President Medvedev said the government supports efforts by the MP to foster brotherly ties with countries of the near abroad. The president made this statement as he spoke at the formal installation of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all Russia. The archbishops attending the ceremony in the Kremlin took part in the recent Church Council which elected the new patriarch. The canonical reunification act signed by the MP and the ROCOR in May 2007 put an end to years of division and gave fresh impetus to consolidation within Russian communities across the globe. Mr Medvedev said the church had become strong, consolidated, and canonically united through the election of the patriarch. He emphasised that the state would not interfere in church affairs.

Church-state relations in the new Russia are based on the constitutional principles of freedom of conscience and religion, and non-interference in each other’s affairs, President Medvedev said. They also proceed from the acknowledgment on the part of the state of the great contribution made by the church to Russian statehood, national culture, and moral values in society. On his part, Patriarch Kirill called for harmony in church-state relations and for cooperation between the Church and the state for the good of humanity. When lay and clerical philosophers worked out a model of church-state relations they described it as symfonia, Patriarch Kirill said. Symfonia provides for a harmonious combination of interests and distribution of duties. The basics of symfonia are engraved in Church Tradition, and even though the model never saw light in its ideal version for many reasons, it has always served as a good example to follow.

249 church dignitaries from Russia and abroad attended the ceremony in the St Andrew Hall of the Kremlin. Patriarch Kirill, who ascended to the patriarchal throne in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour yesterday, served a solemn liturgy in the Kremlin’s Assumption Cathedral today. The patriarch asked for the assistance and protection of all his predecessors buried in the Cathedral, starting from Metropolitan Pyotr, who headed the Church in the early 14th century.

2 February 2009

Voice of Russia World Service (in English)

Editor’s Note:

One should not confuse the terms Synergeia and Symfonia. The former refers to the cooperation between God and man in an individual’s salvation, whilst the latter refers to the interaction of the Church and state on earth. There are longer-winded definitions, but, these give the vital essence of the terms. The distinction is NOT fine.
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Moscow-Washington: New Ideas and Old Wire-Pullers
Filed under: Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Russian, Sergei Lavrov, USA, Vladimir Putin, contemporary, diplomacy, politics — 01varvara @ 21:01


Hillary Rodham Clinton taking the oath of office as US Secretary of State on 21 January 2009 after being confirmed in that office by a 94-2 vote in the US Senate

In all likelihood, it will take Barack Obama years rather than months to shape a new foreign policy, but, so many are impatient to part with old US policy that one can only sympathise with Hillary Clinton, who has just taken the oath to assume her new position as US Secretary of State. North Korea is bringing components of its intercontinental missiles to the testing grounds and rupturing all ties with South Korea. With rare unanimity, analysts perceive this as a signal to America; remember us and the pointless crisis that was triggered by the Bush administration on our peninsula as soon as possible.

Before taking her oath of office, Ms Clinton called her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. Both said that the two countries are interested in positive development of bilateral relations under the new US administration, but, old policy, and those who shaped and implemented it, will continue operating until Washington proclaims its new policy. “Has he not yet been dismissed?” This is a typical Moscow reaction to a statement made by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza at the Heritage Foundation. He said that if Russia opens military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the United States will establish bases in Georgia.

No, Mr Bryza has not been dismissed. Although the names of his successors are already being mentioned in US political circles, there is always a chance that he will stay. He illustrates how much an individual can hurt American interests for no reason. Mr Bryza is primarily known as the architect of Washington’s Georgian experiment. Moreover, he is in charge of US policy in Georgia. No higher-ranking officials drafted this policy, but, rather simply signed on wherever necessary.

Russia under Vladimir Putin started the new century with good relations with the United States. Moscow did not object to American bases in Central Asia. Things started getting worse when anti-Russian regimes were established in Tbilisi and Kiev with US aid. As a result, the United States quarrelled with Russia and Europe to a certain extent, because the war launched by Mikhail Saakashvili last August created problems primarily for Europe. Besides, the United States found itself in a ridiculous position; it did not want to help Georgia, which started the war hoping for US support.

The Georgian opposition Labour Party demands that Mr Bryza should not be allowed to direct policy on Georgia. One of its leaders, Nestan Kirtadze, said, “This fatal personality harmed not only Georgia, but, also, American values in Georgia”. The leader of another opposition movement, Georgia’s Way, and Georgia’s former Foreign Minister, Salome Zurabishvili, said, “Georgia needs new, normal relations not only with Russians, but, also, with Americans. The days of Matthew Bryza coming in and influencing everyone are over”.

Those days may be over, but, the consequences are still there. Everything is still in anticipation of a new US policy toward Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus… In any case, it is clear that North Korea will be subject to a new US policy quicker, since it is in such a hurry.

4 February 2009
Dmitri Kosyrev

RIA-Novosti (in English)

Editor’s Note:

Bryza… that smells like he is from one of the anti-Russian North American diasporas. That is how these people harm the USA by bringing their own hate-filled agendas to the fore. God willing, this neocon poseur shall be dismissed in short order. He was the architect of the failed Georgian policy and probably egged on Saakashvili to attack South Ossetia in his blind hatred of all things Russian. Do dig about to see the roots of the Russophobia of the neocons. Usually, there is a tie-in with those who supported the Nazis in World War II (and were brought to the US and Canada because they were anti-communist… alas, truthfully, some of them were Great Russians as well).

In any case, Moscow wants Bryza gone, and that shall be that. None of the anti-Russian diasporas supported Mr Obama (they were solidly behind McCain), so, there is no political reason for this hater to stay. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.
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Groundhog Saw Shadow of Unemployment
Filed under: Barack Obama, EU/European integration, Russian, USA, Vladimir Putin, animals, business, contemporary, economy, international organisations, politics, popular life and customs — 01varvara @ 20:18


A statue of the Canadian “groundhog”, Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton ON. It started as a spoof in the 50s by a bunch of partying Canucks anxious to help a journalist with a story, and it just GREW. Alas, the original Willie died at the ripe old age of 22 in 1999, but, Wee Willie is carrying on the tradition.

In the last few years, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog has made one wrong forecast after another. The American tradition, which marked its 122nd anniversary on 2 February, states that if on that day, if the groundhog leaves the burrow where he was hibernating and he sees his shadow, which happens if the sun is shining, spring is still a long way away.

Regardless of the groundhog, the weather in Russia is still colder than in the United States, even in Pennsylvania, a state in the north-east that is the home locale of all the Punxsutawney Phil groundhogs over the years. However, now, the two countries share a problem. The second stage of the economic crisis has set in, when unemployment requires more urgent attention than the banking system. The unemployment rate in the United States is the same as in other countries. In early 2008, it was 4.9 percent in the United States as compared to 7.2 percent today. In the European Union (EU), the figures are 6.8 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. In the estimate of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Russia also has up to 7 percent unemployed, just like in Europe and America.

The US administration’s measures are becoming increasingly “socialist”. For the time being, everything is concentrated around “Obama’s package”, which is worth almost 900 billion USD (32.641 trillion roubles. 701.46 billion euros. 623.43 billion UK pounds). The package was approved by the House last week, and should be endorsed by the Senate this week. It contains simple, but, smart measures, such as a long-term loan of 1,500 USD (54,454 roubles. 1,170 euros. 1,039 UK pounds) per capita for the purchase of a truck or car. Washington is hoping that even such a small sum will help restore the sales of US cars, which have fallen one-third as compared with these in 2007. Needless to say, this is somewhat different from the prohibitive car import duties that have been introduced in Russia. In effect, this is a reverse action aimed at supporting domestic car-makers, but, it will produce the same effect.

We will see the positive results of Obama’s package at the end of the year or later. However, analysts are already talking about the failure of the previous package by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. At the Davos World Economic Forum It was described as a “failure” by Joseph E. Stiglitz, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. His assessments of unexpected crises have been uncannily accurate. He said that the first 700 billion USD (25.412 trillion roubles. 546.21 billion euros. 484.89 billion UK pounds) given over to the banks was wasted, for they did not resume any loans. Professor Stiglitz likes the idea of setting up a special bank for problematic assets by buying them from the banks even less. As a result, they will simply run bankrupt, because banks are kept afloat by the problematic assets for which they may still get something in the future. Once again, we can draw unpleasant parallels with the EU and Russia, where banks are reluctant to issue loans, and nobody knows what to do with bad assets. Should they be written off as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested in Davos? What will happen with the banks in this case? That should be thoroughly analysed.

Professor Stiglitz doesn’t like Obama’s plan either. He explained that it would lead the United States to the third stage of the crisis, an unacceptable internal debt up to 10 trillion USD (363.029 trillion roubles. 7.803 trillion euros. 6.927 trillion UK pounds) and a budget deficit of 1.4 trillion USD (50.824 billion roubles. 1.092 billion euros. 970 million UK pounds). These figures are unprecedented since the end of World War II. Interest rates on this debt that will have to be paid to American creditors are a third problem (in addition to finances and unemployment). In this case, many nations, not only the Americans, will wish they could hibernate together with Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog for a long time to come, because the ideas of how to extricate themselves out of the crisis have been very similar everywhere so far.

2 February 2009
Dmitri Kosyrev

RIA-Novosti (in English)
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