A Word from the Patriarch

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Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5–8

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Patriarch Kirill calls for defense of the faith from “global heresy of anthropolatry”
Interfax
March 20, 2016

Moscow, March 20. Interfax.ru—Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has talked about an unprecedented rejection of God all over the planet.

“Today we are talking about the global heresy of anthropolatry, a new idolatry that wrests God from human life. There has never been anything like it on a global scale. The Church must direct the power of its defense, its word, and its thought towards overcoming this heresy of modernity, whose consequences could be apocalyptic events. We must defend Orthodoxy,” he said on Sunday, the Feast of Orthodoxy, after the liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The patriarch recalled that in the modern age man and his rights had become the universal criterion of truth, “and the revolutionary banishment of God from human life, from the life of society had begun.” This movement had first swept Western Europe and America, and then Russia.

The primate said his first teachers has been confessors of the faith, a grandfather and father who had gone through the [Soviet] prisons and camps “not because they had violated the laws of the state, but because they had refused to betray the Lord and the Orthodox Church.”

“This idea of life without God has now been evolving with ever-more vigor planetwide. And we see that in many affluent countries efforts are being made to legalize all choices made by the individual, including the most sinful, which run counter to God’s word, to the concept of holiness and the concept of God,” said the patriarch, urging the faithful not to confine themselves to a ghetto, but to go forth into the world like the Apostles and preach.

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In June 2015, while giving a sermon in Brest, Kirill said that achieving holiness was the Russian national idea. The phrase “Holy Russia,” the patriarch noted, had emerged precisely because Russians had long considered holiness the national ideal.

Source: Grani.ru

Translated by the Russian Reader. Image courtesy of animaliaz-life.com

The Russian National Idea

Putin Proclaims National Idea
Fontanka.ru
February 3, 2016

In Russia, there can be no other unifying idea than patriotism, argues President Vladimir Putin, as reported by TASS.

“This is, in fact, the national idea,” the head of state announced during a meeting with the Leaders Club, which brings together entrepreneurs from forty of the country’s regions.

According to Putin, this idea is not ideologized and is not linked to the work of a particular party, reports RIA Novosti.

“It is a common rallying point. If we want to live better, the country has to be more attractive to all citizens and more effective,” the president stressed.

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Who Killed a Transsexual in Ufa and Why?
Ufa1.ru
February 2, 2016

On Monday, February 1, Angela Likina was stabbed in the chest and killed in Ufa. The Ufa resident had gained notoriety in 2014, when a video recorded on a traffic police dashcam entitled “Ufa Traffic Cops Stop a Transvestite” [sic] went viral on the Web. Ufa1.ru found out who killed Oleg Vorobyov, who had changed his sex and become Angela Likina, and why.

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Angela Likina. Photo courtesy of Ufa1.ru

The controversial video from the traffic police car dashcam recorded an inspector checking the papers of a female motorist. It transpired, however, that the motorist’s name, according to his internal passport, was Oleg Vorobyov. The inspector was very surprised by this. The motorist was a transsexual who had been preparing for a sex change operation for several years, becoming Angela Likina. The restricted video was leaked to the Web.

Later, the State Auto Inspectorate conducted a review of the incident, because the restricted footage should have not ended up on the Web. Angela Likina also commented on the video herself. She was surprised the incident had provoked so much interest among Web users.

“People die in accidents, children get hurt, cars are stolen, blood is needed to save someone’s life. Gentlemen, why are you setting records for likes and reposts about me? I honestly don’t understand,” said Likina, adding, “I don’t care how you live, what you do, and so on, so long as you are alive, healthy, and happy. But my life does not concern you in absolutely any way.”

How Did Oleg Live?
Ufa1.ru spoke with friends and acquaintances of Angela Likina, who talked about the life of the murdered woman. We found out this sad ending had emerged from a number of factors. Before becoming Angela Likina, Oleg Vorobyov had been married. Acquaintances confess that, outwardly, the couple were seemingly happy. They were raising two daughters, now aged fourteen and nine. The family lived in a private house, which also housed Oleg’s auto repair garage. Many of the people with whom we spoke said automobile owners were satisfied with Oleg’s work, that he had a magic touch.

Over five years ago, Oleg realized he was living in someone else’s body. He understood he wanted to change his sex and become the person he thought he was. Oleg began calling himself Angela Likina and started the complicated process of preparing to change his sex. He took hormone pills and began dressing like a woman. According to his internal passport, however, he remained Oleg Vorobyov. He could only change his name after finally changing his sex.

Five years ago, the Vorobyovs divorced, but the former husband and wife and their two children kept living under the same roof. The house was the wife’s property, and her former husband had an established business there. Several of the family’s acquaintances believe that Angela did not want to lose her income from the auto repair garage and spend money on renting a place to live. After all, she had to save up a large sum of money for the operation, and the medicines she took to prepare for the procedure were expensive. Close friends emphasize that Angela worked a lot, sometimes seven days a week.

At the same time, Ufa1.ru’s sources noted the Ufa resident simply had no choice.

“He once tried to rent a flat, but was kicked out. A neighbor had said, ‘I don’t want my children to see this!’ Consequently, he was evicted and didn’t even get his money back,” said one of our sources.

Friends of the family noted that those who have lived under the same roof with ex-spouses can imagine the atmosphere that prevailed in the Vorobyov house. Some say that the rows over living arrangements caused the Vorobyovs to come to blows. Things were aggravated by the fact that the head of the family had become a woman. Their children also became the targets of reproaches and ridicule at school.

“They would come home in tears, and sometimes refuse to go to school, but Angela loved her daughters and gave them a lot of time,” acquaintances noted.

Who Killed Angela?
According to friends, a boyfriend came to visit Oleg’s ex-wife on the ill-fated evening. The criminal investigation will shed more light on what exactly happened in the house. For now, the family’s acquaintances have their own hypotheses. Perhaps the man intervened in yet another family row. Maybe he stood up for his girlfriend and wanted to intimidate Angela by demanding she pack her things and leave. The row, however, escalated into something bigger.

“She was stabbed in the chest near the heart. She did not die immediately. She made it to a neighbor’s house, told him what had happened and who had done it, and an ambulance was summoned. Then Angela died in the neighbor’s arms. It was apparently too late to help her. I don’t know what was happening in the family. Angela was a good person, but strangers often beat her up. Her neighbors respected her choice. It is a bad thing when a person steals, kills or rapes, but everything else is a private matter,” said an acquaintance of Angela’s.

“The best human qualities—kindness, fairness, compassion, and unselfishness—were powerfully manifested in her. Unfortunately, that is a rarity nowadays. And she really never held a grudge against anyone, although there were a fairly large number of people who wished her ill. Most of them, it is true, were people who did not know her at all. They insulted and mocked her. You could say she was understanding about it: far from everyone in our city, or even our country, is ready to comprehend the decision to have a sex change. And that is another reason I have endless respect for her: the determination to go her own way to the end, to change her life fundamentally, the willingness to take one and overcome all the difficulties,” another girlfriend of Angela’s confided to Ufa1.ru.

“Apparently, Angela sensed her impending death. Not long before this she had asked forgiveness from her wife for all the rows that had happened between them,” said another family acquaintance.

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Fire at Moscow workshop kills 12 people, including 3 children
Boston Globe
January 31, 2016

ASSOCIATED PRESS, JANUARY 31, 2016, MOSCOW — A fire at a textile workshop in Moscow has killed 12 people, including three children, officials said.

The victims were not identified but were reportedly immigrants.

The Investigative Committee, the top state investigative agency, said the fire broke out late Saturday in northeastern Moscow, damaging more than 32,000 square feet of the structure.

Investigators said they are looking at negligence or arson as possible causes.

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, said Sunday on his Twitter account that three children were among those who died, including a baby. He said the victims were migrant workers who lived next to their workplace.

Several dozen fire engines responded to the blaze, and it took firefighters about five hours to extinguish the blaze.

Investigators continued to sift through the rubble Sunday for evidence.

Many immigrants work in Russian factories, some of which have been investigated for hazardous working conditions. In April, a blaze on the outskirts of Moscow killed 17 migrant workers.

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The death toll of Kyrgyz citizens (according to the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Russian Federation):

1. Sajida Masaliyeva, born 1988. Home address: Village of Kyzyl-Bel, Batken District, Batken Region.

2. Toktokan Saliyeva, born 1983. Home address: Village of Tayan, Batken District, Batken Region.

3. Uulkan Saliyeva, born 1997, sister of Toktokan Saliyeva.

4. Isa kizi Aizat, born 1995. According to available information, Isa was a native of the Village of Kaiyndy, Batken Region.

5. Milikajdar uulu Koshonbay, born 1990.

6. Tologon Kozuyev, born 1991.

7. Manas, born 1995; brother of Tologon Kozuyev; no other details.

8. Daniel, 4-5 years old, son of Ergeshbay Japarov, a Russian national who perished in the fire; born in the village of Rout, Batken District, Batken Region; according to the victims, Daniel was a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Source: Radio Azzatyk

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The four-minute-and-twenty-five-second rap version of Alexei Navalny’s exposé of Russian prosecutor general Yuri Chaika, as performed by Nadya Tolokonnikova. Thanks to Comrade SC for the heads-up.

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[Elena Bobrova:] You are something of a patriot yourself?

[Nikolai Kolyada:] How else should I relate to Russia? I love her whatever she be like. Like Gogol I can tell the whole unvarnished truth about her. And Nikolai Vasilyevich said such awful things about Russia. He sobbed bloody tears when thinking about the country. But not because he hated it. On the contrary, because he loved it. When foreigners start speaking badly about Russia, I begin to boil: “Shut up, it is none of your business. I have the right to say anything about her, but you do not.” Well, it is okay when Europeans or Americans sling mud at us: they have a hard time coping with the fact we are different, unpredictable, and freer than they are. But when our own people hate their own country, that is terrible. This morning, I was reading Facebook and I thought, “Why do you live here if you hate Russia so much?”

[Bobrova:] But you just said yourself we have a right to chew out Russia because we live here.

[Kolyada:] Chew out but not hate. But Facebook is just seething with hatred.

—Excerpted from “20% of the Petersburg audience are loonies,” Gorod 812 (print edition), February 1, 2016, page 34

Items one, two, four, and six translated by the Russian Reader

Ivan Ovsyannikov: Unity in a Vacuum

Kirov Square, Petrograd, October 28, 2015. Photo by the Russian Reader
Kirov Square, Petrograd, October 28, 2015. Photo by the Russian Reader

Unity in a Vacuum
Ivan Ovsyannikov
November 4, 2015
anticapitalist.ru

All holidays are rituals of unity, and it is hard to imagine society functioning without them. November 4, however, is a truly odd day, whose originators ask us to experience unity for its own sake. It reflects the emptiness of official ideology, which claims the role of a national idea.

National Unity Day (Den’ narodnogo edinstva) will never be a truly popular, grassroots holiday. Whatever our attitude to living holidays like International Women’s Day (March 8) or Victory Day (May 9), despite the vulgarity surrounding them and the distortions of their original meaning, they are still bound up with significant societal needs: honoring wives, mothers, and heroic forebears. The sense of unity experienced by millions of people at tables laden with champagne and Olivier salad is maybe illusory but it is not groundless. But who besides thuggish nationalists is capable of feeling the narcissistic pleasure of “unity” as such, especially since it is totally unclear what we are called on to rally around?

The search for a national idea in post-Soviet Russia has resembled the quest for the philosopher’s stone, and has been just as fruitless. According to the Russian Constitution, the sovereign power in the Russian state is “its multinational people,” who are usually designated by the semi-bureaucratic term rossiyane [citizens of Russia, as opposed to russkie, ethnic Russians]. And yet multiculturalism (the coexistence of different ethnic traditions within a single society) is considered a dirty word, and federalism has finally been shunted aside by the vision of Empire. Promotion of ethnic nationalism, “Russianness,” and its concomitant Russian Orthodoxy, the official “spiritual bond,” has led to the fact that Chechens, Dagestanis, and Buryats, for example, are often not regarded as “citizens of multinational Russia,” but as suspicious foreigners like the migrant workers from the once-fraternal former Soviet republics.

However, as it flirts with Russian ethnic nationalism, which has served it well in Ukraine, the regime at the same time fears its devastating consequences for empire. While reacting morbidly to the most innocent speeches about federalization, the Kremlin also prevents the holding of the so-called Russian Marches. The regime’s rhetoric contains an explosive ambiguity. On the one hand, the regime constantly tells us about the “Russian world,” thus stoking ethnic chauvinism. On the other, it talks about the country’s multinational people and the danger of nationalism.

When they invented a holiday to replace November 7 (Revolution Day), the Kremlin’s ideologues deliberately chose the vaguest phrasing possible: “national unity”  or “popular unity” [narodnoe edinstvo]. But what is “the people” [narod] today? The word is hardly equivalent to “nation” or “ethnic group.” In pre-Revolutionary Russia, the word denoted all the non-privileged classes, the “simple folk,” especially the peasants. The people was distinguished from educated society by its special (unique and authentic) way of thinking and living, as well as its perennial disempowerment and oppression. In other words, it was more a class and cultural notion than an ethnic or official legal concept.

Later, a new supranational identity, the Soviet people [sovetskii narod], was constructed. We can argue whether it was a reality or the stillborn offspring of communist propaganda. However, this concept cannot be denied its logical shapeliness. The Soviet people was the unity of working people, freed from the yoke of the past and headed towards a post-capitalist future. Unqiue, authentic tradition gave way to Soviet society’s social authenticity and uniqueness. It had overthrown tsarism and capitalism, successfully defended its independence in the fight against fascism, and was proud of its unprecedented historical mission.

In post-Soviet Russia, however, there are no longer any communal peasants or builders of communism. Russia has no monolithic ethnic foundation or alternative social project that it could show to the world and itself. All that can be said about our society it that it is post-Soviet. But there can be no “post-Soviet” people. The mutilated shards of the imperialist, Soviet, and westernized mindsets have generated a postmodernist mishmash that a disoriented and atomized populace gags on and vomits out. It is not the nation or the people but the unscrupulous regime, which has no other purpose than self-reproduction, that is only the glue binding this stagnant society, a society bereft of guideposts. The November 4 holiday is a vacuum into which the ruling class gazes, a void that will eventually swallow it.

 Translated by the Russian Reader