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The West doesn’t realize how moderate Vladimir Putin really is

Who Vladimir Putin truly is, and why you should thank God he’s president and not a more extreme candidate

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Putin is a moderate. The western portrayal of President Putin as a dangerous extremist is based on lies; it’s a narrative which can only survive so long as people are not educated about the real Russia, and the result of profound hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is the spirit which distinguishes politics of our age. Wherever you look, the Hypocrisy of western politics is far-reaching. The West supports wars in the middle east which kill millions and they can be described as “Humanitarian superpowers”, Russia allows Crimean people to reunite with their ancestral homeland in a transition which results in less than ten deaths, and somehow Russia is rebuilding the “axis of evil”.

To understand how a truly moderate statesman like Putin can be falsely portrayed as a radical, we must first understand how hypocrisy and split personality distorts one’s view of Russia.

Hypocrisy has created a madness in the west, an almost schizophrenic split personality, has taken root within the western soul. The split personality complex in the west has given rise to the two heads of the western establishment: The Neoconservatives and the Neoliberals. Together they form the Diarchy (rule of two) present in western governments, though perhaps the Latin synonym Duumvirate better describes it.

This split personality influences how they view reality.

Take for example their portrayal of Russia. There are two primary ways in which Russia is misrepresented in the west:

  1. As a toothless bear, a weak, anemic regional power nostalgic for old glory, incapable of letting go. A nation overall not unlike a destitute widow after the death of a great and powerful man, as Gogol described the Cossack lands of what we call Ukraine in Taras Bulba.

This is simply not reality.

  1. The dangerous bear, an Empire terrible and strong, ready to subject the world beneath the boot of an Imperialist, Fascist, Totalitarian, Communist, Soviet, Russian Orthodox Czar. If the West does not “do something” [the most terrifying words any third world country can hear] there will not be a free power in the world that will not kneel to the Czar of Moscow.

That statement is contradictory, primarily with the first image, but also with itself. You can not be a Communist or a Fascist, nor an Orthodox Tsarist for that matter all at once.

While the above examples are mutable to a degree, those are the prevailing stereotypes about Russia. They each serve two primary purposes:

  1. The portrayal of Russia as a declining power reduces panic when undesirable, for example when the Deep State feels comfortable with their position in society, and wish to promote their leadership as strong and stabilizing. It also reinforces overall pride and morale in the west. This is the favored personality of the Neo-Liberals.
  2. The portrayal of Russia as a resurgent, terrifying eastern horde on the verge of world dominance provides for the Military Industrial Complex, allows for increased military spending, and justifies both sabre rattling and adventurism, satisfying the warmongers. The portrayal of the Neo-Cons.

How does this split personality view Putin?

Putin is primarily viewed in a similar light by western pundits, though the dichotomy between two extreme portrayals is less pronounced – lines are blurred – to them, he is simply an Extremist. They cannot place him firmly on any end of the spectrum. Typically, when you do not fall on any extreme, that makes you a moderate.

They can call him a neo-Communist, nostalgic for Soviet power one moment and immediately compare him to the Russian Czars, saying he practically wants to create a Russian Orthodox Theocracy and rebuild the Russian Empire. Then they can compare him to Hitler, which is perhaps the most despicable and deplorable thing you can call a Russian. To the Russian people, Nazi is the worst “n-word”. His young brother died when the Nazis laid siege to Leningrad and killed MILLIONS in one city, show some humanity before you make such an insult to the entire Russian nation.

All of those ideologies are incompatible – you cannot be a Russian Orthodox Fascists Communist Statist Czarist Bolshevik all at once. Such an ignorance, a true lack of knowledge, to so easily throw these terms around in the same sentence proves those who do so fail to understand Russia and Putin. It also reveals the west is more interest in name-calling than in serious dialog. Find one moment where Putin outright insulted a western leader, in the same way as he was, to be called the most abhorrent of things – a Nazi.

So now that we have explored the falsehoods and hypocrisy, what is Putin?

The Truth:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a devout Orthodox Christian, and the President of the Russian Federation. Period.

It truly is nobody’s right to apply a label to him that he did not ask for. We would all do well to stop viewing people as Conservatives, and Liberals, Monarchists and Socialists, Easterners and Westerners, and simply seeing each other as Humans. Russian Orthodoxy, the religion of Putin teaches us we are all created in the image and likeness of God, and as a result, we must respect the dignity within every human, even our worst enemy. By longstanding Cossack tradition, we must first respect our freemen, before we can have any dealings with them. This lack of mutual respect and understanding is a major roadblock in Russian relations with the west – and it is not Russia that shows no respect.

In the interest in a conclusion, I would like to humbly offer this perspective. Given how Putin has portrayed himself by his actions and words, perhaps the best label to apply if such a thing is necessary is that Putin is a moderate.

Putin the Moderate

What is a moderate? Simply put, in this context, someone who exists between two extremes. It is popular to place Putin at two radical ends by various groups, both to criticize him and even to praise him. For example, American socialists, liberals, and progressives have this view of him as an authoritarian, possibly misogynistic, far right dictator. They would be surprised to realize he leads a country FAR more socialist than America. Russia has government-funded universal healthcare for all citizens, free education even at university level for those accepted, and a strong heritage of women’s rights (first woman in space, long paid maternity leave, etc.) He shows no signs of wanting to detract from any of that, he actually is quite proud of those things.

Western conservatives stuck in the cold war view him as a “Commie”, a socialist KGB agent trying to restore the Soviet Union and destroy the “moral” west. If only they knew Russia is PROFOUNDLY more religious than the west…beyond compare. Russia is a country of millions of martyrs, and Putin can be seen praying piously in the Russian Orthodox way, a faith far more ancient than western protestant sects, with a direct line of succession to first-century church, described in acts of the apostles. Putin is aware of this, he has met with the leader of Syrian Christians, the Patriarch of Antioch, and taken a keen interest in defending Syria particularly, because of shared Orthodox faith.

A great example of western misunderstanding is when they jumped on Putin’s recent comment about Lenin’s body and Orthodox relics. The implication was that Putin is implying Lenin’s body on red square is just as Holy as the relics of an Orthodox Saint which people venerate. While it’s not my right to speak for Putin, it is clear to me this was a misunderstanding, perhaps due to poor understanding of the Russian language, by non-native speakers.

Having listened myself, I can say the connotation of his comment was more like “What the communists did with Lenin’s body isn’t an unheard of concept, we Orthodox people venerate saints. They just stole an ancient Russian tradition and hope no one notices”. That is a total paraphrase, but I believe it better explains what he said, than the connotation of the English translation.

Putin is right to make the comparison. I do not say Lenin’s body is equal to that of the Saints, certainly not! But the Bolsheviks copied what the church did. They were jealous of the Church, they wanted to be the new Church. This is entirely true. The way Lenin’s body was treated is indeed a form of mimicking and mockery of the holy relics.

The Bolsheviks took an approach of if you can’t beat them, join them almost. They even studied Orthodoxy to uncover knew means of self-promotion. Rather than destroying its role in Russia, they merely usurped it as a central ideology. Whereas before we had cross processions, then we march with Lenin pictures. Before we said God Save the Czar,  then we said Lenin lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin will live again!

In a way, they understood that no people can be without religion or a central ideology. Rather than destroying that thing all humans need, they just replaced Orthodoxy with communism. But of course, they failed. Orthodoxy is the organic ideology of the Russian people, the Faith which founded Russia, it can never be replaced by a pale imitation. That is why Putin was comparing communist things to Orthodox ones, because the communists coveted the zealotry Russians have for their faith. They mimicked Orthodoxy because it was familiar to the people, and in many ways, if it wasn’t for Orthodoxy teaching Russians how to be so loyal to a belief, Communism would not have been successful.

In many ways, Russian communism and the Soviet Union was more influenced by Orthodoxy than Marxism; the religious zeal with which they received it, the marching and the imperial loyalty to their leaders are all something they learned from Czarist Russia, not from Marx. It also doesn’t make you a communist or a bad Christian to note, as Putin did, Orthodoxy and Communist economic theory share some basic commonality – care for the poor and all the peoples of the world. The difference was communism was materialistic whereas Orthodoxy is spiritualistic.

Contrary to the McCarthyites, calling him a communist, there are also the Alt-Right, and certain conservative factions, who have this fascination with Putin as an ultra-macho strongman, what they wish their western leaders were like. They look to him riding shirtless or shooting guns, his judo skills, they enviously lust for his strength, wishing they hat it within them. These people look to the “anti-gay law” in Russia, as proof that Putin is a “tough, white, heterosexual man” putting the world back in its place, and women back in the kitchen.

While Putin is obviously white and heterosexual, and you’d have to be crazy to say he is not tough, he does not support their extremist borderline fascist view of the world. Putin is Orthodox both in the sense of the religion, and in his very conservative, non-alternative lifestyle, he is a traditional Russian man, not an edgy alt-righter living in his mother’s basement who can’t get a girlfriend. He exudes the philosophy “talk softly but carry a big stick”. He doesn’t feel the need to remind people he’s tough – everyone knows that. He would MUCH prefer solving issues with dialog than with fighting, even though he is capable of the latter if need be, much like his country.

When Russians think of him, they picture him well dressed (not riding a bear shirtless), leading the country in a responsible, ethical, diplomatic manner. Putin is a statesman of the old world – a modern Caesar, Peter the Great, or even Churchill (with regards to his iconic association with leading his homeland). He respects the past, takes what was good, rejects what was bad, and tries to make Russia strong in a responsible way.

He is the definition of diplomatic. As much as many of us hate political correctness, he IS politically correct, only in as much as he does his best not to offend any foreign leaders. Putin is a statesman, he puts Russia first, above his personal feelings and ambitions, everything he does, he does selflessly for the nation.

The so called “anti-gay laws” simply prevent homosexuals from either directly or indirectly propagating harmful perverted sexual lifestyles to minors. Putin does not support violence against gay people at large.

Putin is strong in the fight against terror. He helped Syrians save their country, raining down fire and destruction upon terrorists, and he lead the countries security forces when Grozny, the Chechen capital was raised to the ground. He also leads the country which REBUILT Grozny into one of Russia’s most beautiful, newest cities. He is not an enemy to all Muslims, only to violent extremists. Muslims fight in the Russian armed services, and Putin has allowed children from Syria to return to Russia freely. He won’t tolerate cynics who claim infants and toddlers are terrorists just as he won’t tolerate any terrorist stupid enough to attack Russia.

He is a practicing Orthodox Christian of good faith, he has spoken of the Church’s crucial role in Russia, but he does not support creating a theocracy. Neither does the Church for that matter. Putin also meets many leaders of other religions. He is a devout practicing Orthodox, so he primarily honors the prevailing role of Orthodox in Russia history and culture, but that’s it. The west constantly portrays him as this ultra-conservative man that wants to become Czar, but that’s not reality.

The reality is Russia has far more extreme political views to the left and right of Putin. You have people who think he’s not being conservative enough, and then of course the leftist—and I don’t mean the mythical liberal unicorns, I mean the communists are the primary leftist party in Russia. The west doesn’t realize how moderate Putin really is.

He has spoken very critically of the Bolsheviks, and is no communist by any means, but he at the same time does not speak of communists like they are evil people. Some Communists were evil, some were good, somewhere in between, capitalism is also a satanic ideology from a religious point of view, it advocates for worship of money just like Communism seeks utopia without God. Both are materialistic, and Putin neither loves nor hates both systems.

Putin once told Oliver Stone that Judo taught him to be flexible, and this is one of his defining characteristics. Russia itself can be a country of extremes for better or worse, and Putin is a flexible moderate at the core, bringing the people together, doing his best not to alienate any large group, and trying to help build “Sobornaya Rossia” a united Russia. Russia has had so many extremes come and go in the last century, Putin tries to be a stabilizing constant to help the nation stand firm in trying times.

Putin actually sits in the middle of a spectrum of extremes, a peacemaker with the rare gift of calling all to order for the greater good of Russia. Those that wish for him to lose the election should be careful what they wish for, the result they get may be more than they bargained for.

The fact is Russian westernizing liberals are largely unicorns, they don’t exist, and when they do, they aren’t by any means popular. An alternative to Putin would not likely be Pro-Western, but the west may actually get to see a real Russian Communist, or Czarist, or authoritarianist.

Popular candidate Zhirinovsky for example, describes himself as the “drum” to Putin’s “cello.” He represents a group of Russians who actually think Putin is too restrained, that he isn’t tough enough. That may surprise you, but it’s true. Some Russians believe Russia should have actively intervened with full military might in Ukraine. Let’s face it, Ukrainians aren’t friends…they’re family. Russia’s family is being slaughtered in the Ukraine…yes…primarily by other Ukrainians, but this wouldn’t have happened if western backed fascists did not take power.

Zhirinovsky advocated for an intervention and occupation to restore legitimate Ukrainian rule before the fascist Kiev regime would have taken power in what the first east Slavic Chronicles call “The Mother of Russian Cities” – Kiev. Likewise, some Russians wanted to see Russia’s military take the fight to enemies on the ground in Syria, which could have potentially risked conflict with US forces occupying territory there.

The Communist party also advocated for Russia to do more to save Russian-Ukrainian people from fascist occupation. If Zhirinovsky or a communist candidate was president, Russia could have occupied all of Ukraine, or be currently fighting a war in the heart of Europe. Russia and Ukraine are twins, as a result, they both have that tendency to be a land of extremes. The difference is Putin, who kept the extreme ends of Russia from tearing each other apart, like what is happening in Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia is an incredibly diverse country. Unlike in the west, were the only real variety approved by the Deep State is Neoconservatism, or Neoliberalism, where the Right and Left are all the same on core issues where it counts, Russia is a country that truly offers diversity. Many diverse ideologies coexist in Russia, unlike in the west which claims to be the capital of diversity, the offer truly divergent and profoundly different worldviews.

For those who believe the Russian media is all the same, take a look at: Tsargrad, Komsmopolskaya Pravda, Pravoslavie.ru, RIA Novosti, Radio Mayak, Vesti, Sputnik, and RT, not to mention the plethora of openly anti-Kremlin websites which exist freely like Radio Svaboda. If people only knew the amount of anti-patriotic and anti-Russian fifth columns that are allowed to operate freely. This also doesn’t include pro-Russian and anti-Russian news from Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia is ideologically and politically far more diverse than most places, and that’s because it’s run by a moderate who welcomes dialog, and not an extremist who wishes to silence all descending voices.

Putin was the moderate who saved Syria from destruction, got the legitimate government back on its feet, then handed over the reigns and said, “Take it from here”. He was the moderate who reunited Crimea with Russia, but allowed Donbass to fight for itself, providing only humanitarian aid and fully supporting the Minsk agreements. Whether or not it’s right or wrong, his actions may have prevented a greater war.

Putin is a moderate, because he has miraculously and flexibly reconciled almost all aspects of Russian society, getting them to work together. Under Putin, for the first time, Communist leaders were saying “Christ is Risen” on Easter. Under Putin, Crimea was reunited, and Syria was saved without provoking a dangerous war with another great power.

Putin is a moderate, because he has encouraged all ideologies in Russia to collaborate patriotically for the common good, setting aside their profound differences. Putin’s work has been to stabilize Russia after centuries of storms, to help lead her into the future, so future generations of Russians will be safe and strong. Then will Russians choose whether to pursue for Russia a Monarchist, Communist, Traditionalist, Leftist, or whatever future for Russia. Because of Putin, they may build something entirely new. So call Putin a moderate if you’d like, it seems to fit.

Above all, Putin is a statesman for the stability of the country. He knows the importance of Orthodoxy as the foundation of Russian culture, which co-suffered with the people since the beginning. He is also an Orthodox Christian of genuine faith, and the lawful president with the people’s support.

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How other jurisdictions view Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine

Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro puts the present Orthodox dispute in simple and understandable terms while not demonizing anyone.

Seraphim Hanisch

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This piece is reprinted almost entirely from its original posting on orthochristian.com. We hope it offers a clear perspective that shared across the Orthodox Christian world regarding the recent moves by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in regards to the legitimization of two canonically schismatic church communities in Ukraine.   
A note for US or Western European readers:While Western culture regards church affairs as something middling at best, and “not in touch with the ‘real world'”, the Orthodox Christian world takes the opposite view. These matters of how the Church’s faith and practice are handled are extremely important to millions of believers. The aforementioned actions are profoundly difficult events for Orthodox Christians and have great repercussions that extend into the geopolitical realm of secular politics.

It is for this reason that this story is being followed closely on The Duran.Recently, Metropolitan Archbishop Amfilohije of Montenegro gave an interview with Russian Channel One about the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, to grant canonical status to two schismatic communities in Ukraine, pursuant to the creation of a national Ukrainian independent Orthodox Church in that region.This particular set of events also has a geopolitical basis, as the reader will discover as they peruse the interview. Any emphasis in bold is added strictly for the ease of comprehension.


The decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and his Synod concerning the Ukrainian issue, are, in my opinion catastrophic, both for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and for resolving the Church question in Ukraine, as well as for the unity of the Orthodox Church. We in our Church are simply shocked at how the Ecumenical Patriarch—an expert on the canons—made such a decision, which is without a doubt uncanonical,” said His Eminence Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, and Brda, Archbishop of Cetinje, and Exarch of the Throne of Peć in an interview with the Russian Channel One.

Commenting on the canonical aspects of the latest decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople and his Synod, Archbishop Amfilohije explained that the Patriarch of Constantinople “in this decision refers, as other bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have recently referred to, the right to appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople from other Local Churches. This is the so called “Ekkliton.[1]

The body of the interview follows, with all the text except the Interviewer being the speech of Met. Amfilohije:

Whenever a problem arises in any of the Local Churches between individual bishops, it is alleged that they have the possibility of appealing to Constantinople, and then Constantinople could make its decision on the matter.

“However, do they actually have this right of appeal? Especially in the spirit in which Denisenko applied to it now? The Ecumenical Patriarch validates this with some historical facts, and certain Church canons. For example, the 9th, 17th, and 28th Canons of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which were written in antiquity, and therefore, which relate to the status of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its role at that time.

“On what basis then, was this right given? First of all, this right concerns the Metropolises under the canonical administration of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It did not apply to the whole Church. Secondly, this right is based on the canons of the Ecumenical Council, according to which the Ecmenical Patriarch received this status as the Bishop of the City of Byzantium—Constantinople—on the grounds that this city, in which this bishop is located, is the Imperial City—the residence of the emperor and the Imperial Council.

“Now, however, the imperial capital no longer exists. Constantinople ceased to be the imperial capital in 1453. And therefore, this right to which the Patriarch of Constantinople is referring is questionable. The Orthodox Church does not question its status as the first in honor in the Orthodox church, but this does not give him the right to interfere in this way in the life of any other Local Church, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The Patriarch is referring here to a certain decision in 1686, in which by economia[2] the right to ordain (appoint) the Metropolitan of Kiev was given to the Patriarch of Moscow, provided that the Metropolitan of Kiev commemorates the Constantinople Patriarch first at the Liturgy.

“However, Kievan Rus’[3], and Vladimir Rus’[4], and Muscovite Rus’[5] were one and the same Rus’ at that time; so it is impossible to separate Kievan Rus from Muscovite or Vladimir Rus’.

“300 years have passed since then, and Constantinople had never raised the question that it had ecclesiastical authority in Ukraine. He first raised this question just now, and it is absolutely impossible to accept.

“I am amazed at how the negative reaction of all the Local Churches did not stop him; the ancient Patriarchates of the East—Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch. The Patriarch of Antioch was just recently with us. I am sure that he will give his assessment.

“[The Patriarch of Alexandria] recently visited Odessa, and spoke there, together with the Metropolitan of the Polish Orthodox Church, who also quite clearly expressed his opinion.

“In general, all the Local Churches—and our Local Church—expressed at a council, a very documented letter in connection with this issue. Constantinople did not respond to our letter concerning this.

“Our Patriarch just met with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Thessaloniki. Our Patriarch gave him the position of our Church, and unfortunately, Constantinople answered as they answered.

“As it is, however, this decision, as I have already said, is catastrophic, including for the resolution of this important issue of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It does not solve this question, but only complicates it. It creates a radical problem of interference in the life of another Local Church, and not only for the Russian Church, but for absolutely everyone.

“This at the same time calls into question the very unity of Orthodoxy. This has already affected Orthodoxy, especially the Orthodox diaspora, after that the conferences of Orthodox Bishops. According to my information, the bishops in Latin America already refuse to participate in pan-Orthodox conferences, and its going the same way in Europe[6]. I am sure that this will happen in the USA. It has partially already begun.

“But the role of the first among the patriarchs is not to separate the others, but to unite.

“By such actions, the Patriarch of Constantinople in fact separates. He does not solve this problem, but only pushes the problem deeper into the Orthodox Church.

“Recently, a lot has been said about the interference in the internal affairs of the Orthodox Church by the great world powers. Can you elaborate on which powers people are talking about, and what these power are trying to accomplish?

“Now it is seen in Ukraine itself. It is in fact the Ukrainian government that is the main player in the question of granting autocephaly to a Ukrainian church[7]. It should not be overlooked that the state would previously intervene—in other words, there was cooperation, the so called symphonia” of the state and the Church in Orthodoxy.

“But in those days, this was with regards to Christian states, and Christian rulers. In those days, the state itself defended the Orthodox Christian faith. Rulers, from the Byzantine Emperor to the Tsar of Moscow, to our kings were Orthodox Christians. The statutes of Montenegro even prescribed that the successor of King Nikola I would be an Orthodox Christian.

“Now, everything is different. These are all secular states, especially those created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So the Soviet Union gave birth to these contradictions within the Russian nation, within the Slavic peoples of the former Russian Empire. The theme of a so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church[8] didn’t appear only now. It arose with the creation of Ukraine by the Soviet authorities in the 1920s. It was then that this topic appeared.

“Then the so-called “Self-Sanctifiers[9]” arose, who declared themselves Metropolitans of Kiev.

“And the [legitimate] Metropolitan of Kiev—Antony (Khrapovitsky), who was buried in Belgrade, was then a candidate for the position of Patriarch of Moscow. Having fallen asleep in the Lord in 1936, he along with more than thirty bishops were forced to leave Russia, and our Local Church helped them to create what was called the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which still exists today. This Church recently reunited with the Moscow Patriarchate.

“So it’s one thing—contemporary states, modern authority—and a totally different thing—the time when Constantinople was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, or when Moscow was the capital of the Russian Empire, as the successor of the Byzantine Empire.

“But this epoch, the epoch of the symbiosis of the Church and State, the so-called “Constantinian Age,” began with Emperor St. Constantine the Great, and it ended—in my, and not only in my opinion—with the murder of the Imperial Family in 1918.

“In other words, this imperial period of Christianity is dogmatically fixed in the West in the person of the Bishop of Rome—the Supreme Pontiff. In the East, it was and remains a temptation.

“However, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there was no longer a Byzantine Emperor, who previously provided the Bishop of Constantinople with the status that he had possessed since the time of Emperor Constantine.

“And then this role of the Byzantine Empire passed through Kiev, and Vladimir, to Moscow—that is to say—to the Russian Tsars. But the Russian Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918. And this completed the epoch of Constantine in the history of the Church. It has ended.

“And now the Church must return to the pre-imperial structure, without imitating what was in past centuries, when there was a symbiosis of the state, Church, nation. It must return to the structure that existed before Emperor Constantine, respecting everything that has happened since then, but not being limited to historical experience.

“Thus, the first Rome fell away from the faith, the Second Rome fell, disappearing in 1453, and after the murder of the Imperial Family, the Third Rome had already lost that place in the life of the Church it had occupied in past centuries. Therefore, the way the Church lived and functioned in the imperial period should be left to the past.

“From this point of view, Constantinople committed what it had no right to do.

“First of all, this state—Ukraine—is the fruit of Leninist-Stalinist communist secularism. And this situation for the people of Ukraine, the Christian people is also the result of the unleashing of the Unia[10] on Ukrainians of the 16th century, and what happened with these people in the 1920s.

“It is necessary to keep in mind the meaning of the name itself—Ukraine (Ukraina). It is similar to our word Kraina: a krai / borderland[11]. The question is—the edge or border of what? On the one hand, Kiev was the former Mother Church of the Russian Church, then its center moved to Vladimir (during the period of Vladimir Rus’) and then to Moscow.

“It is this continuum of the Orthodox Church in Russia, which begins in Kiev, passes through Vladimir, and then ends in Moscow. This is an uninterrupted succession. So what point is there to now appeal to a status that existed in the 15th or 16th century? The Ukrainian question today cannot be resolved on that basis.

“In reality, it must be resolved on the basis of the modern structure of this state—a secular state, not dissimilar to all the modern secular states in the West. It’s a fundamentally different relationship between a state and a nation, moreover no longer a ‘Christian nation;’ a similar problem has now manifested itself in Macedonia.

“There, the secular authorities, the communists, also created a so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church. The communists, the heirs of the Tito regime, tried here too, in Montenegro, to create a so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church. The authorities of Montenegro killed 129 priests here during the communist time; the communist authorities killed the Metropolitan of Montenegro Joanikije.

“It was these authorities who were first to raise the question of the so-called autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox Church. The godless authorities, the atheistic powers, the secular authorities in a secular state, where the Church is separate from the state, are interfering in the internal affairs of the Church. The same thing is happening in Ukraine, and in other countries that emerged after the Bolshevik revolution.

“The Church should try to unite society, and thereby solve this painful issue for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

“There, under the guise of the “Ukrainian Church,” there exist the so-called Uniates—the Greek Catholics—and then the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church, and the self-proclaimed “church” of the “Kiev Patriarchate.”

“For the first time, Constantinople, on the basis of the alleged “right to appeal” (ekkliton)[12], the right to receive appeals in this way is interfering with the life of another Local Church, even over 300 years after Constantinople’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Ukraine ended.

“Thus, there is talk about these events as being an absolutely incomprehensible phenomenon. Until this very moment I still hope there is an opportunity to refrain from granting this Tomos, which cannot be issued without the consent of the canonical Church.

“Constantinople [previously] recognized only the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as the canonical Church in Ukraine. But now, Constantinople has recognized bishops who were deposed from their positions and excommunicated from one of the Local Orthodox Churches. It’s simply inconceivable that the Ecumenical Patriarch could have gone through with this.

“As for these interventions, and I’d like to say that these are not only those from the Ukrainian authorities themselves, but it is clear that these interventions are directed against Russia, and in fact—against Orthodoxy.

“They were able to separate everyone in these krais[13] (borderlands/marches).[14] Only the Orthodox Church remained united. Now these forces, the demonic forces of this entire world are striving in the end to divide the Orthodox Church. For this they managed to use the ancient Church of Constantinople to apply a canon that belonged to it back in imperial times.

“In the battle for Ukraine—that is to say for undermining the foundation of Russia—the hand of America is visible.

“They speak about the supposed “Russian intervention,” but how can Russia intervene if Russia itself was born there? Kievan Rus’ was born there, and continuously developed for 1030 years. The fact that the Western powers, the EU, and above all, America are fueling and supporting fratricidal wars, as they did against us Serbs in Kosovo, reveals that what is happening in Ukraine is the second act of the tragedy of Kosovo: A group of evil-doers and criminals, who dishonor the worthy Albanian folk, have been made the rulers of Kosovo, and they recognized the so-called independent Kosovo—and the Orthodox Church of God, our age-old culture, and the Serbian people were expelled from there.

“What the communists began[15], the NATO bloc continued with their bombings of Serbia and Montenegro.

“What began in Russia with the arrival of the Bolsheviks and the assassination of the Imperial Family now brings such bitter fruit. I regret that the Patriarch of Constantinople did not understand how deep and serious these problems are.

“He went forth with good intentions—to unite—only this isn’t the road of unification, but only the deepening of the difficulties that seized Ukraine, as well as the creation of a deep schism in the Orthodox Church—which undoubtedly will not bring forth any good fruits if these efforts are continued.

“And this applies not only to Russians and Ukrainians, but also to us [Serbs]. After all, Denisenko[16]was the only one to recognize our Miraš Dedeić,[17] whom the Patriarch of Constantinople deposed and anathematized.

“We relayed this to the Patriarch of Constantinople, but he has of yet not answered this question. Of course, he does not recognize Dedeić, but by this act—by accepting as a canonical organization those who support all kinds of schisms in other locations—it involuntarily strengthens schisms that undermine the unity of the Orthodox Church.[18]

“And furthermore, this is all based on ethnophyletism,[19] which was previously condemned by the Church. Even the Cretan Council (it’s a pity that the Moscow Patriarchate wasn’t present, but despite this, it’s decisions remain valid) confirmed the decisions of this great council in 1872, condemning ethnophyletism as heresy and serpentine venom, destroying the unity of the Church.

“Constantinople confirmed and signed this decision of a large synod, and now a church is created on the basis of the demands of those formed under the influence of Bolshevism (like Macarius[20]), and now worshipers of Bandera[21]—Ukrainian fascists and former Nazis.

“Is this normal? Of course not! Not to mention the fact that Denisenko strove, when he was Ukrainian Metropolitan, for the position of Patriarch of Moscow, and when he was not elected, he declared himself Patriarch [of Kiev].

“Such is his madness. How can this be declared normal, without the consent of the Mother Church? And the Mother Church of Ukraine is not the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but for more than 300 years the Moscow Patriarchate.[22]”

[INTERVIEWER]: Not long ago, Milo Đukanović (The President of Montenegro) said that the Russian Orthodox Church is the striking fist of Russian Imperial interests. What did he mean by this?

“You’ll have to ask him. He probably assumed that the Metropolis of Montenegro, which has existed here for over 800 years, still has connections to the Russian Church and to Russia, as it had for centuries, and especially during the time of Metropolitan Danil.

“Were it not for this “Imperial Russia,” as he puts it, there would be no Montenegro, neither in 1878, nor later. Russian Emperor Nicholas II saved Serbia and Montenegro in 1915 and 1916, when Montenegro was forced to capitulate, and King Petro with the entire Serbian army retreated through Kosovo to the Albanian coast. Then the Russian Tsar gave an ultimatum to the allies, threatening that if they did not help save the Serbian army (the Austro-Hungarian army was in pursuit of the Serbs), then Russia would conclude a separate peace treaty with Germany and Austro-Hungary. So the allies had to send ships for the Serbs.

“If Nicholas II had signed a separate peace treaty, he would not have been assassinated nor would his family have been murdered. The German Kaiser sent Lenin, who conducted a revolution in Petrograd in 1916-17. The Emperor and his family were murdered by the hands of the Bolsheviks, but in fact they were murdered by the Germans. The Imperial Family and tsarist Russia paid with their lives to save their brothers—Serbia and Montenegro.”

[INTERVIEWER]: So what is this all about; what is this “Imperialist Russia?”

“Montenegro, since 1700 and to this moment, was created through the efforts of Russia—it’s education, and the entire structure before King Nikola in 1918. The metropolia only continues the tradition. And no form of “Imperialist Russia” is interfering here. Russian Bishops visit us, with whom we recently erected a monument to the Royal Passion-Bearers at Duklevo monastery, on which their faces are carved. This may be the most beautiful monument to the Imperial Family. Is this what he calls imperialism?

“I sometimes say these are sanctions of the metropolia against Russia. Mr. Đukanović, in his fight against “Russian imperialism” has become a pawn in the hands of the Western European and American Empires, and the NATO bloc—those who bombed Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo, which was part of Montenegro when it was an independent Kingdom.

“Now Đukanović recognizes Kosovo, while the Russians tried to save the unity of our nation and state. Unfortunately, Russia was then ruled not by the one who rules today, but by his predecessor, who did not understand this.

“Therefore, I do not know what Đukanović implies when speaking of “imperialism.” If it’s about what I said, then yes.

“I would also add further about the decision of Constantinople: This decision is a catastrophe for the Constantinople Patriarchate and for the unity of the Orthodox Church. Therefore, we hope that in the near future, as called for by the Moscow Patriarchate and other Local Churches, which have the full right to do so, we will resolve this issue in a pan-Orthodox format.

“The Ukrainian Question cannot be resolved by any single Local Church, because this issue is so extensive that it requires the participation of all Local Churches. This question is more important than all that was discussed at Crete. Therefore, the position of Constantinople is shocking, as he had always turned to other Local Churches (for example, during the schism in the Bulgarian Church in 1994, Constantinople appealed to the representatives of other Local Churches to solve the issue of schism in a canonical way).

“And now there has been discussion that based on the Ukrainian precedent—invading the canonical territory of another Local Church—the issue with the Macedonian Orthodox Church could be resolved.

“The Ecumenical Patriarchate is prevented from doing so only because of his demand that they abandon the name “Macedonian Orthodox Church” (In Ukraine, the name “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” does not trouble him.[23] He is still a Greek, and I fear that this is how Hellenic ethnophyletism has manifested itself in light of the Macedonian issue.

“There is talk that this Macedonia goes back to the time of Alexander the Great and King Philip; that is to say, we are going back to the issue of communist myths. Just like in Montenegro, the neo-communists continue to develop them. They demanded that the Montenegrin Metropolis, that is to say, the Serbian Orthodox Church be re-registered, as if we existed only since yesterday.

“A 1987 law requires the registration of only new religious organizations, and not the registration of traditional Churches and religious organizations. But now our neo-communists have began to demand this, and almost begun persecutions. Russian monks and nuns live among us, and priests from the Republika Srpska[24], and from Serbia, and as they are not citizens of Montenegro they do not grant them residence permits. The same approach has been implemented in Macedonia.

“The so-called Metropolitan of Montenegro, who was created by the neo-communists—Dedeić—who was deposed by Constantinople, was recognized only by Philaret. For many years he served with him. And what will Constantinople do now if he recognizes Philaret who was deposed for violating the resolutions of the Moscow Patriarchate? Would it not follow that he would have to recognize someone who serves with Philaret, whom Constantinople himself had previously deposed from his position?

“This is how poorly our brothers in Constantinople have reasoned.

“I pray to the Lord, that He will help them.

“And we also pray that the Moscow Patriarchate and our brothers in Ukraine can overcome an unhealthy schism with patience and humility—a schism that is nothing but the fruit of all those political circumstances of the past, especially in the 1920s.

“The Church is the only force that united the nations created there, and now the demonic powers of this whole world, and destructive forces inside the Church, and the rulers of the world are carrying out the real imperialistic plans.

The war in Ukraine is already underway, and now Constantinople must confirm that this is in fact a war continuing against the Church, and the unity of the People of God—and against Russia as the largest-ever Orthodox country.

“This is not good, and there is nothing good here for Constantinople as well. He had no right to take such a step. There is still hope that people will still turn to reason and to the true canonical order.

“As I have already said, by such actions, Constantinople calls into question its primacy.

“I reiterate that he justifies his actions by saying that he is in the imperial capital, but that capital ceased to exist after the fifteenth century. It is no longer in Russia nor in Constantinople, and therefore there is no longer a Russian or Eastern Roman Empire, but the Church has remained, and it must function on a healthy evangelical foundation—just as it functioned prior to Emperor St. Constantine.”

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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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