Voices from Russia

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Is Russia Becoming a Theocracy?

00g Patriarch Kirill. 04.09.12 Central Pediatric Oncology Hospital

THIS is what HH is REALLY up to. The West hates him for that. That speaks volumes…

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Editor’s Foreword:

Caveat lector! The author of this piece is a neoliberal pro-Western fanatic who graduated from Harvard. Its chock fulla shit, but you need to know what’s out there. Don’t just read what pleases you… that’s what the Rush Limboob Fan Club droolers do. Always attend to reality… or, reality WILL deal with you.

BMD

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This weekend, the MP held its Archpastoral Council at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. In his speech to the assembly, President Putin said that, of course, Russia isn’t a theocracy, but, “We’re a secular state of course, and can’t allow state life and Church life to merge, but at the same time, we must avoid too, a vulgar and primitive interpretation of what being secular means. Traditional values, believers’ religious feelings, and people’s rights, freedoms, and dignity must all be protected by both the power of public opinion and the power of the law” (emphasis in the original).

He also said that the Orthodox Church and other traditional Russian religions must be involved in “important fields as the support of family and motherhood, the upbringing and education of children and youth, social development, and the strengthening of the patriotic spirit of the armed forces” (emphasis in the original). The social conservatism inherent in having the Church play a greater role in family life (with “fathers” notably absent from the equation), schooling, and, somewhat counter-intuitively perhaps, the war machine, is nothing new. However, whilst the Russian state has actively promoted the Church since the early Yeltsin years, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the statement was the legal element.

Putin’s statement confirmed that some of the most bizarre parts of the prosecution’s case against the members of Pussy Riot… namely, that their actions contravened medieval Church law… may not have been the surreal aberration they seemed at the time. In fact, the following day, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev also spoke in favour of giving legal weight to religious doctrines. Russian news sources reported that Kirill “backed the idea of criminal prosecution for blasphemy similar the Pussy Riot’s punk performance in Cathedral of Christ the Saviour”; he was quoted as saying, “The law must protect not only symbols of secular importance, but also objects with sacred meaning for the believers and guard their religious feelings from insults”.

The Orthodox Church has been in the news these days. Last weekend, the Financial Times published a long profile of Fr Tikhon Shevkunov, who’s said to be Putin’s personal confessor; whilst the latest issue of The Economist reviews a new history of religion after the fall of communism. The FT noted the paradox that, whilst “only a small minority of Russians attend church regularly” the MP has become one of the country’s most trusted institutions. Geraldine Fegan, author of the book reviewed in The Economist, was quoted as saying, “Putin wants to capitalise on Orthodoxy’s image of permanence, even as his own legitimacy crumbles”.

Certainly, there’s an intimate relationship between the Church, the Kremlin, and big money. After all, Yeltsin financed the Church, in part, by granting it the right to import and sell tax free cigarettes, whilst the most avid sponsors of new houses of worship over the past 20 years have been oligarchs. Many senior members of the Church hierarchy have themselves become quasi-oligarchs, driving expensive supercars, wearing Swiss watches, and living in multimillion dollar apartments. Today, it’s become very fashionable among the megarich to have their own personal confessors… the latest badge of élite status. However, whilst we know that the church, state, and army have refashioned the old tsarist three-legged stool, it’s much harder to see which of them wields the most power in the equation.

In short, is Putin using the church, or is the church using Putin? As the embrace between them becomes ever closer, the key power struggle to come may no longer be between the Kremlin and the liberals, but rather Putin and his Patriarchate.

3 February 2013

Vadim Nikitin

Foreign Policy

http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2013/02/03/is-russia-becoming-a-theocracy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-russia-becoming-a-theocracy

Editor’s Afterword:

This is what the crapitalist crowd in the West truly believes… and Orthodox swine like Lyonyo Kishkovsky, Victor Potapov, James Paffhausen, and Alexander Webster nourish their delusions by feeding them crank and bogus intel (in short, they give the Westerners what they want to hear, receiving attaboys and material rewards in return). Do remember how Jordanville lied about its non-existent ties to a putative “catacomb church” during the Cold War to receive Langley’s shilling… the main enablers of that were Basil Rodzianko and Victor Potapov… and how Schmemann worked for the American propaganda machine (how much Langley money did SVS get for that? Perspirin’ minds wanna know… there’s been no OCA analogue of Alexander Lebedeff (a First Family apparatchik, but an honest man when it comes to Church history) to tell the truth).

This is what the American Establishment believes… and there are traitorous Russians, both in the Rodina and in the diaspora, who sell out to them for filthy lucre and personal gain (after all, Potapov DID (or DOES) suck directly on the US government tit). The truth is that HH is a supporter of fundamental social justice, and he argues that it’s imperative for the state to provide a broad palette of social services (INCLUDING universal access to state-provided single-payer healthcare)… and the people that I named do NOT. Where is HH on every major holiday? He’s out in the hospitals and orphanages visiting sick and orphaned kids, that’s where (he also runs the niftiest Yolka in Moscow)… I’d remind you that James Paffhausen did NOT do that… which one of those two is god-pleasing? I’d say that it was HH… and Paffhausen was a gibbering and posturing poseur. Think on that…

BMD

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Orthodox Corruption?

00f Orthodox Christmas 2013. Russia. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Patr Kirill. 12.01.13

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Less than three decades ago, it’d been unthinkable for a Russian premier to exchange public expressions of solidarity and goodwill with the head of the country’s Orthodox Church. For years under communism, the institution was suppressed, its priests harassed by the authorities, its churches closed or given over to communal secular pursuits, its devotees scorned for their “superstitious” adherence to doctrines that the state and the party regarded with deep suspicion. Indeed, the USSR was the first nation to have elimination of religion as an ideological objective and tens of thousands… if not hundreds of thousands… of people paid very dearly for their beliefs consequently.

However, things have changed. Nowadays, the nation’s political leaders and top clerics seem to be building an extraordinarily-close relationship. Last week, President Vladimir Putin appeared with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev to celebrate the latter’s fourth year of leadership of a religion that’s re-establishing its traditional place at the centre of the country’s affairs. Putin, speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin, said, “At the heart of all Russia’s victories and achievements are patriotism, faith, and strength of spirit. We should give the Church more control over aspects of Russian life; we should give it every opportunity to fully serve in such important fields as the support of family and motherhood, the upbringing and education of children and youth, social development, and the strengthening of the patriotic spirit of the armed forces”.

Such sentiments, which one hears increasingly-often these days, are music to the ears of those who hark back to the days when Russia’s particular brand of Christianity was the country’s dominant moral force. From its foundation in the 10th century, when the Orthodox Church broke from Roman Catholicism (sic), its power and influence grew until it became central to the nation’s very identity, synonymous with Holy Mother Russia. Now, its champions tell you, after the barren wilderness years of Soviet hostility, the Church is merely reclaiming that rightful pre-eminence. Others aren’t quite so convinced. Adherents of other religions and committed atheists (there are still plenty of both in Russia, despite polls which show that almost three-quarters of Russians consider themselves Orthodox) question whether Putin’s recent co-joining of Christian values with patriotism actually has more to do with his desire to unify a country where ethnic and political fault lines are beginning to show than with any genuine commitment to spirituality.

Nevertheless, the Church’s top clerics, basking in the warmth of the Kremlin‘s new-found appreciation, are grateful and happy to reciprocate. Patriarch Kirill famously likened Putin’s time in power to a “miracle of God”. When in the run-up to last year’s presidential elections, the feminist punk-band Pussy Riot controversially entered the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sang that the Virgin Mary should “throw Putin out”, Church leaders were publicly delighted that the government cracked down hard and that the women received long jail terms. However, there’s more to this closeness than just mutual admiration. One can see physical signs of the Orthodox Church’s resurgence all over Moscow, where a massive state-funded programme, worth billions of roubles, to restore hundreds of Orthodox churches is currently underway.

Although this initiative undoubtedly is returning some of the Russian capital’s ancient architectural wonders to their full glittering glory, it’s caused some to wonder whether the Church should be choosing its friends more wisely. Some even talk darkly about corruption, about the less-than-transparent way publicly-funded reconstruction projects are contracted out, about the oddly-commercial relationships of certain Church institutions, and the controversial use of taxpayers’ money for church-related projects in what is still officially a secular country.

NB:

Click here, it’ll take you to a page with a 25-minute vid on the topic

2 March 2013

Simon Ostrovsky

Veronika Dorman

al-Jezeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/02/2013267215745877.html

 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Man Stomped to Death in Russia for Performing Rap

stomp

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Sometimes knowing your audience can be truly vital. A hip-hop aficionado in the Russian Far North proved this with his life when he was stomped to death this weekend for rapping at a sports bar. On Monday, the Arkhangelsk Oblast SKP said on its website Monday that the incident took place in the city of Arkhangelsk. Aleksei Gorlishchev, 25, was rapping at the local Bookmaker Pub, sparking the ire of some patrons, Lifenews.ru reported. One of the critics, Artyom Furzikov, 21, told the rapper to “take it outside”… where he threw the artist on the ground and jumped on him, the tabloid said. The SKP said that the victim died of internal bleeding shortly after hospitalisation; it didn’t release any names, but confirmed rapping to be the cause of the brief fight. The irate listener faces 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of intentional infliction of grave bodily harm that resulted in death.

Hip-hop has had a hard time in Russia, with the 1990s seeing street wars between rap and heavy metal fans complete with beatings and stabbings. It remains unpopular among many sports fans, especially, those who tend towards nationalist views, who prefer punk, rock, and related genres such as “oi”, favoured by skinheads worldwide. Russian music fans in Russia have killed before. In December, police in Astrakhan Oblast reported that a taxi driver murdered by his two passengers over a music-related argument. They didn’t release any specifics on what caused it. Last July, in Nizhny Novgorod, a drinking companion stabbed a Deep Purple fan to death. They’d asked in vain to hear some “shanson”, a specific Russian genre of music combining folk and cabaret influences with sappy lyrics about criminal life.

18 February 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/crime/20130218/179549416/Man-Stomped-to-Death-in-Russia-for-Performing-Rap.html

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Poll Shows Over 80% of Russians Favour “Blasphemy” Draft Law


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A survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM showed that over 80 percent of Russians support draft legislation that would introduce harsher penalties for blasphemy and desecrating religious sites. Next week, MPs in the RF Gosduma will debate amendments to the Criminal Code. The amendments envisage a prison term of up to three years or a penalty between 100,000 and 200,000 Roubles (3,200 to 6,400 USD. 2,500 to 5,000 Euros. 1,975 to 3,950 UK Pounds) for desecration of religious sites and attacking people’s religious beliefs. According to the survey, 82 percent of those polled favour the new draft law, whilst 12 percent spoke against it.

The initiative first emerged after a Moscow court handed down a two-year sentence to three members of the all-female anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot in late August, in a case that divided Russian society and sparked a wave of protest actions in support of the group. The group members were jailed after a protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour over Church support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the March presidential election that returned him to the Kremlin for a third term. The draft law also comes after four wooden crosses were chopped down throughout Russia last month. A senior Moscow priest, Fr Dmitri Smirnov, said the cross attacks amounted to a declaration of war against the Church. Several Church figures previously called for blasphemy to be made a crime. Currently, it’s an administrative offense punishable by a fine of up to 1,000 roubles (32 USD. 25 Euros. 20 UK Pounds). The survey was conducted on 7-8 September, among 1,600 respondents in 138 Russian localities. The margin of error is below 3.4 percent.

26 September 2012 (MSK)

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/politics/20120926/176228857.html

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