On the Birth of Christ and the Fall of the USSR

25 December 2011, 17:41 | Michael Cherenkov's column | 1 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

By Mykhailo CHERENKOV

Mykhailo CHERENKOVThe Soviet Union died to the sounds of Christmas celebrations.  December 25, 1991, when the whole Christian world was remembering the birth of the King, President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev relinquished his powers. The event served as yet another example of the mystic connection between political and spiritual history, between earthly and heavenly kingdoms.  Christianity had survived yet another empire.

Signs of those memorable times were an unprecedented spiritual hunger and a longing for freedom. It seemed that in such revolutionary circumstances change for the better would follow quickly, and would be irreversible. For a short time Moscow was the center and magnet for world activity, all eyes were on her, and the future was determined there. Unfortunately this movement quickly lost its strength, and a search for alternatives and a longing for change did not lead to the creation of civil society, a separation of Church and state, a cultural awakening, a change in the elite, or a renewed worldview.

The post-Soviet nation was left unprepared to pay the high price demanded by freedom, and even less to use that freedom for difficult and responsible work.  For a majority freedom came as a result of a weakened government, and not as the result of a long-term and concentrated battle with it. The love affair with the West was ended. The euphoria of big opportunities was also past. Then came the realization that they would not become European by “wanting it badly enough,” and that the path to civilization would be long and hard, that no magic carpet would carry them to a better life.  Together with this bitter realization came anger towards those “over there,” and proletarian resentment arose.

Recent statistics from the Pew Research Center (“Confidence in Democracy and Capitalism Wanes in Former Soviet Union”, December 5, 2011) demonstrate shifts in the relationship between democracy and the market in the last 20 years—a growth in disappointment in democracy and the market, a growing demand for strong leadership and a caring government, a readiness to trade personal freedom for governmental stability, and a weariness with pluralism. This research shows similar trends in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania. So this is not so much Russian influence as Soviet. The post-Soviet syndrome can be seen in Eurasian Russians, European Lithuanians, and multi-directional Ukrainians.

Christmas 2011 reminds us of the events of 1991 not only because it is an anniversary, a round number, but also because of national agitation, crowds in squares, a ripening revolutionary situation.  Once more tens of thousands of people are demanding change. Once again the internal weakness of imperialistic regimes becomes clear. Once again the question arises of a better future.  For fairness’ sake one must admit that not only Kiev and Moscow “can’t” and “don’t want to,” but also Athens, Paris, Rome, New York, and London.  But these days it is Moscow that attracts the attention of the world. It is there, where, it would seem, the nation is used to remaining silent, where freedom is quenched with oil, where traditions of serfdom are strong, and where religion enlightens self-government and the Bible forbids free thought, that unexpected movements arise, indignant masses, and self-organized civil society.

Mass protests and a lively search for fairness return the nation to its historical situation of 20 years ago.  Then communism replaced capitalism, and totalitarianism was exchanged for “democracy,” with no questions asked about spiritual foundations and worldview principles. To paraphrase Augustine, one could say that the spirit of the nation is a Christian woman. And without taking into account her needs, without her freedom, without her free faith, political and economic “reforms” will turn out to be a massive lie. Christmas is a judgment on regimes which were built on submission of the nation and crushing its freedoms. Without Christ the people will be slaves to either a foreign Caesar, or “their own” Herod.

Christmas is also a judgment on modern Pharisees, pillars of official religiosity. A baptized, but unenlightened Rus, needs a free unpoliticized Church. While the Church and the Kremlin develop the Russian world, Christ does not enter their doors. He is outside the lavish palaces, but with the people. It would appear that on the day of His birth, Christ was not in a magnificent cathedral, but on Sakharov Avenue [where many of the recent protests have taken place].

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  • jasvami | 25 December 2011, 21:59
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    Нынешний Христос, ни в каких храмах не принимает участи в служениях "великой блудницы", даже посвященных Его прежнему рожденству. И к мирским мероприятиям,вроде демонстраций протеста. тем более не имеет отношения.

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  • bopa | 8 June 2020, 11:43

    То перераховані факти ви називаєте "фантазиями и ночными кошмарами"? Чому викладену інформацію ви "Очередная статья нижайшего интеллектуального уровня"? У вас

  • Slava43 | 4 June 2020, 13:46

    Це жодна агітація. На Буковині казали :»Мойше герехт, Сури герехт».

  • Slava43 | 4 June 2020, 13:39

    За часів союза, УПЦ підлягала моіковському патріярхату, примусово. Від незалежності УПЦ старалась отримати незалежність від Москви. Тепер, коли Україна має ТОМОС та незалежність то Лавру потрібно

  • Стефан | 2 June 2020, 15:54

    Последние события показали глубокий кризис РПЦ МП, где только отдельные редкие священнослужители твёрдо исповедуют Православную Веру, как схиигумен отец Сергий Романов, которого сейчас травят

  • Рокитне | 2 June 2020, 12:34

    Це добре було б.

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