the nuclear potential of the two countries by one-third looks quite spectacular… at first glance. Yet, Russia’s tepid response to the seemingly-sensational initiative led to great disappointment in Washington. The idea failed to draw thunderous applause, from either Moscow or other capitals of world powers, contrary to the expectations of its authors. Several weeks after the speech, no one mentions it at international forums or in leading media outlets. I believe that the reason for this situation is that, contrary to expectations of the Inside the Beltway crowd, Moscow didn’t jump at the idea with enthusiasm… it practically ignored it.

I’ll leave military specialists to comment on why the seemingly-radical proposal didn’t kindle enthusiasm among our military leaders, but I’ll express my opinion concerning the political aspect of the affair. From the most ancient times, the essential foundation of normal relations between countries was… and still is… trust. It’s almost impossible to build international relations without mutual trust. In my opinion, this is the reason for the difficulties between Russia and the USA. Without going into the history of Russian-American relations, unfortunately, I must say that there’s no trust between Moscow and Washington, even though we need it and it’s sought after. At the same time, I submit that Russia isn’t to blame for this state of affairs.

Moscow never violated any of the important international treaties it signed during the post-war period. Not one! On the contrary, that isn’t true of Washington. Its leaders violated their most solemn formal commitments more than once. In August 1975, representatives from 35 sovereign states, including the US President, signed the Helsinki Accords, a basic document of contemporary international law, “which  declared the principle of non-violability of borders in Europe”. However, in March 1999, US President Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of Belgrade; as a result, sovereign Yugoslavia ceased to exist as a united state. In 2003, President George W Bush violated the UN Charter by his invasion of sovereign Iraq, which sent the ancient state on the banks of Tigris and Euphrates to the brink of collapse. Let me cite another example, witnessed by me personally. In 1988, at talks with President Gorbachyov, President George H W Bush said that NATO forces wouldn’t move towards the borders of the USSR by a single inch in case of German unification. I heard this with my own ears; he repeated it many times. This solemn promise is common knowledge. It’s all too easy to go down this nasty list of events.

The need for real measures to lower the military threat, including nuclear weapons, is self-evident. However, it’s virtually impossible to achieve in a state of suspicion and distrust. It’s no simple task to revive lost trust and confidence; we need mutual effort, goodwill, and sufficient time to do it. There’s no alternative, and we should do this equally, without sparing any efforts.

00 Valentin Sergeyevich Zorin. 26.04.133 July 2013

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service




Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Brezhnev Pips Lenin as Russia’s Favourite 20th Century Ruler

Christ... Red... White... United. late Soviet

THIS is what the people want… any questions?


In an opinion poll released on Wednesday, Russians viewed Leonid Brezhnev as the most positive of all Soviet and Russian leaders in the 20th century, but Vladimir Lenin and Iosif Stalin were close behind. 56 percent of respondents in the Levada Centre survey viewed Brezhnev (who ruled the USSR in 1964-82) positively. Often mocked in jokes for his increasingly-visible senility at the end of his life, people still respect Brezhnev for maintaining stability and increasing living standards among millions of ordinary Soviet citizens during his time in office as General Secretary of the Communist Party. 55 percent of respondents saw Lenin, (who led the Bolsheviks into power in 1917) positively. Stalin, whose almost-three-decade rule saw many of his fellow countrymen perish in GULag labour camps, was judged to have been a positive influence by 50 percent of respondents. Just 21 percent of respondents viewed Perestroika-era leader Mikhail Gorbachyov’s rule positively, whilst only 22 percent were positive about Boris Yeltsin, post-Soviet Russia’s first president. 48 percent of respondents saw Tsar Nikolai Aleksandrovich, deposed and executed by the Bolsheviks, as a positive influence. Levada carried out the poll on 19-22 April, with 1,600 respondents from all over Russia.

22 May 2013



Editor’s Note:

This confirms something that I’ve suspected for quite some time. Amongst ordinary folk, there’s much regard for both Tsarist and Communist rulers, as they see them as respectful of the common people. Neither Yeltsin nor Gorbachyov got positive reviews, as the people see them as bum-kissers of the pseudo-intellectual pro-Westerners who hold ordinary Russians in contempt and of greedy Free Market buccaneers who raped the working class. Let’s keep it simple… the people who voted for Lyonyo, voted for Koba, Ilyich, and Good Tsar Nikolai, too. They didn’t vote for Gorbachyov and Yeltsin. The people want a Red Tsar… not the Free Market… not the oligarchs… not the pro-Westerners… not the White Liberal Phonies of February (remember, had not Kerensky imprisoned the tsar, he might have survived… the righties are silent about that)… not the Nazi collaborators who fled to the West (and who sold themselves into the service of Western intel agencies against the Orthosphere). That pisses off the likes of Victor Potapov (which led to his vile, revolting, and hypocritical tantrum on the ROCOR official website… after all, he’s a well-known Langley operative). Will he leave the canonical Church if Russia continues to move leftward? Do stay tuned… this show ain’t over yet, kids…


Sunday, 28 April 2013

St Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Surrey BC: “An Island Amongst Sinners”

00 Rev Mykhaylo Pozdyk. St Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Surrey BC. 28.04.13


A half-dozen years ago, bullets flew into the walls of St Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Surrey BC (part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District). That should tell you all that you need to know about the crime, drugs, homelessness, and squalor that surround the church’s gold-coloured dome in Whalley. Rev Mykhaylo Pozdyk said, “We’re like an island amongst sinners. The picture isn’t good, but we’re proud to be here to be God’s witness”. Although he said that dying in the church would be a “great honour”, it was fortunate that no one was around at the time of the drug-­related shooting spree.

The church is on 135A Street, in a two-block section that’s generally-considered Surrey’s worst stretch of pavement. When Ukrainian immigrants chose the spot for the church 50 years ago, the town centre was thriving. Today, the building’s white walls and blue-painted trim stand apart from nearby vacant lots and rundown buildings. Fr Mykhaylo said that the street people in the neighbourhood are friendly for the most part, but thefts occur and church property is sometimes destroyed, noting, “People ask for money but they usually don’t want food”.

As difficult as life is for the disadvantaged in downtown Whalley, Pozdyk saw much worse under Soviet rule in the Ukraine, where he lived until moving to Canada in 1996. He said, “Here we have more respect and value for people. Canada’s a rich country with many government programmes to help them”. He went on to say that churches were shut down for several generations in his homeland and KGB agents lurked in every village and organisation, observing, “Communists denied God’s existence”. Pozdyk was secretly married in a church in 1987 at the beginning of Mikhail Gorbachyov’s period of thaw. Ukrainian people flocked to the churches when the doors opened after independence in 1991.

He stated that the churches there aren’t as well attended now because people chase after the same material goals as they do in the West, saying, “As soon as you sign a mortgage, you’re a slave to the mortgage. You have no time for God”. Although Pozdyk has bought a house here, and smiles about it, he remains faithful to his spiritual duties, telling us, “We’re temporary in this world… pilgrims. Freedom you can only find in God. We ­glorify God for everything we have in this life. We say ‘thank you’ for the forgiveness of our sins. I’m still a sinner and I’m trying my best to grow ­spiritually”.


What’s your congregation’s religion?

Our congregation is part of One Holy Orthodox-Catholic and Apostolic Church.

What would you put in a tweet? 

We’re blessed to worship in this beautiful little church that’s on the City of Surrey Heritage Register. We welcome everyone, and we’ll treat you as best as we can.

How many people attend services?

40 to 70

What’s traditional?

Our worship is Liturgical, Eucharistic, and Jesus-centred.

What’s modern?

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What’s the most beautiful thing about your church?

Praising God and worshipping Him in spirit and truth together with all the people who come here and have hope that all their names will be written in the Book of Life.

Give us your sense of what’s happening in the area around the church.

Hard-working people who were busy with supporting their families built this church between 1950 and 1955. At the same time, they worked hard to build a new place of worship. At that time, it was a good area. Now, the church finds itself on one of the poorest streets in town.

26 April 2013

Kent Spencer

The Province


Monday, 22 April 2013

Speaking Ill of the Dead

00 Margaret Thatcher caricature. 09.04.13




Following the death of Margaret ThatcherBritain’s first and, so far, only female Prime Minister… many in Russia are still struggling to understand the polarised reaction to her death back home. On Facebook, Russian playwright Yuri Klavdiyev praised Thatcher’s achievements, writing, “Rest in peace, Comrade Thatcher. You did for your country a thousand times more than [members of the Russian Occupy movement] have done for theirs”. Yet, whilst tributes poured in from landmark figures across the world, in Britain, the song Ding, Dong! The Witch Is Dead from The Wizard of Oz controversially reached no. 2 on this week’s BBC Radio 1 music chart. On the day of Thatcher’s passing, the Daily Telegraph announced that, given the volume of abusive messages it had received, it was blocking all comments on any Thatcher-related article. That was besides the street parties and other impromptu celebrations.

By her own admission, Thatcher had inherited a country rendered ungovernable by the influence of the trades union movement. Her solution was stark. Thatcher chose to pick a fight with their most powerful and, in doing so, break the will of the movement as a whole. The resulting 1984-85 conflict between the government and the miners’ unions at times bordered on civil war, with British police forces accused of acting more as militia than as law enforcement. That the government won is a matter of historical record. More subjective is the question of cost. Last week, former miner Darren Vaines told the BBC, “The cut went so deep, people have never been able to forget about it”.

When she came to power in 1979, Thatcher’s monetarist government was on a collision course with a young generation radicalised by the extreme politics of the late 1970s. As the government lurched to the right, the educated liberal opposition would step to the left. Joe Strummer, poster boy of the New Left, wanted to illustrate The Clash’s Cost of Living EP with a picture of Margaret Thatcher’s face and a swastika. Alexei Sayle, firebrand of the early alternative comedy scene, joked, “In the old days, people used to be named after what they made. Carter if they made carts, Cooper if they made barrels, Thatcher if they made people sick”.

Many seized upon the Falklands War, which almost certainly saved Thatcher from an early resignation as her popularity waned, as an example of her political opportunism. To howls of popular protest, Thatcher also resisted sanctions against South Africa, branding the African National Congress a “typical terrorist organisation” and inviting apartheid-era President P W Botha on a state visit in 1984. Elsewhere, Thatcher proposed that the deposed Khmer Rouge retain their UN seat for Cambodia. Even after her removal from power, she continued to infuriate the left, calling for the release of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

Last Tuesday, former Irish Republican Army chief of staff Martin McGuinness felt obliged to urge Republican households to stop celebrating the death of the IRA’s former “Number One Target”. Republican resentment of Thatcher grew throughout the 1980s, after her refusal to consider the political status of prisoners at Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison resulted in the deaths, by hunger strike, of Parliament member Bobby Sands and nine other prisoners.

Mass unemployment, climbing since the global recession of the early ’80s, snapped at Thatcher’s heels as she led the way toward her vision of a deregulated economy. Joblessness in Britain reached record highs not seen since the Great Depression. Dramatic cuts in government spending on arts, healthcare, education, and welfare, plus the deliberate sacrifice of many of Britain’s manually-intensive staple industries on the altar of modernity, further alienated an already-disenfranchised poor. All of this, coupled with the internal machinations of Thatcher’s own Conservative Party, would force Thatcher from office in 1990 amidst yet more riots (this time against her government’s poll tax).

For Russians struggling to understand the response to Thatcher at home, it may be useful to recall the polarising reactions to her Cold War contemporary, Mikhail Gorbachyov. Thatcher’s role in the end of the Cold War is debatable. Paul Dukes, professor emeritus at the University of Aberdeen, said, “Her role in bringing the Cold War to an end was probably not as significant as she and her admirers asserted. At least, the individual contributions of Gorbachyov and Reagan were far greater”. Yet, both Gorbachyov and Thatcher, though lauded internationally, engender, at best, mixed reactions on home soil. Gorbachyov, with his surname a global byword for postwar tolerance, only polled 0.5 percent in the first round of the 1996 presidential election. In a 2011 opinion poll, 47 percent of Russians claimed “not to care about him at all”. A significant 20 percent, reported “active hostility” to the former Communist General Secretary. As Gorbachyov leads the eulogies to Thatcher, he may be watching the dramatic reactions to her death unfold in Britain with one eye fixed firmly on his own legacy.

15 April 2013

Simon Speakman

Moscow News


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