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Russia and India ready to reboot their alliance

The two BRICS behemoths are ready to cooperate on the future of Eurasia




(Oriental Review) –

Latest bi-lateral upswing

This year- 2017- Russia and India are celebrating their 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. Both countries are organizing host of cultural programmes, film festivals and exchange visits among top officials to commemorate this historic event. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the September 2017 BRICS summit held in Xiamen city, China. The two premiers discussed several aspects of the bilateral relationship, including cooperation in oil and natural gas sector. Back in June this year, Modi made an official state visit to Russia in which it was agreed, among other things, the two nations will build an “Energy Bridge” to expand the scope of bilateral relations in all areas of energy—nuclear, hydrocarbon, hydel and renewable energy sources and in improving energy efficiency.

The Russia-India friendship has always drawn overwhelming international media, precisely Western media, attention for the latter had a special relationship with the erstwhile Soviet Union during the Cold War era. Even today, most political and strategic experts from India proclaim Russia-India relationship is nothing less than a ‘strategic alliance’. Similarly, a considerable number of scholars and experts from Russia advocate the same line of thinking; however, this does not apply to the Putin administration during his ongoing presidential tenure. Russia, at present, is taking up a realist foreign policy stance to steadfastly regain its super-power status on the world-stage, least within Eurasia.

Today a big question is: whether the Russia-India strategic alliance exists in reality? If so, how endurable it is to unprecedented geopolitical shocks?

Russia regaining its superpower position in Eurasia

Russia under Putin 2.0 is enthusiastically trying to re-establish its influence across Eurasia and even beyond. The strategically visionary and determined leadership of Putin is enabling Russia to win back support of weak national governments, most of which are struggling to fight terrorism within their respective territories. Russia, at this juncture, is not dithering to ‘war-test’ the durability of its latest military advancements, including high-end technologies and armaments. It is doing so either by selling that to its political allies or participating in ongoing wars on-behalf of its allies. This is seen in Syria where Russia is both selling ammunitions to the Assad regime under its existing contracts and also militarily participating on the side of Assad against ISIS. Russia is pursuing this strategy to consolidate its military-industrial complex and shore-up its national coffers that has bear the brunt of dipping global oil price in recent years.

Last but not least, Russia is making new military-strategic partnerships, like with Pakistan and Iran, to adapt to an emerging reality of diminishing political-military influence of the US across the Greater Eurasia.

India coming out of its shell

India, which has steadily rose to power starting from 1990s onward, is even today a regional power within South Asia. No doubt, its economic standing has considerably grown at the global level in recent years, but it has failed to translate that into military-strategic might on the world stage. The country has been trying to address an array of domestic problems, including widespread poverty and population explosion, with limited success. This has drained much of its resources, which otherwise could have been put at disposal for expanding its sway outside of its national boundaries.

However, India under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads a nationalist political party, i.e., Bharatiya Janata Party, is successfully making new business partnerships around the world, both with institutional investors and multinational private companies. Further, the country is trying to assert its military power within South Asia, as seen in the recent weeks-long standoff at Doklamwhere India prevailed over China. It is now slowly but cautiously trying to come out of its traditional role of a ‘silent spectator’ and deliberate upon issues of global concern, including rise of Islamic terrorism in near and far away areas from its territories.

Proposed scheme for Russia-India reconciliation

Today challenger states, like China and Iran, and non-states, like Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its likes, are posing a mounting challenge to bring down the US’s global hegemony. Already we have a world order that is no more unipolar, rather truly multipolar. Hence, there is a growing need for Russia and India to adapt to this new reality to effectively tackle varying kinds of challenges, such as political re-alignment among nations, hyper-nationalism and religious fundamentalism.

Following few propositions are listed that both countries need to take up to rebuild their partnership in this emerging era of the Post-American World.

  • Indian policymakers need to come out of the Soviet hangover and understand that today’s Russia is greatly different, i.e., more practical with its foreign policy affairs, as compared to its predecessor state.

  • India needs to establish independent foreign policy engagements with post-Soviet countries, like Ukraine and Georgia, without any fear of injuring its relationship with Russia.

  • Russia needs to treat India as an equal and important strategic partner in Eurasia for the obvious reason that India’s stature as global power is steadfastly rising under current Modi government.

  • Russia and India need to expand their scope of their bi-lateral engagements beyond arms sale and purchase. They need to actively cooperate in new financial and services sectors, like banking, clean energy, start-ups, and so on.

Russia-India friendship has stood the test of time. However, at present both countries need to urgently reboot their relationship in order not to find themselves in opposite political camps.

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Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch



The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

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Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.





Via RT…

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

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When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.



Via Zerohedge

In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

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