Monday, October 20, 2014


Transmission

Russian Orthodox Church Slammed For Stalin Calendar

A controversial 2014 calendar devoted to Josef Stalin published by the Russian Orthodox Church has sparked a flurry of outraged comments.
A controversial 2014 calendar devoted to Josef Stalin published by the Russian Orthodox Church has sparked a flurry of outraged comments.
The Russian Orthodox Church is under fire for publishing a calendar devoted to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Pictures from the 2014 calendar have been making the rounds on the Internet, sparking a barrage of criticism and prompting a lively discussion on the Moscow Patriarchate's troubled ties with Stalin.

The calendar, published by the printing house of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Monastery in Moscow, presents photos and biographical information documenting Stalin's evolution from a young seminary student in his native Georgia to the gray-haired Soviet leader.

The publishing house advertises the calendar on its website as a bestseller and "an excellent gift for veterans and history buffs."

It sells for 200 rubles ($6) online and in bookshops.

Mikhail Babkin, a noted Russian historian specialized in Russian Orthodox Church studies, fuelled the controversy on January 8 by posting photos on LiveJournal.

"The link between the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church and Stalin," he wrote, "remains close to sacred."

His post has sparked a flurry of outraged comments.

"The Russian Orthodox Church has long turned into a business structure and churches into shops offering religious services," wrote one reader. "Worshippers are only considered to be sources of wealth."

"It's shameful, a disgrace and an insult against all those who died" under Stalin's rule, another one said.

Stalin had a complex relationship with the Orthodox Church.

He attended an Orthodox seminary in his youth but was expelled for reasons that remain unclear.

As Soviet leader, he oversaw a vast campaign of persecution against the Russian Orthodox Church that saw countless churches being destroyed.

After World War II broke out, however, Stalin softened his stance and allowed the Church to operate, albeit under close state scrutiny.

-- Claire Bigg
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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by: Hryshka from: USA
January 09, 2014 00:05
Disgraceful. Maybe the Moscow Patriarchate will next publish calendars for "history buffs" that feature Agrippa I, Nero, Diocletian and other persecutors of the Church and Christians, in a positive light, all for the sake of a tidy profit.

by: American Tolerast-troll
January 09, 2014 01:13
It was a coin-toss between this and the commemorative pogrom calendar.
In Response

by: Solidus from: Kabul
January 09, 2014 22:41
Ok, I know the calendar is wrong, but "commemorative pogrom calendar" made me laugh. Смешной, товарищ.

by: Valeria
January 09, 2014 10:04
Not to defend anyone, as I also find the whole thing to be sickening, but just to be factually correct. The Church's printing house printed the calender as a commercial deal with another unrelated publishing house. It seems the printers' management had been fired after this back in the summer, after the order was completed and subsequently its existence became known.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 13, 2014 14:58
the fact is, they still initially did it
In Response

by: Valeria
January 14, 2014 08:08
They? Precisely. Who are THEY? The story has been changed since the original came out a few days ago. It got toned down a little. "A calendar published by the Russian Orthodox Church in honor of Soviet dictator..." the original said. Now the story mentions a mysterious "The publishing house" (para 4), which "advertises the calendar on its website as a bestseller and "an excellent gift for veterans and history buffs."" But it still fails to name "the publishing house", or state that "the publishing house" is unrealated to the Church. It also fails to note that the Lavra's printing house and "the publishing house" are not the same entities. I have no illusions about the Patriarchate and could talk at length about its faults and failures, but I also have some idea (due to some limited professional experience) about proper accurate reporting. Btw, shouldn't the commentators be notified about the fact that the story had been changed, so they can also update their comments accordingly? And again, to close the topic: it was a printing house owned by the monastery, which did a commercial job for an outside client, a publishing house UNRELATED to the Church. Stupid and thoughtless as it was, it is still different from the Church itself publishing the calendar. I happen to know some of the editors at the RFERL. I know that they are no strangers to proper reporting of facts. So I remain rather perplexed.
In Response

by: Moderator
January 14, 2014 11:17
The article has not been toned down. When initially publishing, we inadvertently left the introductory tease/blurb in the main text. This error was corrected as soon as it was discovered. The text you are referring to is still available here: http://www.rferl.org/search/?k=Stalin#article The introduction in the text now reflects the way it was originally written by the author: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-stalin-calendar/25224022.html

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 09, 2014 10:43
Wow, a very nice calendar! Thank you for the tip, guys, I will try to order one via Internet, maybe they will deliver it to Vienna, who knows.
In Response

by: Asehpe from: the Netherlands
January 10, 2014 00:33
Order via America. It will come faster than if you ordered it from Russia, and it will still be glossy when it comes. That's how I got mine. It tickles a little, but works fine.
In Response

by: Jen from: New York
January 21, 2014 21:15
Asehpe, how did you order the calendar? Where? I'm looking for it on internet but can't find the way to order.. Thanks

by: Daniel from: Germany
January 09, 2014 14:53
I will just copy here the comments I posted to a FB post of a friend who shared this (I don't have time to edit them, sorry):

"A calendar published by the Russian Orthodox Church in honor of Soviet dictator"

OMG, this is quite a statement... This was printed by a printing agency that belongs to Orthodox church, but ordered by a completely unrelated publishing house. I.e. the church never ordered it, although it is in deed weird they printed it. Actually afaik Russian Orthodox Church is very critical of Stalin as he blew up hundreds of their churches and killed multitudes of priests.

"The calendar, published by the printing house of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Monastery in Moscow"

And then they give a link to a completely unrelated publishing house:

"The publishing house advertises the calendar on its website as a bestseller and "an excellent gift for veterans and history buffs."

This is so cheap...

by: Anonymous
January 09, 2014 16:09
the worst PR move that the church can come up with
the church which was the prime target of purge by the very man who they now propagate...

by: Michael from: Michigan
January 09, 2014 19:34
What a disgraceful example of "disinformation" this article is! The publishing house which printed this calendar is completely unconnected to the Orthodox Church. Its other offerings are all nationalist/political titles, generally of a rather romantic bent; none of them have any direct connection to Russian Orthodoxy, or even religion in a more general way - the one exception is a (n apparently anti-Semitic) book on Russian Jews. Not to mention that the Patriarchate has publically glorified hundreds of people murdered by Stalin as martyrs for the faith - and it began doing this as soon as it was free to do so, when the Soviet system collapsed. But of course, any stick will do when it comes to beating the Church - especially a Russian Church.

by: Joseph from: London
January 09, 2014 21:59
This is down to the ineptitude of the ex-Director of the Press, not the policy of the Church. True, there is a lunatic fringe that would like to see Stalin canonised, but the view of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (effectively no.2 in the Church hierarchy) is more representative of the Church's attitude to him: ‘I believe that Stalin was a monster, a spiritual freak who created a terrible, anti-human system of governance built on lies, violence and terror. He unleashed genocide against the people of his country and is personally responsible for the death of millions of innocent people. In this regard Stalin is comparable to Hitler. Both of them brought into this world so much grief that no military or political successes can atone for their guilt before mankind. There is no significant difference between Butovo and Buchenwald, between the gulag system and Hitler's death camps. And the number of victims of Stalinist repression is quite comparable with our losses in the Great Patriotic War.’

by: Solidus from: Kabul
January 09, 2014 22:46
Starting off the year is "adolescent, bright-eyed, abused by his father" Stalin; followed by "angsty blowin' up trains" Stalin; and finally ending with a paranoid-genocidal "your farm belongs to me" Stalin that we all know and love.

by: Anonymous from: USA
January 10, 2014 06:26
It's amazing that people commenting here are calling this story "factually incorrect" or "disinformation". If the publishing house unrelated to the Russian Orthodox Church had ordered pornography to be printed, would the ROC have still printed it?? This is an oversight by the church at the very LEAST, so yes, people should be disgusted and outraged!
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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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