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Western style programming intrudes on Russian dignity

Seraphim Hanisch

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If there is any factor that is going to bring down the Russian Federation, it is the continued insistence on imitation of the West. Whether it be liberal or conservative aligned programming in the United States or Great Britain, the common denominator of anything related to political opinions and policy debate has degraded to little more than shouting and name-calling in the West.

It is a tragedy that there are those in Russia who think that imitating this programming style is beneficial to anyone in Russia.

Now to the Western reader, it should be understood – there is NO political correctness in Russia. It would seem that after the Communist days, the right of any man or woman to speak their piece is jealously guarded, and this is a good thing. It should be this way.

But before Communism, Russia (and the rest of the world) were far more deeply aligned with Christian values, or at least a common level of respect for one another that was accorded by Judaism and Islamic believers as well. Whether Christian or not, the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” truly guided most of society. In particular, a sense of dignity and decorum came with the houses of royalty and statesmanship.

Happily in a few places in the world, this dignity is mostly upheld. Russia is one of them – just watch President Vladimir Putin’s behavior in matters of state and debate.

But the political talk show in America has become anything but a debate. It is a spectacle, a shouting match, where no one really wins, but the viewer often comes away from this experience angry and feeling self-justified with their own viewpoints, especially if their person shouted the loudest during the telecast.

In Russia the leftover social brokenness makes some people truly awful to listen to, and the influx of liberal fantasy makes others ineffectual and weak, and therefore unable to lead. But it also gives rise to destruction of people, rather than their transformation.

On a presidential debate program that aired on Wednesday, 14 March, candidates Ksenia Sobchak and Vladimir Zhirinovsky each and together met in a race to the bottom. Zhirinovsky is billed as a “flamboyant” leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Russia, and he is well known for what appears to be a “court jester” style of buffoonery in his behavior. Think “Rodney Dangerfield does politics,” and one might get a rough idea of the man’s style. Ksenia Sobchak is a socialite and she is highly influenced by liberalism in a style that might make Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton proud. While she is a married woman, she repeatedly markets herself on what we might call the “idiot factor” and the programs and interviews she hosts and conducts easily reflect how utterly out of touch with reality she truly is.

Put these two together, though, and you get this:

As the video shows, Sobchak, who positions herself as the opposition candidate “against all,” tried to deliver her 30-second address to the voters, but she couldn’t get a word in edgewise because her opponents were heckling her. Zhirinovsky was the most rude about it.

“I demand my time to be returned to me,” she exclaimed at host Vladimir Solovyov. But Zhirinovsky used the remark as an opening for another attack, shouting: “Return her to the kindergarten and put her on a potty. Maybe the girl will feel better.”

Solovyov refused to stop the yelling as he cited the debate rules. “Had it been my program, I would cut anyone off in order to let everyone have their say,” he assured Sobchak, but said that the Central Elections Commission forbids the anchor from interfering with the debate.

“Those people are interrupting only me. They aren’t interrupting anybody else,“ Sobchak said, her voice starting to tremble. “This man (Zhirinovsky) badmouths me constantly – only me. The man calls me a whore and a dirty witch at your program. And you allow this every time. I have my time assigned to me by law and this man constantly offends me.”

“I think it’s horrible,” the host said. “But such are the rules.”

Zhirinovsky, meanwhile, continued relentlessly. “Come on, start crying! Your mom will be here in an instant,” he said. The other candidates weighed in, with Maksim Shevchenko telling the voters: “Don’t believe those tears.”

Eventually, Sobchak was forced to leave the studio, and it was clear that she was breaking down.

Now, personally viewing all this I am commenting and giving my own opinion, hopefully formed in a Christian manner.

Sobchak would be a disaster as Russia’s president. Most Russian people know this. Her personal life and expressed views render her completely unfit and incapable for a job with as much incoming fire as the President of the Russian Federation receives. Just look at all that Vladimir Putin gets from the West these days.

Zhirinovsky, however, degraded himself as a man, in my opinion. By refusing even this very loony woman any dignity, deserved or not, Vladimir Zhirinovsky just proved to the watching public that he is also a very selfish man, unprincipled and at this point I lost respect for him.

It is not being a feminist to note that a man ought to treat ANY woman with dignity. Even prostitutes can change their lives when a man treats them with the respect due their personhood as a woman. We have many stories of saints who have done so, and of women who responded to such care by becoming reformed and even very holy, themselves.

In a nation that is really trying hard to recover much of what was lost in Communism, Russia should be more fearless about disregarding the West and its glitter, because underneath the bright lights and sparkle is a lot of rot that runs against the very state of the Russian soul.

While it is thankfully the case that neither candidate will will the Presidential election on March 18, the personal tragedy these two people exhibited about themselves and one another is a loss for the nation. Russia deserves better, and Mr. Zhirinovsky and Mrs. Sobchak actually do, too. While there is plenty of personal responsibility that each of them must take, we who are in the West, who pridefully act like our ways are the only right ways, ought to stop and consider the commandments of that God we once acknowledged to be our own King and Creator. Everyone lost in this debate.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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