Friday, October 14, 2016

Preordained Destiny

"It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptized before bringing Christianity to Rus ..."
"Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation ...."
"Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilizational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, attends the Orthodox Christmas service at a cathedral in the village of Otradnoye, Voronezh region, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, attends the Orthodox Christmas service at a cathedral in the village of Otradnoye, Voronezh region, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)
Everywhere in the West, birth rates have declined. In Russia there is another phenomenon entirely; rising birth rates and expanding families. Everywhere in the Western democracies a spirit of secularism has overtaken religion that has long been separated from state affairs. Religion has been on a steep decline; parishioners barely dent the seating of churches, and a population that once flocked to church on Sunday no longer does anything of the kind. Churches have been abandoned, the buildings sold to be converted to health clubs, restaurants, theatres.

The Russian Orthodox Church has seen a renaissance under President Vladimir Putin. This is a man who decries the death of the USSR and with it Russia's sublime place in the world order, a powerful nation commanding the obeisance of satellite countries inextricably bound to Mother Russia, eager and willing to do its bidding. And though Vladimir Putin mourns the passing of the Soviet Union, he has no fond memories of its abandonment of religion, the religion he has taken pains to resuscitate.

One might think -- and one does so at risk of failing to understand the Slavic mind that adores its strongmen -- that the stress placed on the Russian economy through crippling sanctions linked to the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and Sevastopol, and the invasion of eastern Ukraine, then the fallen world oil prices crippling the Russian economy with a weak ruble, that Russians living in penurious expectations for better times would resent the actions of their president.

But this is a man whose posturing is seen as admirable, whose refusal to back down before Western demands endears him to his population. So much does the West know.

Russians see their Vladimir as a hero, a leader of great principles unafraid to counter Western aggression, its contempt for Russia, which despises Western values. The vain expectation of the West that Russians would prefer liberal democracy to the autocracy they live under is a symbol of Western obtuseness and perhaps deliberate unwillingness to fully understand Russian values and expectations. Better to remain oblivious and feel contentedly superior.

Aetheism no longer reigns in post-Communist Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church in its heritage traditions now bespeaks the re-awakened values of Russia. And in Russia, President Putin leads the way to penalize divorce [despite his own], to prohibit abortion services, criminalize pornography and stamp forbidden toward "homosexual propaganda", in stark contrast to the West. Under Vladimir Putin, tens of thousands of abandoned churches have been restored in a spiritual, moral rendition of the new Russia.

That the Russian Orthodox Church maintains an allegiance to Syrian churches provoked the president to protect Christian minorities in the Middle East. Another link, aside from the newly established Syrian airfield for Russian fighter jets, and the Syrian deep sea port for Russia's naval fleet, between the two countries. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is a man after Vladimir Putin's own heart as an ally; the protector of the ancient Christian community in Syria; ten percent of the population whom Muslin extremists would exterminate.

The Syrian Christians, father and daughter, are visiting their house abandoned them during the military action in the center of Homs. © RIA Novosti
In Iraq, by contrast, where Sunni Islamist extremism bred the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, once home to 1.5-million Christians in their own communities where they had lived pre-Islam, those communities have been fairly well wiped out; those who feared for their lives fled, leaving their ancient homeland to the Muslim sects eager to wage deadly war on one another.

Russians are content that their president has his moral compass on the absolute correct setting, ensuring their pride in his stalwart defence of Christianity and Russian moral values remain firmly protected.

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