Russia, defender of Christianity
Two articles, one in French one in English, on Vladimir Putin are a reminder to Americans that we have voluntarily taken the path to cultural deterioration, while Russia is attempting to restore her traditions and foster prosperity. How far the Russians are willing or able to go in this seemingly spontaneous, popularly endorsed and pro-Christian reaction to the dismantlement of the Communist State, is not yet known, but it appears that they want to pick up the pieces of their lives and their civilization right where they left off one hundred years ago.
Untold millions, an incalculable number of human beings, perished; others lost their livelihoods, endured torture, were forced into gulags, fled the country (the lucky ones), under the doctrine known as Communism. Possibly Stalinism is a better word, since one man (a non-Russian) towered above all others, and the inexplicable force of his negatively charged personality enthralled the peoples of the Soviet Union, until the winds of change came on their own, with persistent prodding from our leaders who never let the Soviets forget they were the "evil" empire. How ironic then that now they are returning to their roots while we are held back from progressing by the specious promises of extreme liberalism and its anti-Western agenda.
First, the French article from Orthodoxie posted in July:
In a documentary baptized "The Second baptism of Russia," produced by bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, and broadcast last Monday (July 15) by the Rossia television channel, Vladimir Putin declared: "Russian society has returned on its own to her roots, to the Christian religion, and to spiritual values, without any pressure from the State or even the Church… It was a natural renaissance of the Russian people. You may wonder why. People of my age remember the code of the builders of Communism which was in fact a simplistic resumé of the ethical and religious principles of all modern religions. When this code ceased to exist, a moral void formed that could not be filled except by returning to authentic values," religious values he explained. The adoption of the orthodox Christian faith marked the appearance of the Russian nation and centralized State. "The Russian nation and Russian State rest on values common to the inhabitants of a vast territory in Europe where Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are located today."
"It is a unique area of spiritual values and a serious factor for the reunification of peoples," added the Russian president. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian State can cooperate in numerous areas. They can for example help the handicapped and the prisoners, educate children and youth, promote family values. "The Church is a natural partner of the State in those areas," noted Vladimir Putin. At the end of July, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Christianization of ancient Rus'. Festivities are planned for the three countries. In the same documentary, the Russian president revealed that he was baptized as a child. "My mother had me baptized, and kept the secret from my father, who was a member of the Communist Party. He was not a functionary, he worked in a factory, but he was nonetheless a member of the Soviet party. So that has touched me personally too, and my family."
Those interested can turn to an English-language article at Politically Incorrect describing Putin's frustration with Western leaders who close their eyes to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Here is one passage that illustrates the on-going martyrdom of Christians:
In Iran, Christian pastors like Saeed Abedini and Youcef Nadarkhani have been beaten and tortured over the past two years, and have been threatened with execution. In a recent interview with CBN, Eritrean torture survivor “Philip” shared graphic stories of his own experience in torture camps in the Sinai desert. “In some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians,” he said. “I was hanged up from the ceiling for three days, the blood was cut off from my hands and the flesh started to literally drip from my hands.”
Finally, the Russian news agency Ria Novosti has an article about Dmitri Medvedev, prime minister of Russia, who denounces the amateurish and ignorant attempts by Western countries to meddle in the affairs of Arab countries:
"Our Western partners are behaving like a bull in a china shop. They intervene, destroy everything in the country and then don't know what to do with it. I am sometimes stunned by their analysts and by the lack of coherency in their plans," said the leader of the Russian government emphatically. What did the "Arab Spring" bring that was good? Freedom? Partially. In most of the countries, the consequences were bloody assaults, regime changes and perpetual trouble," continued Medvedev. He then added that the West often pushes entire peoples over the brink, to the point of no return.
Below, a striking painting by Apollinariy Vasnetsov (1856-1933) shows Moscow at the end of the 16th century. This artist was the brother of the more famous Viktor Vasnetsov.