1408Bulletin 7:24 (2013)
- Apr 3, 2014
THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 7, No. 24(212), 3 April 2014
Compilers: Parikrama Gupta, Daria Maliutina, Vildane Oezkan & Andreas Umland
I NEWS: 15 - 31 October 2013
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
III ANNOTATIONS OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS
[NOTE: When quoting from an article found here, please, mention the RNB, as the source. Thank you!]
I NEWS: 15 - 31 October 2013
Eid al-Adha festivities in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region draw 42,000
Interfax, October 15, 2013
More than 40,000 people attended celebrations of the Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) Muslim holiday in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
"A total of 42,000 people took part in the festivities. No public order offences were registered," a regional police spokesman told Interfax on Tuesday.
Some 1,000 police officers maintained security during the Eid al-Adha events in the region.
After the morning prayer, Muslims will be able to perform a ritual animal sacrifice in the villages of Novosergeyevka, Shushary, Koltushi and Pesochny outside St. Petersburg.
Moscow authorities ban nationalist rally citing security concerns
RT, October 17, 2013
City officials have revoked the earlier-granted license for an October 19 nationalist rally, saying they could not guarantee the safety of participants after recent ethnic conflicts in the district of Biryulyovo.
One of the organizers of the rally, the leader of the ‘Russians’ political bloc Dmitry Dyomushkin wrote in his internet blog that he and other organizers of the rally had been summoned to a district prefecture and informed that the previously issued permit for the rally had been annulled.
Civil servants explained that they could not guarantee the safety of rally participants after weekend events in the district of Biryulyovo. Police detained about 400 rioters and over 1,000 foreign citizens in Biryulyovo and closed one of Russia’s largest vegetable warehouses following a conflict sparked by the fatal stabbing of a local Russian man, allegedly by an Azerbaijani illegal immigrant.
The authorities also said that they preferred not to hold a nationalist rally whilst Muslims were celebrating the holiday of Kurban Bairam (Eid al-Adha) which started on October 15 and lasts for four days.
According to Dyomushkin, the authorities granted permission for the rally on October 9. The event was to be held on Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street in the north-west of Moscow, almost across the city from the southern suburb of Biryulyovo.
Dyomushkin currently heads the supreme council of a loose nationalist ‘Russians’ bloc with an agenda of protecting the rights of ethnic Russians both inside the Russian Federation and abroad. Dyomushkin also used to head the ‘Slavic Union’ movement, which was banned in 2010 as extremist and racist.
At the same time, some of Dyomushkin’s moves indicate that he is open for dialogue with other ethnic groups and confessions. In 2011 he traveled to the Chechen republic at the invitation of local authorities and highly praised the developments in the region and the governing style of its leader. In early 2012 he again traveled to Chechnya and spoke before the parliament of the republic, praising the role of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation.
Dyomushkin is also known as a key organizer of the so called Russian Marches – mass rallies of Russian nationalists that take place annually on November 4 which is marked in the Russian Federation as the Day of People’s Unity. In 2011, between 10,000 and 25,000 people rallied at the Russian March in the remote Moscow district of Lyublino. In 2012, the march was held in the city center and also gathered over 10 thousand participants.
The ‘Russians’ bloc has already announced that it is preparing for a Russian March in 2013, but has not yet submitted an official request to the city authorities.
Migrant raids in Moscow largely waste of time
Moscow News, October 18, 2013
The weekly sweeps targeting illegal migrants in Moscow are certainly an ambitious project.
It’s just too bad that they won’t do much good.
The police plan on going door-to-door, to find out exactly where and from whom that migrants are renting living space, according to Moscow Police Chief Anatoly Yakunin. This new measure has been introduced in the wake of a riot that erupted in the south Moscow neighborhood of Biryulyovo, after resident Yegor Shcherbakov was stabbed to death allegedly by a foreigner. The alleged killer has already been apprehended.
These demonstrative attempts to keep the migrants in check are obviously not going to do much good when it comes to combating actual crime. Tough registration laws mean that a bunch of migrants who are trying to be law-abiding are, in fact, breaking the law. The fact that the Moscow rental market is largely a “gray” market – with most landlords avoiding taxes (many of them doing so simply because taxes are too much hassle) is yet another problem that makes the registration issue more acute. In that sense, a bunch of people who are not really criminals, yet find themselves in difficult legal situations, will be ripe for victimization.
Real criminals will have an easy time avoiding law enforcement altogether. This is because criminal networks in Moscow are well-organized and established – and know how to protect their own.
Considering the fact that according to some estimates, the Moscow police force is already seriously overstretched – the weekly raids could ensure that instead of chasing actual, violent thugs, law enforcement will be wasting its precious resources on small-time violators.
This isn’t progress. This is simulation of progress. It won’t solve the many different issues around uncontrolled migration and crime in Moscow. It may perhaps make the police chief look good, but for how long?
Court arrests nationalist suspected of organizing provocations in St. Pete during Kurban Bayram
Interfax-Religion, October 18, 2013
St. Petersburg, October 18, Interfax - The St. Petersburg Vyborgsky District Court has arrested Nikolay Bondarik, chairman of the public movement Russian Party, at the investigators' request.
Bondarik has been arrested until December 16, an Interfax correspondent has reported.
The court hearing was closed to the press to protect the witnesses.
The investigator had asked the judge to take into account the suspect's authority among nationalist organizations, saying they could have put pressure on the witnesses.
Bondarik was detained in St. Petersburg on October 16 in connection with the investigation into a criminal case involving the fanning of hatred.
"Bondarik, 47, is suspected of creating and running an organized criminal group that enticed a 16-year old boy to cut his hand with a knife and later publish in the Internet false information stating he had become a victim of a hate attack carried out by people who fanned hatred and feuds against people with origins in Central Asia and the Caucasus and Muslims,:" the press service for the city's investigators reported.
Bondarik is also suspected of having offered to Vasily Baranov 20,000 rubles for "actions aimed at fanning hatred based on ethnic origins and religious affiliations."
According to the Investigations Committee, Bondarik's accomplices shot Baranov with a traumatic weapon, wounding him, on St. Petersburg's Prospekt Prosveshcheniya on October 16. Baranov told the police and the doctors he had been wounded by a man who worked at a local kiosk, who was a non-Russian.
The investigations department of St. Petersburg's Investigations Committee earlier opened two criminal cases based on Part 2 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code (fanning hatred and feuds) based on two facts of provocations carried out by nationalists. The police found that both attacks were premeditated.
Sergey Umnov, the head of the Interior Ministry's Main Department for St. Petersburg, told a press conference on October 16 that law enforcement officials had questioned two people who confessed involvement in those provocations and said they had been promised money for them. In both cases, the injuries were inflicted on the victims by the organizers of the provocations.
Eight detained after Russian nationalists attack 'foreigners’
Global Post, October 20, 2013
Russian police said they had detained eight Russian nationalists for assaulting "foreign-looking" people during a march down a central Saint Petersburg street on Sunday.
Apparent marchers attacked shops and threw stones and smoke-bombs, said local news website fontanka.ru. Quoting witnesses, it put the number of people held at 16.
One victim suffered an injury to his head, possibly after being beaten with a baseball bat, and was taken away by ambulance, said the website.
Demonstrators roughed up at least two people who did "not look Slav", Itar-Tass news agency quoted another police source as saying.
A police officer told AFP that "eight people were detained for disorderly conduct" during the march that had been joined by about 150 young men and women.
"They attacked passers-by," said one officer.
The march in Russia's former imperial capital came amid rising xenophobia in Russia targeting mainly migrants from former Soviet republics in the southern Caucasus and Central Asia.
Rights activists have repeatedly warned of a surge in xenophobia, and more and more Russians sympathise with the nationalist cause.
President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of doing nothing to stop ultra-nationalism, has not publicly commented on riots that erupted on October 13 over the killing several days earlier of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in front of his girlfriend.
The killer fled the scene but police later arrested a suspect from Azerbaijan.
Black players may boycott Russian World Cup
Stuff.co.nz, 26 October 2013
Black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the country does not tackle racism in the stands, Manchester City's Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure was quoted as saying today.
Toure, whose allegations that he was a victim of racist abuse during their 2-1 Champions League victory at CSKA Moscow have prompted UEFA to open disciplinary proceedings against the club, said FIFA and Russian authorities needed to act.
"It's very important," British media quoted him as saying. "Otherwise we are not confident coming to the World Cup in Russia. We don't come."
The idea of a boycott did not sit well with some Premier League managers and Chelsea's Jose Mourinho said the enjoyment of the majority should not be ruined by the actions of the minority.
"A huge percentage of the people that go to football stadiums are people who respect the differences and respect everybody, and they are more important than the small groups that express themselves in a negative way," he told a news conference.
"The history of football was made by many races. Let's fight the thousands but let's give to the billions what the billions want, and that is the best football with the best players from all over the world, whatever their race."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said UEFA needed to complete its investigation before there could be any talk of a boycott.
"To go as extreme as you suggested (boycott), it's a bit early to do that because it's not proven what happened," he told a news conference.
"I believe that Russia itself has to fight against that and of course you want everybody to be active on that."
The episode has been embarrassing for European soccer's governing body UEFA, who had declared this week 'Football Against Racism in Europe Action Week'.
It has been criticised by world players' union FIFPro for failing to enforce its own guidelines, under which match officials have the power to stop and abandon games in case of a serious incident.
Today, UEFA president Michel Platini ordered an internal inquiry into why Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan and his assistants did not follow the guidelines.
CSKA have denied Toure's allegation, saying they were "surprised and disappointed" by it..
Toure, who speaks Russian after spending two years playing in Ukraine for Metalurg Donetsk, said the abuse he experienced in Moscow was worse than anything he encountered in Ukraine.
"We had some racism in Ukraine, but maybe only one, two or three people, not in groups like that (on Wednesday)," he said.
Tajikistan: Nationalism Suspected as Train Attacked in Russia
Eurasianet, October 29, 2013
A group of more than 20 people, some shouting nationalist slogans, are reported to have attacked a Tajik train crossing Russia.
The attack took place at midnight on October 26, Asia-Plus news agency reported on October 29, quoting a Tajik diplomat in Moscow.
Around 20 young men of Slavic appearance attacked the train at the Ternovka railway station in southern Russia, the report quoted Mohammad Egamzod, a spokesman for the Tajik embassy in Moscow, as saying. He said the assault was “accompanied by offensive words and racist threats against the passengers,” several of whom had been “slightly injured” while train windows had also been broken. Egamzod added that Russian transport police and railway staff “did not take any measures to prevent the attack.”
The Tajik embassy in Moscow has asked Russia “to impartially investigate the xenophobic attack that occurred with the connivance of local law enforcement authorities and representatives of the Yugo-Vostochnaya Railway and to cover all expenses related to the attack,” the Asia-Plus report added.
Yet Tajik Railways disputed this version of events, saying that the incident amounted to no more than a few children throwing stones at the train, breaking six windows. “I would like to note that this happens everywhere, and even in our country children throw stones at trains,” Mamadyusuf Abdurakhmonov, the head of the Tajik Railways passenger service, told the Tajik Telegraph Agency (TajikTA) on October 29.
Adding to the confusion, Asia-Plus quoted a different, unidentified source at Tajik Railways as speculating that anti-migrant sentiment was behind the attack. “I cannot say why a group of 20 people attacked our train,” the source said. “It is possible that it is linked to a strengthening in anti-migrant moods in Russia.”
The Moscow-Dushanbe train is frequently used by labor migrants. Approximately one million Tajiks are thought to work abroad, mostly in Russia, where labor migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus sometimes face racist-inspired violent attacks. Anti-migrant sentiment in Russia has been fueled by a murder blamed on a man from Azerbaijan that sparked race riots in Moscow earlier this month.
By World Bulletin
Searchlight, October 30, 2013
Last week, the leader of the LDPR party Vladimir Zhirinovsky alarmed the public with many comments made on Russia’s Rossiy-1 TV channel, which many felt was an incitement to ethnic and religious hatred. Zhirinovsky called for the quarantining of the Caucasus, as well as the imposing of a police curfew. He later defended his comments, implying that they are simply international practices to ward off drug-dealing and "terrorism", although he did not mention which countries apply such measures. Regardless, his speech angered the 10 million people living in the Caucasus, most of whom are Muslims. A prominent Russian Orthodox priest, Vsevolod Chaplin, criticized the far-right leader’s comments and was quoted by RT as saying “Russia can have a future only as a community of all peoples that created it and that have formed it over many centuries. This is why the people of the Caucasus who play a serious role in modern Russia’s life and its history, should develop freely, including the freedom to give birth to as many children as they deem necessary. The same applies to the Russian people.”
The Chechen Republic has suspended the LDPR party’s activities in the region while the leader of the liberalist party Yabloko, Sergey Mitrokhin, has called for Zhirinovsky to be charged with Nazism. Credit: World Bulletin
Bishop: ethnic Russians discriminated against in south Russia
Interfax-Religion, October 31, 2013
Moscow, October 31, Interfax - A senior Russian Orthodox bishop has claimed that Russian speakers "often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination" in regions in Russia's North Caucasus where they are in the minority.
"We are used to thinking that it is only smaller ethnic groups that need protection. That is not true. In many of the republics [of Russia], Russians form minorities, which often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination," Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomyssk and head of the Synodal Committee for Relations with the Cossack Community, told a meeting in Moscow on Thursday of the World Russian People's Council.
"Uncontrolled processes of migration, ethnic conflicts that are often artificially portrayed as trivial rows, lack of jobs, and low education and healthcare standards force Russian speakers to leave their homes and move to other regions," the metropolitan said.
"It is important to realize that the solution of burning problems that beset Russians in the Caucasus will give an impetus to the development and peaceful existence of the other ethnic groups," he said.
He criticized people vested with authority - "what they have received their high office from the state for, is not to hide from their voters and their problems, but, to address them."
He also said the Orthodox Church would boycott a planned "Congress of Slavs" in Stavropol on Saturday. There are many "pagans" in the region and some of them will attend the congress, he said. Moreover, there will also be nationalists there, some of them from Ukraine, the metropolitan said.
Ivanov: Russia doesn't accept absurd degree of Western political correctness, multiculturalism
Interfax-Religion, October 31, 2013
Moscow, October 31, Interfax - Russia should choose aspects consistent with its traditions when borrowing world experiences, Russian Presidential Administration head Sergey Ivanov said.
"Russia cannot and will not copy alien models blindly and thoughtlessly. We do not accept the absurd degree of Western-type political correctness and multiculturalism or the narrowly liberal market devoid of special mutual commitments," Ivanov said at the opening ceremony of the 17th meeting of the World Russian People's Council.
"When borrowing international economic and political experiences, we should choose [the aspects] which do not disagree with but develop our traditions and national identity," the chief of the Kremlin administration said.
He added it must be remembered that Russia's civilization was based on the values of its traditional religions, culture and worldviews of all peoples populating the country.
"These are the values of family, social morality, kindness, nobleness and charity; these values are the spiritual pillar of not only Orthodoxy but also of Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. We cannot move them to the background or, the more so, forget about them, because these values have always constituted the internal strength of our multinational people," Ivanov said.
Russia should improve its development model, fight social injustice and seek self-actualization of every person, he continued.
"We are also well aware of the need to improve the social and public development models," Ivanov said.
"We will be unable to move on if the society is disconnected, if we lose our moral pillars and the feeling of solidarity, if egoism, mutual mistrust, the principle of "every man for himself" and the primitive logic of prospering at any cost, even with immoral methods, come to dominate, if social injustice grows, and if social lifts and self-actualization opportunities for every person, especially the young, work poorly," he said.
These fundamental issues require a broad debate, he said.
"I expect the World Russian People's Council to make a weighty contribution to the discussion of these issues," Ivanov concluded.
Patriarch Kirill: Biryulyovo events demonstrate Russia's at critical point (updated)
Interfax-Religion, October 31, 2013
Ignoring interests of Russians leads to avalanche-like boom of aggressive manifestations
Moscow, October 31, Interfax - The latest events in Moscow's Biryulyovo district show that only the forces seeking to destroy Russia will gain from further disregard of the opinion of the Russian majority, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
"The latest clashes in the Moscow Biryulyovo district demonstrated that a deaf ear turned by the authorities to the demands of people and the unwillingness to search for joint solutions to the problems of excessive migration, related crimes and the behavior of foreigners, which is sometimes impudent, are bringing the situation to a critical limit," the Patriarch said at the opening ceremony of the 17th session of the World Russian People's Council.
"If the position of the Russian majority is ignored further, only the forces seeking to destroy Russia and provocateurs on both sides, which never stop trying to set ethnoses and religions against each other, will gain from that," the patriarch said.
"The prospect of alienation of Russians, primarily young Russians, from the state, state structures and business governance may be very dangerous," he said.
"It may develop into a major factor of destabilization in the near future and endanger the fundaments of our civilization," the patriarch said.
He disagreed with the opinion that Russia was for Russians only.
"But we will never agree with those who want Russia [to be a country] without Russians, devoid of its ethnic and religious face and the feeling of solidarity and unity. This scenario is fraught with catastrophic consequences not only for our country but also for the entire world," the patriarch said.
In his opinion, Russia "is a country-civilization" with its own values, public development laws, social and state model and system of historical and spiritual coordinates.
"Being a country-civilization, Russia has things to offer to the world, such as our experience of building fair and peaceful inter-ethnic relations. Russia has never had nationalities-masters and nationalities-slaves. Russia has never been a prison for nationalities and has never had nationalities of the first and second categories. Is not that the source of the people's profound rejection of fascism, which offered a totally different concept of inter-ethnic relations?" Patriarch Kirill asked.
In addition, Russia has a special experience of "a multi-polar and plural order and a tradition of self-restriction, which is so important in the face of the approaching deficit of resources and an acute ecological crisis," the Church head said.
Patriarch Kirill believes there are forces, which support everything that may weaken and divide the Russian people and disorient their worldview and morals. "It seems the worst fear of these forces is the genuine revival of the Russian civilization based on the belief connected to life and socially significant action," he said.
"The symphony of ethnoses, which makes our civilization unique, is impossible without Russians. The dialogue between peoples, which is bound to bring harmony to inter-ethnic relations, will not reach its goal without Russian voices and the Russian factor. The Council is a rather mature and influential organization to represent the Russian people on inter-ethnic debate floors," he stressed.
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
People of the schism: Old Believers are back (1667-2011) (Translated by James E. Walker.)
Oleg L. Shakhnazarov, Ph.D.
Anthropology & Archeology of Eurasia, vol. 46, no. 3 (Winter 2007–8), pp. 64–92.
In the seventeenth century a schism occurred in Russian society, and the consequences are still being felt. Tensions had been mounting over the preceding centuries, when many disagreements had grown between the opposing side concerning numerous serious problems. They were particularly acute regarding the power and place of Russia [rossiia] in the Christian world. Some believed that the tsar was chosen by God and thought that Russia should live according to foreign models. These were mostly a few urban dwellers, belonging to the upper strata of secular and clerical authority. Their opponents were predominantly provincial, from the middle clergy and lower social strata. They believed that the Russian people had been chosen by God and thought that foreigners should live on the model of Russia. Their ideology was concisely formulated as “Moscow—the Third Rome.”
Formally, the schism occurred as a result of a church reform carried out by the tsar, which went far beyond the bounds of church life proper. Together with the reform, the schism was conclusively set by the synods of 1666 and 1667. Followers of the tsar accused their opponents of inflexible conservatism, calling them either “Old Believers,” if the object was to emphasize their resistance to progress, or “Old Ritualists,” if the accusation was that ritual was more important to them than faith. With time, these names lost their disparaging connotation. In current historical literature they are used as the name of a confession, and Old Believers have reluctantly accepted this, but if you ask an Old Believer who he is by religion, he will say that he is Orthodox. The Old Believers themselves call their opponents sectarians, “Nikonians,” after the Patriarch of the Russian Church at the time of schism, or “New Believers,” that is, heretics.
The Old Believers lost the fight in the seventeenth century. They were forced to sew an identifying symbol on their clothing, were tortured in monastery cellars, and barbarically eradicated. Hundreds of thousands were maimed. Of the 10 million residents of Russia at that time, almost a million sought refuge abroad. Masses of Old Believers went into hiding in remote, sparsely populated regions. They were politically and economically oppressed and deprived of civil rights, freedom of speech, and religious freedom. The Old Believers decided that the apocalypse foreseen by St. John had come; the Antichrist had arrived in the world in the person of the Romanovs. They no longer considered the places of worship of the ruling church holy, and they categorized its priests as servants of the Antichrist. An uncompromising religious war began; they believed it would end with a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. In 1917, they took historical revenge, believing that the dream of Holy Rus could be realized in Soviet Russia. During the 270 years from 1667 to 1937, when the dream reached apogee, this war took tens of millions of lives.
At the outset the main participants in this national drama were from present-day Nizhegorod Oblast. I assess ideological stratification among their current progeny by the end of the article, but now I turn to the two men who have personified the schism in the public mind from the beginning: Nikon (1605–1681) and Avvakum (1621–1682), though of course they are not the crux of the matter. We know that not all Old Believers accepted what Avvakum preached. Nikon is even less central; pursuing his own interests, he became an agent of the ruling dynasty’s will. The essential element of the schism is not even the tsars, but that Russia had come to a point in its development when reforms were needed for making Russians abide by law and order, for urbanization, development of the national economy, and to make the country more competitive in relation to its Western neighbors.
Both Nikon and Avvakum were short-tempered, stubborn, and uncompromising. Both tried to impose their own order on the church and society at any price. Nikon’s brutality in regard to ideological opponents is well known, but Avvakum was no better. From Pustozersk prison, he advised Aleksei Mikhailovich to release him and his accomplices and, instead of “your compatriots,” to arrest and burn “the Catholics and Jews.” When Nikon fell into disfavor and the mirage of revenge appeared, Avvakum asked to be let out of prison so that he could “quarter” Nikon with his own hands. And when he had a disagreement with his comrade and cellmate, deacon Fedor, he informed their common tormentor, the Cossack lieutenant Andrei, that at night Fedor was creeping out of his semi-subterranean cage to make contact with the likeminded at large. Then Fedor was able to get word out that they seized him “and while I was naked began to beat me mercilessly with two clubs . . . until I bled. . . . And my friends watched and laughed!”1
Both Avvakum and Nikon learned to read and write early and stood out among their peers; both were ambitious, but because of their peasant origin the church was the only career option open to them.
Avvakum’s autobiography has survived in several revisions. They differ in his views of the authorities and practically not at all regarding his own life. Biographers2 have generally used these texts in the original redaction, without adding anything. A psychological portrait of Avvakum has occasionally been created on the basis of his epistolary legacy.3
The situation is different with Nikon. The existing redactions of his biography differ in important aspects. The first version was written by “a certain cleric,” Ivan Shusherin. In the nineteenth century, the biography was published numerous times by Archimandrite Apollos. In the preface to each new edition he explained that Shusherin knew Nikon well, but he was not always “strictly faithful to the truth,” and moreover, later generations learned about new circumstances. At the end of the nineteenth century, the group of authors grew, and with them, the number of previously unknown episodes from Nikon’s life.
The average family of their time was comprised of a father, who worked from dawn to dusk and was likely to carouse; a housewife and devoted mother; and four or five brothers and sisters. Avvakum’s childhood and adolescence were spent in such a family. But Nikita (as Nikon was called until taking his monastic vows) lived the first six years of his life in another family’s hut, in the care of a tender-hearted but unrelated woman. After six years, he went to his father’s house, under the heel of a stepmother who warranted the “customary reputation of stepmothers in Rus.”4 Instead of brothers and sisters he had his stepmother’s children, who received her motherly affection and better food and clothes.
Avvakum grew up in an atmosphere of love; Nikita, in one of hatred. Having lost first his father and then his mother, Avvakum took care of his many brothers and sisters, and then his own children (all known by name). He had a beloved and loving wife and was the spiritual father of many believers.
Nikon had children, but their names, birth dates, and dates and causes of death are unknown. The circumstances that motivated him to get married are interpreted in different ways. He banished his wife and tried to be a spiritual father only to the tsar.
Avvakum, who rose no higher than archpriest, left an extensive literary legacy, in which he described his abilities to heal people spiritually and physically. He ranked his adversities and achievements with the lives and acts of the apostles. Nikon, who became the patriarch, did not write anything comparable, but did leave verbal and written testimony to his great predestination. Avvakum was willing to risk his life to prove that he was right, and got into conflicts with everyone, including the authorities. He rejected honorable compromises, even with the tsar. All or nothing! Nikon was different. He remained adamant to the end only in his relations with subordinates. With the powerful he could submerge his own opinion. Nikon’s vanity and ambition were limitless; he considered himself above the tsar and aspired to be a universal patriarch. Avvakum was also “ambitious and vainglorious”5 and not against self-aggrandizement with insignia befitting priests of a higher rank. However, he most valued respect, not a high position.
Everyone is somewhat narcissistic; for Avvakum narcissism dominated his personality. Psychological correlates include a categorical way of thinking, willfulness, egocentrism, and lack of self-criticism. In Avvakum, these were associated with the real successes of a country boy who achieved recognition from authoritative church figures of his time and respect from the devout young tsar and, especially, the tsarina and other women in the highest circles of the seventeenth century. Avvakum also reveled in the praise and admiration of his numerous spiritual children among the common people. Psychiatrists note that such people are sure of themselves and their endeavors. Vacillations are alien yet they expend a lot of energy trying to appear modest and meek. That is how he wrote about himself, remaining a fierce, fearless fighter to many contemporaries and in the memory of later generations. The need to be uniquely the best exposed him to constant danger. He could not endure for long in any place he served. While his enemies were in no way better, narcissism deprived him of the forbearance he needed to carry out his pastoral duty.
He and his followers had opportunities to “straighten out” their lives, but he chose a path leading to ruin. Freud’s dualistic theory of life and death instincts has led to a deeper understanding of previously unknown aspects of narcissism.6 Life and death instincts are usually merged with each other. In severe conditions, these motives split apart, and the freed death instinct has serious consequences. Contemporary psychiatrists link narcissism with latent aggression, eventually becoming extreme: a death wish. In Avvakum, as is typical, this destructive component reinforced superiority and self-admiration. While not necessarily suicidal (judging from his letters to his wife, Avvakum hoped to bask in glory and recognition while alive), he may have also hoped for a glorious death.
The synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1681–82, noting that alarming numbers of tradespeople were speaking against the church and state, decided to execute the schismatics. On 14 April 1682, Avvakum and his cellmates, including Fedor, who was devoted to him, were burned at the stake “for great blasphemies against the dynasty.” By that time, the Pustozersk prison had been expanded. Avvakum went to his death in view of new convicts locked-up there—followers of Stepan Razin and the Solovetskii rebels. Their progeny—the contemporary Old Believers— declared Avvakum a martyr. His name is honored, and Avvakum lectures are held each year. Life after death was a success!
The morphology of Nikon’s personality is more complex. His infancy, childhood, and adolescence were spent in a dysfunctional environment. Specialists generally recognize that this can foster pathogenic influences that inevitably affect a person in adulthood.
In addition, Nikita experienced at least three strong shocks. Once his stepmother nearly burned him in the oven. Another time, she noticed he was surreptitiously trying to satisfy his constant, tormenting hunger and struck him so hard on the head that she knocked him out. Finally, she mixed poison in his food, but he tasted it, threw himself into a tub of water, and saved himself. Psychoanalysts call such states of terror a biotraumatic situation of persistent destructiveness. People with childhoods such as Nikita’s can become permanently numb or, on the contrary, enter a state of activity and emotional turmoil. They may alternate between these states. The anger they suppress during childhood is manifested later as hatred for family members.7
Compensation for inferiority experienced in childhood and struggle for superiority become the goals of such a person in adulthood. for Nikon, the church reform was not a goal, but a means of self-affirmation. Strictly speaking, the logic of the transformations did not much concern him. His actions were first judged to be criminal by those who were later called Old Believers/Old Ritualists, and then as unacceptable by his former supporters as well. When he realized that the highest position within his reach in society could not shield him from the even mightier power of the tsar, “his former intense interest in the church reform that he had produced cooled dramatically and was replaced by indifference.”8
To attain the highest church post, one has to begin one’s career in a monastery and climb successive rungs: hierodeacon, archdeacon, hiero-monk, hegumen (abbot), archimandrite, bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, and finally patriarch. Young Nikita knew this and, surreptitiously taking money from home, paid for the right to a cell in the Makar’ev Monastery not far from his village. Things did not turn out as planned. He left the monastery, married, and fathered three sons. This opened up a much shorter path for him, with a modest end: deacon, archdeacon, priest, and, finally, archpriest, which is what happened with Avvakum. Why did Nikita leave the monastery, why did he marry, and above all, how did he manage to get a seemingly impossible chance?
Shusherin maintained that Nikita was lured out of the monastery by his father’s purported illness. This news was supposedly brought by someone sent by the latter. After all that he had been through in his father’s home, it is doubtful that this report would have affected Nikita. Following Shusherin, those who wrote that Nikita came to see his father and to receive his inheritance maintained that “many kinfolk advised and pleaded with him to marry.”9 It is not clear who these many relatives were. No one mentioned them when describing Nikita’s harsh fate. While everyone agrees he was compelled to marry, it is not clear why he gave in to the pleas of estranged kin. There had to be weightier reasons to give up his cherished desire.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the public fnally learned that Nikita had been regularly leaving his “father’s house,” which he so hated, and had somehow met a girl, who took him to her family in the neighboring village of Kolychevo, where Nikita lived for years.10 Shusherin and Apollos have nothing to say about the circumstances of Nikita’s leaving home, simply reporting that he was sent to learn to read and write. He actually learned to read and write in the home of the Kolychevo priest Ivan. Living there for three years, he then stole money from his father to stay at the Makar’ev Monastery. Then, for some reason, he suddenly left the monastery to get married. His church biographers do not say to whom. But a secular biographer reports, “Tradition has it that his former Kolychevo companion in children’s games, Nastas’ia Ivanovna, became his wife.”11 Here lies the answer. One has to assume that her father had reason to demand that Nikita marry his daughter.12 Negotiations probably ensued. Nikita married and soon after (in 1625) was appointed to the village of Kolychevo in place of Father Ivan.
He could say goodbye to a brilliant career. The catechism defines marriage as “mutual and inseparable cohabitation” for the purpose of giving birth to and raising Christian children. Canon thirteen of the Council of Gangra (340) says, “If anyone shall forsake his own children and shall not nurture them, nor so far as in him lies, rear them in becoming pious, but shall neglect them, under pretense of asceticism, let him be anathema.”13 Nikita could not abandon his family and return to the monastery. Such cases were known. Venerable Vassian, for example, took his vows (1594) while having a wife and two children,14 but Vassian lived in the church and then moved to a hut. Since he did not aspire to patriarch, he did not have to be afraid that his violation would come back to haunt him. This option did not suit Nikita.
And suddenly the main obstacle disappeared. Shusherin described it like this: “Nikita lived with his spouse for just ten years and had three offspring, who died in infancy.”15 Four pages later, he added: “he began to feel bored and burdened by his responsibilities. . . . His nervousness intensified after the death of his third and last child. . . . The impressionable priest . . . considered the death of his children a sign from above that he needed to abandon the superficial world and give himself up to prayer and meditation behind the walls of a monastery.”16 Shusherin is describing not the period when Nikita was the village priest and his unwanted first-born child came along, but ten years later. The biographer Apollos understood that the circumstances and time of the children’s death were of fundamental importance and for that reason was deliberately vague on this matter for several decades. He did not claim that the children died in infancy, but he put the information about their death in the narrative before Nikon moved to Moscow. Count M.V. Tolstoi, the author of many works on the history of the Russian church, noted that Nikita lost his children after ten years.17 Not over the course of ten years, but precisely after ten years. This is important! Dmitrii Zhukov also writes about “the children’s sudden death.”18
The reasons for the sudden death are not known. But it is known that in Moscow in 1634–35—the years when the children died—there was no plague. Infanticide was not unheard of in political life at that time. It is known that his stepmother tried to kill Nikita himself as a child. It is known that the children were the primary obstacle standing in the way of his cherished goal. It is known that people who have been mentally traumatized as a child are inclined to direct their hatred at family members as an adult. There is reason to believe that the children of whom Patriarch Nikon did not consider it necessary to leave a memory did not arouse kind feelings in him. After they were gone, he faced one more obstacle—his wife. Nikon persuaded her to give up their married life together and enter a convent. He took her to Alekseev Convent and, resigning his post, he himself entered a monastery to resume the path interrupted ten years earlier. Again we encounter evidence worthy of psychiatry textbooks describing the emotional state of people who have committed a heinous crime: “scarcely had Nikon settled down to rest from his labors when unclean spirits appeared to him and began to stifle him and create other torments, frights and delusions.”19
Time passed. Nikon became the Patriarch. Having lost the patronage of the now adult tsar, he demonstratively walked out in the hope that he would be asked to return, but found himself in exile in Ferapontov Monastery. Complaints then flew to Moscow that he was overindulgent and tyrannized the monks. An inquiry was conducted, confirming this behavior as well as his cohabiting with women, disproving any explanations that he persuaded his wife to dissolve the marriage because of his inclination to sanctity.
Nikon passed away on 17 August 1681. Mental trauma in his childhood had engendered an unrealized dream of omnipotence that would make him safe and provide an opportunity to take vengeance on the evil, heartless world.
The schism was initially of a clerical nature. The brutality of this period was a refection not so much of the depth of the schism as of the personal nature of the conflict. Compromises were still possible on both sides. Examining the acts of the synods of 1666 and 1667, I found that at times the church hierarchs that anathematized the schismatics committed blunders themselves in matters that became the grounds for discord. For example, the zealots of the ancient piety insisted that Christ be called Isus, while the reformers insisted on Iisus. But the Metropolitan of “The Great Novgorod and Velikie Luki,” Pitirim, was the first to sign the materials of the 1666 synod in support of the controversial decisions of the reform synod of 1654, and in doing so he wrote the name of Christ “as a schismatic would do”: Isus instead of “the proper Iisus.” 20
Tsars and metropolitans left their trace on the history of the schism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as did the leaders of large and small uprisings. The names of the most prominent—Stepan Razin and Emel’ian Pugachev—are forever inscribed in the history of Russia. The names of the participants in numerous streltsy armed rebellions have been forgotten, but their descendants are known. And although most top Soviet commanders in World War II, such as marshals S.M. Budennyi, A.M. Vasilevskii, B.M. Shaposhnikov, I.S. Konev, and F.I. Tolbukhin had Old Believer roots, the genealogy of marshals K.E. Voroshilov and G.K. Zhukov can be traced back precisely to rebellious streltsy.21
Armed combat did not keep Old Believers from taking their place in worldly activities. Although they participated directly and indirectly in political terror against the Romanov regime in the nineteenth century, their greatest success was achieved in the economic arena.
The economic system known as “Soviet” began to be established in the soil of Old Belief as a commune-based system. Its harbingers were large and small Old Believer communes, the first appearing in Olonets Krai (present-day Karelia) between Onega Lake and the White Sea, on the Vyg River in 1695 and on the Leksa River in 1706.22 Old Believers’ roles in shaping the national economy can be judged by their number in 1917: 36–37 million,23 and Old Believer entrepreneurs controlled from 60 percent24 to 75 percent25 of the capital in prerevolutionary Russia. They “came to rule the destinies of many of the most modern and technological sectors of Russian industry,”26 and “the leaders of Old Belief were one of the most energetic and active coteries of Russian capitalism.”27
From a purely confessional community, Old Belief turned into a confessional/economic community. This process is not represented in the textbook examples of the development of “capitalism.” People who became entrepreneurs were not at all prosperous; on the contrary, they were people who should not have had the resources to do this. Mass private enterprise originated not in the city but in the village. The process took hold not on fertile lands where opportunities for initial accumulation of capital were more diverse, but on unproductive or fallow lands where opportunities were fewer.
Enterprises established earlier by boyars and noblemen, fairly large even by European standards, fell into decline. By the early twentieth century, enterprises over a hundred years old could be counted on one’s fingers, and none held a leading position. The process of creating medium-sized and large enterprises started in the nineteenth century from small rural entrepreneur activity. This required initiative and startup capital. Initiative was not a quality easy to find in a village, and capital was rare. In villages in the early nineteenth century, 5 rubles a year was not a bad income, but someone aspiring to join the lower level of the merchant class had to post capital of 1,000 rubles. Nevertheless, many small enterprises sprang up. If they were successful, they grew to medium size, moved to the city and became large, promoting the creation of more small enterprises. This happened in areas populated predominantly by Old Believers.
The key to this puzzle lies in differences between the distinctive national and confessional features of management. In Russia, enterprising people as yet had no “transparent” [formal] credit or billing system. The situation was different in the “secret” Russia. An active process of “initial capital accumulation” was developed there,28 and “the merchant clan became the structural unit of an Old Believer community.”29 “Schismatic monasteries turned out legions of collectors, and these collectors came back with bags full of money.”30 “Prosperous community members put considerable amounts of money into the common till. . . . The community leaders directly assessed special taxes among businessmen.”31 Business activity for the good of the community was considered to be a means of saving one’s soul.32 The epitaph on the gravestone of Fedul Gromov, a St. Petersburg Old Believer merchant, is typical: “Honesty, fairness, discreet assistance for a neighbor, temperance in everything and not pride—these were his laws.”33
This was not charity: the community had rights to the profit from their coreligionists’ enterprises. The scale of collection of money for the confessional treasury corresponded to the scale of its use: from taking care of orphans and the disabled, teaching children, and bribing secular and ecclesiastical authorities to building community housing, schools, and hospitals and redemption of brethren from serfdom. “If we look at the schism from the state’s point of view,” wrote archpriest Vl. Farmakovskii, “then it is a closed society with its own governmental and legislative authorities and a whole system of social institutions and customs.”34
Millionaire merchants were the top leaders, and their sphere of influence extended over thousands of kilometers. The most famous were the Bugrovs, Guchkovs, Kokorevs, Vetrovs, Riabushinskiis, Zimins, Mamontovs, Morozovs, Rakhmanovs, Soldatenkovs, Stanislavskiis, Tret’iakovs, and Khludovs. While they acted in the interests of their concord (a confederation of communes of a certain persuasion), they learned to get along in the face of the common adversary. Within these radiuses emerged expanded enclaves of territorially more limited but, at the same time, more intensive spheres of influence. Termed “thousandaires,” these were influential businessmen of lesser means. They determined the assortment of products to be manufactured in a village; paid for places for their coreligionists at fairs; and were proud that their efforts, ability, and care fed tens, hundreds, thousands—even tens of thousands—of their brethren. Everyone saw that their labors produced results and that what they earned was shared with the members of their community.
When a monetary system began to appear in “transparent” Russia, “secret” Russia already had not only a confessionally closed financing system that became a prototype for budgetary funding of the Soviet economy, but also established social consumption funds, including money, goods, and services further developed in Soviet Russia. Then confessional distribution systems were set up, making it possible to influence pricing throughout the country.
Community meetings selected accountable boards of trustees, to whom were delegated rights to manage the community’s credit and property. These boards could rent, sell, or mortgage formally private lands, mills, factories, commercial establishments, and houses. The community’s capital was put into circulation under their supervision and turned over to trustworthy merchants of other faiths for interest. Experienced community members were appointed as “assigned” Old Believers or, as they would be called now, directors of operations. The board’s functions included allocating loans to purchase community members’ enterprises. Thousands of small traders, workshops, and factories originated in this way. The boards made investment decisions to expand existing enterprises. Communities exchanged information on local market conditions. This enabled timely assessment for formulation of their business policy. A planned economy without competition or crises in the Old Believer enclave came into being long before the so called Great October Socialist Revolution.
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