Voices from Russia

Monday, 11 May 2015

West Shocked: Victory Day March Under the Red Banner in Chișinău Drew Over 65,000 Participants

00 moldova 01. victory day. 11.05.15


00 moldova 02. victory day. 11.05.15


00 moldova 03. victory day. 11.05.15


00 moldova 04. victory day. 11.05.15


On 9 May, in Chișinău (Kishinyov, capital of Moldova), which Ukrainian junta strongman P A Poroshenko named one of his main allies, a march honouring Victory Day drew 65,000 participants flying the Red Banner of Victory and displaying the St George Ribbon. Political commentator Vladimir Bukarsky told us, “There were 65,000 participants in the Victory March through the streets of Chișinău, attended by all patriotic elements without partisan symbols, with St George ribbons and flags. The march ended at the Memorial of Military Glory. A non-partisan march is a first. Primarily, this warns the Moldovan authorities… ‘We the people won’t ever such distortions of history as we see in the Ukraine’”.

11 May 2015




Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The EU’s in Serious Trouble… It Isn’t Russia’s Fault

00 EU Evil Inside 01. 08.10.12______________________________

Angela Merkel criticised V V Putin’s apparent strategy to spread Russia’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. The Chancellor doesn’t acknowledge that Germany’s domination of Europe was disastrous for some states. Europe’s neo-liberal media are having a collective hernia at the thought that some former Warsaw Pact countries now cosy up to Moscow, especially in Germany. On top of that, Merkel’s recent speech in Australia was full of tough criticism of Russia. However, on closer inspection, what they’re accusing the Kremlin of doing is exactly what the EU has done for the past 20 years. Do a random street poll in any Eastern European capital, like Prague or Bratislava, where I was this week, for example. Ask whether life is better now, under the thumb of the EU, compared to how it was in 1989, under the Soviet jackboot. The responses I got are 50-50. If you’d tried the same query a decade ago, it’d have been unanimous that 2004 would’ve trumped ’89.

The EU is in serious trouble. Living standards are falling all over the union and political instability is fomenting from Dublin to Athens and Madrid to Zagreb. Iceland recently u-turned on a plan to join the grouping and, previously, resolute aspirants like Serbia and Montenegro cooled their ardour for membership. Angela Merkel thinks this is Russia’s fault. That’s akin to blaming Brazil’s strikers for their 7-1 World Cup capitulation to Germany… pure hokum. If Merkel wants to find the real culprit, she need only look in the mirror. The Berlin government, which she led for 9 years, is sucking the continent dry. Peripheral states flounder and pivotal countries stagnate, but Germany’s doing just fine. This is because the entire EU system… especially, the Euro currency… props up its largest member as it chokes the rest.

Of course, a quarter century ago, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and France’s Francois Mitterrand warned us of this, and they were both spot on. In January 1990, Mitterrand confided to his UK counterpart, “Reunification will result in Germany gaining more European influence than Hitler ever had”. In fairness, it’s worth mentioning that the ugly Euro currency monster was Mitterrand’s naïve attempt to curtail this eventuality. The Germans were quite content with the solid Deutschmark, but Paris believed that a currency union would keep their neighbours in check and made it the price of agreeing to a united Germany. Thatcher foresaw this and informed Mitterrand that strengthening EEC (later EU) institutions wouldn’t tame Bonn (then, the German capital), saying, “Germany’s ambitions would then become the dominant and active factor. We beat the Germans twice (in war), and now they’re back”.

Reunification greatly diluted a previously four-pronged (France, Britain, West Germany, and Italy) European élite. Restored to its former capital of Berlin, the now much-larger German state began to dominate the EU. In the early 00’s, the EU expanded massively to the east; it grew by ten members in one day in 2004, with a further three following later. What happened in all these newbies, from Estonia in the north to southern Cyprus was that German commerce rapidly swamped their economies. If you think that’s fanciful, I’d urge you to visit a shopping centre in Kraków or Brno… please, tell me how it differs from one in Dresden. To my eyes… I’d say not by much. Cheap German credit flooded existing members such as Ireland and Spain, which was a form of captive loan-sharking. German banks handed out easy money to ease the purchase of German-made goods, from cars to electronics. When the scheme went wallop in 2008, the German creditors didn’t accept a haircut. Instead, they passed on the penalties to Irish and Spanish taxpayers, further enslaving them to Berlin.

Meanwhile, Germany’s trade surplus continued to expand and they were happy to leave the rest of Europe to rot. Instead of showing empathy, the Hamburg and Berlin media were full of features mocking the economically wrecked nations. Apparently, Ireland had an epidemic of wild abandoned horses and the Spanish were delighted at the extra time for siestas. Oh, what fun the yellow press had in those halcyon days… and what harm they did to perceptions of Germany. Now, Merkel seems to believe that Russia coerced some European states into doing business. That’s complete nonsense. It’s rather more believable that financially stressed governments have begun to see through Berlin’s practises and are hedging their bets. After all, it’s the duty of a sovereign to look after its own citizens, not the pampered bankers of Frankfurt or industrialists of München. Germany’s arrogant mistreatment of the rest of Europe is coming home to roost.

“Frau Nein”, as she was once known, is especially upset about Russian influence in Hungary and Serbia. Apologies if I’ve missed something, but I haven’t noticed reports of Berlin heaping goodies on them. Does Merkel seriously expect their rulers to reject advantageous deals with Moscow to keep her happy? If she does, she’s lost touch with reality. Last weekend, she emoted, “This isn’t just about the Ukraine. It’s about Moldova. It’s about Georgia. If things carry on like this… we’ll need to raise the issue of Serbia, of the states in the western Balkans. How can something like this happen in the middle of Europe? Old thinking about spheres of influence… must not succeed”. What Merkel is trying to say with breathtaking arrogance is “how dare Russia nose in on our patch”… as if Germany had a divine right to control these independent nations. Spheres of influence aren’t an issue if they tilt towards Berlin or Brussels, which the former increasingly controls. Lost in all of this is the economic fact that Germany and Russia are now neck and neck economically, with Moscow poised to overtake its historic rival in the next few years. Russia has also succeeded in creating an alliance with China, Germany’s biggest export rival. This has forced Berlin into solidifying its previously waning alliance with the USA, something that isn’t uniformly popular in Germany.

However, in Budapest and Bratislava, Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico are doing what’s right by their electorate and striking the best deals for their countries. Such practises deeply offend Merkel… it reduces Germany’s omnipotent stranglehold on their commerce. Orbán is also committed to pushing ahead with the South Stream pipeline, in partnership with Moscow. Why? Not to undermine Berlin, but to guarantee its energy supply because the Ukraine is unreliable as transit territory. This is entirely understandable… it’s Orbán’s job to look after Hungary, not to bow down before Germany. The pro-NATO neoliberal media in Western Europe are presenting Russia’s trade deals with struggling eastern states as a dastardly plan to undermine the EU. Such suggestions are hyperbolic nonsense. The leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia would, gladly bite the hand off Merkel if she’d throw some German cash around. However, she’s not and Putin is. Consequently, these countries are doing what’s best for their current circumstances. There’s nothing sinister about it.

20 November 2014

Bryan MacDonald



Thursday, 26 June 2014

Socialists and Orthodox Unite to Preserve Traditional Values

00 Jesus was a radical.16


From 22 to 24 June, I took part in the international scientific conference Orthodox Civilisation and the Modern World in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. The conference itself was on 23 June, with presentations and reports, and we devoted the other two days to other activities. On 22 June, we arrived in Chisinau, and we went straight from the airport to the Kurkovskaya Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God. This is an amazing place; its awesome silence makes one feel the breath of eternity. According to legend, the former robber Kurki, who lurked in this place, founded the monastery. One day, his gang ran into an old couple on the highway and killed them to steal their goods… when Kurki came to the scene of the crime, he saw that it was his parents. After this, he spent the rest of his life in repentance; he left his life of crime and went off to a hermitage. The monastery grew from this humble beginning. Today, it’s back in use as a monastic community and they’re reconstructing the majestic 19th century cathedral.


00 Jesus at the Republican Convention. 22.09.13


The Socialist Party of Moldova organised the conference; I must say that’s a very remarkable fact. The conference was on an advanced level, the attendees came from several countries… in addition to the Republic of Moldova, people came from Russia, the Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Poland. Two bishops of the MP in Moldova attended the conference… Archbishop Savva Volkov of Tiraspol and Dubossary, the “Fiery Archpastor”, who received this nickname thanks to his strong position on opposing legalisation of sexual perversion in society, and Bishop Markell Mihăescu of Balti and Falesti. Amongst the foreign guests of the conference were well-known people such as Professor Valery Alekseyev, the President of the International Social Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Peoples; Olga Yepifanova, RF Gosduma deputy (Fair Russia bloc); Dragan Todorović, from the Radical Party of Serbia; Vasili Anisimov, spokesman of Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan of Kiev and all the Ukraine; Associate Professor Anatoly Filatov, a famous philosopher from Simferopol University in the Crimea; Anna Radzukiewicz, chairman of the Konstantin Ostrozhky Foundation from Warsaw; Yelizaveta Milenova, chairman of the Bulgarian branch of the International Social Foundation of the Unity of Orthodox Peoples. Moldovan historians and journalists also gave presentations, such as Sergei Nazarov, Doctor of Political Sciences; Peter Shornikov, Kandidat of Historical Sciences; Vasili Stati, Doctor of Historical Sciences; well-known journalist Vladimir Bukarsky, and others. Igor Dodon, the leader of the Socialist Party and People’s Deputy, was the official host of the affair. He took part in the conference and he gave a detailed report on protecting traditional social values. Ion Cheban, a fellow Socialist and People’s Deputy was the formal chairman of the conference.


00 Russians say DA to Jesus. 11.10.13


The situation in Moldova is rather complex, for Moldova will sign an association agreement with the EU. Apparently, this will take place; the pro-Western political forces that are now in power are dead-set to make this deal, despite the protests of the opposition, including the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, and the Orthodox clergy. At the conference, these two forces, Socialists and Orthodox, were the leading forces. The Socialist Party, the main political opponent of Moldova joining the EU, advanced political and economic reasons for its stance. On the other hand, the Orthodox clergy spoke with fervour on their anxiety that if Moldova entered the EU, all the abominations that are now normal in the EU would take root in this Orthodox land. Bishop Markell’s presentation made a particularly strong impression on me. Vladyki Markell spoke about the struggle that he and his supporters waged against the attempts to draw Orthodox Moldova into this Sodom and Gomorrah, into the EU’s “civilisation”. The authorities subjected Bishop Markell to brutal attacks… they trumped-up a criminal case against him, after he called homosexuality a sexual perversion. They subjected him to constant psychological pressure and threatened him and those close to him. They even shot at the car of his diocesan secretary. The traffic cops even subjected his clergy to a Jesuitical technicality… on Sundays, after Liturgy, they’d stop priest’s cars to test their blood alcohol levels. These creeps knew that priests and deacons consume the Holy Gifts after the Liturgy.

I gave a talk at a conference on the theme, “Russian Thinkers of the 19th and 20th Centuries on the Signs of a Distinct Russian Orthodox Civilisation”. I was pleasantly surprised that many people all over the world read Russian People’s Line. Moreover, many share our ideas, including clergy, scholars, and public figures. The debate at the conference was interesting for me, not only because of its political acuity, but as it was, perhaps, one of the last attempts to appeal to reason with those in power in Moldova, to hope that they’d listen to society. All the speeches, whether from Orthodox sources, the scientific community, or the political opposition, sounded the alarm for the future of Moldova.


00 The Real Jesus. 10.11.13


However, most importantly, the conference demonstrated a fundamental fact… the main supporters of a pro-Russian course and the greatest opponents of an anti-Russian policy in Moldova, the main supporters of preserving traditional values ​​in the Republic are the leftist forces (Socialist Party), they actively support the committed Orthodox clergy and laity. In Moldova, it’s remarkable. This union of Socialism and Orthodoxy is the visible embodiment of Orthodox Socialism, which some contemporary theorists have posited. In Moldova… it’s a reality. The conference clearly voiced one idea… our future path involves realising the idea of social justice, and the Church’s role is to give it spiritual life. Here one can see the fruitful interaction between the left-wing pro-Russian forces and the Orthodox Church. At the same time, it’s a reproach and a warning to those Orthodox publicists and public figures who remain imprisoned in anti-communism and anti-Stalinism. In Russia, the fact that anti-communist and anti-Stalinist statements are malignant isn’t obvious to everyone. However, in Moldova, if you’re anti-communist and anti-Soviet, then, you’re anti-Russian. Moreover, it means that you support an immoral future, against the interests of Orthodoxy. That’s the main impression that I got after mixing with my colleagues, with politicians, and with clergy in Moldova.


You have a choice… you can support god-pleasing Orthodox Socialism, as one sees in the Federal State of Novorossiya (He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother)… or you can support theomachistic Me First Crapitalistic Nihilism (The Almighty Dollar is God and Rush Limbaugh is its Prophet). These are the only two choices on offer. You can support those who smash slot machines (the Communist Orthodox in Novorossiya) or you can support those who gamble recklessly in Las Vegas (John McCain and other Republicans). As always, the choice is yours…

The Cross AND the Red Banner… St Vladimir AND Vladimir Ilyich… now, that’s the ticket…


26 June 2014

Anatoly Stepanov

Russian People’s Line


Thursday, 1 May 2014

1 May: It’s International Labour Day! Russia Marked It… the USA Did NOT… One of these Things is NOT Like the Other!

00 may day russia 01. 01.05.14


May Day on Red Square! Unity! Solidarity! The Dignity of Human Labour! The best of the USSR IS coming back… and no amount of American blubbering and posturing can stop it! URA!! (the whole one-hour rally)


Labour Day is on Thursday. This holiday, celebrated in Russia, the USA, some countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia on the first day of May, has several names, such as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, Spring and Labour Day, Labour Day, and Spring Day. In Soviet times, most Russians called this holiday the First of May or May Day, referring to the date on which they celebrated it.

The celebration dates back to events that took place in Chicago in the 19th century. Large-scale rallies and demonstrations of workers demanding an eight-hour workday began in Chicago on 1 May 1886. The rallies ended in clashes with the police. On 3 May, at the McCormick harvester thresher factory, police opened fire on strikers, killing at least two workers. On 4 May, at a protest rally in Haymarket Square, someone threw a bomb at police, who fired back at the crowd. The clash injured 60 police officers and eight died. The exact number of workers who died is unknown. Police arrested hundreds of people and seven anarchist workers received death sentences.

In July 1889, through a suggestion by French delegate Raymond Lavigne, the Paris Congress of the Second International decided to hold an annual 1 May workers’ demonstrations as a sign of solidarity with the Chicago workers. On 1 May 1890, the first May Day rallies occurred in Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, the USA, Norway, France, and Sweden. In the UK, the holiday was on 4 May. Their main theme was a demand for an eight-hour workday. On 1 May 1891, a Social Democratic group led by revolutionary Mikhail Brusnev held the first illegal May Day gathering in St Petersburg. After the 1917 October Revolution, it became an official holiday.

On 1 May 1933, the first flypast happened over Red Square. Then, flypasts were a regular part of the May Day demonstrations to display Soviet military might until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. During the VOV, no major May Day events occurred. In 1970, USSR labour legislation gave the holiday a new name… 1 and 2 May officially became International Workers’ Solidarity Day. On 1 May 1990, the official May Day rally happened for the last time. In 1992, International Workers’ Solidarity Day became renamed Spring and Labour Day.

Mass demonstrations and rallies for social and labour justice, folk festivals, and concerts mark Spring and Labour Day in Russia. In 2013, marches and rallies occurred in more than a thousand Russian cities. Moscow hosted 14 events, the largest of which drew 90,000 people under the flags of trade unions, the National People’s Front, and the United Russia Party. In 2014, a May Day trades-union rally will occur on Red Square in Moscow.


The Moscow GU MVD stated, “Around 80,000 people gathered on Vasilievsky Spusk and nearby streets just half an hour before the beginning of the festive labour union demonstration. Citizens are continually arriving to take part in the event”. The demonstration started at 10.00 MSK (23.00 30 April PDT. 02.00 EDT. 07.00 BST. 16.00 AEST). Moscow will see several dozen rallies on Thursday, including one on Tsvetnoy Bulvar, attended by around 2,500 people. Since the early years of the USSR, 1 May has been a public holiday in Russia. Now known as Spring and Labour Day, trades unions and other groups mark the holiday, with traditional marches to protest labour grievances and other issues.


More than 40,000 residents of Primorsky Krai took part in the 1 May procession in Vladivostok. Last year, sources in the regional administration said that 35,000 people participated in the procession on the city streets. This year, the procession route, the same as in 2013, ran on the bridge across Zolotoi Rog Bay. Just two years after its completion, the bridge is a recognisable symbol of the city. Then, the marchers walked along the city’s most picturesque streets, where city dwellers welcomed them. Primorsky Krai Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky said, “The bridge across Zolotoi Rog Bay is a new symbol of Vladivostok. Today, thousands of people of different professions and age have again marched shoulder to shoulder over it. Only we, together, can make our region even better and more beautiful. Only we, on us, can ensure the future of Primorsky Krai”.

The Zolotoi Rog bridge, built for the APEC summit in 2012, links the city’s centre with the district where the first-ever May Day meeting in the Primorsky Krai capital was held in 1901. The May Day procession ended in the central square where artists from all over the region will perform until late at night. The May Day craftsmen’s foundry includes mater classes on painting wooden handcrafted items, making clay figurines, and a press wall for taking pictures against the background of the Olympic and Paralympic flames was at the sports exhibition ground of the Fetisov Arena.


The Moscow City GU MVD reported that more than 100,000 people took part in the May Day trades-union demonstration of in the centre of Moscow, “The festive procession of trades-union activists from Vasilyevsky Spusk down Tverskaya Street has begun in the Russian capital”. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Mikhail Shnakov, head of the Federation of Independent Trades-Unions of Russia (FNPR), and Sergei Chernov, head of the Moscow Trade Union Federation, led the procession. Young people and students were the majority of participants, but older folks were also present. The column marched from the place of execution in Red square to the State History Museum carrying slogans, “Unity! Solidarity! Rights of Working People!”, “Decent Work – Fair Pay!” Chairman of the “unions” party Labour Union, FNPR Secretary Aleksandr Shershukov said, “In addition to socio-economic slogans, we also regard this year’s May Day demonstration as an antifascist event”. Marchers from the A Just Russia party will also call for “decent wages for decent work”. This column will march from Trubnaya Square along the Boulevard Ring Street to Pushkin Square, where a public meeting will take place.


On Thursday, Sergei Aksyonov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of the Crimea told reporters in Simferopol about this year’s 1 May rally in Simferopol, “It’s the first time that we had such a large-scale rally. According to preliminary estimates, more than 100,000 took part in it. We’re convinced that this patriotic upsurge in the Crimea will spread across the entire Russian Federation”. The May Day rally continued for about two hours, with people carrying flowers, flags, and banners moving along Simferopol’s central street, Kirov Avenue. Members of the Crimean government, employees of Simferopol enterprises, teachers, hospital staff, as well as activists from United Russia, A Just Russia, and the KPRF attended the event. Many people brought their children along.


Several thousand people gathered for a May Day demonstration in the centre of Kiev. A march staged by the Justice Bloc of Left Forces started from the Arsenalnaya metro station down Grushevskaya Street to the Rada building and Europe Square, where they held a public meeting. The march’s promoters told ITAR-TASS, “Ukrainian presidential candidates didn’t take part”. The rally will present demands consisting of seven political and seven economic points to junta chieftain Aleksandr Turchinov and so-called “Prime Minister” Arseny Yatsenyuk. The demands participants include immediate constitutional reform, early elections to the Rada and local soviets, as well as an all-Ukraine referendum on determining the Russian language’s status and on the Ukraine’s development vector.


00 Moldova. May Day. 01.05.14


Moldovans celebrated May Day with rallies in support of joining the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community (TS EvrAsES). Opposition communist and socialist blocs took thousands of people to streets in Chișinău, the capital of the country. Former Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon said, “We’re for integration with Russia; we see our future in the Customs Union, because the agreements imposed upon Chișinău by Brussels are disadvantageous. This question arises now because Moldova is at a crossroads, and its choice that will be critical for its future. We can’t sit in two chairs at once. Look at what’s happening in the neighbouring Ukraine. If the authorities keep dividing the country into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and limit the use of the Russian language, we’ll face the same plight. All left-wing parties should unite under these ideals”. The leaders of Moldova’s Party of Communists, the largest single party, with more than one-third of seats in the national parliament, also spoke of the risk of divisions in society. Party leader and former President Vladimir Voronin said, “The country’s modernisation in the European way is a normal process, but we need to look at where our main markets are and where our people work… all this must be taken into account before we sign an association agreement with the EU and a free trade agreement”.

Moldova initialled association and free trade area agreements with the EU; it hopes to sign them in August. Parliamentary elections are due at the end of this year and observers noted the dwindling ratings of parties that want to break ties with the east. A public opinion poll, published last week, indicates that over 60 percent of respondents in Moldova link their future with Russia, whilst only 39 percent support EU integration. This marks a significant change in people’s attitude towards the TS EvrAsES and the EU.  A poll conducted a year ago showed that 52.1 percent would vote to join the Customs Union and 23 percent would vote against it. EU integration only garnered the support of 50.3 percent, and 30 percent would oppose it. The latest polls indicate that the number of people who support Moldova’s accession to the Common Economic Space of the TS EvrAsES is growing, as is the number of those increasingly sceptical about admission to the EU. According to a public opinion poll conducted by Moldova’s Public Policy Institute in late 2012, 57 percent supported Moldova joining the Common Economic Space, 20 percent opposed it, and the rest had no opinion on it. At the same time, 53 percent spoke in favour of EU integration and 30 percent spoke against it.

On 2 February 2014, the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri), an autonomy within Moldova, held a referendum; the overwhelming majority of voters showed that they preferred to join the TS EvrAsES and not opt for EU integration. The referendum recorded a record-high turnout; more than 70.4 percent of those eligible went to the polls. According to the results, CEC Chairman Valentina Lisnik said that 98.4 percent supported integration into the Customs Union, only 1.5 percent voted against it; 2.5 percent supported joining the EU and 97.4 percent were against it. She said that 98.8% of people supported the idea of “deferred status of autonomy”, which gives Gagauzia the right to self-determination if Moldova loses independence. The Moldovan authorities consider the referendum in Gagauzia unlawful, saying, “The country’s foreign policy isn’t decided by local authorities”. However, Gagauz leader Mikhail Formuzal hoped that its results would influence Chișinău’s dialogue with regions. He told ITAR-TASS, “The EU, which the Moldovan leadership seeks to join, has the practise of holding referendums even on less important issues. Our authorities didn’t ask the people’s opinion about independence, foreign policy, language, Transdniestrian settlement, or any other vital issue. The plebiscite in Gagauzia showed that there’s a large gap between the declarations made by the leadership of the republic and real life on the ground. Now, I hope that they’d respect the people’s opinion, which would allow us to start building a truly democratic state”.

1 May 2014

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