When Russia found it had a fertility problem, its adopted an unusual solution: bribing parents to have babies. Never mind what might happen to a child born into a family which only had him to get a quick infusion of cash, never mind that one Russia woman is murdered by her husband every forty minutes. And now the New York Times reports that Russia has found an interesting “solution” to its drug addiction problem. Regardless of the fact that it’s palpably illegal and barbaric, Russia simply puts an addict in a cage and lets him scream until enough time has passed for his withdrawal symptoms to disappear.
The treatment center does not handcuff addicts to their beds anymore. But caged together on double-decker bunks with no way out, they have no choice but to endure the agonies of withdrawal, the first step in a harsh, coercive approach to drug treatment that has gained wide support in Russia.
“We know we are skirting the edge of the law,” said Sergei Shipachev, a staff member at the center, which is run by a private group called City Without Drugs. “We lock people up, but mostly we have a written request from their family. The police couldn’t do this, because it’s against the law.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cultivates the image of a bare-chested macho man, but a nun-like sect in central Russia thinks actually he’s the reincarnation of St. Paul, the apostle.
Or, if not that, he may in a past life have been the founder of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“I say what the Lord has revealed to me,” the sect’s leader, former convict Svetlana Frolova, said.
Putin’s advisers disclaim any link with the sect led by the former railway manager, who was jailed for fraud in 1996.
“He (Putin) does not approve of that kind of admiration,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone.
The indispensable Paul Goble reports:
Fewer than two percent of Russian citizens attended Orthodox Christmas church celebrations this year, a number that calls into question not only the claims of the Moscow Patriarchate that Russian population is overwhelmingly Orthodox but also the special relationship it has with the state and the state’s spending to promote Orthodoxy.
As Svetlana Solodovnik noted in Yezhednevny Zhurnal, perhaps no other public organization has benefited as much from the tandem as the Russian Orthodox Church which has positioned itself as the moral arbiter of the majority and extracted both the return of property and enormous state subsidies.
Russia Today is Really Tragic
By now most Russia watchers are aware that the Putin Kremlin is squandering millions of dollars badly needed by its sick population (Russians don’t rank in the top 120 countries of the world for adult lifespan) on a shameless English-language propaganda TV network known as “Russia Today.”
It goes without saying that there is no more reliable information to be found in RT’s broadcasts than there was on the pages of Pravda or Izvestia in Soviet Times. But the fully neo-Soviet character of the network’s material is nonetheless surprising and revolting.
Take, for instance, a recent report on religious freedom in Russia.
The lastest barbaric idiocy from the Russians is a contention that genocidal maniac Josef Stalin is no different for the them than Napoleon is for the French. Did we miss something? Did Napoleon build gulags and wipe out a huge segment of the French population? Are Russians proud of the fact that Stalin’s Russia, like Napoleon’s France, was totally obliterated? And why is it that the West is “irrelevant” to Russia whenever the West’s good points are at issue, but when Russia’s faults are being discussed suddenly what happens in the West is absolutely crucial? Is this national psychosis? Paul Goble reports:
An Orthodox priest in a town near St. Petersburg has sparked controversy by putting up an icon showing the figure of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, with some believers and Communists viewing this as simple justice and others as an indication that many Russians have lost any sense of proportion or truth. One of the most widely covered stories in the Russian Federation last week concerns not the actions of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or even the impact of the economic crisis but rather the decision of a priest to put up an icon portraying Stalin and the efforts of some to canonize him. The priest of St. Olga’s Church in Strel’na, Father Yevstafiy, recently put up an icon there to the Blessed Matrona of Moscow, on which Stalin was portrayed, without any of the attributes of sainthood but simply standing next to her. Thus, technically, it was not an icon of Stalin at all.