Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 October 2017

20 October 2017. Tsar St Nikolai Wasn’t a Great Ruler… His Critics Were No Better

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For those who hold power, there’s no sin greater than the cowardly evasion of responsibility.

P A Stolypin

These days, one sees a great deal of rot written about Tsar St Nikolai. He wasn’t his father’s son… he lacked his father’s force of personality, physical prowess, and worldly experience. On the other hand, he wasn’t an oblivious incompetent ninny, as some would have it. He was an average man who had an excellent education. He was a man of good impulses and decent upbringing (he was no amoral monster). However, he didn’t have the “touch”. He lacked charisma and he lacked personal insight. His father was a consummate autocrat. No one dared contradict Aleksandr Aleksandrovich. After all, we’re talking about a man who could bend wrought-iron pokers with his bare hands! Interestingly, Tsar Aleksandr was a bit less intelligent than his son was, but he more than made up for that with good-sense, intuition, and a thorough knowledge of people and their (often nasty) motives.

In my view, Tsar St Nikolai’s momentous mistake was in leaving Petrograd in 1915. As Russia was (and is) a centralised state, the leader has to be at the Centre in times of crisis. Nikolai flouted this reality… as Gorbachyov did in 1991. The outcomes were similar, weren’t they? Nikolai’s place was in Petrograd… Gorbachyov’s place was in Moscow… but both ran away from the Centre. In some ways, St Nikolai tempted the Upper Middles of Russia (the Potapov, Schmemann, Ousorgine, and Meyendorff clans amongst them) to seize power. Remember this well… the Reds did NOT topple the monarchy and imprison the imperial family… the Whites did.

No White faction in the Civil War was for the restoration of tsardom… all were for an Upper Middle dictatorship over all other classes. That is, the Potapovs and Schmemanns would tell their “inferiors” what to do (it’s a major reason why the Reds won… the Whites were feral and amoral). That sounds like the Golden 400 in our diaspora Church, doesn’t it? None of the Golden 400 families was for a Romanov Restoration then. Their present caterwauling is empty wind and disgusting posing. They overthrew the tsar, put him under arrest, and threw the state into anarchy at a time of war and crisis. Yet… they pose and preen as the leading lights of our diaspora community.

Tsar St Nikolai remains a tragic figure of rare proportion. However, he was neither an inept dunderhead nor a great leader. He was a rather average man who had to pay for his mistakes to the last kopeck. Many have thought him the ideal constitutional monarch. His poor luck was to be in quite another position. He met his death bravely and without cowardice. There’s something to be said about that. He’s a Passionbearer… not a Martyr…

BMD

Sunday, 27 August 2017

27 August 2017. Bright Moments in the Russian Diaspora… Sergei Zharov… He Kept the Flame Alive in a Dark Time

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The Don Cossack Chorus needs no introduction from me. It helped to keep the flame of Russian culture alive here in the diaspora. We preserved our culture here due to the presence of such people as S A Zharov and Metropolitans Leonty Turkevich and Anastasy Gribanovsky. There are those who’ve succumbed to the siren-song of the West… they sold out for transitory material gain… however, many of us haven’t, and the exemplary example of our forebears strengthened our resolve to keep to the proven path of our ancestors.

Вечная память to all of our fathers and mothers… we’d be nothing without them…

BMD

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Great Split

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Note well that the clans that make up the “Golden 400” all had a hand in “February”… thus, they all had a hand in bringing in “October”. Therefore, all their rants against the USSR (or any personality in it) are bootless and toothless. If it wasn’t for the perfidy and treason of these clans, there’d be no revolution. Think on that… however, they remain convinced of their goodness and innocence and refuse to confront their complicity in the subsequent events.

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Editor:

The leading lights of the “Golden 400”, the leading elements of both the OCA and the ROCOR, mostly come from clans that instigated or supported the February revolt. That is, they SUPPORTED the tsar’s imprisonment, making it easier to kill him, which did happen a year later. That is, without the treason of the Potapov, Golitsyn, and Bennigsen clans (and such subsidiary clans as the Schmemanns), there would’ve been no Stalin. That’s a meaty reflection. It makes Victor Potapov’s rants against Stalin rather empty, don’t they? Recall that none of the major White figures wanted to restore the monarchy… in essence, they were all “Februaryists” (in a play on “Decembrist”).

Here’s the irony… the children of those who made the tsar’s death possible canonised him in the 80s of the last century. Note well that they expressed no repentance for that. That’s no small beer…

BMD

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The Revolution, which broke out a century ago in Russia, is a most controversial and multifaceted phenomenon that exerted a powerful influence on the fate of humanity as well as Russia. Thus, we can justifiably refer to the events triggered by February 1917 to as “the Great Russian Revolution”. Professor A V Lubkov, Rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Science, Doctor of Historical Sciences, touched on the events of the February Revolution.

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It was a catastrophe, a tragedy for the Russian national identity of that period. It gave rise to a negative perception of the revolution, as any calamity brings about root-and-branch change, a break with the past, a painful departure from tradition. In 1917, the split affected both government and people. Unsurprisingly, many Russian scholars pondering pondered over the phenomenon turn to the February events, not just October, as they see them as a trigger for the collapse of traditional Russian nationhood. However, it doesn’t imply that we should paint only a grim picture of the Revolution and portray it as “the end of history”. History can’t endure standstill; it’s a flowing stream. Dialectically speaking, any of the most difficult periods still created opportunities for further development. It’s the case here as well. However, the tragedy of 1917 offered prospects for the next stage of Russian history, the steps taken as part of the “Soviet project”.

I consider the events of February 1917 to have human causes. What happened in early 1917 is mainly on the conscience of the contemporary élite, both the liberal opposition and the one in power. The authorities didn’t always opt for reconciling interests. However, every event has its architects, its creators, and its leaders. I think that the liberal opposition systemically contributed to the February Revolution, as it deliberately ruled out any coöperation with the authorities and constantly appealed to the public since as early as late 1915. Therefore, the opposition essentially rocked the boat. In fact, it’s like an avalanche. If one keeps throwing small stones at a mountain, it may eventually lead to a disaster, a landslide destroying everything on its way. History shows us that flirting with revolution is a very dangerous game. Should the authorities and the opposition feel responsible for the nation’s lot, they should seek to avert a radical scenario.

The next fundamental issue is the cause of the February revolution. I believe that longstanding problems, which tragically culminated with the developments of early 1917, largely came from positive and not negative trends in the Russian economy, including the booming Russian economy and the rapid pace of modernisation, which raised very difficult adjustments in society. In re the economic situation in the winter of 1916-17, it wasn’t as gloomy as Russian textbooks and monographs on the February Revolution tend to describe it. In fact, there was no rationing system as such in the cities. With food supplies regulated in a way, Russia avoided the problems of its enemies Germany and Austria-Hungary. At best, disruptions to bread deliveries occurred. Nothing more serious came our way.

From a popular standpoint, a plot against Tsar Nikolai lay behind the February Revolution. In reality, the country simultaneously witnessed several secret cabals within the Gosduma and military establishment. After a while, the plotters combined their efforts, with particular scenarios considered, and bridges built between liberals and left-wingers, as well as between civil and military leadership factions. In this context, we must touch upon the role of Freemasons or Masons. Although reducing everything to Masonic conspiracy theories naturally leads to oversimplification, neglecting this factor implies concealing the truth and distorting the real picture. Undoubtedly, it’s easy to portray the Revolution as an exclusively democratic, spontaneous, and popular uprising, which liberal historians often do. However, I consider the February developments a far more complex phenomenon.

Above all, the conspirators only intended to make the Emperor abdicate. They sought to preserve Russia’s monarchy, with the power of the Tsar being substantially limited. Moreover, they planned to replace Nicholas II with Tsarevich Alexei, to establish a government accountable to the Gosduma, and to transform the country into a stable constitutional monarchy. Yet, everything turned out differently. One can also dwell on the specific participation of the Triple Entente members, which firmly believed that the Tsar’s inner circle and the monarch himself at some point could favour a separate peace agreement with Germany. Our allies understandably found that unacceptable. 1916 revealed the Russian army’s resilience and the remarkable capacities of its weaponry. The Western allies expressed both interest in Russia’s continued fighting at their side and concern over its potential change in the attitude to war.

There’s sound reasoning behind the idea that the February Revolution provided Russia with many opportunities. At the same time, one can’t but point out that the liberal opposition caused the nihilism that eventually muffled all its appeals and killed its aspirations stone-dead. Finally, I think that we should look at the 1917 February and October Revolutions within an overall context. They’re two interlinked and divergent processes. In other words, one can’t deal with them separately. As I see it, today’s emphasis on considering the 1917 Great Russian Revolution from a broader perspective is very sensible. Obviously, we should assess the Revolution in this very way, as a conveyor-belt of changes.

24 February 2017

Rethinking Russia

http://rethinkingrussia.ru/en/2017/02/the-great-split/

Friday, 15 July 2016

A Russian POV on the Nice Tragedy

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There are more than 80 people dead, more than 100 injured. Reportedly, amongst the dead are Russian White émigrés from France, including a Reader at the Russian Orthodox parish in Nice, Igor Sheleshko, and two friends of parish rector Fr Andrei Yeliseyev. Twenty of the dead are parishioners at the local Russian parish; the number of dead and injured includes many children. May God grant rest to the departed and healing to the injured. What’s more, instead of an endless war with Russia, the West should struggle with their real enemies. Why do they show such absurd indulgence in the face of the growing momentum of resurgent Islamic extremism?

Yelena Maler

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