There is considerable confusion between the various terms used to describe most of the territory of Northern Eurasia, generally known by the name of Russia. This is a very loose, geographical term. Used imprecisely, it can denote either the Russian Federation, or the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire. Thus the term ‘The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia’ (ROCOR) was used to mean ‘The Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Russian Empire’ (although it is increasingly coming to mean ‘The Russian Orthodox Church in the Anglosphere’ (ROCA?)). Let us look at the three temporary political formations which the term ‘Russia’ can be used to cover and how the term relates to the spiritual term ‘Holy Rus’.
Three Temporary Political Formations
The Russian Federation
The Russian Federation (1991 – present) is simply the present three-quarters of the old Russian Empire and is the result of the dismemberment of the old Soviet Union a generation ago. It is a temporary and the contemporary version of the country that covers most of the territory of Northern Eurasia. Sadly, the Russian Federation inherited the sad Soviet ‘abcde’ legacy: alcoholism, (a)bortion, corruption, divorce and environmental degradation, though it is successively fighting against all of them. The Russian Federation is an intermediate State organization that will inevitably die out and, at best, be replaced by something superior or, at worst, something inferior.
The Soviet Union
The Soviet Union (1917-1991) inherited much that was good from the old Russian Empire, for example, free and high-level education and medicine, social justice, anti-colonialism. However, its disastrous, atheist, German Jewish ideology of centralist Communism was utterly genocidal from the beginning and many, many millions lost their lives in repression, torture, persecutions and artificial famines and its vicious persecutions of the Church produced millions of martyrs. Its inherent injustice and corruption led to many falling into alcoholism as the only escape from it. When it collapsed through betrayal after three generations, more of the remaining heritage of the old Russian Empire, both in territorial terms and in terms of values, was also lost.
The Russian Empire
The Russian Empire (1721-1917) covered a vast multinational Northern Eurasian territory, one sixth of the world, with at its height territory even on three continents. However, it collapsed after the betrayal of the elite of the Empire in 1917. It then developed into the tragic atheist Soviet Union which decayed three generations later, also by betrayal. The betrayal of Imperial Russia after less than 200 years was carried out by aristocrats (the ancestors of today’s oligarchs and the descendants of the medieval boyars), merchants (today’s businessmen) and bureaucrats (the ancestors of Soviet apparatchiks and later today’s corrupt officials). All these proved to be for the most part traitors and turncoats, seeking their own egoistic advantages.
Conclusion: Holy Rus
The historical term Rus means the territory of the East Slavs, which today means the Russian Federation, the Ukraine and Belarus. However, the spiritual term ‘Holy Rus’ (sometimes imprecisely translated as ‘Holy Russia’) denotes anywhere in the world where Russian Orthodoxy is confessed. This includes not only the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, but Moldova, parts of Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and communities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, England, France, Argentina and scores of other countries on all five continents.
Holy Rus is our identity, that of the Christian Empire. Although this Orthodox identity encompasses different languages and locally-venerated saints, this diversity is held in unity by our faithfulness to the Russian Orthodox Tradition, Holy Rus. All temporary political formations contain spiritual impurity, none measures up to Holy Rus, not even the Russian Empire, which came closest to it. Our goal of building up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth is to build up Holy Rus and everything is measured by this criterion.