Daily Archives: June 17, 2007

June 17, 2007 — Contents

SUNDAY JUNE 17 CONTENTS


(1) The Sunday Photos: Oborona Remembers

(2) Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

(3) Stalin’s Killing Fields: Russia’s Golgotha? We think not.

(4) Russian Lies and the Lying Russian Liars who Tell Them

(5) The Sunday Funnies: The Evil Empire Strikes Back

(6) Tracking the Blogosphere: The LR Index for July 1, 2007 {DRAFT FORM}

The Sunday Photos: Oborona Remembers

In photos taken from the Oborona website, a team visits the memorial in Moscow which commenorates the August 1991 grass roots uprising against the neo-Soviet coup plotters

When was the last time you heard “President” Putin mention these grassroots heroes? Could it be he’s afraid of people like them, real Russian patriots interested first and foremost in the welfare of their country? Does he have reason to be afraid?

Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

Little Politics

by Dave Esssel

I am always amazed at how some people claim to be apolitical and say that “all this” has nothing to do them. The fact of the matter is that tomorrow’s history is today’s politics; we all live in one world and we are all affected. You can’t opt out of history except by jumping off a high building or whatever. Furthermore, politics, which is actually the life of a country, affects everything and everyone, from matters large to matters small.

La Russophobe talks about the big picture and big politics but it is interesting to note that LR’s analysis and conclusions work just as well for, and can be just as well illustrated and exemplified in, the smallest of matters.

Just such a small matter was drawn to my attention the other day and I thought it a perfect example of how great power politics has tendrils reaching down to the very lowest level.

This little sotry is about Russia and Kazakhstan and the Russians in both countries. Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, a great many Russians in Kazakhstan thought that this would be the end of their world, that the “aboriginals” would take over and a) make their lives hell and b) take over everything and through ignorance and stupidity completely mess up the country. [The general Great-Russian chauvinist attitude is very apparent in this as well as a recognition that as Russians they were due for some “pay-back time”.] In Kazakhstan, millions of Russians upped their stakes and returned to Russia, usually to out of the way places as not that many had relatives in developed towns and, having sold up in Kazakhstan, could only afford to live in cheaper places than Moscow or Leningrad. However, millions of other Russians stayed and took their chances. This backwater of the Soviet Union was a fairly friendly place since Communist ideology was more of a gloss over the generally laissez-faire ways of Central Asia.

The wake-up and shape-up of the former Soviet Union ran its course and today Kazakhstan, for all its many problems of corruption and inefficiency, is better off in many respects than Russia. The essential capitalist reforms were done quickly and fairly thoroughly (unlike in Russia) and the country now has a vibrant economy aided by an efficient banking system and a future to look forward to. There was little or no pay-back against the Russians as the people of Kazakhstan and generally easy-going. Today the place presents itself as a fairly pleasant and tolerant multicultural society.

The result of the early exodus from Kazakhstan of many Russians is that families were split up, with some branches remaining in Kazakhstan and others restarting their lives in Russia. Today the main upheavals are over, communications and transport links are up and running again, Russia is heading headlong towards fascism and Kazakhstan towards its future as a moderately rich and corrupt third world country with aspirations.

It is now possible to travel again and families once again have the time and opportunity to visit each other. A Kazakhstani Russian friend of mine was at last able to travel to see his mother in Southern Russia after a ten-year gap. The journey was via Moscow. On his return, he vowed never to go back to Russia voluntarily. He had found everything to be horrible from the moment he landed in Moscow: the behaviour of immigration and customs (harsh and unsmiling), the service on Aeroflot for the flight to southern Russia (snarling), the depressiveness of the small town he went to, and so on endlessly. His summary: in Russia, people are just plain nasty to each other at every opportunity. As a Russian, he was surprised to find himself heaving a sigh relief to be back home as he boarded his Air Astana flight from Moscow to Almaty and was greeted by a friendly crew.

Just recently his mother made a return visit to Almaty, her home-town which she only left at age forty. The trip was funded by the Kazakhstan family, an indication of the relative advances of the two countries’ economies. This visit was an interesting failure because this former citizen of Almaty was unable during a 10-day visit to relate properly with the people there. A little over ten years in Russia had made this person harsh, impatient, intolerant, and hurried Ð characteristics not appreciated in Kazakhstan where the initial approach to any, even minor, social encounter is to smile and take one’s time. This was epitomised during a visit to the market, Almaty’s Green Bazar, during which the visitor from Russia succeeded in aggravating every single one of my friend’s long time vendors of eggs, fruit, chickens, and vegetables.

In fact, he was sufficiently embarrassed by his mother’s uppity and bossy behaviour with his favourite sellers, with whom he has a light and friendly social interaction each week while he does his shopping, that the next week he found himself doing a round of shopping and apologising. His fruiterer’s response was the most telling, however:

“She’s from Russia, isn’t she, your mother? My father and brother live in Russia and they’re like that too.”

Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

Little Politics

by Dave Esssel

I am always amazed at how some people claim to be apolitical and say that “all this” has nothing to do them. The fact of the matter is that tomorrow’s history is today’s politics; we all live in one world and we are all affected. You can’t opt out of history except by jumping off a high building or whatever. Furthermore, politics, which is actually the life of a country, affects everything and everyone, from matters large to matters small.

La Russophobe talks about the big picture and big politics but it is interesting to note that LR’s analysis and conclusions work just as well for, and can be just as well illustrated and exemplified in, the smallest of matters.

Just such a small matter was drawn to my attention the other day and I thought it a perfect example of how great power politics has tendrils reaching down to the very lowest level.

This little sotry is about Russia and Kazakhstan and the Russians in both countries. Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, a great many Russians in Kazakhstan thought that this would be the end of their world, that the “aboriginals” would take over and a) make their lives hell and b) take over everything and through ignorance and stupidity completely mess up the country. [The general Great-Russian chauvinist attitude is very apparent in this as well as a recognition that as Russians they were due for some “pay-back time”.] In Kazakhstan, millions of Russians upped their stakes and returned to Russia, usually to out of the way places as not that many had relatives in developed towns and, having sold up in Kazakhstan, could only afford to live in cheaper places than Moscow or Leningrad. However, millions of other Russians stayed and took their chances. This backwater of the Soviet Union was a fairly friendly place since Communist ideology was more of a gloss over the generally laissez-faire ways of Central Asia.

The wake-up and shape-up of the former Soviet Union ran its course and today Kazakhstan, for all its many problems of corruption and inefficiency, is better off in many respects than Russia. The essential capitalist reforms were done quickly and fairly thoroughly (unlike in Russia) and the country now has a vibrant economy aided by an efficient banking system and a future to look forward to. There was little or no pay-back against the Russians as the people of Kazakhstan and generally easy-going. Today the place presents itself as a fairly pleasant and tolerant multicultural society.

The result of the early exodus from Kazakhstan of many Russians is that families were split up, with some branches remaining in Kazakhstan and others restarting their lives in Russia. Today the main upheavals are over, communications and transport links are up and running again, Russia is heading headlong towards fascism and Kazakhstan towards its future as a moderately rich and corrupt third world country with aspirations.

It is now possible to travel again and families once again have the time and opportunity to visit each other. A Kazakhstani Russian friend of mine was at last able to travel to see his mother in Southern Russia after a ten-year gap. The journey was via Moscow. On his return, he vowed never to go back to Russia voluntarily. He had found everything to be horrible from the moment he landed in Moscow: the behaviour of immigration and customs (harsh and unsmiling), the service on Aeroflot for the flight to southern Russia (snarling), the depressiveness of the small town he went to, and so on endlessly. His summary: in Russia, people are just plain nasty to each other at every opportunity. As a Russian, he was surprised to find himself heaving a sigh relief to be back home as he boarded his Air Astana flight from Moscow to Almaty and was greeted by a friendly crew.

Just recently his mother made a return visit to Almaty, her home-town which she only left at age forty. The trip was funded by the Kazakhstan family, an indication of the relative advances of the two countries’ economies. This visit was an interesting failure because this former citizen of Almaty was unable during a 10-day visit to relate properly with the people there. A little over ten years in Russia had made this person harsh, impatient, intolerant, and hurried Ð characteristics not appreciated in Kazakhstan where the initial approach to any, even minor, social encounter is to smile and take one’s time. This was epitomised during a visit to the market, Almaty’s Green Bazar, during which the visitor from Russia succeeded in aggravating every single one of my friend’s long time vendors of eggs, fruit, chickens, and vegetables.

In fact, he was sufficiently embarrassed by his mother’s uppity and bossy behaviour with his favourite sellers, with whom he has a light and friendly social interaction each week while he does his shopping, that the next week he found himself doing a round of shopping and apologising. His fruiterer’s response was the most telling, however:

“She’s from Russia, isn’t she, your mother? My father and brother live in Russia and they’re like that too.”

Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

Little Politics

by Dave Esssel

I am always amazed at how some people claim to be apolitical and say that “all this” has nothing to do them. The fact of the matter is that tomorrow’s history is today’s politics; we all live in one world and we are all affected. You can’t opt out of history except by jumping off a high building or whatever. Furthermore, politics, which is actually the life of a country, affects everything and everyone, from matters large to matters small.

La Russophobe talks about the big picture and big politics but it is interesting to note that LR’s analysis and conclusions work just as well for, and can be just as well illustrated and exemplified in, the smallest of matters.

Just such a small matter was drawn to my attention the other day and I thought it a perfect example of how great power politics has tendrils reaching down to the very lowest level.

This little sotry is about Russia and Kazakhstan and the Russians in both countries. Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, a great many Russians in Kazakhstan thought that this would be the end of their world, that the “aboriginals” would take over and a) make their lives hell and b) take over everything and through ignorance and stupidity completely mess up the country. [The general Great-Russian chauvinist attitude is very apparent in this as well as a recognition that as Russians they were due for some “pay-back time”.] In Kazakhstan, millions of Russians upped their stakes and returned to Russia, usually to out of the way places as not that many had relatives in developed towns and, having sold up in Kazakhstan, could only afford to live in cheaper places than Moscow or Leningrad. However, millions of other Russians stayed and took their chances. This backwater of the Soviet Union was a fairly friendly place since Communist ideology was more of a gloss over the generally laissez-faire ways of Central Asia.

The wake-up and shape-up of the former Soviet Union ran its course and today Kazakhstan, for all its many problems of corruption and inefficiency, is better off in many respects than Russia. The essential capitalist reforms were done quickly and fairly thoroughly (unlike in Russia) and the country now has a vibrant economy aided by an efficient banking system and a future to look forward to. There was little or no pay-back against the Russians as the people of Kazakhstan and generally easy-going. Today the place presents itself as a fairly pleasant and tolerant multicultural society.

The result of the early exodus from Kazakhstan of many Russians is that families were split up, with some branches remaining in Kazakhstan and others restarting their lives in Russia. Today the main upheavals are over, communications and transport links are up and running again, Russia is heading headlong towards fascism and Kazakhstan towards its future as a moderately rich and corrupt third world country with aspirations.

It is now possible to travel again and families once again have the time and opportunity to visit each other. A Kazakhstani Russian friend of mine was at last able to travel to see his mother in Southern Russia after a ten-year gap. The journey was via Moscow. On his return, he vowed never to go back to Russia voluntarily. He had found everything to be horrible from the moment he landed in Moscow: the behaviour of immigration and customs (harsh and unsmiling), the service on Aeroflot for the flight to southern Russia (snarling), the depressiveness of the small town he went to, and so on endlessly. His summary: in Russia, people are just plain nasty to each other at every opportunity. As a Russian, he was surprised to find himself heaving a sigh relief to be back home as he boarded his Air Astana flight from Moscow to Almaty and was greeted by a friendly crew.

Just recently his mother made a return visit to Almaty, her home-town which she only left at age forty. The trip was funded by the Kazakhstan family, an indication of the relative advances of the two countries’ economies. This visit was an interesting failure because this former citizen of Almaty was unable during a 10-day visit to relate properly with the people there. A little over ten years in Russia had made this person harsh, impatient, intolerant, and hurried Ð characteristics not appreciated in Kazakhstan where the initial approach to any, even minor, social encounter is to smile and take one’s time. This was epitomised during a visit to the market, Almaty’s Green Bazar, during which the visitor from Russia succeeded in aggravating every single one of my friend’s long time vendors of eggs, fruit, chickens, and vegetables.

In fact, he was sufficiently embarrassed by his mother’s uppity and bossy behaviour with his favourite sellers, with whom he has a light and friendly social interaction each week while he does his shopping, that the next week he found himself doing a round of shopping and apologising. His fruiterer’s response was the most telling, however:

“She’s from Russia, isn’t she, your mother? My father and brother live in Russia and they’re like that too.”

Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

Little Politics

by Dave Esssel

I am always amazed at how some people claim to be apolitical and say that “all this” has nothing to do them. The fact of the matter is that tomorrow’s history is today’s politics; we all live in one world and we are all affected. You can’t opt out of history except by jumping off a high building or whatever. Furthermore, politics, which is actually the life of a country, affects everything and everyone, from matters large to matters small.

La Russophobe talks about the big picture and big politics but it is interesting to note that LR’s analysis and conclusions work just as well for, and can be just as well illustrated and exemplified in, the smallest of matters.

Just such a small matter was drawn to my attention the other day and I thought it a perfect example of how great power politics has tendrils reaching down to the very lowest level.

This little sotry is about Russia and Kazakhstan and the Russians in both countries. Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, a great many Russians in Kazakhstan thought that this would be the end of their world, that the “aboriginals” would take over and a) make their lives hell and b) take over everything and through ignorance and stupidity completely mess up the country. [The general Great-Russian chauvinist attitude is very apparent in this as well as a recognition that as Russians they were due for some “pay-back time”.] In Kazakhstan, millions of Russians upped their stakes and returned to Russia, usually to out of the way places as not that many had relatives in developed towns and, having sold up in Kazakhstan, could only afford to live in cheaper places than Moscow or Leningrad. However, millions of other Russians stayed and took their chances. This backwater of the Soviet Union was a fairly friendly place since Communist ideology was more of a gloss over the generally laissez-faire ways of Central Asia.

The wake-up and shape-up of the former Soviet Union ran its course and today Kazakhstan, for all its many problems of corruption and inefficiency, is better off in many respects than Russia. The essential capitalist reforms were done quickly and fairly thoroughly (unlike in Russia) and the country now has a vibrant economy aided by an efficient banking system and a future to look forward to. There was little or no pay-back against the Russians as the people of Kazakhstan and generally easy-going. Today the place presents itself as a fairly pleasant and tolerant multicultural society.

The result of the early exodus from Kazakhstan of many Russians is that families were split up, with some branches remaining in Kazakhstan and others restarting their lives in Russia. Today the main upheavals are over, communications and transport links are up and running again, Russia is heading headlong towards fascism and Kazakhstan towards its future as a moderately rich and corrupt third world country with aspirations.

It is now possible to travel again and families once again have the time and opportunity to visit each other. A Kazakhstani Russian friend of mine was at last able to travel to see his mother in Southern Russia after a ten-year gap. The journey was via Moscow. On his return, he vowed never to go back to Russia voluntarily. He had found everything to be horrible from the moment he landed in Moscow: the behaviour of immigration and customs (harsh and unsmiling), the service on Aeroflot for the flight to southern Russia (snarling), the depressiveness of the small town he went to, and so on endlessly. His summary: in Russia, people are just plain nasty to each other at every opportunity. As a Russian, he was surprised to find himself heaving a sigh relief to be back home as he boarded his Air Astana flight from Moscow to Almaty and was greeted by a friendly crew.

Just recently his mother made a return visit to Almaty, her home-town which she only left at age forty. The trip was funded by the Kazakhstan family, an indication of the relative advances of the two countries’ economies. This visit was an interesting failure because this former citizen of Almaty was unable during a 10-day visit to relate properly with the people there. A little over ten years in Russia had made this person harsh, impatient, intolerant, and hurried Ð characteristics not appreciated in Kazakhstan where the initial approach to any, even minor, social encounter is to smile and take one’s time. This was epitomised during a visit to the market, Almaty’s Green Bazar, during which the visitor from Russia succeeded in aggravating every single one of my friend’s long time vendors of eggs, fruit, chickens, and vegetables.

In fact, he was sufficiently embarrassed by his mother’s uppity and bossy behaviour with his favourite sellers, with whom he has a light and friendly social interaction each week while he does his shopping, that the next week he found himself doing a round of shopping and apologising. His fruiterer’s response was the most telling, however:

“She’s from Russia, isn’t she, your mother? My father and brother live in Russia and they’re like that too.”

Essel’s Postcard from Kazakhstan

Little Politics

by Dave Esssel

I am always amazed at how some people claim to be apolitical and say that “all this” has nothing to do them. The fact of the matter is that tomorrow’s history is today’s politics; we all live in one world and we are all affected. You can’t opt out of history except by jumping off a high building or whatever. Furthermore, politics, which is actually the life of a country, affects everything and everyone, from matters large to matters small.

La Russophobe talks about the big picture and big politics but it is interesting to note that LR’s analysis and conclusions work just as well for, and can be just as well illustrated and exemplified in, the smallest of matters.

Just such a small matter was drawn to my attention the other day and I thought it a perfect example of how great power politics has tendrils reaching down to the very lowest level.

This little sotry is about Russia and Kazakhstan and the Russians in both countries. Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, a great many Russians in Kazakhstan thought that this would be the end of their world, that the “aboriginals” would take over and a) make their lives hell and b) take over everything and through ignorance and stupidity completely mess up the country. [The general Great-Russian chauvinist attitude is very apparent in this as well as a recognition that as Russians they were due for some “pay-back time”.] In Kazakhstan, millions of Russians upped their stakes and returned to Russia, usually to out of the way places as not that many had relatives in developed towns and, having sold up in Kazakhstan, could only afford to live in cheaper places than Moscow or Leningrad. However, millions of other Russians stayed and took their chances. This backwater of the Soviet Union was a fairly friendly place since Communist ideology was more of a gloss over the generally laissez-faire ways of Central Asia.

The wake-up and shape-up of the former Soviet Union ran its course and today Kazakhstan, for all its many problems of corruption and inefficiency, is better off in many respects than Russia. The essential capitalist reforms were done quickly and fairly thoroughly (unlike in Russia) and the country now has a vibrant economy aided by an efficient banking system and a future to look forward to. There was little or no pay-back against the Russians as the people of Kazakhstan and generally easy-going. Today the place presents itself as a fairly pleasant and tolerant multicultural society.

The result of the early exodus from Kazakhstan of many Russians is that families were split up, with some branches remaining in Kazakhstan and others restarting their lives in Russia. Today the main upheavals are over, communications and transport links are up and running again, Russia is heading headlong towards fascism and Kazakhstan towards its future as a moderately rich and corrupt third world country with aspirations.

It is now possible to travel again and families once again have the time and opportunity to visit each other. A Kazakhstani Russian friend of mine was at last able to travel to see his mother in Southern Russia after a ten-year gap. The journey was via Moscow. On his return, he vowed never to go back to Russia voluntarily. He had found everything to be horrible from the moment he landed in Moscow: the behaviour of immigration and customs (harsh and unsmiling), the service on Aeroflot for the flight to southern Russia (snarling), the depressiveness of the small town he went to, and so on endlessly. His summary: in Russia, people are just plain nasty to each other at every opportunity. As a Russian, he was surprised to find himself heaving a sigh relief to be back home as he boarded his Air Astana flight from Moscow to Almaty and was greeted by a friendly crew.

Just recently his mother made a return visit to Almaty, her home-town which she only left at age forty. The trip was funded by the Kazakhstan family, an indication of the relative advances of the two countries’ economies. This visit was an interesting failure because this former citizen of Almaty was unable during a 10-day visit to relate properly with the people there. A little over ten years in Russia had made this person harsh, impatient, intolerant, and hurried Ð characteristics not appreciated in Kazakhstan where the initial approach to any, even minor, social encounter is to smile and take one’s time. This was epitomised during a visit to the market, Almaty’s Green Bazar, during which the visitor from Russia succeeded in aggravating every single one of my friend’s long time vendors of eggs, fruit, chickens, and vegetables.

In fact, he was sufficiently embarrassed by his mother’s uppity and bossy behaviour with his favourite sellers, with whom he has a light and friendly social interaction each week while he does his shopping, that the next week he found himself doing a round of shopping and apologising. His fruiterer’s response was the most telling, however:

“She’s from Russia, isn’t she, your mother? My father and brother live in Russia and they’re like that too.”

Stalin’s Killing Fields: The Russian Golgotha? We think not.


As is always the case where Russia is concerned, when there is one step forward there are always at least two steps back. The New York Times documents the opening of a new memorial to victims of Stalin on Moscow’s outskirts, and this is good news, yet it quotes a Russian visitor saying “This place is our Russian Golgotha. There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.” Do Germans refer to Auschwitz as “their Golgotha”? Do Americans talk about the Japanese camps this way? In fact, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Russians were not suffering for the sins of mankind, but for their own sins, and they were as much inflicting suffering as receiving it. Not only did they sit idly by while Stalin carried out his purges, many informed on their neighbors and benefited from the purges. The complicity of the Russian people themselves in the atrocities of Stalin is not recognized in this neo-Soviet memorial, nor is it reflected in the comments of this Russian or any other mainstream person in Russia today. Those, like Starovoitova and Politikovskaya, who dare to make such points find themselves pushing up daisies. Only a Russophile flight of egomania could possibly allow one to analogize the Russian people to Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln made a similar comment about American suffering during the Civil War, but in America the suffering was between two fully armed groups of rivals fighting over coherent political ideologies. In Russia, the armed state attacked the unarmed population on the ad hoc basis of preserving its power, and the vast majority stood by doing nothing. That’s not Golgotha, it’s just gross.

Worse still, the Orthodox Church, which bore the brunt of the attacks for which this memorial was created, is currently complicit in the rise of a neo-Soviet state, a Holy Russian Empire, and is condoning the persecution of rival religous groups. A proud KGB spy governs the nation, and he has rehabilitated Stalin, the KGB and even the Soviet anthem. It does not appear that Russians have learned anything positive from the Stalin era.

BUTOVO, Russia — Barbed wire still lines the perimeter of the secret police compound here on the southern edge of Moscow where more, perhaps far more, than 20,000 people were shot and buried from August 1937 through October 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges. Now, gradually, Butovsky poligon — literally, the Butovo shooting range — is becoming a shrine to all of the victims of Stalin’s murderous campaigns. Grass-covered mounds holding the victims’ bones crisscross the pastoral field, which is now dotted with flowers and birch trees.

Searing portraits from victims’ case files found in the archives of the secret police are displayed, along with a grim month-by-month chart of executions, in front of a small wooden church in the field. “This place is our Russian Golgotha,” said Andrei Kuznetsov, 34, a social worker, making the sign of the cross recently in front of a newly built white stone church near the site, the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. “There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.”

The killing ground is a symbol of a much larger, bloodier conflict in Russian society, that between the Bolsheviks and the Russian Orthodox Church. One thousand of those killed here are known to have died for their Orthodox faith. More than 320 have been canonized as “new martyrs” of the church — bishops, monks, nuns and lay people who were victims of Soviet rule. The new church was consecrated on May 19 as part of the celebration of the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Church Abroad, an émigré group that broke away in the 1920s. The walls of the church are filled with icons of the new martyrs, including one depicting their executioners shooting them. Glass cases in the lower church are filled with their personal items, like an executed priest’s prayer book and his violin.

The names of the victims are engraved on plaques lining one of the fences around the field. The fence overlooks dachas that were built in a parklike setting for officials of the K.G.B., the secret police agency was a successor of the Stalin-era N.K.V.D. and endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They say the strawberries grew especially large at these dachas,” said Galina Pryakina, 70, nodding at the mounds of bones as she traced her finger across the plaques and found the name of a monk, now a saint, killed on the same day as her father, June 4, 1938. She visited the site this year on the fourth Saturday after Easter, a day that Patriarch Aleksy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen in recent years to commemorate Butovo’s martyrs. “I spent 66 years looking for him,” Ms. Pryakina said of her father. She was an infant when he was arrested, supposedly as a Romanian spy, and she and her mother were sent into exile. Three years ago, she journeyed to Moscow from her home in southern Kazakhstan to find her father’s burial place. She headed for a cemetery in the city’s north, but a woman at a bus stop — Ms. Pryakina is convinced that it was a vision of the Virgin Mary — directed her to Butovo. Within minutes, her father’s name was tracked in a database here.

The Rev. Kirill Kaleda, rector of the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, has a tragically intimate connection to the parish. His grandfather Vladimir Ambartsumov, who was a priest, is one of the new martyrs. He was arrested in 1937 and sentenced to “10 years without the right of correspondence,” the official euphemism for a death sentence. The Kaleda family spent decades searching for him. “I remember very well how when we were little, after our morning and evening prayers, we would add a prayer asking to find how our Grandpa Volodya died,” Father Kaleda said. “It seemed that hope of learning the circumstances of Grandfather’s death had almost vanished. We had thought he died somewhere in the camps.”

Mikhail Mindlin, a concentration camp survivor who devoted his retirement in the 1980s and 1990s to systematically studying Soviet repression, fought to have the existence of the Butovo killing ground recognized by the state. Eventually, thanks to sympathetic K.G.B. officials, files with the names of those executed on the orders of Stalin’s henchman Nikolai I. Yezhov were found in secret police files.

The scope of the killings is staggering. Butovo’s victims ranged from peasants and factory workers to czarist generals, Russian Orthodox hierarchs, German Communists, Latvian writers, invalids and even Moscow’s Chinese launderers, dozens of whom were executed as enemies of the people. Ultimately many Soviet officials, including Yezhov and other N.K.V.D. officials who carried out the purges, were gunned down at Butovo and elsewhere as the revolution consumed its creators. Some objections have been raised to the Russian Orthodox focus of the memorial, given the wide variety of victims buried here. But Arseny Roginsky, the chairman of Memorial, an organization that works to catalog Soviet crimes and help victims of repression, said the church had stepped into a void left by the state. “It’s a bit strange that this is a purely Orthodox place, but nothing tragic,” he said. “I don’t really like this. I think this should be a multicultural place. “But it’s better that there be something than nothing. If the state is not ready to understand the meaning of terror in its history, the role and place of terror in its history, it’s not so terrible that the Orthodox Church took it upon itself.”

Stalin’s Killing Fields: The Russian Golgotha? We think not.


As is always the case where Russia is concerned, when there is one step forward there are always at least two steps back. The New York Times documents the opening of a new memorial to victims of Stalin on Moscow’s outskirts, and this is good news, yet it quotes a Russian visitor saying “This place is our Russian Golgotha. There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.” Do Germans refer to Auschwitz as “their Golgotha”? Do Americans talk about the Japanese camps this way? In fact, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Russians were not suffering for the sins of mankind, but for their own sins, and they were as much inflicting suffering as receiving it. Not only did they sit idly by while Stalin carried out his purges, many informed on their neighbors and benefited from the purges. The complicity of the Russian people themselves in the atrocities of Stalin is not recognized in this neo-Soviet memorial, nor is it reflected in the comments of this Russian or any other mainstream person in Russia today. Those, like Starovoitova and Politikovskaya, who dare to make such points find themselves pushing up daisies. Only a Russophile flight of egomania could possibly allow one to analogize the Russian people to Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln made a similar comment about American suffering during the Civil War, but in America the suffering was between two fully armed groups of rivals fighting over coherent political ideologies. In Russia, the armed state attacked the unarmed population on the ad hoc basis of preserving its power, and the vast majority stood by doing nothing. That’s not Golgotha, it’s just gross.

Worse still, the Orthodox Church, which bore the brunt of the attacks for which this memorial was created, is currently complicit in the rise of a neo-Soviet state, a Holy Russian Empire, and is condoning the persecution of rival religous groups. A proud KGB spy governs the nation, and he has rehabilitated Stalin, the KGB and even the Soviet anthem. It does not appear that Russians have learned anything positive from the Stalin era.

BUTOVO, Russia — Barbed wire still lines the perimeter of the secret police compound here on the southern edge of Moscow where more, perhaps far more, than 20,000 people were shot and buried from August 1937 through October 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges. Now, gradually, Butovsky poligon — literally, the Butovo shooting range — is becoming a shrine to all of the victims of Stalin’s murderous campaigns. Grass-covered mounds holding the victims’ bones crisscross the pastoral field, which is now dotted with flowers and birch trees.

Searing portraits from victims’ case files found in the archives of the secret police are displayed, along with a grim month-by-month chart of executions, in front of a small wooden church in the field. “This place is our Russian Golgotha,” said Andrei Kuznetsov, 34, a social worker, making the sign of the cross recently in front of a newly built white stone church near the site, the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. “There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.”

The killing ground is a symbol of a much larger, bloodier conflict in Russian society, that between the Bolsheviks and the Russian Orthodox Church. One thousand of those killed here are known to have died for their Orthodox faith. More than 320 have been canonized as “new martyrs” of the church — bishops, monks, nuns and lay people who were victims of Soviet rule. The new church was consecrated on May 19 as part of the celebration of the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Church Abroad, an émigré group that broke away in the 1920s. The walls of the church are filled with icons of the new martyrs, including one depicting their executioners shooting them. Glass cases in the lower church are filled with their personal items, like an executed priest’s prayer book and his violin.

The names of the victims are engraved on plaques lining one of the fences around the field. The fence overlooks dachas that were built in a parklike setting for officials of the K.G.B., the secret police agency was a successor of the Stalin-era N.K.V.D. and endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They say the strawberries grew especially large at these dachas,” said Galina Pryakina, 70, nodding at the mounds of bones as she traced her finger across the plaques and found the name of a monk, now a saint, killed on the same day as her father, June 4, 1938. She visited the site this year on the fourth Saturday after Easter, a day that Patriarch Aleksy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen in recent years to commemorate Butovo’s martyrs. “I spent 66 years looking for him,” Ms. Pryakina said of her father. She was an infant when he was arrested, supposedly as a Romanian spy, and she and her mother were sent into exile. Three years ago, she journeyed to Moscow from her home in southern Kazakhstan to find her father’s burial place. She headed for a cemetery in the city’s north, but a woman at a bus stop — Ms. Pryakina is convinced that it was a vision of the Virgin Mary — directed her to Butovo. Within minutes, her father’s name was tracked in a database here.

The Rev. Kirill Kaleda, rector of the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, has a tragically intimate connection to the parish. His grandfather Vladimir Ambartsumov, who was a priest, is one of the new martyrs. He was arrested in 1937 and sentenced to “10 years without the right of correspondence,” the official euphemism for a death sentence. The Kaleda family spent decades searching for him. “I remember very well how when we were little, after our morning and evening prayers, we would add a prayer asking to find how our Grandpa Volodya died,” Father Kaleda said. “It seemed that hope of learning the circumstances of Grandfather’s death had almost vanished. We had thought he died somewhere in the camps.”

Mikhail Mindlin, a concentration camp survivor who devoted his retirement in the 1980s and 1990s to systematically studying Soviet repression, fought to have the existence of the Butovo killing ground recognized by the state. Eventually, thanks to sympathetic K.G.B. officials, files with the names of those executed on the orders of Stalin’s henchman Nikolai I. Yezhov were found in secret police files.

The scope of the killings is staggering. Butovo’s victims ranged from peasants and factory workers to czarist generals, Russian Orthodox hierarchs, German Communists, Latvian writers, invalids and even Moscow’s Chinese launderers, dozens of whom were executed as enemies of the people. Ultimately many Soviet officials, including Yezhov and other N.K.V.D. officials who carried out the purges, were gunned down at Butovo and elsewhere as the revolution consumed its creators. Some objections have been raised to the Russian Orthodox focus of the memorial, given the wide variety of victims buried here. But Arseny Roginsky, the chairman of Memorial, an organization that works to catalog Soviet crimes and help victims of repression, said the church had stepped into a void left by the state. “It’s a bit strange that this is a purely Orthodox place, but nothing tragic,” he said. “I don’t really like this. I think this should be a multicultural place. “But it’s better that there be something than nothing. If the state is not ready to understand the meaning of terror in its history, the role and place of terror in its history, it’s not so terrible that the Orthodox Church took it upon itself.”

Stalin’s Killing Fields: The Russian Golgotha? We think not.


As is always the case where Russia is concerned, when there is one step forward there are always at least two steps back. The New York Times documents the opening of a new memorial to victims of Stalin on Moscow’s outskirts, and this is good news, yet it quotes a Russian visitor saying “This place is our Russian Golgotha. There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.” Do Germans refer to Auschwitz as “their Golgotha”? Do Americans talk about the Japanese camps this way? In fact, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Russians were not suffering for the sins of mankind, but for their own sins, and they were as much inflicting suffering as receiving it. Not only did they sit idly by while Stalin carried out his purges, many informed on their neighbors and benefited from the purges. The complicity of the Russian people themselves in the atrocities of Stalin is not recognized in this neo-Soviet memorial, nor is it reflected in the comments of this Russian or any other mainstream person in Russia today. Those, like Starovoitova and Politikovskaya, who dare to make such points find themselves pushing up daisies. Only a Russophile flight of egomania could possibly allow one to analogize the Russian people to Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln made a similar comment about American suffering during the Civil War, but in America the suffering was between two fully armed groups of rivals fighting over coherent political ideologies. In Russia, the armed state attacked the unarmed population on the ad hoc basis of preserving its power, and the vast majority stood by doing nothing. That’s not Golgotha, it’s just gross.

Worse still, the Orthodox Church, which bore the brunt of the attacks for which this memorial was created, is currently complicit in the rise of a neo-Soviet state, a Holy Russian Empire, and is condoning the persecution of rival religous groups. A proud KGB spy governs the nation, and he has rehabilitated Stalin, the KGB and even the Soviet anthem. It does not appear that Russians have learned anything positive from the Stalin era.

BUTOVO, Russia — Barbed wire still lines the perimeter of the secret police compound here on the southern edge of Moscow where more, perhaps far more, than 20,000 people were shot and buried from August 1937 through October 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges. Now, gradually, Butovsky poligon — literally, the Butovo shooting range — is becoming a shrine to all of the victims of Stalin’s murderous campaigns. Grass-covered mounds holding the victims’ bones crisscross the pastoral field, which is now dotted with flowers and birch trees.

Searing portraits from victims’ case files found in the archives of the secret police are displayed, along with a grim month-by-month chart of executions, in front of a small wooden church in the field. “This place is our Russian Golgotha,” said Andrei Kuznetsov, 34, a social worker, making the sign of the cross recently in front of a newly built white stone church near the site, the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. “There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.”

The killing ground is a symbol of a much larger, bloodier conflict in Russian society, that between the Bolsheviks and the Russian Orthodox Church. One thousand of those killed here are known to have died for their Orthodox faith. More than 320 have been canonized as “new martyrs” of the church — bishops, monks, nuns and lay people who were victims of Soviet rule. The new church was consecrated on May 19 as part of the celebration of the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Church Abroad, an émigré group that broke away in the 1920s. The walls of the church are filled with icons of the new martyrs, including one depicting their executioners shooting them. Glass cases in the lower church are filled with their personal items, like an executed priest’s prayer book and his violin.

The names of the victims are engraved on plaques lining one of the fences around the field. The fence overlooks dachas that were built in a parklike setting for officials of the K.G.B., the secret police agency was a successor of the Stalin-era N.K.V.D. and endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They say the strawberries grew especially large at these dachas,” said Galina Pryakina, 70, nodding at the mounds of bones as she traced her finger across the plaques and found the name of a monk, now a saint, killed on the same day as her father, June 4, 1938. She visited the site this year on the fourth Saturday after Easter, a day that Patriarch Aleksy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen in recent years to commemorate Butovo’s martyrs. “I spent 66 years looking for him,” Ms. Pryakina said of her father. She was an infant when he was arrested, supposedly as a Romanian spy, and she and her mother were sent into exile. Three years ago, she journeyed to Moscow from her home in southern Kazakhstan to find her father’s burial place. She headed for a cemetery in the city’s north, but a woman at a bus stop — Ms. Pryakina is convinced that it was a vision of the Virgin Mary — directed her to Butovo. Within minutes, her father’s name was tracked in a database here.

The Rev. Kirill Kaleda, rector of the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, has a tragically intimate connection to the parish. His grandfather Vladimir Ambartsumov, who was a priest, is one of the new martyrs. He was arrested in 1937 and sentenced to “10 years without the right of correspondence,” the official euphemism for a death sentence. The Kaleda family spent decades searching for him. “I remember very well how when we were little, after our morning and evening prayers, we would add a prayer asking to find how our Grandpa Volodya died,” Father Kaleda said. “It seemed that hope of learning the circumstances of Grandfather’s death had almost vanished. We had thought he died somewhere in the camps.”

Mikhail Mindlin, a concentration camp survivor who devoted his retirement in the 1980s and 1990s to systematically studying Soviet repression, fought to have the existence of the Butovo killing ground recognized by the state. Eventually, thanks to sympathetic K.G.B. officials, files with the names of those executed on the orders of Stalin’s henchman Nikolai I. Yezhov were found in secret police files.

The scope of the killings is staggering. Butovo’s victims ranged from peasants and factory workers to czarist generals, Russian Orthodox hierarchs, German Communists, Latvian writers, invalids and even Moscow’s Chinese launderers, dozens of whom were executed as enemies of the people. Ultimately many Soviet officials, including Yezhov and other N.K.V.D. officials who carried out the purges, were gunned down at Butovo and elsewhere as the revolution consumed its creators. Some objections have been raised to the Russian Orthodox focus of the memorial, given the wide variety of victims buried here. But Arseny Roginsky, the chairman of Memorial, an organization that works to catalog Soviet crimes and help victims of repression, said the church had stepped into a void left by the state. “It’s a bit strange that this is a purely Orthodox place, but nothing tragic,” he said. “I don’t really like this. I think this should be a multicultural place. “But it’s better that there be something than nothing. If the state is not ready to understand the meaning of terror in its history, the role and place of terror in its history, it’s not so terrible that the Orthodox Church took it upon itself.”

Stalin’s Killing Fields: The Russian Golgotha? We think not.


As is always the case where Russia is concerned, when there is one step forward there are always at least two steps back. The New York Times documents the opening of a new memorial to victims of Stalin on Moscow’s outskirts, and this is good news, yet it quotes a Russian visitor saying “This place is our Russian Golgotha. There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.” Do Germans refer to Auschwitz as “their Golgotha”? Do Americans talk about the Japanese camps this way? In fact, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Russians were not suffering for the sins of mankind, but for their own sins, and they were as much inflicting suffering as receiving it. Not only did they sit idly by while Stalin carried out his purges, many informed on their neighbors and benefited from the purges. The complicity of the Russian people themselves in the atrocities of Stalin is not recognized in this neo-Soviet memorial, nor is it reflected in the comments of this Russian or any other mainstream person in Russia today. Those, like Starovoitova and Politikovskaya, who dare to make such points find themselves pushing up daisies. Only a Russophile flight of egomania could possibly allow one to analogize the Russian people to Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln made a similar comment about American suffering during the Civil War, but in America the suffering was between two fully armed groups of rivals fighting over coherent political ideologies. In Russia, the armed state attacked the unarmed population on the ad hoc basis of preserving its power, and the vast majority stood by doing nothing. That’s not Golgotha, it’s just gross.

Worse still, the Orthodox Church, which bore the brunt of the attacks for which this memorial was created, is currently complicit in the rise of a neo-Soviet state, a Holy Russian Empire, and is condoning the persecution of rival religous groups. A proud KGB spy governs the nation, and he has rehabilitated Stalin, the KGB and even the Soviet anthem. It does not appear that Russians have learned anything positive from the Stalin era.

BUTOVO, Russia — Barbed wire still lines the perimeter of the secret police compound here on the southern edge of Moscow where more, perhaps far more, than 20,000 people were shot and buried from August 1937 through October 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges. Now, gradually, Butovsky poligon — literally, the Butovo shooting range — is becoming a shrine to all of the victims of Stalin’s murderous campaigns. Grass-covered mounds holding the victims’ bones crisscross the pastoral field, which is now dotted with flowers and birch trees.

Searing portraits from victims’ case files found in the archives of the secret police are displayed, along with a grim month-by-month chart of executions, in front of a small wooden church in the field. “This place is our Russian Golgotha,” said Andrei Kuznetsov, 34, a social worker, making the sign of the cross recently in front of a newly built white stone church near the site, the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. “There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.”

The killing ground is a symbol of a much larger, bloodier conflict in Russian society, that between the Bolsheviks and the Russian Orthodox Church. One thousand of those killed here are known to have died for their Orthodox faith. More than 320 have been canonized as “new martyrs” of the church — bishops, monks, nuns and lay people who were victims of Soviet rule. The new church was consecrated on May 19 as part of the celebration of the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Church Abroad, an émigré group that broke away in the 1920s. The walls of the church are filled with icons of the new martyrs, including one depicting their executioners shooting them. Glass cases in the lower church are filled with their personal items, like an executed priest’s prayer book and his violin.

The names of the victims are engraved on plaques lining one of the fences around the field. The fence overlooks dachas that were built in a parklike setting for officials of the K.G.B., the secret police agency was a successor of the Stalin-era N.K.V.D. and endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They say the strawberries grew especially large at these dachas,” said Galina Pryakina, 70, nodding at the mounds of bones as she traced her finger across the plaques and found the name of a monk, now a saint, killed on the same day as her father, June 4, 1938. She visited the site this year on the fourth Saturday after Easter, a day that Patriarch Aleksy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen in recent years to commemorate Butovo’s martyrs. “I spent 66 years looking for him,” Ms. Pryakina said of her father. She was an infant when he was arrested, supposedly as a Romanian spy, and she and her mother were sent into exile. Three years ago, she journeyed to Moscow from her home in southern Kazakhstan to find her father’s burial place. She headed for a cemetery in the city’s north, but a woman at a bus stop — Ms. Pryakina is convinced that it was a vision of the Virgin Mary — directed her to Butovo. Within minutes, her father’s name was tracked in a database here.

The Rev. Kirill Kaleda, rector of the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, has a tragically intimate connection to the parish. His grandfather Vladimir Ambartsumov, who was a priest, is one of the new martyrs. He was arrested in 1937 and sentenced to “10 years without the right of correspondence,” the official euphemism for a death sentence. The Kaleda family spent decades searching for him. “I remember very well how when we were little, after our morning and evening prayers, we would add a prayer asking to find how our Grandpa Volodya died,” Father Kaleda said. “It seemed that hope of learning the circumstances of Grandfather’s death had almost vanished. We had thought he died somewhere in the camps.”

Mikhail Mindlin, a concentration camp survivor who devoted his retirement in the 1980s and 1990s to systematically studying Soviet repression, fought to have the existence of the Butovo killing ground recognized by the state. Eventually, thanks to sympathetic K.G.B. officials, files with the names of those executed on the orders of Stalin’s henchman Nikolai I. Yezhov were found in secret police files.

The scope of the killings is staggering. Butovo’s victims ranged from peasants and factory workers to czarist generals, Russian Orthodox hierarchs, German Communists, Latvian writers, invalids and even Moscow’s Chinese launderers, dozens of whom were executed as enemies of the people. Ultimately many Soviet officials, including Yezhov and other N.K.V.D. officials who carried out the purges, were gunned down at Butovo and elsewhere as the revolution consumed its creators. Some objections have been raised to the Russian Orthodox focus of the memorial, given the wide variety of victims buried here. But Arseny Roginsky, the chairman of Memorial, an organization that works to catalog Soviet crimes and help victims of repression, said the church had stepped into a void left by the state. “It’s a bit strange that this is a purely Orthodox place, but nothing tragic,” he said. “I don’t really like this. I think this should be a multicultural place. “But it’s better that there be something than nothing. If the state is not ready to understand the meaning of terror in its history, the role and place of terror in its history, it’s not so terrible that the Orthodox Church took it upon itself.”

Stalin’s Killing Fields: The Russian Golgotha? We think not.


As is always the case where Russia is concerned, when there is one step forward there are always at least two steps back. The New York Times documents the opening of a new memorial to victims of Stalin on Moscow’s outskirts, and this is good news, yet it quotes a Russian visitor saying “This place is our Russian Golgotha. There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.” Do Germans refer to Auschwitz as “their Golgotha”? Do Americans talk about the Japanese camps this way? In fact, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Russians were not suffering for the sins of mankind, but for their own sins, and they were as much inflicting suffering as receiving it. Not only did they sit idly by while Stalin carried out his purges, many informed on their neighbors and benefited from the purges. The complicity of the Russian people themselves in the atrocities of Stalin is not recognized in this neo-Soviet memorial, nor is it reflected in the comments of this Russian or any other mainstream person in Russia today. Those, like Starovoitova and Politikovskaya, who dare to make such points find themselves pushing up daisies. Only a Russophile flight of egomania could possibly allow one to analogize the Russian people to Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln made a similar comment about American suffering during the Civil War, but in America the suffering was between two fully armed groups of rivals fighting over coherent political ideologies. In Russia, the armed state attacked the unarmed population on the ad hoc basis of preserving its power, and the vast majority stood by doing nothing. That’s not Golgotha, it’s just gross.

Worse still, the Orthodox Church, which bore the brunt of the attacks for which this memorial was created, is currently complicit in the rise of a neo-Soviet state, a Holy Russian Empire, and is condoning the persecution of rival religous groups. A proud KGB spy governs the nation, and he has rehabilitated Stalin, the KGB and even the Soviet anthem. It does not appear that Russians have learned anything positive from the Stalin era.

BUTOVO, Russia — Barbed wire still lines the perimeter of the secret police compound here on the southern edge of Moscow where more, perhaps far more, than 20,000 people were shot and buried from August 1937 through October 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges. Now, gradually, Butovsky poligon — literally, the Butovo shooting range — is becoming a shrine to all of the victims of Stalin’s murderous campaigns. Grass-covered mounds holding the victims’ bones crisscross the pastoral field, which is now dotted with flowers and birch trees.

Searing portraits from victims’ case files found in the archives of the secret police are displayed, along with a grim month-by-month chart of executions, in front of a small wooden church in the field. “This place is our Russian Golgotha,” said Andrei Kuznetsov, 34, a social worker, making the sign of the cross recently in front of a newly built white stone church near the site, the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. “There is Golgotha in the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. All of Russia was Golgotha in the 20th century.”

The killing ground is a symbol of a much larger, bloodier conflict in Russian society, that between the Bolsheviks and the Russian Orthodox Church. One thousand of those killed here are known to have died for their Orthodox faith. More than 320 have been canonized as “new martyrs” of the church — bishops, monks, nuns and lay people who were victims of Soviet rule. The new church was consecrated on May 19 as part of the celebration of the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Church Abroad, an émigré group that broke away in the 1920s. The walls of the church are filled with icons of the new martyrs, including one depicting their executioners shooting them. Glass cases in the lower church are filled with their personal items, like an executed priest’s prayer book and his violin.

The names of the victims are engraved on plaques lining one of the fences around the field. The fence overlooks dachas that were built in a parklike setting for officials of the K.G.B., the secret police agency was a successor of the Stalin-era N.K.V.D. and endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They say the strawberries grew especially large at these dachas,” said Galina Pryakina, 70, nodding at the mounds of bones as she traced her finger across the plaques and found the name of a monk, now a saint, killed on the same day as her father, June 4, 1938. She visited the site this year on the fourth Saturday after Easter, a day that Patriarch Aleksy II of the Russian Orthodox Church has chosen in recent years to commemorate Butovo’s martyrs. “I spent 66 years looking for him,” Ms. Pryakina said of her father. She was an infant when he was arrested, supposedly as a Romanian spy, and she and her mother were sent into exile. Three years ago, she journeyed to Moscow from her home in southern Kazakhstan to find her father’s burial place. She headed for a cemetery in the city’s north, but a woman at a bus stop — Ms. Pryakina is convinced that it was a vision of the Virgin Mary — directed her to Butovo. Within minutes, her father’s name was tracked in a database here.

The Rev. Kirill Kaleda, rector of the Church of the Resurrection and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, has a tragically intimate connection to the parish. His grandfather Vladimir Ambartsumov, who was a priest, is one of the new martyrs. He was arrested in 1937 and sentenced to “10 years without the right of correspondence,” the official euphemism for a death sentence. The Kaleda family spent decades searching for him. “I remember very well how when we were little, after our morning and evening prayers, we would add a prayer asking to find how our Grandpa Volodya died,” Father Kaleda said. “It seemed that hope of learning the circumstances of Grandfather’s death had almost vanished. We had thought he died somewhere in the camps.”

Mikhail Mindlin, a concentration camp survivor who devoted his retirement in the 1980s and 1990s to systematically studying Soviet repression, fought to have the existence of the Butovo killing ground recognized by the state. Eventually, thanks to sympathetic K.G.B. officials, files with the names of those executed on the orders of Stalin’s henchman Nikolai I. Yezhov were found in secret police files.

The scope of the killings is staggering. Butovo’s victims ranged from peasants and factory workers to czarist generals, Russian Orthodox hierarchs, German Communists, Latvian writers, invalids and even Moscow’s Chinese launderers, dozens of whom were executed as enemies of the people. Ultimately many Soviet officials, including Yezhov and other N.K.V.D. officials who carried out the purges, were gunned down at Butovo and elsewhere as the revolution consumed its creators. Some objections have been raised to the Russian Orthodox focus of the memorial, given the wide variety of victims buried here. But Arseny Roginsky, the chairman of Memorial, an organization that works to catalog Soviet crimes and help victims of repression, said the church had stepped into a void left by the state. “It’s a bit strange that this is a purely Orthodox place, but nothing tragic,” he said. “I don’t really like this. I think this should be a multicultural place. “But it’s better that there be something than nothing. If the state is not ready to understand the meaning of terror in its history, the role and place of terror in its history, it’s not so terrible that the Orthodox Church took it upon itself.”

Russian Lies and the Lying Russian Liars Who Tell Them

The Russian prosecutor-general has ruled out extraditing former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi to the UK over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. “Extradition is out of the question, because it contradicts our constitution,” Yuri Chayka was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Yuri Chayka, the Russian Prosecutor General, is a boldfaced liar.

The Sunday Funnies: Империя наносит ответный удар! ("The Evil Empire Strikes Back!")


Translation: “Ready for Star Wars!”
Source: Ellustrator

Tracking the Blogosphere: Quarterly Update

We are #1!

Today we offer our quarterly report on the state of the English-language Russia blogosphere in the form of the LR Blog Index for July 1, 2007 (the last index was published three months ago). The LR blog index has been expanded in scope and now consists of six factors (as compared to the previous three) and includes the top 20 blogs (as compared to the previous top 16). We publish it in draft form today so that we may be advised of any errors we have made and correct them, and we appreciate all such notices from bloggers and readers either by e-mail or a comment on this post. Of course, we would also love to know if we’ve overlooked a blog that has the credentials for inclusion, and it couldn’t hurt to recommend a blog in the comments section even if it lacks credentials. There may be a genius laboring in obscurity! If so we must root her out!

Based on this analysis, La Russophobe is clearly the #1 English-language Russia politics blog in the world without qualification, with 115 total points compared to 106 for second-place Russia Blog. Robert Amsterdam is hot on the heels of Russia Blog in third place, poised to overtake those scum-sucking Russophile propagandists at any moment. Go get ’em, Robert! His blog has made amazing strides in a short period of time, showing that respect and support for his client Mikhail Khodorkovsky is deep and wide.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike any other blog listed here, La Russophobe frequently diverts her content to Publius Pundit, and none of the activity generated there is considered in these rankings. Were it included, then it would be even more emphatically clear that LR is the number one blogging institution on the planet where Russia is concerned — indeed, holding a dominant position in the marketplace of ideas. As we’ve said before, these achievements are are much those of you the reader, and especially our many contributors, as they are of the publisher and staff of the blog itself.

The six factors we used to rank and compare the English-language Russia blogs are:

A. Total Technorati linking blogs
B. Technorati linking blogs per month of existence
C. Total links from Technorati blogs
D. Technorati blog links per month of existence
E. Total Technorati favorites
F. Alexa Traffic

Each blog in the survey is ranked for each factor (the data and points score in each category follows each blog’s name, with a hyperlink to the source), and then the six ranks are added to form a total score. Blogs are then ranked by total score to form the LR Index shown below, which is followed by the supporting data. We note with pleasure that it is just about time to say “goodbye” to one the blogs we formerly listed, Accidental Russophile (good riddance would be a more apt term for that loathsome and contemptible institution of lies and propaganda), moribund since November 2006 and now being passed on the stat list by newcomer Mark MacKinnon (best performer of the new additions) and old fogie Ruminations on Russia, which are now added to the list along with the Russophile garbage known as Krasnodar Today (spouted by a businessman trying to curry favor with the Putin clan). Another disgusting Russophile screed, Russian Blog, is also long-term moribund and fading fast into obscurity, more good news as far as we are concerned. Conversely, we are delighted to welcome relative newcomer Darkness at Noon, which has jumped onto 11th place on the Technorati links list, leapfrogging old timers like White Sun of the Desert and Lex Libertas (due in no small part to being promoted here on La Russophobe).

LR Blog Index for July 1, 2007

#1 — La Russophobe 115 (19+18+20+20+20+18)

#2 — Russia Blog 106 (20+15+18+16+17+20)

#3 — Robert Amsterdam 103 (18+20+12+18+19+16)

*

#4 — Sean’s Russia Blog 93 (15+13+19+19+16+11)

#5 — Edward Lucas 92 (16+14+17+15+16+14)

*

#6 — Siberian Light 84 (17+9+16+8+16+19)

#7 — Russian Spy 81 (12+16+10+17+9+17)

*

#8 — Very Russian Tochka 72 (14+17+5+12+9+15)

#9 — Vilhelm Konnander 70 (13+11+14+14+18+0)

*

#10 — White Sun of the Desert 60 (9+8+11+10+9+13)

#10 — Copydude 60 (7+10+8+13+12+10)

*

#12 — Mark MacKinnon 55 (3+17+3+13+9+10)

#13 — Russian Blog 53 (6+4+15+11+17+0)

*

#14 — Scraps of Moscow 43 (11+6+9+5+12+0)

#14 — Darkness at Noon 43 (10+19+2+7+5+0)

#16 — Accidental Russophile 40 (3+5+7+9+16+0)

*

#17 — Lex Libertas 37 (8+3+6+3+5+12)

#18 — A Step at a Time 31 (5+2+13+6+5+0)

*

#19 — Ruminations on Russia 19 (4+1+4+1+9+0)

#20 — Krasnodar Today 13 (1+9+1+2+0+0)


________________________________________________

SUPPORTING STATISTICS

A: Top 20 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Technorati Links

Russia Blog 152 (20)

La Russophobe 136 (19)

Robert Amsterdam 134 (18)

Siberian Light 118 (17)

Edward Lucas 117 (16)

Sean’s Russia Blog 92 (15)

Very Russian Tochka 69 (14)

Vilhelm Konnander 66 (13)

Russian Spy 66 (12)

Scraps of Moscow 66 (11)

Darkness at Noon 61 (10)

White Sun of the Desert 55 (9)

Lex Libertas 54 (8)

Copydude 53 (7)

Russian Blog 44 (6)

A Step at a Time 38 (5)

Ruminations on Russia 34 (4)

Mark MacKinnon 31 (3)

Accidental Russophile 30 (2)

Krasnodar Today 30 (1)

NOTE: The above index above shows the level of interest expressed by the blogosphere as a whole in the individual listed blogs. This measure isn’t really fair to younger blogs, but it gives credit where credit is due for longevity. It is offset by measure B, which factors in age. Ties are broken by referring to the total number of links from its linking blogs that each blog has received.

B: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked by

Technorati Links Factored by Age

Robert Amsterdam 13.4 (134/10) (20)

Darkness at Noon 12.2 (61/5) (19)

La Russophobe 9.0 (136/15) (18)

Mark MacKinnon 7.8 (31/4) (17)

Very Russian Tochka 6.9 (69/10) (16)

Russian Spy 7.3 (66/9) (15)

Russia Blog 5.6 (152/27) (14)

Edward Lucas 4.9 (117/24) (13)

Sean’s Russia Blog 4.4 (92/21) (12)

Vilhelm Konnander 3.9 (66/17) (11)

Copydude 3.8 (53/14) (10)

Siberian Light 2.74 (118/43) (9)

Krasnodar Today 2.72 (30/11) (8)

White Sun of the Desert 2.5 (55/22) (7)

Scraps of Moscow 2.0 (66/33) (6)

Accidental Russophile 1.6 (30/19) (5)

Russian Blog 1.5 (44/30) (4)

Lex Libertas 1.1 (54/49) (3)

A Step at a Time 1.0 (38/37) (2)

Ruminations on Russia 0.6 (34/52) (1)

NOTE: The index above shows the level of interest expressed by the blogosphere in the individual blogs factored by age, expressed as links from blogs per month of existence, meaning that it is a fair comparison of older to newer blogs.

C: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked

by Total Links from Technorati Blogs

La Russophobe 1,914 (20)

Sean’s Russia Blog 956 (19)

Russia Blog 953 (18)

Edward Lucas 801 (17)

Siberian Light 605 (16)

Russian Blog 499 (15)

Vilhelm Konnander 469 (14)

A Step at a Time 446 (13)

Robert Amsterdam 448 (12)

White Sun of the Desert 397 (11)

Russian Spy 386 (10)

Scraps of Moscow 368 (9)

Copydude 332 (8)

Accidental Russophile 283 (7)

Lex Libertas 264 (6)

Very Russian Tochka 195 (5)

Ruminations on Russia 150 (4)

Mark MacKinnon 99 (3)

Darkness at Noon 61 (2)

Krasnodar Today 53 (1)

NOTE: The index above shows the level of interest expressed by the universe of blogs that link to a given blog in that blog, i.e., how often they refer to it (it could generally be described as customer loyalty). It is unfair to younger blogs in the same way that the linking blog count is, and is counterbalanced in the same way.

D: Top 20 Russia Blogs Ranked by
Total Links from Technorati Blogs factored by Age

La Russophobe 127 (1,914/15) (20)

Sean’s Russia Blog 46 (956/21) (19)

Robert Amsterdam 45 (448/10) (18)

Russian Spy 44 (386/9) (17)

Russia Blog 35 (953/27) (16)

Edward Lucas 33 (801/24) (15)

Vilhelm Konnander 28 (469/17) (14)

Mark MacKinnon 25 (99/4) (13)

Copydude 24 (332/14) (12)

Very Russian Tochka 20 (195/10) (11)

Russian Blog 18.4 (499/27) (10)

White Sun of the Desert 18.04 (397/22) (9)

Accidental Russophile 15 (283/19) (8)

Siberian Light 14 (605/43) (7)

Darkness at Noon 12.2 (61/5) (6)

A Step at a Time 12.0 (446/37) (5)

Scraps of Moscow 11 (368/33) (4)

Lex Libertas 5.3 (264/49) (3)

Krasnodar Today 4.8 (53/11) (2)

Ruminations on Russia 3 (150/52) (1)

E: Top 20 Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by

Number of Technorati Favorites

Russia Blog 3 (12)

Scraps of Moscow 3 (12)

Copydude 3 (12)

Very Russian Tochka 2 (9)

Lex Libertas 1 (5)

A Step at a Time 1 (5)

Darkness at Noon 1 (5)

Krasnodar Today 0 (0)

NOTE: “Favorites” is a category recently highlighed by Technorati in its format revisions recently, so we include it. Ties are awarded the same amount of points to emphasize the importance attributable to each favorite, something that requires special effort by a reader.

F: Top 12* Russia Blogs Blogs Ranked by Traffic (Alexa)

Russia Blog 390,548* (20)

Siberian Light 627,396 (19)

La Russophobe 686,228 (18)

Russian Spy 729,280 (17)

Robert Amsterdam 1,274,735 (16)

Very Russian Tochka 2,415,893 (15)

Edward Lucas 2,476,947 (14)

White Sun of the Desert 2,748,736 (13)

Lex Libertas 3,130,585 (12)

Sean’s Russia Blog 4,300,307 (11)

Mark MacKinnon 5,724,648 (10)

Copydude 7,073,568 (9)

NOTE: Only 12 of the top 20 blogs identified by Technorati links have cognizable traffic as reproted by Alexa. Therefore, eight of the blogs receive zeros in this category.

*La Russophobe continues to question the legitimacy of Russia Blog’s traffic, which is utterly inconsistent with its number of Technorati linking blogs and the amount of comments its receives. We believe there is every possiblity that Russia Blog is using spam technology to artificially inflate its traffic in the same way that English Russia does, and Russia Blog has done nothing to dispel this appearance.