Daily Archives: October 27, 2014

An Interview with Popular Russian Author and Politician Nikolai Starikov

The new elections in the western Ukraine (they did not take place elsewhere) have, with a small turnout and reports of widespread rigging, re-elected the corrupt oligarch leader, who calls himself ‘Poroshenko’ (his mother’s surname), as head of the Kiev junta. Having lost the support of the Church and the masses, with support only from nationalistic sects, his Ukraine faces bankruptcy. The USA and the EU which installed the present regime have no money to subsidize it. With two lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their defeated troops scurrying to leave both countries, the Middle East in a bloodbath because of Western-armed and financed Islamic terrorists, terrorism throughout northern Africa, ebola in western Africa and a China which has overtaken the USA, the Western world, itself bankrupt, has cares other than the backward and provincial Ukraine.

With winter coming, the anti-Church Poroshenko has ordered temperatures inside Ukrainian homes not to exceed 15 degrees Celsius (60 Fahrenheit). The only warm homes in the Ukraine are in the Crimea, which voluntarily returned en masse to Russia after a 60-year occupation by the Ukraine, and in the newly-liberated areas of the eastern Ukraine which have regained their freedom from the neo-Nazi tyranny in Kiev, which suppresses free speech and internet and censors the media. Meanwhile, the US-ordered civil war against the Free Ukraine continues in the east and the north and the south, further draining the Kiev’s finances. In a word, the Ukrainian tragedy continues. Below we reprint an interview with a popular Russian Orthodox historian on the current situation in the Ukraine:


Nikolay Starikov, a historian, is an extremely popular author and blogger from St. Petersburg. Several of his books are current best-sellers. He is on TV all the time, one of the most visible of a new type of up-and-coming politician. He recently founded The Great Fatherland Party, a conservative, patriotic party which espouses Christian values. The thing to understand is that he is very mainstream. He echoes what a majority of Russians believe.

Part of his success is that he is very articulate and intellectual. On TV, he often plays a professorial role, explaining complex subjects in terms people can understand – history, economics, current events. He has a very reasonable, matter-of-fact, cut-to-the-chase demeanour and it is a hit with the public. If you want to understand what Russia is thinking, and where it is heading, pay attention to this man. Here is the interview with him:

You say you are a “nationalist” Russian. Whom do you consider Russian? Are Russian values different from Ukrainian values?

Russians and Ukrainians are one people. 100 years ago there were Great Russians, Little Russians (Ukrainians), and White Russians (Belarussians). These definitions are more appropriate than current designations. It is not offensive to say “Little Russia” because it just means “original,” with Kiev the Russian city from which all of Russia originated.

Therefore, Ukrainians and Russians are the same people with slight cultural, culinary, and linguistic differences.

Being Russian is not just ethnicity but a specific world view.

Overall, there are no separate values between Russians and Ukrainians, who, along with other nationalities comprise a big “Russian world”.

Are there any values that are specific to the Russian world and are different from, say, European or American values?

Yes. The main difference is their goal in life. In the Russian world, the goal of life is to follow certain morals and commonly held values, such as duty. Western traditions are more egotistical, living for oneself. Today’s Western consumer society is a direct result of that.

If I could sum it up, being Russian means serving God. In the West, it is more of an agreement with God.

Is there room for cooperation between these different civilizations?

It is not only possible, but we must find a compromise. The problem, however, is that there needs to be an effort from both sides. There was a search for compromise between 1945 and 1991.

Now the West does not want to listen to Russia, it does not want to see Russia on the world map. A good example is current American attempts to pit two parts of the same people [Ukrainians and Russians] against each other.

Russians are ready for a compromise. But we are not the ones instigating civil war in Canada or Mexico.

So what do you think accounts for what you see as anti-Russian American policy?

First, I have no doubt that America is behind the Ukrainian coup, much like the coups in Libya, Syria and other countries, and even in friendly countries like Egypt.

The reasons are the same as the reasons behind World War I and World War II: to weaken competitors and make the dollar—and now keep the dollar— as the only reserve currency.

In our interview with Denis Pushilin (former leader of one of the regions in East Ukraine), he said he would like to see Donetsk as part of a Russian Empire. What are your views on this statement?

I think Mr. Pushilin has a rather narrow view. We must talk not just about Donetsk and Lugansk, but about the entire territory of present-day Ukraine.

This territory is the cradle of the Russian world and I would like to see Ukraine as a part of it. If certain parts of Ukraine don’t want to be a part of the Eurasian Union or Customs Union, then they can choose to go in another direction. That is what we are talking about when we talk about the federalization of Ukraine. But right now there are attempts to suppress the will of the eastern Ukrainian people with military force. It should be up to the locals to decide which path they take.

How can the conflict in Ukraine be resolved?

There are usually two ways. One is a military victory of one side over the other. The other way is for the two sides to lay down their arms and start negotiating. Right now, the Ukrainian government, which came to power as a result of a coup, is being backed by the West and that is why it has adopted such an inflexible line towards eastern Ukraine.

If Europe and America would tell Ukraine to start negotiating, they would do so immediately because they are essentially puppets of the Washington regime.

If they are Washington’s puppets, why is President Putin calling for dialogue with them?

In order for the bloodshed to stop, you must negotiate with someone. Mr. Putin, along with millions of Russians, considers the current Ukrainian government as simply being amoral politicians. But in order to stop the fighting, we must talk with someone.

What is your opinion on the recent presidential elections in the Ukraine?

I am ready to consider them legitimate as soon as the United States approves of the recent Syrian elections that took place amid a military conflict.

Many experts have suggested that what Russia really wants is a frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine, which it could then use to its own advantage. What is your assessment of this claim?

Russia does not want any conflicts on its borders, as they may spill over into Russia. For the United States this is a distant conflict and most State Department officials cannot find Ukraine on a map.

You have repeatedly referred to the government in Kiev as “fascist.” Besides claims that they are using military force against civilians, what other similarities do you see between Kiev and Nazi Germany?

If people see Hitler and those who fought alongside Nazis as their idols, can we not call these people Nazis?

You are talking about Stepan Bandera [the Ukraine nationalist who collaborated with the Nazis during their invasion of the Soviet Union]?


Can you name some specific organizations or people that you consider “Nazis”?

Right Sector, Svoboda, and anyone who marches through the streets with posters of Bandera.

You have mentioned earlier that only a small minority of people in eastern Ukraine have taken up arms. What accounts for such a small number of those willing to fight?

There is nothing new about this. Even during the Russian civil war, tens of millions of people did not take up arms. Most normal people are usually hesitant to fight, thinking any crisis will just blow over.

And yet the Maidan protests attracted thousands of people.
Yes, but I don’t think they all signed up to join Right Sector and went to fight in the East.

We are not talking about military matters, but simply people showing up to express support for their point of view.
There were also two million people who voted for secession in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. There are only about four thousand people who are ready to fight, and those are people who signed up for the Ukrainian National Guard. The Eastern separatists have more people than that.

What is the future of Russia-NATO relations?

I see a future of relations that are courteous and without constant provocations, such as the ones by NATO against Russia. Our American colleagues would understand our position better if we wanted to put a couple hundred missiles in Mexico and Canada. They should remember the rather strong reaction by President John Kennedy to Soviet attempts to put missiles in Cuba.

Those defending NATO expansion say that those countries wanted to be part of NATO.

Okay. But Cuba also wanted to house Soviet missiles voluntarily.
If America did not object to Russian missiles in Cuba, would you support Ukraine joining NATO?

That would be a great trust-building measure on their part, and Russia would feel that America is a friend.

Towards a Russian Orthodox Brotherhood in Europe (R.O.B.E.)


It is one thing to be a theoretical member of the Church, but it is another to practise the Faith in life. As we can see from schismatic Uniatism, which keeps many outward observances of the Church, it is possible to observe a ritual but to be spiritually separated from the Church and so degenerate. Of those who remain in the Church but want to reduce the Church to outward observances like Uniatism, it may be said that they are in a ‘pre-Uniat’ state. Indeed, in our own times, we can see from certain ideas and even practices which have entered the Church from the outside world that it is possible to be nominally or intellectually (the same thing) Orthodox, but practically to deny both Christ and the Holy Spirit in one’s heart and so in one’s life. Such temptations are schismatic because ultimately they separate from the Church, as we can see in Estonia, for instance, where a small group of Estonian Orthodox spiritually separated from their canonical Church and Her traditions. Such temptations are present everywhere, although here we are concerned with Western Europe.

The Denial of Christ

Recently a young Moldovan parishioner showed me on his iPhone pictures of an ‘Orthodox’ church (in a large city in the USA). It had no iconostasis and had frescoes which looked as though they had been painted by a child. The child had thoroughly mastered the outward technique of icon-painting but did not understand that icons are intended to make us pray, thinking that their function is purely decorative. In other words, the technique was perfect, but there was no feeling and no content, just as in Uniatism, a ritualistic or intellectual Orthodoxy. Quite naturally the parishioner asked me if the picture was of a Catholic church which was copying the Orthodox Church. I had to tell him, since I recognized the photo, that in fact it belonged to a group whose Greek Catholic (Uniat) ancestors had returned to the Church over 100 years ago, but had not yet left their Uniat mentality behind them and acquired the Orthodox spirit. He told me that although this might be ‘good for Americans’, he personally would not attend such a church if he lived in the USA. I sympathized with him.

The problem with groups which have not acquired Orthodox culture and copy heterodox culture is that pastorally they reject rooted Orthodox in favour of ethnic (in this case, American) cliques and clubs of converts. They may attract a few Non-Orthodox or Orthodox who have lost all their roots, but they do not attract Churched Orthodox. We can think of divisive convert groups in Western Europe which have made the same mistakes. Thus, in one convert chapel in England, Greek is forbidden, since the whole service ‘must be in English’. In another convert chapel of the same group, the Sunday service, the only one, has been described as ‘the Book of Common Prayer with extracts from St John Chrysostom’. In a third convert chapel of a jurisdiction in France, local Romanians are made to feel unwelcome because ‘they don’t behave like us’. And in a fourth case in the same jurisdiction there is in a large town a convert chapel, whose congregation numbers six, but over 100 ‘ethnic’ Orthodox living nearby who do not attend the chapel because ‘it doesn’t feel right’.

Such cliquish and self-serving attitudes, no ‘foreigners’ allowed, ‘go back to your own country’ (to quote the actual words of one convert) is typical of small, inward-looking groups with an ethnic Establishment superiority complex. Their pride is responsible for their jurisdictional separation from the rest of the Church. Such Anglican ethnicism is of course matched by the ethnicism of certain immigrant clergy, who categorically refuse to receive English or other people into the Church, because, I quote literally, ‘you are not dark enough’, or who tell them to ‘go away and become Anglican or Catholic’. In all these cases, the lack of desire to serve others, the lack of any missionary witness to other nationalities or ecumenist compromise, shows that such individuals fundamentally do not believe that the Orthodox Church is the Church of Christ and consider that their mission is only to those who have a certain secular passport. They have put their nationality (their worldly identity) above Christ. In other words, they deny Christ, the heavenly passport, in favour of this world.

The Denial of the Holy Spirit

In the last century there also appeared a subtle form of the denial of the Holy Spirit in a theory of ecclesiology called ‘eucharistic ecclesiology’. In origin this is a sociological reflection of the highly abnormal, uprooted conditions in which Paris Russian émigrés lived in the mid-20th century. It involves deliberate and political disincarnation and separation from their Church and State of origin through the domination of highly politicized and sectarian personalities (who, ironically, claimed to be ‘apolitical’!), without a normal episcopal presence and so without episcopal ecclesiology, without normal monastic life and so without monastic and ascetic ecclesiology. This quite cultish, personalist theory, or rather philosophy, of disincarnate spirituality was elaborated among others by the late Fr Nikolai Afanasiev. At best, such a philosophy was one-sided, but at worst, in the hands of the Protestantizing, like the late Fr Alexander Schmemann, or the politicized in Constantinople, it very rapidly became a form of Protestant congregationalism.

For the latter, extraordinarily, the centre of Church life was not repentance, which is what St John the Baptist and the whole Church Tradition calls us to, but the eucharist. However, the eucharist is not a cause, but a result, in fact a result of repentance; to invert the two in such a way is to put the cart before the horse, for there is no eucharist without first repentance (without preparation, including confession). In other words, this eucharistic ecclesiology had no ascetic sense, it was triumphalist and ‘charismatic’ – in the negative sense of self-exaltation. This Protestant/congregationalist cast of mind of the ‘we are already saved’ variety is why this philosophy was influential at the protestantizing Second Vatican Council. It is also reflected in the protestantizing, French-language liturgical books put out by a politicized lay fraternity in Paris. It is notable that the ever-memorable Fr John Romanidis rejected such a 20th century philosophy, after being influenced by it in his youth, and that most of those who still talk about it are now very elderly.

This also explains why spirituality-less modernism (like its ancestor Protestantism) rapidly descends either into boring and futile secularism and/or boring and futile moralism. The fact that moralism, which has so poisoned generations of Western people and often reduced them to amoralism and immoralism by reaction, is due to a lack of spirituality, explains why many modernists, deeply secular, are also moralists. However, although moralism can be modernistic, this does not mean that it is always left-wing; moralism can very easily descend into deep conservativism (the right-wing). And conservatism of the right is no more traditional than modernism of the left. Standing above both isms, the Tradition of the Church is instead radical, for its stands above all worldliness, whether it is left-wing and liberal or right-wing and conservative. And this we can see very clearly in the lives of such saints as St John of Shanghai, who, as a saint was obviously not a modernist, but was not at all a conservative either. This was because he was radical, that is, he belonged to the Tradition.


It has long been my hope, for I believe that it is long overdue, that one day we shall see a multinational Russian Orthodox Brotherhood in Europe (R.O.B.E.). If it has not been for the enslavement of Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union, it would surely have come about two generations ago. Such a Brotherhood would be under Russian Orthodox episcopal supervision, uniting all Russian Orthodox of both parts of the Russian Church, of all nationalities, in other words, uniting all of us who follow the One Tradition, together with Serbs, Georgians and lovers of the Tradition from other Local Churches. Being united, we would be witnesses to the integral Faith, able to counter ethnicism (convert or other), the anti-episcopal, anti-monastic and anti-ascetic prejudices of the older generation and the schismatic Uniatizing and protestantizing modernism prevalent in certain jurisdictions. This would mean the assertion of the Incarnation and the Ascetic, the assertion of Christ and the Holy Spirit, without which a Local Church in Western Europe can never be founded.