среда, 15 октября 2014 г.

Mikhail Lermontov's birthday- famous russian writer and poet

Prominent Russians: Mikhail Lermontov

October 15, 1814 – July 27, 1841
Mikhail Lermontov left a unique legacy in Russian literature and his poetic reputation is second in his native country only to Pushkin’s.

Caught in the family feud

Lermontov was born on October 15, 1814, in Moscow. His father, Yuri, was an impoverished army officer, while his mother, Maria Arsenyeva, was a wealthy young heiress from a prominent aristocratic family. Lermontov’s maternal grandmother, Elizaveta Arsenyeva, regarded their marriage as a clear mismatch and deeply disliked her son-in-law.
The union turned out to be ill-suited and the couple soon grew apart. Lermontov’s mother died three years later, aged 21, a disappointed and melancholic figure. After her death, her rich and authoritative mother, Elizaveta, launched a formidable battle for her beloved grandson, promising to disinherit him if his father took the boy away.

Life with grandmother

The father and son were eventually separated and, at the age of three, Lermontov began a spoilt and luxurious life with his doting grandmother, at her family estate of Tarkhany, in the Penza region in Central Russia.
No expense was spared to provide Lermontov with the best schooling and lifestyle his grandmother’s money could buy. He received an extensive home education, becoming fluent in French and German, playing several music instruments and proving a gifted painter.
Since he suffered from poor health, Arsenyeva undertook several trips to the sunny Caucasus for a better climate and treatment at the mineral springs. The Caucasus greatly impressed Lermontov, inspiring a passion for its mountains and stirring beauty.
Yet fearing Lermontov’s father would eventually claim his right to bring up his son, Arsenyeva strictly limited contact between the two, causing young Lermontov much pain and remorse. Despite all the pampering lavished upon him, and torn by the family feud, he grew up lonely and withdrawn.

Moscow University

At the age of 14 Lermontov was taken to Moscow to continue his education. He enrolled at Moscow University, one of Russia’s best, in 1830. He started writing poetry, with much of his early verse greatly influenced by the works of British poet Lord Byron.
A year into his university studies, the final, tragic act of the family drama played out. Having been deeply hurt by his son’s alienation, Lermontov’s father died. For Mikhail it was a terrible loss, plunging the young man into depression.
Lermontov’s career at the university proved short-lived. He rarely took part in student life and showed little interest in lectures, often bringing books from home instead. He eventually left university without completing his course and seriously reconsidered his options.

Military school

He decided to move to St. Petersburg and entered a military cavalry school. A glittering army career tempted many young noble men of the time, but Lermontov quickly realised he wasn’t cut out for a life of drills, discipline and drinking.
He developed a poisonous wit and cruel humour that would often earn him enemies. Lermontov’s skill in drawing caricatures was matched by his ability to put someone in their place with a nickname or epigram.
Upon his graduation two years later, Lermontov became an officer in a Life-Guard Regiment stationed near St. Petersburg. He plunged into a heady high society mix of drawing-room gossip and ballroom glitter, gaining some fame as a poet.

The first exile

But the year of 1837 changed all that. When the outstanding Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin was fatally wounded in a duel, Lermontov wrote the inflammatory poem The Death of a Poet. The final lines explicitly accused the powerful pillars of Russian high society of complicity in Pushkin's murder.
The poem caused uproar. It propelled Lermontov to unprecedented levels of fame, but provoked the wrath of the Czar. The poet was arrested and sent to the Caucasus.

The hero of his time

Ironically, the place of his exile was also the land he loved as a child. Attracted to the nature of the Caucasus and excited by its folklore, he studied the local languages, wrote some of his most splendid poems and painted extensively. Thanks to his grandmother’s efforts though, Lermontov soon returned to St. Petersburg, and to the high society theatre-going and ballroom dancing existence. Widely hailed as a promising literary talent, he published a number of his works and began his famous novel A Hero of Our Time.
Lermontov’s only novel earned him recognition as one of the founding fathers of Russian prose. The partially autobiographical story consists of five closely linked tales revolving around a single character, a disenchanted, bored and doomed young nobleman. Featuring the character Pechorin, the book is considered a pioneering classic of Russian psychological realism. It was published in 1840, earning the author widespread acclaim.

The second exile

But Lermontov’s socialite life wouldn’t last for long. That same year he clashed with the son of a French ambassador over a young society woman. A duel followed that prompted the poet’s second Caucasian exile. Lermontov was dispatched to the front-line fighting the local tribesmen. He proved to be a brave soldier but dreamed of the time when he could leave the army and devote himself entirely to his writing.
He was eventually allowed two-months leave and promptly rushed to St. Petersburg, but the Czar declined his request for discharge and denied him the award of bravery in battle. Lermontov was forced to return back to the army, arriving in the town of Pyatigorsk in May 1841.

Death and legacy

He joined the town’s social life, meeting one of his old acquaintances, fellow army officer Nikolay Martynov. Although the two men were seemingly on good terms, Martynov soon became a target of Lermontov’s sharp wit and caustic jokes.
One proved to be a joke too many and Martynov challenged Lermontov to a duel. It left Martynov unharmed – but was fatal for Lermontov. He was killed on the spot on the evening of July 27, 1941, at the foot of Mashuk Mountain. He was just 26.
Lermontov never married and left no children. His love-life proved an unhappy one. Despite some high society conquests, throughout his life he apparently remained in love with childhood friend Varvara Lopukhina. The passion was said to be reciprocal but, pressed by her family, Varvara went on to marry a wealthy aristocrat much older than herself. Many of Lermontov’s poems are devoted to his lifelong love, Varvara becoming an inspiration behind many of his female characters.
Lermontov’s life is viewed as one of the most epic and dramatic in the history of Russian literature. Although many of his major poetic works remain largely unknown to English-speaking readers, they can be readily quoted from memory by millions of Russians.
Related personalities:

Upa yesterday's marches, current situation in Ukraine

суббота, 11 октября 2014 г.

Orthodox churches, destroyed by the Kiev's army in Donbass.

St. John Kronstadt Orthodox Church, destroyed by Kiev troops in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region (Photo from gorlovka-eparhia.com.ua)
A video released by the Diocese showed that there is no roof and most of the church’s walls have been turned into rubble.
In Saturday’s attack, also on a St. John Kronstadt Church, this time in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region, the church was totally destroyed during an all-night vigil, Gorlovsky and the Orthodox Diocese said on its website. The shell hit the roof of the building, which crashed onto worshipers.
“People were praying. Three of them were killed. We lost our loved ones,” a local woman told RT.
Among the victims of the attack was one of the church wardens and two parishioners. Several people were injured as well, added the Diocese.

St. John Kronstadt Orthodox Church, destroyed by Kiev troops in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region (Photo from gorlovka-eparhia.com.ua)“I am asking [Kiev forces] – come to your senses! Look where you are sending your sons,” a local man told RT. “Where? What are you doing? Look at these ruins.”

The tragedy of war in Ukraine goes far beyond life and death. It is also a spiritual battle - an eternal conflict of good and evil amplified.
The very foundation of the Russian Slavic World - the spirit of Christian Orthodoxy, is being deliberately attacked by the new Ukrainian forces in power.
So far, five targeted deaths of clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, by far the largest confession in Ukraine, which belongs to the main Russian Church in Moscow, have been recorded.
Ever since Maidan events back in February, numerous truly outrageous incidents of violence against the clergy have occurred in continual attempts to intimidate them.
Father Vladimir of St.George Church was murdered in Lugansk by the Ukrainian Army.

A dead priest, hit by shrapnel when his church was bombed.


At night of August 16 to 17 during an attack, a shell from the Grad (“Hailstones”) missile hit the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mospino village of the Donetsk region.

On August 17 no service was celebrated at the church.


By the grace of God, no one inside the church at was injured during the attack. The exploded shell damaged only the church’s roof.

The persecution of the orthodox priest in Western Ukraine

As Ukrainian nationalists increasingly try to force members of the canonical Orthodox Church into joining the self-proclaimed “Kiev Patriarchate”, the violence of the 1990’s against Orthodox clergy is being repeated in western Ukraine. As before, the Ukrainian Greek Catholics (Uniates) are involved in what they perceive as a “nationalization” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. This news of a church in the Lvov region is only one example of a frightening trend that is growing in post-Maidan Ukraine. While English language religious news services have been quick to cover the incidents in eastern Ukraine against Pentecostals or other sects imported from the West, this alarming violence against the only canonical, native Church in the Ukraine is remaining somehow unnoticed.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has addressesd the U.N. and other international agencies concerning the danger, but the uncanonical “Kiev Patriarch” Filaret (Denysenko) has accused Patriarch Kirill of lying.
Turka, Lvov Province, October 2, 2014
In the town of Turka near Lvov, Ukraine, a group of fifty athletic-looking men, with the support of the local police, have forcibly seized the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, as reported by news agencyInterfax-Religion, citing the Russian website National Control.
In the process, the priest of the church was physically injured, the church closed, and the parishioners forbidden to enter their church. According to information published by the agency, some of the attackers were Greek Catholics (Uniates).
The faithful of this parish had received threats as early as last spring. In March of 2014, the rector of the Church Alexei Sloboda was approached by a certain private businessman from the town of Turka, who announced to the priest, “Fr. Alexei, we love and respect you, but you must go over to the Kiev Patriarchate.”
The priest answered that he cannot do this, because he would thereby be committing a gross violation of Church canons. Therefore, as Christ’s faithful pastor, he said he will remain in the bosom of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The businessman then threatened him, saying, “If you do not go over, you will see what will happen to you…”
While Fr. Alexei was performing the church services, supporters of the “Kiev Patriarchate” attacked him and threw him to the floor
Archpriest Alexei SlobodaArchpriest Alexei Sloboda
On June 29, 2014, when Archpriest Alexei was performing the church services, a group of ten supporters of the “Kiev Patriarchate” broke into the church. The mob was headed by several former militant Communists. The ruffians ran onto the ambo (the raised area just in front of the sanctuary doors), attacked the priest and threw him to the floor. Afterwards, court medical experts recorded bodily injuries to the priest.
Again, only recently on September 28, 2014, a group of fifty people (including town businessmen and strong men of athletic appearance) broke into the church’s territory and forcibly seized the property, .
They locked the church and closed all access to the church property. The parishioners were particularly shocked by the fifty-strong police force specially sent to the church.
Instead of defending the faithful and clergy from this criminal attack, the police simply stood by indifferently watching events unfold.
The Orthodox parishioners (300 people, mainly old men and women) tried to get through and open their church, but they were met with tough resistance from the usurpers, and… the police. Even more remarkable was how the police stood on the side of the attackers and accused the parishioners of provoking a “conflict”.
No pleas or arguments from the Orthodox citizens to the municipal authorities were of any effect, regardless of the fact that the parishioners had all the necessary legal documentation: the certificate of registration of an Orthodox community, and right of ownership for the property.
The parishioners of the church testify to the fact that the majority of the muscular men had never attended services in that church.
The same evening, when the faithful came once more to their church for evening services, no one was permitted to enter the church territory—neither the parishioners nor the clergy.
They smashed Hieromonk Vladimir’s (Kozanchin) face. People were horrified to see the priest covered with blood.
Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin)Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin)
Further, one of the usurpers raised his arm against the priest and threw at him a bottle filled with water that he had prepared for the attack. As a result, Hieromonk Vladimir’s (Kozanchin) face was smashed. People were horrified to see their priest covered with blood.
The Orthodox began writing claims concerning the attacks. Because the attacker smelled of alcohol, the faithful demanded that the police conduct a medical investigation of the ruffian for alcoholic inebriation. The police, however, categorically refused to do so.
Today the situation remains extremely tense, and the seized church is locked. The faithful are not allowed to enter it, and are continually threatened and intimidated.
On October 1, 2014, the parishioners made a complaint to the Lvov Regional Sovereign Administration, but their complaint was not accepted.
Two weeks prior to this incident, arsonists attacked the monastic skete where Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin) lives. One of the buildings was set on fire, and its second floor and roof were burned.
Priest Yaroslav YavorskyPriest Yaroslav Yavorsky
The criminals were not hindered by the fact that this skete is being built by the widowed priest Yaroslav Yavorsky, who was left with six children at his wife’s death. Fr. Yaroslav’s wife died of cancer, and he began building the skete with what money he had.
According to the latest information, representatives from both the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the Greek Catholic Churches were among the attackers.
Today Orthodox Ukrainians are seriously concerned about the beginning of new persecutions against their Church. This concern arises despite the fact that the new Ukrainian government is trying with all its might to declare its allegiance to Western democracy, tolerance, and support for religious freedom.
But the ironic twist is that almost all the Orthodox priests being subjected to persecutions are themselves native Ukrainians. In accordance with Orthodox Church liturgical practice, priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church pray daily at the services for the civil authorities of Ukraine, and the majority of the parishioners are likewise native Ukrainians. But this does not at all stop the vandals from attacking Orthodox churches and their parishioners.
If these facts of religious discrimination and openly criminal attacks, supported by the authorities and police, become known to the European Union, international defense agencies may be called in to resolve the conflict.
And then, even the European officials loyal to the new Ukraine may unavoidably have to ask unpleasant questions of the authorities in Kiev and Lvov, who are allowing such religious intolerance and openly criminal acts against the faithful, writes National Control.

Russian Church accuses Uniates of enticing violence against Orthodox Christians in Ukraine

Moscow, October 3, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has again expressed its concerns about the support provided to Ukrainian radicals by Greek Catholics (Uniates).

"When blood was shed and the first people were killed in the streets of Kiev and other cities of Ukraine, bishops and priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called for the escalation of the violence. In a union with various schismatic and pseudo-church structures, they supported and inspires extreme nationalist groups," Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations on Inter-Christian Relations, said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of the newspaper NG-Religii.

Hieromonk Stefan said representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have often made aggressive statements about the Orthodox Church.

"As we know, many Orthodox priests and members of their families have been subjected to violence by nationalists inspires by Uniates and schismatics. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church did not stop that aggressive rhetoric even in those days when fragile ceasefire was established in eastern Ukraine," the priest said.

On September 10, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church issued a statement "directly provoking further escalation of the conflict," he said.

The clergyman said such actions pose a threat to the future of Ukraine and the prospects of development of Orthodox-Catholic relations.

"This situation brings to mind the atmosphere of the 1990s, when a tragedy took place in Western Ukraine and in some countries of Eastern Europe when Uniates took advantage of the political changes and began taking over Orthodox churches and persecuting and killing priests. In that period, the relations between the Orthodox ad Catholic Churches experienced a serious crisis and were on the verge of severance," he said.


четверг, 9 октября 2014 г.

Caspian Sea convention set to be signed at next summit

The fourth Caspian Sea summit is underway in Astrakhan and Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was hopeful that the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan) will adopt a convention on the Caspian Sea legal status at the next summit. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Dr Nikolai Kozhanov, a senior lecturer in political economy at St Petersburg University.

Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are meeting to discuss issues surrounding their joint ownership for the coastline and resources of the Caspian Sea.
President Putin is known to favour a strengthening of bilateral trade relations with Iran especially, but security issues in the region are also crucial.
“The work on preparing the convention on the Caspian Sea legal status is to be completed. I’m confident that we’ll be able to agree on the provisions that have not been coordinated yet and adopt the convention at the next summit,” Putin said at the Caspian summit.
 The next Caspian Five meeting will be held in Kazakhstan. Putin said within the narrow-format meeting the summiteers have coordinated a political statement on key principles of pentalateral cooperation in the Caspian region.
Dr Nikolai Kozhanov said: “The issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be discussed. The sides are trying to work it out and step by step they are approaching a final agreement. There will not be breakthrough at this summit but there will be another step towards signing an agreement in the future.
“The sides also traditionally discuss how the security situation in the region should be ensured. Finally the economic issues are discussed. The President of Kazakhstan proposed the formation of the free trade zone in the Caspian region.
“It is a complex issue. Essentially, the issue is: ‘how should we divide the Caspian Sea?’. In more detail it is a matter of how big the zones for fishing should be: whether there should be free navigation or - if we decide to control ships controlled by other countries - should we allow them to just ask for permission to enter the zones? It is very complex and different countries refer to different treaties.
“Russia and Iran take the agreement signed in the first half of the 20th century as a base for the future agreement in the five countries but as the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore the other countries dispute this.
“The issue about oil resource exploitation is big but Russia has no territorial questions. The main question isn’t who is going to exploit oil resources of the Caspian Sea but whether the transportation of oil and gas via the Caspian Sea should be allowed.
 “Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan argue about the development of oil sites in the Caspian Sea, which is another problem for signing the agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. These countries are also interested in having their own independent transport routes for their energy resources.”

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_09_29/Caspian-Sea-convention-set-to-be-signed-at-next-summit-0790/

New victims of "truce"

WARNING! Some people could find this footage disturbing!

The 1 of October. The begining of the school-year in Donetsk.

The bus was burnt to ashes, 8 people killed.

Four people were killed in the school № 57.

More than 70 civilians were killed during the last week. Ukrainian army continue regulary shelling the city of Donetsk from the surrounding territories near Donetsk airport.

Plight of Romanians and Hungarians in Ukraine

Vladislav Gulevic

The independent Ukraine boasts a rather short history. The relations with minorities have never been a feather in the hat of Kiev authorities. The real state of things was largely muted to make it a smouldering problem. The «national revolution» has exacerbated the situation to the boiling point, especially talking about Hungarians and Romanians. 
Romanians are the second largest group in Bucovina (historically the region has been Russian, now the northern part of it belongs to Ukraine). 97% Romanians live in Chernovitsy (115 thousand) and Transcarpathia (32 thousand). According to CEMES (Centre for European Migration and Ethnic Studies), the main problems faced by the Romanian community are social development and their low representative proportion in higher education and in professional work. Numerous reports from Romanian-based sources raise concerns for the situation of the Romanian minority in Ukraine and specifically criticize the availability of educational opportunities in the Romanian language. The 2012 law «On the principles of the state language policy» was abolished as a result of the 2014 coup pouring even more fuel on the discontent among Ukrainian Romanians. Kiev refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing when reproached for its neglect of Romanian culture. This attitude makes the situation worse. In June 2014 the Bessarabia Romanians held a convention in Odessa with assistance of Romanian Cultural Institute (Romania). There were many voices raised calling for opening new Romanian cultural centers (there are too few of them and quite often the staff has no command of the language). The head of Odessa regional national-cultural association Bessarabia said that the main problem for the Romanian community in the Odessa region is the availability of schools teaching in Romanian language and their funding. 
In Kiev they keep on saying that minorities enjoy better legal protection than in Romania. It’s not true like many other things the Ukrainian propaganda says. Lipovans are Russian old believers who fled Russia in the late 17th early 18thcenturies in order to escape the persecution of their faith. The community holds symposiums devoted to its history and religion. It prints Zori newspaper in Bucharest and Kitej-Grad journal in Iași. Many old believers have Romanian decorations (writers Nikita Danilov and Leonte Ivanov, scholar Mihai Nistor and many others). The Romanian law guarantees the right of all ethnic minorities to have their own organizations, and preserve traditions and language. Their activities are supported by government. In 2003 a special seminar course on old Orthodox faith was held for the children of Russian old believers in the Saint Basil the Great seminary located in Iași. 
In Ukraine the number of schools teaching in Romanian language has dwindled from 18 down to 5 during the 23 years of the country’s independence. It was accompanied by the closure of many Russian schools.
It’s no better with the Hungarian minority. Just recently Kiev has changed the borders of single member constituencies in the areas densely populated by Hungarians living in Transcarpathia. Now the Hungarian votes are spread around the constituencies and the minority cannot elect its representatives to Verkhovna Rada (parliament). Hungarian activists referred to the national law №709 – VII «On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine concerning improvement of legislation on the elections» of November 21 and Article 18 (Election Districts) of Chapter III (Territorial Organization of Election of Members of Parliament) of the Law on Election of People’s Deputies which envisioned that the delimitation of single-mandate districts was to take into consideration the compact minority settlement, something Kiev ignores. The Hungarian Transnistria human rights foundation has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights which calls on the Ukrainian government to comply with its own laws. 
No matter all the appeals, the plight of Hungarians governed by the «Ukrainian national state» keeps on becoming worse. In March 2013 Ukrainian radicals in Transnistria attacked Hungarian tourists, some accompanied by children. Then Ukrainian media reported that Pravy Sector (extremist far-right movement) decided to tackle the «Hungarian issue». A memorial at Verecke Pass devoted to Hungarian tribes that crossed the Carpathian Mountains to Danube was desecrated (an inscription appeared saying «Death to Hungarians»!). Hooligans beat up the participants of Beregovo (Transnistria) Hungarian community council. Hungarians were really excited over what happened. Karoy Bala, a Hungarian poet who lives in Transnistria, is well known among national intelligencia. He wrote an article called the Land of Boors devoted to the attitude of Ukrainian government towards his compatriots. 
Seals, note-papers and signs in two languages are not enough for the Hungarian minority anymore. These are just cosmetic measures that have nothing to do with preserving national culture in the places populated by Hungarians for thousands of years. Irredentist sentiments are on the rise among almost 200 thousand Hungarians living in Ukraine.