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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Orthodox Great Lent in Russia: Plus Upcoming Holidays…

When is Lent? – In 2012 Lent in Russia will be celebrated between : Date: February 27, 2012 to April 15, 2012…

What is Lent? – Lent, is the period of fasting and prayer before Easter. The days are to represent the time Jesus spent in the desert overcoming temptation by Satan. The period of Lent is preparation for the annual commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, celebrated during Holy Week…

Year Great Lent
Begins
Pascha
(Easter)
Ascension Pentecost
2012 Feb. 27 April 15 May 24 June 3
2013 March 18 May 5 June 13 June 23
2014 March 3 April 20 May 29 June 8
2015 Feb. 23 April 12 May 21 May 31

I really did not realize that it was going on until Sveta came in last night and said, “Lent has started!” Oops! I said, “Then I need to do an article!”

In fact while I am at it lets give the whole list of the 2012 year’s important Holidays in Russia and Orthodox around the world…

FEBRUARY 2012

  • 2
    • Candlemas – Christian
    • Presentation of Christ in the Temple – Anglican Christian
    • Triodion – Orthodox Christian
    • Imbolc – Lughnassad * – Wicca/Pagan Northern and southern hemispheres
  • 3
    • Maha Shavartri ** – Hindu
    • Setsubum-sai – Shinto
  • 4
    • Mawlid an Nabi * – Islam
  • 5
    • Four Chaplains Sunday- Interfaith
  • 8
    • Tu BiShvat * – Judaism
  • 14
    • Saint Valentines Day – Christian
  • 15
    • Nirvana Day ** – Buddhist – Jain
  • 19
    • Meatfare Sunday – Orthodox Christian
    • Transfiguration – Christian
  • 21
    • Shrove Tuesday – Christian
  • 22
    • Ash Wednesday – Lent begins- Christian
  • 26 – March 1
    • Intercalary Days * – Baha’i
    • Cheesefare Sunday – Orthodox Christian
  • 27
    • Clean Monday – Great Lent begins – Orthodox Christian

MARCH 2012

  • 1
    • Saint David of Wales – Christian
  • 2 – 20
    • Nineteen Day Fast * – Baha’i
  • 4
    • Orthodox Sunday – Orthodox Christian
  • 8
    • Purim * – Judaism
    • Magha Puja Day ** – Buddhist
    • Holi ** – Hindu
  • 9
    • Hola Mohalla – Sikh
  • 13
    • L Ron Hubbard birthday ** – Scientology
  • 17
    • St Patrick’s Day – Christian
  • 19
    • Saint Joseph’s Day – Christian
  • 20 Equinox
    • Ostara * – Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Mabon * – Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
  • 21
    • Naw Ruz (New Year) * – Baha’i
    • Norouz (New Year) – Persian/Zoroastrian
  • 23
    • New Year ** – Hindu
    • Prophet Zarathustra birth – Zoroastrian
  • 23-April 1
    • Ramayana ** – Hindu
  • 25
    • Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Christian
  • 28
    • Khordad Sal (Birth of Prophet Zaranhushtra) ** – Zoroastrian

APRIL 2012

  • 1
    • Palm Sunday – Christian
    • Ramanavami – Hindu
  • 5
    • Maundy Thursday – Christian
    • Lord’s Evening Meal - Jehovah’s Witness Christians
  • 6-9
    • Theravadin New Year ** – Buddhist
  • 6
    • Good Friday – Christian
    • Hanuman Jayanti – Hindu
    • Mahavir Jayanti ** – Jain
  • 7-14
    • Pesach (Passover)   * – Judaism
  • 7
    • Lazarus Saturday – Orthodox Christian
  • 8
    • Easter – Christian
    • Palm Sunday – Orthodox Christian
  • 13
    • Holy Friday – Orthodox Christian
  • 14
    • Baisakhi New Year – Sikh
  • 15
    • Easter/Pascha – Orthodox Christian
  • 19
    • Yom HaShoah * – Judaism
  • 21
    • First Day of Ridvan * – Baha’i
  • 23
    • St. George Day – Christian
  • 27
    • Yom Ha’Atzmaut * – Jewish
  • 29
    • Ninth Day of Ridvan * – Baha’i
  • 30
    • Saint James the Great Day – Orthodox Christian
    • Lazarus Saturday – Orthodox Christian

MAY 2012

  • 1
    • Beltane – Samhain – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • 2
    • Twelfth Day of Ridvan * – Baha’i
  • 3
    • National Day of Prayer – Interfaith USA
  • 6
    • Visakha Puja – Buddha Day ** – Buddhist
  • 10
    • Lag B’Omer * – Jewish
  • 17
    • Ascension Day – Christian
  • 23
    • Declaration of the Bab * – Baha’i
  • 24
    • All Ascension of Jesus – Orthodox Christian
  • 27
    • Pentecost – Christian
  • 27-28
    • Shavuot * – Jewish
  • 29
    • Ascension of Baha’u’llah * – Baha’i

JUNE 2012

  • 3
    • Trinity Sunday – Christian
  • 7
    • Corpus Christi – Catholic Christian
  • 3
    • Pentecost – Orthodox Christian
  • 9
    • Saint Columba of Iona – Christian
  • 10
    • All Saints – Orthodox Christian
  • 16
    • Lailat al Miraj * ** – Islam
    • Guru Arjan Dev martyrdom – Sikh
  • 15
    • Sacred Heart of Jesus – Catholic Christian
  • 19
    • New Church Day – Swedenborgian Christian
  • 20 Solstice
    • Litha * – Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Yule * – Wicca/Pagan  southern hemisphere
  • 29
    • Saints Peter and Paul – Christian

JULY 2012

  • 3
    • Asalha Puja Day ** – Buddhist
  • 4
    • Lailat at Bara’ah * ** – Islam
  • 9
    • Martyrdom of the Bab * – Baha’i
  • 13-16
    • Obon  ** – Buddhist – Shinto
  • 15
    • Saint Vladimir Day – Christian
  • 20
    • Ramadan Begins * ** – Islam
  • 23
    • Emperor Haile Selassi I birthday – Rastafari
  • 24
    • Pioneer Day – Mormon Christian
  • 25
    • Saint James the Great Day – Christian
  • 29
    • Tisha B’Av * – Judaism

AUGUST 2012

  • 1
    • Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus – Orthodox Christian
    • Lammas – Christian
  • 2
    • Raksha Bandhan ** – Hindu
    • Lugnassad – Imbolc * – Wicca/Pagan Northern and southern hemispheres
  • 6
    • Transfiguration of the Lord – Orthodox Christian
  • 10
    • Krishna Janmashtami ** – Hindu
  • 14
    • Lailat al Kadr * ** – Islam
  • 15
    • Assumption of Virgin Mary – Catholic Christian
    • Dormition of the Theotokos – Orthodox Christian
  • 19-21
    • Eid al Fitr * ** – Islam
  • 29
    • Beheading of John the Baptist – Christian

SEPTEMBER 2012

  • 1
    • Ecclesiastical Year begins – Orthodox Christian
  • 8
    • Nativity of Mary – Christian
  • 14
    • Elevation of the Life Giving Cross – Holy Cross Day – Christian
  • 17-18
    • Rosh HaShanah * – Judaism
  • 19
    • Ganesh Chaturthi ** – Hindu
  • 20-29
    • Paryushana Parva ** – Jain
  • 22 Equinox
    • Mabon * – Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Ostata * – Wicca/ Pagan southern hemisphere
  • 26
    • Yom Kippur * – Judaism
  • 28
    • Mesket- Ethiopian Orthodox Christian
  • 29
    • Michael and All Angels – Christian

OCTOBER 2012

  • 4
    • Saint Francis DayCatholic Christian
  • 1-7 (1-2 Primary Obligation Days)
    • Sukkot * – Judaism
  • 8
    • Shemini Atzeret * – Judaism
    • Thanksgiving – Canada – Interfaith
  • 9
    • Simhat Torah *- Judaism
  • 16-23
    • Navaratri ** – Hindu
  • 18
    • Saint Luke – Apostle and Evangelist – Christian
  • 20
    • Birth of the Báb * – Baha’i
    • Installation of Scriptures as Gukru Granth – Sikh
  • 24
    • Dasera ** – Hindu
  • 25
    • Waqf al Arafa – Hajj Day * – Islam
  • 26-29
    • Eid al Adha * ** – Islam
  • 28
    • Milvian Bridge Day – Christian
    • Reformation Day ** – Protestant Christian
  • 31
    • All Hallows Eve – Christian

NOVEMBER 2012

  • 1
    • All Saint’s Day – Christian
    • Samhain – Beltane * – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • 2
    • All Soul’s Day – Catholic Christian
  • 11
    • Jain New Year ** – Jain
  • 11-15
    • Deepavali  ** – Hindu
  • 12
    • Birth of Baha’u’llah * – Bahai
  • 13
    • Diwali – Deepavali ** – Hindu – Jain – Sikh
  • 15
    • Hijra – New Year * ** – Islam
    • Nativity Fast through 12-25 – Orthodox Christian
  • 22
    • Thanksgiving  USA – Interfaith
  • 21
    • Yule – Christian
  • 24
    • Ashura * ** – Islam
    • Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom – Sikh
  • 25
    • Christ the King – Christian
  • 26
    • Day of the Covenant * – Baha’i
  • 28
    • Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha * – Baha’i
    • Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday – Sikh
  • 30
    • Saint Andrew’s Day – Christian

DECEMBER 2012

  • 2
    • Advent – First Sunday – Christian
  • 6
    • Saint Nicholas Day – Christian
  • 8
    • Rohatsu (Bodhi Day)  ** – Buddhist
    • Immaculate Conception of Mary – Catholic Christian
  • 9-16
    • Hanukkah * – Judaism
  • 16-25
    • Posadas Navidenas – Christian
  • 21  Solstice
    • Yule * – Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Litha * – Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
    • Yule – Christian
  • 25
    • Christmas * – Christian
    • Feast of the Nativity ** – Orthodox Christians
  • 26
    • Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra ** – Zoroastrian
  • 28
    • Holy Innocents – Christian
  • 30
    • Feast of the Holy Family – Catholic Christian
  • 31
    • Watch Night – Christian

Well that puts everything in a nutshell or at least a big nutshell… :)

Have a good Lent and Easter as it approaches…

Kyle Keeton
Windows to Russia!

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Russia

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Western media bias: by Andre Vltchek, via e-mail…

Lets Have Tea Today...

I received this e-mail and was not sure it was real or not, but after checking it out and seeing it posted in several Chinese sites I realized that it was the real thing. So I am going to post it as it came to me. It is really a good e-mail on the world of the West and her Media…


Recently the BBC invited me to participate in a program with the title “Does China deserve respect from the rest of the world?”

I found the topic – the title itself – deeply disrespectful.

At the very least it is patronizing, if not insulting.

Who were we to decide if 1.3 billion people deserve respect or not.

But I agreed to participate, as I wanted to say on air that again and again China is told what to do and what not to do, how it should change and why it should acquiesce to the superior Western arrangement of the world.

The BBC and I were linked through the Skype and I listened to the live broadcast. After a news roundup, the debate began.

It was a very predictable discussion. Similar to ones that take place in the Western media on an almost daily basis.

It was well choreographed so there would be no comparison between China and the West and no discussion of their foreign policies and their human rights record.

Then, before I was invited to speak on air, I was asked what I was going to say?

I wasn’t sure I understood correctly, but they insisted that I outline what I wanted to say. “Human rights,” I said. I was asked to be more specific, but I refused, saying that I would explain when I was on the air. Soon it became clear that either I provided details, or I would not be allowed to speak.

I informed the producer, or whoever was talking to me, that I was going to talk about whether audiences in the United Kingdom or the United States would find it normal or acceptable if, whenever their country was mentioned, the debate began with their human rights record and the impact of colonialism and the neo-colonialism taking place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and many other places.

I was politely told to wait; now I was informed that my turn would come after the half-hour news bulletin. I knew, and the producer knew – my turn was not going to come at all.

What impressed me the most was efficiency and speed of the censorship. All this took place as the program was already under way.

According to the program, China does not deserve any respect, not because that is the view of the people of the world, but because the speakers were carefully selected to present that view.

Andre Vltchek, via e-mail


The views of the above author are not strictly the views of Windows to Russia. They are an independent view from an outside source and country that brings a better light on the world in general and Windows to Russia is pleased to have Andre Vltchek’s e-mail on its pages today…

Windows to Russia!

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Russia

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‘TIME’ and the Incredible Shrinking Brain: by Jon Hellevig…

In its latest edition the US magazine Time did its own bit of pre-election ranting about Russia and Putin with its cover story “Russia’s Incredible Shrinking Prime Minister.” The message is in the subhead which reads: “His grip on power is shakier than ever. That makes the world a more dangerous place.”

Intrigued by this caption, I signed on to Time’s website to get the whole story. – But there was none. In vain I searched the whole site over and over again, but all I found about Putin and Russia was a story by Simon Shuster under the heading “See Putin Run: How the Prime Minister Is Relying on Russia’s Heartland.” After all this must be it, I thought. Begrudgingly I read the stuff a couple of times hoping to detect the analysis by which Time motivated its bombastic claims.

But all I found was an insipid diatribe focusing on Putin’s campaign trip to Kurgan, one of the provincial towns of Russia with a population of 300 thousand people. It turns out that either Mr. Shuster wrote the wrong story, or the editor in charge of the front cover did not read Shuster’s story. Whatever, but in the article nothing much about Putin’s “shrinking support,” and why the world would be a “more dangerous place” for that.

Shuster’s article is written in the evergreen style of American exploring journalism. In this genre the gallant and unrelenting journalist is placed in a setting of ordinary people whose sentiments the journalist with his keen and receptive mind catches as his material goes about their everyday life. This style is eminently well suited for propaganda, because here you can ignore all the facts. No analysis will be needed for you are supposedly just reporting what you observe, and being an “independent journalist” representing the “free press” you are a trusted source. And this precisely overcomes the problem that the anti-Putin propaganda otherwise bumps into: it is so difficult to bend the facts to suit the story line as Russia’s achievements under Putin are so truly remarkable.

The story itself is a cynical lampoon full of contempt for the life and aspirations of ordinary Russians, depicting them in terms of trash and a brainless herd. This in accord with the modern self-centered Russian iClass which tried to organize a Facebook revolution against Putin (but for what, we don’t know) together with the self-proclaimed eternally angry and tired Intelligentsia (just imagine, there is this group of people that refer to themselves as the intelligent ones).

In his story, our intrepid explorer visits a “sooty industrial outpost” where “villagers” with “flasks in their pockets” are waiting for Putin to arrive. The scene of the alleged campaign visit, we are told, is “a typically Russian school, complete with busted windows, leaking roofs and a numbing cold inside the classrooms.” But the fact that the Prime Minister visits such a dilapidated school with all its real problems is twisted in Shuster’s Time to mean that this was just a reversed Potemkin village. Not hiding the reality behind a beautiful facade, the journalist insists, is a shrewd campaign trick. How warped does a mind get so as to reach such a conclusion? However, judging from the photo of the school cafeteria that Time adorns the article with, it does not look bad at all (maybe this is another detail they got wrong in the haste?).

A special dose of contempt is directed towards Kurganstalmost, a local steel-beam factory. Mr. Shuster accuses Putin of the crime of keeping the plant afloat by government contracts that pay the wages of its about 3,000 workers. This while back in the USA the steel belt has turned into a rust belt as factories are closing down and whole communities are turning into ghost towns. Without Putin’s concentrated hands-on efforts to keep the industry going all over the vast country, Russian workers could well have met the same fate as their American counterparts reeling under a de facto 16% unemployment versus Russia’s 6%. (According to the official statistics the US unemployment is some 9%, but this is only because they remove from the statistics the hopelessly long-term unemployed who the government labels too lazy to work).

By repeated rereading of the story we detect some traces of data that connect with the gutsy proclamations of the front cover. Remember that the story is supposed to prove the contentions that Putin’s popularity has plummeted and that this now poses a threat to world peace. To the first subject of drastically shrinking support, Shuster rattles off a list of astonishingly contradictory propositions.

First he states: “His ratings in Russia’s biggest cities have fallen to historic lows,” which he wants to prove by the claim that the “middle class” has “been rallying in Moscow by the tens of thousands.” However, next he states that Putin’s campaign message has “worked like a charm in places like Kurgan.”

This is followed by the again quite contradictory claim that “even in Kurgan Putin no longer has many diehard fans.” The latter conclusion Shuster draws from his observation of how Putin “walked into the local school,” especially by observing his “slightly pugilistic stride.” And as if that would not be contradictory enough, he adds that everyone in this town regards Putin as a Czar, which certainly in Russia is a positive reference as far as popular support goes.

Finally he quotes the local sociologist, Elena Gabitova, a pollster who is said to lament that all people back there “still support only Putin.” – So where is the shrinking support? It’s in Moscow, Shuster says. There we find the educated progressive “middle class” making up half of the population, according to the sociological data of Shuster. But Shuster does not tell the reader that even in this citadel of progress 50% of the voters are according to the latest polls going to vote for Putin. So finally what is the argument on which Time bases its incredible affirmation? Oh, Shuster tells that Putin’s approval ratings “in 2006″ used to be “well over 70%.” But the approval rating is still over 60% of today.

So where’s the beef?  That’s huge support for anyone, and especially an elected leader who has been 12 consecutive years in power in a country plagued by a load of inherited problems. And ironically, this story was published on the same day, 24 February, when Levada, the pollster close to the opposition, admitted that Putin is on track to win in the first round with an overwhelming majority of two thirds of the vote. – Time has a very special notion of time as well. This article that was published on the 24th is dated 5 of March, and the magazine still insists that it is only then that it will appear. Try to make sense of these guys!

In the hurry to distribute the latest propaganda tagline, the venerable magazine completely forgot that the story did not have anything at all about the second part, that about the world being a more dangerous place following this alleged shrinking. Or perhaps this is supposedly proven by quoting a Paul Saunders from the Center for the National Interest (not from Kurgan but Washington) who informs us that Putin “will be tempted to appeal to Russian nationalists and may find it more difficult to pursue policies that would antagonize them.” Not much for a cover story.

Having thus perused this article it actually reminded me about another with a similar title, The Incredible Shrinking Brain, in the popular science magazine Discover (September, 2010). In this article John Hawks an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin startles the readers by throwing out that the human brain has actually been shrinking in a recent evolutionary trend. The reporter asks whether it means that we’re getting dumber.

And in a comment to the article a reader contends that “it sure does explain a lot of what we observe every day in the United States.” Well, it doesn’t because human cognitive capacities are the same all over the world. But we may certainly speak about shrinking of the mind in a cultural sense – a numbing of the cognitive facility polluted by the modern propaganda.  This is the result of the erosion of a free and competitive press following a substantial consolidation of Western media assets in hands of a few media oligarchs with strong right-wing ties. For these media oligarchs truth is traded against pecuniary interests, power and the global ideology.  Being a Russia specialist, I read the ensuing propaganda against Russia as an open book, and harbor no doubt that the same occurs in all aspects of life this “free press” purports to report about.

I must conclude that this story in Time indeed needs to be seen as a cover story, that is, a fictitious account that is intended to hide from the readers the real motives of the publisher.

The author, Jon Hellevig, is a lawyer from Finland lawyerand Managing Partner of Hellevig, Klein & Usov (www.hkupartners.com) who has worked and lived in Russia since the beginning of 1990′s. He is the managing partner of the law firm Hellevig, Klein & Usov. Hellevig has written a book on the development of Russian law after the fall of the Soviet Union (Expressions and Interpretations) and on the conditions of democratic competition (All is Art. On Democratic Competition). www.hellevig.net hellevig@hku.ru

The views of the above author are not strictly the views of Windows to Russia. They are an independent view from an outside source and country that brings a better light on the world in general and Windows to Russia is pleased to have Jon Hellevig’s article on its pages today. It is hoped that we will have many more of his writings in the future…

Windows to Russia!

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Russia

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