Tag Archives: clericalism

The Coming Russian Nationalist Theocracy (Part 2)




Photos taken at a performance by the Young Zilovets Children’s Folk Dance Ensemble in honor of Defender of the Fatherland Day, February 23, 2009

Thanks to Comrade Fyodor for the heads-up.

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Filed under racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

The Coming Russian Nationalist Theocracy

Rumata feels alarmed, as the kingdom is rapidly morphing into a fascist police state.



On March 5, Varya Strizhak’s video “The Imperial Spirit, or, God Save the Tsar!” had its premiere.

Varya Strizak’s video “The Imperial Spirit, or, God Save the Tsar!” had its premiere yesterday, March 5. According to the songstress’s official biography, “Varvara Strizhak was born in Saint Petersburg on December 25, 1999. She is a schoolgirl studying in the seventh form at grammar school. Recording songs and shooting videos is just a hobby, without any pretenses.” We offer readers the video and lyrics to Varya Strizhak’s song “The Imperial Spirit, or, God Save the Tsar!”

Anthem of the Russian Empire (1833–1917)
Words: Vasily Zhukovsky
Music: Alexei Lvov
Words: Vladimir Shemchushenko
Music: Mikhail Chertyshev

1st Verse
The empire cannot die!
I know that the soul does not die.
From one end to another, the empire
Lives, truncated by a third.

1st Refrain
God, protect the Tsar!
Strong and majestic,
Reign for glory,
For our glory!

2nd Verse
A rebellious people’s will and peace
And happiness are mourned.
But my sorrow is of a different kind.
It is consonant with Pushkin’s line.

2nd Refrain
God, protect the Tsar!
Strong and majestic,
Reign for glory,
For our glory!
Reign to foes’ fear,
Orthodox Tsar.
God, protect the Tsar!

3rd Verse
Let the chain clank! Let once again the whip whistle
Over those who are against nature!
The imperial spirit is ineradicable in the people.
The empire cannot die!

Teenaged Russian imperialist Varya Strizhak (far left) and friends (source)


Boris Vyshnevsky
The Secular State Is Canceled
Novaya Gazeta
April 10, 2013

The State Duma has passed in the first reading a bill introducing criminal liability for “insulting religious feelings and beliefs.”

It passed the bill despite the harsh criticism it faced from experts, lawyers, and human rights activists when it was introduced six months ago, despite the president’s instructions to improve the bill after an expanded meeting of the Human Rights Council, and despite an alternative bill, drafted by the Council’s legal staff.

The bill voted on by the Duma was exactly the same version that Novaya Gazeta analyzed in its November 6, 2012, issue. It can rightly be seen as contradicting four articles of the Russian Federation Constitution, namely, Article 14 (on the secular state), Article 19 (equality of rights regardless of one’s beliefs and attitudes to religion), Article 28 (freedom of conscience, freedom of choice, and the promotion of religious and other beliefs) and Article 29 (freedom of thought and speech).

There is no doubt that even if the law is upheld in the Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights will reduce it to smithereens, because the relevant PACE resolutions clearly state that freedom of expression cannot and should not be restricted “to meet increasing sensitivities of certain religious groups” or “out of deference to certain dogmas or the beliefs of a particular religious community.”

In fact, restriction of such freedom is the bill’s main goal. One of its authors, United Russia MP Alexander Remezkov, declared this outright in the Duma, saying we “need effective legal instruments against blasphemers, scorners, and sacrilegers.” What kind of “secular state” can there be after such laws are passed?

In a secular state, laws may not contain such terms such as “blasphemy” and “sacrilege.” Blasphemy, if we accurately unpack the term, means insulting a god. Dear legislators, do you acknowledge that gods actually exist? And that the clergy are their legal representatives, authorized to decide what exactly offends their clients and to what degree? What century is this?

If the bill is passed into law, for “publicly insulting the religious feelings and beliefs of citizens, [and] debasing worship services and other religious rituals” you can be imprisoned for up to three years. How many times has the world been told one cannot “insult” someone’s feelings or beliefs! Feelings are an emotional response to one’s environment, while beliefs are conscious positions. They cannot be “insulted”: such “insults” are not objectively verifiable, and therefore they cannot be prohibited, and no one can be punished for violating such a prohibition.

Who will establish in court that someone’s feelings have been “insulted,” and how will they do this? It is impossible to rely solely on the opinion of the “insulted” party, whom nothing will prevent from being “insulted” by anything whatsoever, including the existence in the world of religions other than the one he professes. Finally, it is completely impossible to “insult” or “debase” worship services or religious practices, since they are altogether inanimate things.

What the bill, if passed, will mean in practice is clear: sanctioned persecution of any criticism of any religion and the relevant clerical authorities, who love teaching others “spirituality” and “morality.” I wonder whether people will be punished for reading Russian folk tales, which feature greedy priests and stupid sextons? Or for repeating sayings like “like priest, like parish” or “force a fool to pray to God” [i.e., “give someone enough rope”]?

This, of course, might seem ridiculous, but will soon be no laughing matter: essentially, a ban is being introduced banning the promotion of atheist views and the expression of such opinions as unacceptable to the newest group of permanently “insulted believers.” On the other hand, for burning books they do not like, something a group of Orthodox zealots did a month ago outside the offices of the Yabloko party, believers are not threatened by this law. Just like the scoundrel with the title of professor who publicly called atheists “sick animals that should be cured”: the feelings of non-believers are not subject to protection. After all, despite the fact that Article 19 of the Constitution stipulates the equality of rights and freedoms of man and citizen, regardless of one’s belief and attitudes toward religion, the bill puts believers in a privileged position vis-à-vis non-believers, introducing special protection for their feelings and beliefs.

All these things cannot exist in a secular state on principle, and the shameful law on its way to passage by the State Duma should be understood as overturning this constitutional principle.

However, we are moving down this road step by step. Its milestones include bans on exhibitions or performances that don’t catch the fancy of religious fanatics. And the ceremonial consecration of tap water. And requirements to teach creationism in schools alongside evolutionary theory. And the creation of a Department of Orthodox Culture at the Strategic Missile Forces Academy. And the adoption of laws for the punishment of “promotion of homosexuality,” based on quotations from the Old Testament and curses against “sodomites” and “perverts.” And, contrary to law, the obligatory introduction in schools of the subject known as “Orthodox culture” (as was said at the school my youngest son attends, “as recommended by the Patriarch”). And “Orthodox banner bearers,” “people’s councils,” “Cossacks,” and other characters, more reminiscent of the gray storm troopers from the novel Hard to Be a God.

Do you remember how the book ends? “Wherever Graydom triumphs, the blackbirds will always seize power.”



“I offend your religious feelings.” Graffiti on wall.
Printer Grigoriyev Street, 1, Petrograd. November 25, 2012. Photo by Chtodelat News


Feminism is a “very dangerous” phenomenon that could lead to the destruction of Russia, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has said.

“I consider this phenomenon called feminism very dangerous, because feminist organisations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which, in the first place, must appear outside of marriage and outside of the family,” said Patriarch Kirill, according to the Interfax news agency.

“Man has his gaze turned outward – he must work, make money – and woman must be focused inwards, where her children are, where her home is,” Kirill said. “If this incredibly important function of women is destroyed then everything will be destroyed – the family and, if you wish, the motherland.”

“It’s not for nothing that we call Russia the motherland,” he said. . . .

source: www.guardian.co.uk


Kremlin Backs Law Protecting Religious Sentiment – Spokesman

ULAN-UDE, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Kremlin favors the idea of adopting a law protecting the religious feelings of Russian citizens, the Russian presidential spokesman said Thursday.

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, passed the bill in the first reading on Tuesday.

“The Kremlin supports the idea of the law, and the wording of the law is up to the lawyers,” Dmitry Peskov said. “The law is very difficult to enforce but it is absolutely essential in this multi-national and multi-confessional country,” he said.

Peskov failed to answer a journalist’s question on how a person could be punished in Russia for desecrating a holy site, saying “this is a judicial practice issue.”

The first deputy of the State Duma Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations, Mikhail Markelov, said some 80 percent of Russians support the law, according to an opinion poll.

Under the draft document, those who offend religious feelings at church services and ceremonies face up to three years in jail, fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,700) or 200 hours of compulsory community service.

Those Russians who insult religious feelings at holy sites face up to five years in jail, fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,500) or 400 hours of compulsory community service, the document says.

The bill was submitted for consideration in the State Duma in September 2012. The idea of introducing punishment for offending religious feelings came after members of the female band Pussy Riot performed an anti-Kremlin “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral last February.


Editor’s Note. This posting was updated on April 13, 2013.


Filed under critical thought, film and video, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: “I have a tremendous urge to feel”

Oksana Baulina
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: “I have a tremendous urge to feel”
August 1, 2012

The most famous member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot at the moment of their arrest, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has already spent five months in Pre-Trial Detention Facility No. 6 in Moscow’s Pechatniki district. The outer walls of the three-storey prison building, on Shosseinaya Street, are windowless: the cell windows face the courtyard, thus ruling out even visual contact with the outside world. This has earned No. 6 the nickname “the Bastille.” When a few weeks ago I sent questions for Nadya, bypassing the Federal Penitentiary Service’s censored correspondence system, I was not sure that I would get a reply. A reply came, however, literally on the eve of the scandalous trial in the Khamovnichesky District Court.

— What reactions, actions and opinions surrounding your case have surprised you (both positively and negatively)?

— It hurts that there are still a good number of sincere, decent Orthodox people who believe we did something awful with our prayer in the temple. There are such people even amongst those who are firmly opposed to our arrest. Although we have been explaining for five months what this was about, it is painful that there are smart, decent people who see something in what we did that is not there and could not have been there.

I am glad that the greater part of thinking society has rallied around our cause, from the letter signed by two hundred cultural figures in our defense and the desperate hunger strikes of the Occupy the Court activists to the fantastic gestures of support from Faith No More, Franz Ferdinand and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We are extremely grateful to everyone, and I’m sorry we cannot say an individual thank you to everyone due to the cell bars between us. Thanks to all of you, life in a Russian prison is not so bitter!

— What have you learned about yourself, about society, about the state during your time in jail? Have you changed?

— The state and society behave like in a textbook on leftist theory: the state punishes and represses, while society resists and changes. Behind bars you see theory coming to life. All that remains is the desire to be, to grow and to give, to share. I want prison ecstasies, epiphanies and revelations about freedom, the lack of freedom and which of these a person needs more for his or her development. I have a tremendous urge to think and feel: in the absence of external stimuli, one’s inner life develops at a furious pace.

— Who are you? How do you define yourself—as a political activist, an artist, a prisoner of conscience, a feminist, a musician?

— A person should be described from various perspectives, but it is his task to escape this description by expanding and redefining the terms used to define him. Hardly anyone expected that feminism in Russia—and even in the world to some extent—would be associated in 2012 with balaclavas, bright clothes and punk music.

— Why, in your view, does the patriarchal model, the vertical model enjoy support in society?

— Man is by nature conservative, and it is more convenient for him to cling desperately to the familiar. Very few people are ready to break and remake what exists in order to change reality. People fear the unknown, and if a woman sees herself as nothing but an appendage to a man, it is quite hard for her to imagine another world and a different relationship.

— How does feminism benefit society? How do you imagine the ideal social order?

— As a Scandinavian social democracy with minimal government interference in the lives of those who want to shield themselves from the state and, simultaneously, strong social support for those who need it and are willing to cooperate with the state. As a society that cares about issues of gender equality, where a male government minister can go on paternity leave, as law enforcement ministers love to do in Finland, for example. There is nothing more natural than feminism. Feminism begins in the third grade, when you realize that all textbooks and clever books are written by boys for boys.

— How do you explain the clericalization of society?

— There is no clericalization. There is Putin, who allows law enforcement authorities to trample all conceivable legal norms and reference fourth-century church councils that forbade taking baths and communicating with Jews. And there is Vsevolod Chaplin, who with the patriarch’s blessing makes shocking, artistic statements and admires the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is no clericalization at all beyond the actions and speeches of these two characters. What clericalization can there be in a society where twenty years ago “scientific atheism” was a compulsory subject in universities?

— What events that have happened since you’ve been in jail do you especially regret not being able to witness and participate in?

— May 6 on Bolotnaya Square and Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, of course! Then it became clear that in Russia and Moscow there are many thousands of people who are willing to fiercely defend their lives and their future, even if this means directly clashing with the savage riot police.

It was sad to watch stories about May 6 on TV and, even worse, to realize that society does not have the strength to defend the people unlawfully arrested because of these events. Society is still weak, and it’s very, very sad, and so the authorities are not afraid to continue the arrests.

— What do you regret?

— The fact that the books sent to us by our friends end up in the prison warehouse, not in our cells, because of the maliciousness of the authorities at Pre-Trial Detention Facility No. 6. So you end up reading the Bible and Russian revolutionary classics—Tolstoy’s current affairs pieces and Alexander Herzen. But I also want books from the twentieth century!


Filed under feminism, gay rights, international affairs, interviews, political repression, Russian society