(1) The Sunday Hero
(1) The Sunday Hero
Russian hero Lidia Yusupova is profiled in First Post in a brilliant article by reporter Gavin Knight. She tells him: “”In Russia today you have no right to be a human being. No right to live, tell the truth, plead for justice. You only have the right to be a slave. When power is used for self-interest it is not legally a state, it is just an organisation of criminals.”
Click “yusupova” at the bottom of this post to read our prior coverage of Ms. Yusupova, one of the last, best hopes for Russian survival.
This week we learned about various neo-Nazi groups in Russia posting video in which they purported to brag about murdering defenseless dark-skinned foreigners (example above from the Moscow Times). The MT reports:
The three-minute video, which was posted by a LiveJournal.com user Sunday and credits a certain Russian National Socialist Party with production, shows two men kneeling on the ground with their arms and legs tied up. “We were arrested by Russian national socialists,” they say in barely audible voices. A subtitle on the video identifies the two as “colonists from Tajikistan and Dagestan.” A Nazi flag stands in the background while two men in masks and camouflaged clothing give Nazi salutes. Then, a man with a knife or saw beheads one of the abducted men as heavy metal music plays in the background. The other hostage is then shot in the head.
So perhaps some background on these groups would not come amiss, and its provided in the following YouTube video. Following that, for something completely different, and yet not so, some scenes from a Russian wedding.
Ah, the Romance: Scenes from a Russian Wedding
(WARNING — Not for the Squeamish)
Spurned by every real country under the sun, last week Vladimir Putin took the Soviet approach and tried to make a big deal out of a state visit by Prince Albert of Monaco. Ellustrator has them going fishing, which they really did do. Putin tells the Prince: “Try it again, I think it’ll work this time.” A commenter asks whether, after fixing up the Prince, the submarine will then attach the Russian flag to Putin’s hook. Homosexual groups are having plenty of fun with Putin’s topless photographs taken whilst fishing.
LR’s translator found the above satirical Photoshopped image on a Russian blog. Translation — “A new military occupational specialty has appeared in Russia: Border Guard-Diver. He stands by the Russian flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and guards the continental shelf.”
Journal Chretien reports on an uprising of protestants in Russia, fighting back against oppression by the Russian Orthodox Church:
At a time when the voice of the protestant church in Russia is being muted and civil liberties curtailed an historic evangelistic outreach took place in Russia’s third largest city Nizhny Novgorod. A whole mega city was moved.
The mega city campaign in Russia’s third largest city Nizhniy Novgorod in May surpassed all expectations. The mega city campaign has changed the spiritual landscape and the left unforgettable memories in the carrying out of the Great Commission of Christ in one of Russia’s largest cities. The campaign amounted to the saturation of a major city of 2 million with the Gospel for a 30-day period.
Russia’s churches have not seen similar massive scale presentations of the Gospel in recent history. Nizhny Novgorod was the seventh Russian hub city to have been reached in the last 3 years. Other cities reached so far are Volgograd (previously Stalingrad), Ufa (Ural Mountains), Petrozavodsk (Karelia), Archangel (Northern Russia), Voronezh, Samara (Central Russia), Almaty (Kazakhstan). From Governors to Mayors to government officials, the military, professors to inmates have been touched by the campaigns, which also include a humanitarian element. Aid, clothing, food, hygiene goods along with the Gospel are delivered to hundreds of children in scores of children’s prison camps. Social issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction, divorce, abortion are also persuasively addressed from a spiritual standpoint.
In Nizhny Novgorod compelling testimonies of changed lives produced locally by IRR-TV production teams were broadcast on both secular radio and TV channels daily to over 2 million residents of Nizhny Novgorod and its surrounding areas. The Gospel was presented in hundreds of thousands of homes over a period of 30 days. A total of 36 churches in the city participated in the campaign. Fifty thousand (50,000) copies of a 10 page evangelistic book, tailor-made for the city, containing local testimonies were distributed by the local churches. 330,000 flyers were hand delivered to homes in the city by participating churches.
Thousands of city residents called the 24/7 call center. There were surprise calls. The Kremlin of Nizhny Novgorod (headquarters for the provincial government) ordered 15 copies, the Interior Ministry ordered 16 books, and the FSB (formerly KGB) wanted 6 books. By the third week of the campaign the call center had logged over 5,000 calls. An additional thousand calls were received in surrounding cities stemming from the TV programs seen over a wide area. The call center was staffed by 126 trained counselors. Each call was followed up by visits to homes. In four weeks 4,639 homes were visited. About 2,000 homes were visited 3 or more times at the request of the families themselves. During these visits many made personal decision for Christ.
Vadim Kruglikov, the campaign’s assisting director, recounted the campaign’s success. “We see opened doors to the local and regional government. Churches have gained exponential visibility in the city. They have gained confidence and assurance in their mission. The authorities view, respect the congregations in a totally different way.”
The campaign is far from over. The churches of Nizhny Novgorod are already planning the next campaigns in other cities throughout Nizhny province. For the Baptists alone, the aim from this campaign is to plant at least 10 new churches.
The following is response from some of the 36 pastors of churches in Nizhny Novgorod.
Pastor Igor Voronin, Supervisor, Call Center, said, “This campaign was a great gift that shook the city and gave hope for change to thousands, tens of thousands. There was practically no one in the city that did not hear the message of the campaign.”
Yevgeni Blinov, pastor Jewish Congregation, stated, “For me personally this mission is a great blessing of God, as well as our whole congregation and our whole city. I respect our friends at IRR-TV. It is true that we could never have done this alone because we lack the ‘know how’. I am sure that we are just seeing the beginning of the fruits of this campaign.”
Pavel Rydish, Pastor, said, “This was a monumental project. This is the first time this has ever happened in the history of our city ! I have never seen a comparable evangelistic campaign in Nizhny.”
Aleksander Schmidt, Pastor, New Song-Church, said, “For me, this was a first as it was for many others as well. For the first time the whole city has heard the message that God changes lives !”
Aleksandr Kotshenko, Pastor, stated, “We had hoped for something like this, something that would move everyone in our city. Now it has happened. Thank you for making this possible. This is fantastic.”
Vladislav Miheyev, Pastor, Embassy of God, said, “Truly this campaign has had great impact in our city. Many people repented and turned to God. A great number had a chance to hear the Gospel and testimonies how God changes lives.”
Sergei Titovsky, Pastor, said, “This project showed in a wonderful way how our closed society was penetrated and became accessible through use of the media, outdoor ads, television, radio.”
Aleksander Sinitsyn, Pastor, Avtozavodsk, said, “One of our evangelists worked in the Avtozavodsk area. Her team had visited every home in the area but doors remained closed. Then came the mega city campaign. This area produced a lot of response. Right now this evangelist sister is following up 20 families. It is her second round.”
Yuri Vlasov, Senior Pastor Nizhny, said, “There have been many noteworthy events in the past 15 years in our church but this has to be one of the most significant. We have 450 addresses. Many of those on the list have already started attending Bible Study in small groups.
“It should be conducted in all cities of Russia like a giant wave that sweeps the country. I suggest it be done simultaneously from coast to coast, so that it would become the talk of our time on state television ! That it would shake the nation ! That people would understand and see that there is power in the Gospel, in faith in Christ to overcome all evil. Thank you for what you have done for us.”
Aleksandr Zaponkov, Pastor, Zarechaya area, stated, “Our plot on the harvest field is an industrial area with a high crime rate. Apartments have armored doors of steel. We had tried to minister there before. Thanks to this campaign those fortified doors opened up and we were able to minister to those people. Many have come out for Bible Study. Others have requested the Jesus Film.”
At the Tier I WTA tour event in Toronto last week, the Rogers Cup, Russian players held five of the top ten seeds and all of their top-20-ranked players entered the draw except for Maria Sharapova (who isn’t really Russian anyway, since she lives in the United States, owns property there — and not in Russia — never spends any time in Russia and has never played for the national team). That was as good as it got for the Russian contingent; when play actually started, there was blood everywhere.
When the dust settled and the quarter finals had been contested, not a single Russian player was left standing. Not one Russian player managed even to get as far as the semi-finals.
Perhaps Russia’s bitterest, most humiliating moment in the tournament came in the quarter finals when a much lower-ranked Russian defector, Tatiana Golovin of France (seeded #12 and ranked #19), brutally crushed Russia’s second-highest ranked player Svetlana Kuznetsova (world #4 seeded #3 in the tournament), with Kuznetsova able to take only one game in the decisive third set and just two in the first.
But it couldn’t have been very easy, either, for the Russians to face the fact that a Chinese player (and an unseeded qualifier at that!), of all things, reached the semis while not a single one of their players own could do so.
Anna Chakvetadze, Nadia Petrova, Yelena Dementieva and Dinara Safina fared little better than Kuznetsova. Only one of them, Petrova, managed to reach the quarter finals — where she was taken apart in easy straight sets by the world #1 Justine Henin. Both Chakvetadze and Dementieva were booted by much lower-ranked players, unseeded players and no Russian managed to upset a higher-ranked non-Russian opponent.
More proof of Russian “dominance” in the world of ladies’ tennis. At least, we didn’t hear any gibberish from the WTA about “ruling Russians” this time.
In related news, lower-ranked American James Blake blew higher-ranked Russian Nikolai Davydenko off the court in the semifinals of the ATP event in Cincinnati, with Davydenko able to win only 6 of games played in the straight-set laugher. Davydenko, now embroiled in a massive fixing conspiracy and previously reported by LR, richly deserved his humiliation.