Monday, 1 June 2009

Unholy alliance: Edward Lucas + Keston Institute = "False Prophets of Doom"?

Unholy alliance: Edward Lucas + Keston Institute = "False Prophets of Doom"?

Recently the Keston Institute invited Edward Lucas to their conference. This is an interesting combination one group with a Cold War agenda and One author with a Cold War agenda: Perhaps they have both realised that together they can cash in on cold war phobia - who knows maybe next year they will write scripts for the BBC fictionalised story about MI5 the series appropriately named "Spooks"?

Anyway this is a report about what Edward Lucas said at the Keston Institute.

"Our second speaker was Edward Lucas, Deputy International Editor and Central and Eastern EuropeCorrespondent for The Economist who has been covering the region since 1986. He spoke about what he sees as a new ‘Cold War’ developing between Keston Newsletter No 8, 2009 14 Russia and the West which is acting naively in its over-rosy view of post-perestroikaRussia. Edward's sobering assessment deserves to be heard and acted upon by every politician in Europe and the USA. Onepoint he made which struck listeners forcibly (and which the press has ignored) was his contention that Vladimir Putin, while President, had missed a once-in-a-lifetime possibility of using Russia's new oil wealth to improve the substructure of thecountry. As it is, roads remain potholed, Moscow traffic gridlocked and the best medical services out of reach of the majority of the population. Instead, the billions were siphoned off into the bank accounts of the new rich. Now those revenues havesharply declined, so the chance has passed Russia by."

Now some may say that this is rubbish. Yes Moscow is full of cars and it is horrible. But surely the fact that people now have cars is a good indication that the wealth is starting to trickle down to those who are not rich.
Yes after a horrible period in the 1990's when the countries wealth was syphoned off to Wall Street and the bank accounts of exiles living in the West. Things have starting to turn around and it is not just the rich who have benefited.

Research by Sergei Gunie "Are Russians moving backwards" states
"Contrary to popular belief, the last decade of economic growth did not just benefit the rich: all the measures of economic well-being improved. Unemployment and poverty went down by half, and real wages tripled. Russians were taking their holidays abroad, buying cars and mobile phones to an extent that would have been unimaginable in the 1990s. An index of life satisfaction taken in 2008 comparing the same representative panel of Russians whose attitudes had been charted since 1994 found that people were substantially happier than in the late 1990s. "

Surprise! Surprise! Yes Russia does have social problems. But Russia is a big country that has had a turbulent history so one would expect things to move slowly. But times are changing. social problems are starting to be addressed thanks to the Russian Government and the Orthodox church and the social situation has improved tremendously since the failed American crusade of the 1990's. However, there are still things to be done for instance drinking, drugs and disease are a problem(as they are in the West) - so perhaps, rather than just blaming the Government, Edward Lucas should donate some money to help those people, in Russia, that are disadvantaged - people whose trategy stories have helped to sell his books rather than just becoming what some have called a " False Prophet of Doom"

Friday, 1 May 2009

La Russophobe: Racist? Imperialist? Liberal Autocrat? You decide!!

If I had a time machine I'd like to go back to Germany in the 1920's. The reason for this is that I would have liked to have used the pen in order to counter the Fascist, racist, autocratic diatribe of the Nazi party.

Some people say you should not comment on racists, you should not challenge them - it is as if by not challenging them they would just evaporate and go away. I disagree with this, I think it is important to challenge those whose views a dangerous, those whose writings are based on emotional rhetoric and not facts - by challenging them you make them look stupid, ignorant and foolish - this is important because otherwise there is a danger that the 'Lunatics will take over the Asylum'.

A blog that might fall into this camp is La Russophobe?: However, I'm not sure whether the writer is a white hooded KKK member, who has pictures of Hitler on her wall. In one sense the title of the blog suggests that the writer is this type of fascist, one who enjoys spitting poison at the choir, for imagine someone creating a blog called La Blackophobe, or La Indianophobe or LaHispanicophobe there would be an outcry - the blog would probably and quite rightly banned.

But what the objective for the La Russophobe blog? I'm not sure? I think it could be one of three things??

(1) The writer is an imperialist: One who believes that Russia should be an American State or at least a satellite state. As we know from history these kind of thinkers have caused chaos to Eastern Europe - look at Russia in 1998 a time when Cold War Warriors tried to enslave Russia under the mask of Liberalism - an even more recent example is the destruction that these individuals have caused to Ukraine(a country that probably wishes they had had a strong leader like Putin)

(2) The second alternative is that the writer is a Liberal autocrat. These are the type of people who talk about freedom, equality and justice but only allow others to follow this kind of viewpoint if they agree with them. These writers remind me of the French Revolutionaries the type that said you can be free one minute but in the next breath were dragging people of to the Guillotine.

The third alternative is that this writer is a black shirt racist, whose dream in life is to lynch Russians from the nearest oak tree.

However, I can't make up my mind so I have launched a poll to find out. The Question is
What is La Russophobe?
(a) A racist, fascist KKK blogger?
(b) An American Imperialist Crusader?
©) A Liberal Autocrat?
(D) A Frankenstein Monster i.e. a combination of all the above three points?

You decide!!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Patriach Alexi II a true hero

A new book has been published about the recently deceased Patriarch of Russia Alexi II.
The book is titled "Russian Orthodoxy resurgent" (by John and Carol Garrard). This book offers a fair and balanced view of this great man.

Unfortunately some critics of this book such as Xenia Dennen (Keston Institute) have been very unkind about the book, claiming that
"the authors succumb to hero-worship and we are treated to a great deal of romantic mush"

I think the above comments are really misplaced and one could perhaps conclude that the above critic really has a low understanding of Russian Orthodoxy or at least a very set personal agenda(see the post about Intuition Cold War).

Patriarch Alexi II is one of the "Great statesman" of the 21st centaury. He is a true hero. Here are ten very clear reasons why hero-worship of this great man is justified and not just "romantic mush"

(1) He rebuilt the Russian church. A church that was totally destroyed by communism. He picked up the rubble and bit by bit re-built a church that had been terrorised for over seventy years. For example in 1986 there were just 6,000 priests in Russia. Yet by the end of the 20th centaury there were 72,000 priests.

(2) He helped to unite the two divisions of the Russian church: Thus, helping to unite orthodoxy across the world.

(3) He was one of the man reasons that Russia became a democratic country when he opposed the Communist putsch against Gorbachev

(4) He clearly separated the church from the state as can be seen in the document the "Foundations of social conception"

(5) He acted as a bridge between the conservative and modernist wings within the church thus helping to keep the church together.

(6) He isolated the anti-semitics within the church

(7) He outlined in the "Foundations of Social conception" a positive way of preserving morality in society, charity and social work

(8) He criticised the greed of men. Greed that has led to the current world crisis

(9) He brought religion back to Russian schools. Thus forming the basis of a new approach to morality

(10) He helped stop fundamentalists such as the evangelical protestants from further brain washing the Russian population.

So a you can see he is a true hero. A hero who has rebuilt orthodoxy within Russia and placed it firmly on the world map.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Institution Cold War? Keston Institute?

In a previous blog I talked about Radio Cold War(Radio Liberty). This time I'd like to introduce you, to what some people call, 'Institution Cold War'?!
Otherwise known as the Keston Institute. The Keston Institute was set up by Michael Bourdeaux(member of Church of England) and is now run by Xenia Dennen (member of Church of England)

It's original aim was very noble: to help people persecuted in the Soviet Union because of their religious belief.

The Keston institute were and still are 'Cold War' Warriors'. Good evidence of this can be found on their website, in which a letter from their chairman excitingly exclaims

"Keston never fought in the Cold War, yet we were in the front line reporting on the battle, telling countless stories of the heroic resistance"

Some might say that they were true revolutionaries with great and noble aims. But, these days they have a problem, the problem is that the Cold War has ended. Believers in Russia are not persecuted anymore. In fact there has been an amazing transformation in belief in Russia.
Russia has now become, thanks to the work of the late Patriarch, one of the best examples of a Christian nation in the world. The Orthodox church in Russia is an amazing institution and one which supports, comforts and brings great satisfaction to many people.

At the same time as Russia has been embracing and re-building it's religious base, church attendances in the West have disintegrated at an amazing rate, to the extent that countries such as the UK cannot really be called a Christian country.

So did the Keston institute celebrate the triumphant rise of Orthodoxy in Russia? No like most revolutionaries, once the revolution has happened they become lost, finances started to dry up, support started to wither and their public profile started to drop. So what to do? The only thing for revolutionaries to do in this position is to try and maintain a revolutionary stance, 'keep the fire burning, keep the 'Cold War going'.

One might suggest, that the above stance as a provocateur is vital for their survival. But how do you do this when your aims have been achieved? Well as history shows most revolutionaries maintain their existence by turning on their subject. This is what the Keston Institute have done, they have turned on the subject which they defended for many years, they have become 'attack dogs' against the Russian Orthodox church. They are trying to re-frame a church which helps millions of people as the bad guy. In their eyes the Russian Orthodox church is "authoritarian and totalitarian" and is being run by ex KGB.

Although potentially this spin might bring them rewards, status and a platform, it is a very insulting to a nation which has put Christian Values at the heart of their being.

It also feels like a waste of energy. Would it not be better if the Keston Institute focused it's attentions on the internal problems that the Church of England now faces? Some might say that it is time for them to bury the Cold War and to try and rebuild the UK into a more Christian nation.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Russia a Renaissance country

Whilst the media in the West likes to portray Russia as a land of gangsters, thugs, spies and villains. The truth of the matter is quite different Russia is the unsung hero of culture. Russia is a Renaissance country. Russia has been a major contributor to world culture and intellectual thought. Here are eight examples of Russia's contribution to the world of culture

(1) Artists such as Vrubel, Repin, Kramskoy and Malevich - challenged the way we think about art and introduced new ways of viewing art forms
(2) Writers such as Solzhenitisyn, Dostovevsky and Tolstoy - challenged the West's rational approach to life and showed that the heart is more powerful than the head.
(3) Thinkers such as Ivan Ilyin challenged the 'western mind-set', a mind-set that believes that the western form of government is always right?
(4) Artists such as Diaghilev re-branded and democratised ballet, whilst at the same time making it appealing to the West.
(5) Composers such as Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff challenged the way we think about music
(6) Russia kept Orthodoxy alive by fulfilling it's role as protector e.g. the 'Third Rome'
(7) Russian philanthropists such as Sava Mamontov funded art with their own money. Why? Because they loved art. This tradition is still being followed by 21ST centary Russian philanthropists who are helping to keep art alive in these 'dark days' of the credit crunch.
(8) Russia helped introduce the Matryoshka dolls to the world - which ever since have put smiles on the faces of young children..

So rather than always painting Russian guys as leather clad gangsters and the women as red lip sticked prostitutes, perhaps we in the West should take our hat off to Russians for helping to re-frame the way we think about culture.

Who controls the media in the UK?

It is often claimed that the media in Russia is not free unlike that of the West. The West is the model to follow. But in practise some of the most important media in this country is not free - it is under the control of oligarches, the West's equivalent of Berezovsky. Oligarches such as Murdoch - does Murdoch influence the editorial direction of his media outlets? He most certainly does, as Andrew Neil, most certainly not a left-winger, and a former Murdoch editor says.

"Rupert Murdoch was an enormous presence in my life. He leaves you in no doubt that if he's not there in person he's there in spirit and you've got to stick to the parameters. "

Essentially if you don't you are in trouble and you will loss your job.

But this comes from secondary sources, what about the primary sources? Well Murdoch himself admitted to a Parliamentary committee that he exerts control over issues such as what party to back in elections and what views to express about Europe.

So is the media in the UK free? The answer is no. When you read the papers or watch certain TV stations you are in fact being feed the party line according to Murdoch.

Too many David Irvings in the world!

David Irving is an English historian who lies. He lies by denying that the Holocaust happened. He is a revisionist that twists and turns history to suit his twisted fantasises. He reinvents stories in order to make 'bad people' such as Hitler look good.

It is bad enough having one David Irving in the world. But suddenly Eastern Europe seems to be full of them. There is a sinister trend in trying to make fascists and Nazis look good. Yes. the same fascists who clamped down on democracy, imprisoned minority rights, killed nuns such as Sister Maria(In France), burnt books, had labour camps full of Slavs and gassed millions of people.

Unfortunately during the war some Latvians, Estonians and Ukrainians joined forces with these fascists to the extent that they even joined the dreaded SS. The same SS who burnt villages, burnt villagers alive, shot people, tortured them and gassed them.

Now believe it or not, these traitors to their country have become national heroes. History is being re-written as we speak. The revisionists are showing that 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. As the following examples illustrate

A calender featuring SS Estonian recruits has become a best seller in Estonia
A portrait of Roman Shukhevych a former commander of the Nightingale SS battalion, was recently placed in Ukraine's national gallery
A Latvian History textbook for secondary school children states proudly that "The soldiers of the Latvian SS legion defended the Imperial Chancery (the building of the German government) until the end and they also defended the Directorate of Imperial Security. " This is nothing to be proud of the Imperial Chancery was the last refuge of Hitler and the Directorate was the base camp of Nazi torture.

In the case of David Irving he was eventually locked up for his revisionist views. So should the producer of the calender, the members of the Ukrainian Government who authorised the portrait, or the historian be locked up - my view is no. Why? Because I am a believer in free speech. However, they should face condemnation from their prospective governments and from the EU for being shape changers of history.