How Long Will the Dollar Remain the World’s Reserve Currency?

dollar-burningI guess this means we’ll be reading a lot of stories in the Mainstream Media about how evil Putin is. The Neocons will also be telling us that we need to go to war because Putin is just a place-holder for the restored Czar, Liberals will say it’s because Russia outlawed Gay Pride parades, some American Orthodox will say it’s because Patriarch Kirill wore a Rolex at one time, or some such nonsense. In the meantime, Gerard Depardieu renounced his French citizenship and took up Russian nationality.

Remind me again, who are the real socialists?


In the meantime the catastrophic spending that we’ve undertaken since the Englightened One took office ensures the debasement of our currency. Putin, and probably China, India, the European Union and who knows who else will start trading in gold or some other currency. And then it’s Katie bar the door!

Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World

Source: Bloomberg | By Scott Rose & Olga Tanas

When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he’s not just talking. He’s betting on it.

Not only has Putin made Russia the world’s largest oil producer, he’s also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

“The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there’s a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency,” Evgeny Fedorov, a lawmaker for Putin’s United Russia party in the lower house of parliament, said in a telephone interview in Moscow.

Gold, coveted by Russian rulers including Tsar Nicholas II and the Bolshevik leader whose forces assassinated him, Vladimir Lenin, has soared almost 400 percent in the period of Putin’s purchases. Central banks around the world have printed money to escape the global financial crisis, sapping investor appetite for dollars and euros and setting off a scramble for safety.

In 1998, the year Russia defaulted on $40 billion of domestic debt, it took as many as 28 barrels of crude to buy an ounce of gold, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That ratio tumbled to 11.5 by the time Putin first came to power a year later and in 2005, after it touched 6.5 — less than half what it is now — the president told the central bank to buy.

Putin’s Call

During a tour that November of the Magadan region in the Far East, where Polyus Gold International Ltd. and Polymetal International Plc have operations, Putin told Bank Rossii not to “shy away” from the metal. “After all, they’re called gold and currency reserves for a reason,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.

At the time, gold was at an 18-year high of $495 an ounce and the Moscow-based central bank held 387 tons, or 2.2 percent of its $165 billion total reserves. The share reached 3.5 percent within a month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gold for immediate delivery fell a third day today, dropping 0.6 percent to $1,657.80 an ounce as of 4:35 p.m. in Moscow. It rose 7 percent last year, the 12th straight year of gains. Analysts expect the metal to advance again in 2013, to $1,825 by the end of the year, according to the median of 26 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, declined to comment today on Putin’s interest in gold.

Lucky Guy

“Putin’s gold strategy fits in with his resource nationalism, statist agenda,” said Tim Ash, head of emerging- market research at Standard Bank Plc in London. “It’s kind of a defensive play, but it worked, right?” Ash said in an interview in Moscow. “You need luck in politics and business, and clearly the guy has it.”

Other world leaders haven’t been as lucky. Gordon Brown, as U.K. finance minister, sold almost 400 tons of gold in the 30 months to March 2002, when prices were at two-decade lows. London tabloids have referred to the period as Brown’s Bottom.

Quantitative easing by major economies to support financial asset prices is driving demand for gold in the emerging world, said Marcus Grubb, head of investment research at the World Gold Council. Before the crisis, central banks were net sellers of 400 to 500 tons a year. Now, led by Russia and China, they’re net buyers by about 450 tons, Grubb said by phone from London, where his industry group is based.

‘Significant Switch’

“That’s a very significant switch, and obviously a very positive one for the gold market,” Grubb said.

While Putin is leading the gold rush in emerging markets, developed nations are liquidating. Switzerland unloaded the most in the past decade, 877 tons, an amount now worth about $48 billion, according to International Monetary Fund data through November. France was second with 589 tons, while Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal each sold more than 200 tons.

Even after Putin’s binge, though, Russia’s total cache of about 958 tons is only the eighth largest, the World Gold Council said in a Feb. 8 report. The U.S. is No. 1 with about 8,134 tons, followed by Germany with 3,391 tons and the Washington-based IMF with 2,814 tons. Italy, France, China and Switzerland are fourth through seventh. While gold accounts for 9.5 percent of Russia’s total reserves, it accounts for more than 70 percent in the U.S., Germany, Italy and France.

Truth Street

Russia keeps about two-thirds of its stockpile in a greenish gray stone-and-glass building on Ulitsa Pravdy, or Truth Street, in central Moscow. The road is named after Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, which also was headquartered there.

Then-Prime Minister Putin became the first Russian leader to visit the complex on Jan. 24, 2011, according to the government’s website. He toured the 17,000 square-meter facility, which includes 1,500 square meters of storage, with First Deputy Chairman Georgy Luntovsky, posing for photographs lifting an ingot. Most of the bars weigh 10 to 14 kilograms (22 to 31 pounds) and are boxed in plastic or wooden crates alongside an emergency supply of banknotes.

Technically, state metals depositary Gokhran has the exclusive right to buy all gold mined in the country. In practice, it lets commercial banks buy from producers directly, usually in the form of project financing, said Sergey Kashuba, chairman of the Russian Union of Gold Producers in Moscow.

When the central bank buys gold, it’s from those commercial banks, led last year by OAO Sberbank, OAO Nomos Bank, VTB Group and OAO Gazprombank, Kashuba said. Russia produced 205 tons of gold last year, making it No. 4 after China, Australia and the U.S., according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Tight Security

Security is tight along the entire production chain, Kashuba said. Just two organizations are allowed to move partially refined gold from miners in the Far East and northern Siberia to processing facilities in other parts of the country, he said. One is FeldSvyaz, a courier service that reports directly to Putin. The other, SpetsSvyaz, was split off from Stalin’s NKVD secret police in 1939 to transport precious metals and state secrets, according to its website.

Russia has gone through bouts of hoarding before. Tsar Alexander II ordered his government to start amassing bullion in 1867, just months after selling Alaska, now the No. 2 gold- producing U.S. state, for $7.3 million. His grandson, Nicholas II, introduced the gold standard in 1897, then needed a loan from France to ward off speculators and save the system in 1906.

Lenin’s Link

Nicholas, Russia’s last tsar was forced to free the ruble in 1914 as war broke out in Europe. Lenin’s revolutionary government reinstated the gold link along with a new currency in 1922. While Soviet rubles were nominally backed by gold, sales of the metal to citizens were halted in 1930, making the peg meaningless.

When Lenin’s Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd, as St. Petersburg was then known, in 1917, one of their first targets was the State Bank and its gold, which they captured at 6 a.m. on Nov. 7, according to Bank Rossii’s website. They soon nationalized all the banks, confiscating any gold found in vaults and deposit boxes.

Communist Secrecy

Communist secrecy regarding the country’s gold holdings fueled speculation that party elites had amassed a huge hoard of bullion that they spirited out of the country before the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991.

Viktor Gerashchenko, the last Soviet central banker and a two-time chairman of Bank Rossii, has repeatedly denied such speculation, including last February.

“When people ask about the party’s gold, my answer is always: Are you an idiot or something?” Gerashchenko, 75, told Afisha magazine.

For now, with more than five years left in Putin’s term, Russia plans to keep on buying.

“The pace will be determined by the market,” First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 25. “Whether to speed that up or slow it down is a market decision and I’m not going to discuss it.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Rose in Moscow at; Olga Tanas in Moscow at


  1. Jonathan Johnston says

    Gee, this is the “Goldfinger” plot all over again. Buy up all the world’s gold and then destroy other nation’s reserves and economies. Eric Goldfinger Putin?

  2. macedonianreader says

    It no longer is the world’s currency, most Americans just cannot face truth or sift through all of the economic garbage theory being touted by most in both parties.

    George – with this Putin-talk Tim LaHaye and Kurt Cameron are turning into prophets 🙂

  3. Putin is nothing if not smart. Our country started going down hill after we switched to fiat money instead of gold reserves. On this issue, Putin is in line with the Austrian school of economics. If he were to fully implement the principles of liberty encapsulated in the Austrian school, that would be something!

  4. Francis Frost says

    Dear Mr Michalopulos:

    Once again your posts demonstrate a global ignorance of your subject.

    While the Putin regime is currently benefitting from the elevated price of oil, its long-term prospects are dismal. The world is currently awash in new reserves due to the new extraction methods. North America is poised to now poised to export both natural gas and oil. If environmentalists succeed in blocking the Keystone extension, Canada will build its pipeline to the Pacific and export its oil to Asia directly. The price of natural gas has already collapsed and the price oil is artificially inflated due to conflict in the Middle East. Which, by the way, is the reason Putin continues his support for Assad and Khamenei.

    Russia’s own petroleum reserves are dwindling. Russian production is already declining. While Putin spends $120 billion to build the North Stream and South Stream pipelines to bypass Ukraine, Russia lacks the gas to fill those lines. Russia lacks the technology to access reserves through “fracking” and lateral drilling. Russia’ s only hope to acquire such technology is by partnering with international firms. British Petroleum’s second foray into the Russian market recently collapsed and there is little stomach among oil companies for further involvement with the corrupt Russian system when there are so many alternative sources world-wide.

    Capital flight from Russia has accelerated since the fraudulent elections last year. The Russian government is now planning legal moves to force repatriation of Russia’s wealth. This in turn has offered the opposition the opportunity to expose the cynicism and corruption of Russia’s elite. See the following article in today’s Wall Street Journal.

    Russia Lawmaker Exits Amid Condo Storm, Wall Street Journal, 2/21/2013

    As for the noble +Kirill, his watch (a $36,000 Breguet, not a Rolex) is just the tip of the iceberg. The Patriarch was caught publicly lying to the media about his watch. He was caught engaging in a civil lawsuit in violation of the Orthodox Canons. He also was found to be co-habiting with a woman, Lidiya Leonova, who for the sake of modesty is described as “a distant cousin.”

    Russian Church leader under fire after backing Putin, BBC , 10/12/2012

    Patriarch’s disappearing watch act: Now you see it, now you don’t,, 4/05/2012

    The strange case of the Patriarch, some sand, and 20 million rouble lawsuit

    Indeed the Moscow Patriarchate is in open violation of the Sacred Canons by its occupation of the canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriachate and its creation of the schismatic and phyletistic “Abkhaz Eparchy” This occupation was accomplished by militaristic violence. The occupation of Abkhazia was accomplished by the murder and expulsion of the legitimate Orthodox clergy. You may read the Life and Martyrdom of Hieromonk Andrea Kurashviili and Subdeacon Giorgi Adua at the following web-site:

    On August 8, 2008, missiles “blessed” by the Russian Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:

    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:

    A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

    By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35. The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!

    Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next.

    Further documentation of the Moscow Patriarchates intrigues in occupied Georgia are delineated in the following articles.

    Original article (in Russian):

    The Moscow Patriarchate has perhaps the world’s most powerful ecclesiastical-political structure. The quasi-state Russian Church does not suffer from lack of funding. Well, perhaps, there is a lack of personnel; there are not enough creative people in the numerous structures of the Patriarchate, who are enthused by the high ideal of service to the Church for the sake of God’s truth on earth. Also this is a pragmatic time, and the political-economic situation of the ROC-MP does not evoke a romantic mood. If you do not accept as a “National Idea” the nostalgic celebration of May 9th (Victory over Fascism Day- translator); you’ll have to admit the “Monetocratia” the power of money and the faith in its huge, wonderworking might has become the genuine national idea in most of the post-Soviet space.

    Since the Russian Orthodox Church acquired “an effective manager” as its head, it has articulated just such a mindset and set of values in its church policy. Patriarch Kirill realized that the time had passed when unpaid church workers would labor `for the glory of God’ and that in order to implement its `missionary imperative’, the church would require a solid financial policy and sound economic base. Hence the transfer of vast properties to the Church’s estate, the public financing of religious education in the schools and chaplaincies for the military; the creation of state sponsored `endowment funds” for the most significant monasteries and parishes. In addressing issues of foreign policy, the Patriarch also routinely relies on the Russian government.

    It is no secret to Russians that the wars in Chechnya and the Caucasus region were only concluded by the permanent infusion into the “secessionist regions” of multi-billion ruble subsidies from Moscow. Nor is it a secret that huge sums of money were invested in the restoration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence the Russian Federation recognized after the end of its victorious war against a fearsome opponent – Georgia. The Russian government even expended its financial resources in order to acquire recognition of the “newly independent states” by the governments of Nauru and Nicaragua. The authorities of the microscopic island of Nauru did not even hide the kind of sums they were paid for their recognition of the independence of the two Georgian regions.

    For its part, the Moscow Patriarchate also invested its substance in the creation of an independent Abkhaz diocese. Despite the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church over Abkhazia, Sukhumi and Novy Afon (New Athos), the ROC is constantly sending priests of the neighboring Maikop diocese into Abkahzia to serve there. Moreover, the Russian Church has dispatched to Abkhazia its chief public relations asset, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, who in recent months has carried out successful interventions in the various “hot spots” of the post-Soviet Oikumene. His trip to Moldova of last autumn was memorable for his accomplishment of extinguishing the “fire of a new schism” in the face of the conservative Society of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow. That crew consisted of three priests of the Udmurt diocese, who had ceased the commemoration of Patriarch Kirill; a fact of which, alas, Moscow had not been forewarned. And so we have an example of Fr. Andrei’s successful efforts to prevent schisms on the territories of one of Russia’s central regions.

    Officially in Abkhazia since last fall, Fr Andrei has been lecturing at the university, rides around on aMoped, and lives with a pious family, who had moved to the `land of the soul’ from stifling Moscow. Unofficially, Fr Andrei is steering the process of forming an autocephalous Abkhaz Church, whose autocephaly will be just as real as the Abkhaz’s government’s supposed sovereignty.

    If we accept Fr Andrei as the “overseer” over the Abkhaz Church, the main lever of control over the Abkhaz Church is the priest Vissarion (Besarion in both Georgian and Apsynni languages – translator) Apliaa, who has served in Pitsunda since the Soviet era, when he went by the surname, “Plia” which sounds better in the Russian language. Having tested the waters in several jurisdictions during the Georgian- Abkhaz war, Fr Vissarion came to the conclusion that only the Moscow Patriarchate could successfully support and defend the Abkhaz Church. Fr. Vissarion often travels to Moscow, where he serves with the local clergy including the Patriarch, despite the questionable canonical status of the Abkhaz clergy. Fr Vissaraion elevates the name of the Patriarch of Moscow during the services, although he never was granted a canonical release by the Georgian Patriarchate. This course of action, however, is consistent with the stated policy of the Abkhaz authorities, who carry out Moscow’s orders and are more loyal to the Kremlin than any other region subject to the Russian Federation.

    Such a “narrow and puppet-like” position as shown by Fr Vissarion – a representative of the old Soviet generation of the clergy – has not found favor with the younger generation of Abkhaz clergy, formed under conditions of independence, who seek to incorporate the Abkhaz church into the system of “World Orthodoxy” rather than relegate it to the status of a provincial diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church –Moscow Patriarchate. This younger generation rejects the destruction of the special delights of catholicity (sobornost’), the strict centralized “vertical” merger with the plutocratic powers, the commercialization, and the other systemic flaws inherent in the Russian State Church. In general, they are guided by the desire to introduce their Abkhaz Church on the world wide stage, rather than “beg on the doorstep of the Russian embassy”.

    Who could have predicted that the Clergy-Laity meeting at Novy Afon on May 15th would be the premier national event in Abkhazia? It was attended by about 2,000 people, a huge number for such a small country. Here it was: real conciliarity (sobornost’), the kind that Russians can only dream about! The meeting welcomed numerous political leaders, including Abkhaz government officials. The chairman of the meeting, Hieromonk Dorofei (Dbar), who completed his MDiv and theological studies in Greece, was named candidate for bishop. The organizers of this event let it be known that they have the definite support of the authorities, so that they will soon be registering the new name for their creation – The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia. As the name of this structure implies, as well as the personal contacts its founders have with Patriarch Bartholomew, indicates the priority they give to Constantinople, not Moscow, in negotiating their autocephaly. Especially, since the Ecumenical Patriarch is of the opinion that only he has the right to grant autocephaly, a right recognized since antiquity. This is why “World Orthodoxy” does not recognize the autocephaly granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America. Yet even with such “daring” as to proclaim the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, these clergy stressed that they remained within the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate.

    At one time, the Orthodox in Abkhazia had a choice, similar to the one faced by their brothers in South Ossetia. Have found themselves caught between “two beacons of official Orthodoxy” – Moscow and Tbilisi – and unable to be located in either jurisdiction, they opted for one of the unofficial “True Orthodox” jurisdictions albeit one with the softest stance vis-a vis “official Orthodoxy”, that is the “Synod in Resistance” of Metropolitan Kipirian (Kutsumba). Currently the True Orthodox Church in South Ossetia is headed by Fr Georgiy ((Pukhate) who would like to enter into the Moscow Patriarchate, only Moscow cannot come up with a plan to accomplish the deed.

    The Moscow Patriarchate and its de-facto representative in Abkhazia, Fr Vissarion, responded most irritably to the news of the meeting at Novy Afon. Since the monks Andrei (Amparo) and Dorofei (Dbar) are listed as minor (parish) clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Maikop Diocese, they could be subject to canonical sanctions. It is true that Fr Andrei was transferred to the Church of Greece, where he served in parishes; but Moscow will not acknowledge that this temporary transfer was a canonical release.

    The newly proclaimed Metropolis will prove to be a “great trial” for the Abkhaz authorities. On the one hand, this organization is deeply nationalistic in nature, and the principle “Independent State – Independent Church ” which was key to the future of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, is dear to the heart of any sovereign power, even a puppet regime. On the other hand the bulk of the Abkhaz clergy, gathered around Vissarion, will never recognize the autocephalous Metropolis without direct and specific instructions to do so from Moscow. Given the fact that the pro-Moscow faction has been present in Abkhazia for twenty years, and the fact that the Abkhaz authorities are so dependent on Moscow; it is unlikely that the authorities could take an independent stance on the church issue. It is therefore unlikely that the “Holy Metropolis” was authorized by the authorities.

    The situation may be resolved as it was in Estonia- a division of the parishes between Constantinople and Moscow. If this model works in so many countries around the world; well then, why not in Abkhazia?
    In any case even with the story still unfolding, we are dealing with another loss of Moscow’s position in the post Soviet region, and with the expansion of Constantinople, which represents the West in the Orthodox world – that is the U.S and the “aggressive NATO bloc”
    Alexander Soldatov

    Excerpt from the Article: “Abkhazia Again Struggles for Independence; but this Time from Russia?” by Vladimir Vorsobin Moskovskaya Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5/17/2011

    Original article (in Russian):

    The Church
    …Further on the way to the border, in the Sochi airport, I meet the well known Russian missionary, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev. He frowns, furtively and diplomatically. If he speaks, “it is not for publication”. For the past several months, Deacon Andrei has been running shuttling back and forth between Moscow and Sukhumi; trying to maintain peace in the confidential religious sector of Russian-Abkhaz relations. Alas, there is a trench warfare going on. The conflict flared up in the New Athos monastery when the Russian Orthodox Church installed a retired priest, Igumen Efrem, as the new abbot of that monastery. Oddly, the head of the Abkhaz Church, Vissarion Apliaa, calls Fr Efrem by the respectable Abkhaz surname “Lakerbaia”, while their opponents call Fr Efrem by his Russian surname, Vinogradov.

    To the amazement of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Abkhazians actually cared. The nationalist scruples of the local Sukhumi Orthodox newspaper “Necessary” described it thus:
    “If Fr. Efrem had come alone and had Abkhaz roots; well then let him come; but no – he came with three (read Russian) hieromonks, five or six monks, and a novice… This requires a negotiation.”
    “The monastic brethren do not like the fact the Bessarion, behind their backs, took This Fr. Efrem to Moscow and presented him to Patriarch Kirill, and then in their words, Fr Efrem began to give orders what should be and what must not be in the monastery. There was to be nothing of the Byzantine or Greek style; emphasis must be on the Slavonic. It did not please the brothers nor the lay people, who came to worship in Novy Afon, that Fr. Efrem would conduct the services in Slavonic rather than in the Abkhazian (Apsynni) language.

    The uproar led the former rector of the monastery, Fr. Andrei (Anpar), with the help of public meetings, to obtain the recommendation of the Public Chamber of Abkhazian `to suspend the appointment’. Moreover, Fr Andrei clearly formulated the main and clearly understood idea of an established nation, which has finally become independent.

    `We believe that the future of the Abkhaz church must be built not only on our relationship with the Russian church; but also with the other Orthodox churches: with the Greeks, with the Serbs. The foreign policy of the Abkhaz church should be multipolar.’ As a result, the (Abkhaz) Orthodox community erupted in conflict. The next Sunday, the Abkhaz church split – those under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Fr. Vissarion, and the independents headed by Fr. Andrei.

    Since I promised the Orthodox diplomat (Archdeacon Adrei Kuroev) that I would not cite him in my article, I will only say that the deacon expressed his astonishment at these events in the most colorful and emotional Russian language.

    Vladimir Vorsobin

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Frost, there is much here in your thoughtful commentary. It will take me more time to digest it. One thing however jumped up at me, specifically your assertion that “capital flight” has accelerated ever since the “stolen election” of last year.

      Leaving aside for the moment that massive vote fraud that took place last November (illegal aliens voting, felons voting, and precinct workers double-voting, etc.), your comment about capital flight is most interesting. Are you aware of how much capital has fled from the United States since 2008? I’m sure the number is not insignificant. And what of the massive increase in people who are on food stamps? That we now have a permanent, hyper-violent underclass. That more more people are unemployed now than five years ago? How about this statistic: America, with 5% of the world’s population has 25% of the world’s prison population?

      I’ll leave aside as well the huge numbers of corrupt clergy which control our mainstream denominations.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        I meant massive vote fraud in the US. It’s almost a physical impossibility for 100% of votes going for one man in any specific precinct as happened in several precincts in Philadelphia.

        • It’s hardly a physical impossibility. In fact, it isn’t even really surprising. The average number of votes in the Philadelphia precincts where Romney didn’t get a single vote was around 330. Inner city precincts can be extremely small and extremely homogenous. Are you really thinking it is impossible that the residents of say, two apartment buildings, all of whom are low-income African-Americans, didn’t cast a single vote for Romney?

          Perhaps it may help to think of it this way: how hard is it to believe that across the United States there were a number of Christian churches with 330 members where not a single one of them voted for Obama? Apparently, by your logic, this is a physical impossibility, and such churches are clearly, clearly, part of a massive conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Why don’t you get cracking on busting that conspiracy wide open!

          • George Michalopulos says

            I stand by what I said. Consider: in 2008, Sen Barack Obama got 96% of the African-American vote. In 2012, he only got 93% of that same demographic, a collapse of 3% in other words. (He also go 6.5 million fewer votes overall, a collapse of 2%). But there’s more: according to the Pew Research Poll, Mitt Romney got 20% of all male, African-American voters under the age of thirty. So yes, it looks increasing improbable that President Obama got 100% of the votes in 100% of the overwhelmingly black precincts of Philadelphia. To say nothing of the Ohio precinct workers who admitted that they voted two or more times.

            Would these have been enough to tip Pennsylvania and Ohio over to Romney? Doubtful, but that’s not the point I was making. The point was American vote fraud which is non-existent in the minds of Russia’s critics. It’d be a good thing for us Americans to tend to our own knitting before we start making rash accusations against foreign leaders that our Ruling Class doesn’t like at the moment.

            • From the Pew sources you are using, the exit polling was that Romney got 6% of the African-American vote nationwide. That 20% of 18-29 African-American males voted for Romney in the context of the first number suggest that it might be the smallest slice of the African-American vote. One almost wonders if they had enough respondents in that class to have a decent sampling. Remember, we are ultimately still talking about exit polling here. I notice that you didn’t quote the 18-19 women from that report: Romney won a whopping 1% of them.

              There are 1,687 “precincts” (not the terminology they use) in Philadelphia , meaning that in 96.5% of them, someone did in fact vote for Romney. But again, when you have a situation where Romney is pulling 6% as a nationwide average with African-Americans as a whole, in small homogeneous samples of a few hundred with a demographic subset of that group in which nationwide Romney might only have scored 1%, it is utterly unsurprising that there are cases where Romney failed to win a single vote. All of those precincts together only totaled 19,605 votes. I’m also not sure what you would even insinuate as the fraudulent action, Romney really got 2% of the vote in those precincts so there was a giant conspiracy between 57 of them to toss out a combined 600 votes for Romney? Get real.

              Doubtful, but that’s not the point I was making. The point was American vote fraud which is non-existent in the minds of Russia’s critics

              If you are making a point based on you believing something is impossible because you are bad at math, it kind of undermines said point. Although from a certain angle, you’re right: it’s a bit silly to talk about vote fraud in Russia when the Putin regime simply won’t allow any credible opposition parties to begin with.

        • Seems like a rational deduction but at the end of the day it’s merely speculation. The sad fact is that Mittens was a bad choice. Aside from a single good debate performance he did a good job of reminding people of the worst aspects of the Republican party. I’m surprised there weren’t more districts 100% for Obama. There was no massive fraud. The obstructionists currently in congress are a good example of how the party has lost touch with reality. In short they brought it on themselves. It would have been better to drop the anti-tax madness and austerity obsession. Had the Republicans focussed on moral issues and bent on the ideolgy they would have won and we would not be facing self inflicted economic damage.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dan, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The fact of the matter is that the GOP is over as a presidential party for a host of reasons, the most significant one being that those riding inside the wagon now outnumber those pulling the wagon. It’s really that simple.

            There won’t be a conservative or Reaganesque revival because too many people are sucking at the Federal teat. The only hope is that there are some states that are more business and consumer friendly than others, therefore you will see an increased bifurcation in the nation as a whole. Those who for whatever reason cannot be self-sufficient will migrate to those states which will coddle them. California is the prime example. In fact it’s in California where 1/3 of all Welfare recipients live. The question is how long can that state survive before it turns into Greece?

            • The same people that can’t grasp the concept of floating currency are typically the same ones that think wealth is hoarding tons of gold and the same ones that think reducing government spending to drop taxes is a panacea to all. Likewise, the Kuciniches of the world seem to believe government will solve all woes of society. It can’t. If Russia had all the gold, what would it do with it? Keep it? The concept is strange at the ends. If they want gold, they can’t part with it. Gold, like money has only a floating point value. It is only worth what one is willing to pay!

              As far as welfare goes, the conservative mind can’t grasp the concept that a few people get fed and they believe liberals want everyone to eat off the rich guy. Ironic, I have been stuck withthe tab by conservtives more often. Conservatives will tell you taxes are too high while google avoids billions annually with a dutch sandwich and blame a poor idiot for eating a loaf of government bresd.

              As for Americans voting for President, the lesser evil was chosen. Would you rather have a corporate vulture and a Republican congress or a socialist and a Republican congress?

              That said, what we truly need are fiscally conservative Dema and willing to tax Republicans and we might get out of our debt. Sadly, the parties shoot these types before they arrive.

            • To put California’s numbers in perspective, I recommend this infograph associated with this article.

              Such lavish coddling in California, where the actual average monthly cash grant for the typical family of three is…$463. California, whose crushing per-capita welfare burden works out to be…$179. And where the number of recipients shrank in fiscal year 2011. And where maximum benefit amounts have been reduced in recent years. And where the recent budget deal, courtesy of the Democrat super-majority, included reductions in the maximum duration of benefits. So much like Greece!

              To put in perspective, what California dishes out in ‘old fashioned’ cash disbursement welfare annually is about $3.7 billion, which is equal to around two weeks of Afghanistan operations. Granted, we’re mixing federal and state with that, but you were the the one whining about the federal teat while making sweeping generalizations that suggest you have no idea of the dollar figures of programs or any sense of the relative fiscal scales involved.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Nate, that’s so not true. Entitlement spending is more than cash-outlays. There’s SNAP, Headstart, Section 8 housing, free ER care, free childcare, Medicaid, etc., etc., etc. The US has an entitlement problem that dwarfs Greece’s to the tune of $70 trillion. California, which has 1/8th the population of the US does have 1/3 of all Welfare spending, a lot of it driven by rampant illegal immigration to be sure, but also by the native middle class voting themselves largesse from the state fisc.

                • You know, it’s funny that you target Medicare. Medicare is more successful at keeping healthcare costs low than the private insurance companies. The public outlays may seem substantial but it pales in comparison to the hidden costs of the private system. Before you jump to the conclusion that Medicare is bankrupting healthcare, look at Florida which is building more hospitals and the medical establishment is actively courting people on Medicare. If we did away with the current crazy system and expanded Medicare, taxes would be higher but the overall cost to the taxpayer would be lower.

                  Freemarket doctine in the Republican Party is the new Communism.

                  • geo michalopulos says

                    Dan, you’re not in the healthcare field are you? I am. Trust me, Medicare is collapsing. It has been ever since the early 80s when the promised budgets of LBJ were blown out of the water. Obamacare itself was introduced as a measure to bring costs “under control.” Of course it will fail but that’s a story for another day.

                    • Obamacare will not control costs because healthcare has essentially become infrastructure. Infrastrcture does not work work when it is privatized and not tightly regulated. The answer is either government regulation of the whole chain (ie telling hospitals what they can charge as opposed to the current system where they charge what they want) or universal healthcare.

                    • Regardless of how various antigovernment crazies have tried to sabotage Medicare, it still pays a lot less than the private system. It is the private system that has failed.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      That doesn’t make sense. Welfare pays a lot less to a family than does an honest job, otherwise more people would get on Welfare. Medicare pays less because it has distorted the entire system in ways too numerous to enumerate at present.

                      I will agree with you in this regard: so has private insurance. If there were no third-party payors at all, then the cost of medicine would plummet. Think of those specialties which are not covered by most insurance: the so-called vanity practices (i.e. lasik eye repair and most cosmetic surgeries, which are very affordable).

                  • Daniel E. Fall says

                    Well, Dan, I think you go a little far with the generalization.

                    For years, farmers have existed in a pseudo capitalist environment, but there are so many of them; the competition is fairly pure and the costs are low; not so with health insurance; nor so with health providers.

                    None of this is rocket science. It is called doing away wih the middle man/profiteer.

                    The insurance companies have little motivation to reduce costs. They are motivated to reduce annual losses once prices are established, but if every year, they profit the same on higher costs, guess what?

                    Rocket science; the profits are higher! Shhhh! Don’t share this lest you end up in a boardroom somewhere.

                    The reality is healthcare costs are out of control. Healthcare was 5% of GDP in 1960 and is now about 17%. Now, that probably deserves some normalizing, but it would only change it a point or two max. Another portion of that could be cultural/behavioral, give it a few more points.

                    It is easier to point out guys like Stephen Helmsey, CEO of United Healthgroup made like 40 million last year. Imagine what the VPs make!

                    The greatest problem is the free market can’t work in this business.

                    My mother tried to find a new insurance company a few years back in order to beat the 750 a month premiums that had risen 100 a month for 3 months running. She had no history of breast cancer and a false shadow on a mammogram deemed false by follow up with physician. The new companies she looked at all put a rider on her for 24 months for breast cancer for the shadow and she took the gamble because she believed the doctors; insurers didn’t want that risk. Ironically, insurance is suppose to be a shared risk pool. There were only 3 companies that she was able to get considered for coverage in the state. The other option was the same price as the one she wanted to leave; the one with the rider was about 450 a month.

                    As a customer; her options were grossly limited. That ain’t a free market.

                    And furthermore, she obviously can’t go around provider shopping if she has a heart attack. A certain number of illnesses are shoppable, but leaving your home isn’t a cost free option. So, the facts are simple. Healthcare is not a free market system; not ever, no matter what Republicans say and no matter how you want to slam them for continually suggesting it remain what it isn’t.

                    If it is a free market system; go shop it on the internet and find a real cheap provider for breast cancer treatment! The irony is noone wants the cheapest healthcare either, so it’ll never be driven by “free” market forces like Republicans suggest.

                    Since it clearly isn’t a free market system; the only way to drive costs down is REGULATION, or trying to drive it to pure competition (good luck there).

                    The providers and insurers brought Obamacare on their own. Obama was only trying to find a way to reduce the 17%. When you look at the US versus other countries; we are completely out of line in the 17% number. Whether Obamacare will end up lowering costs isn’t even at issue. He tried. The others played ostrich. Guy trying with axe in hand beats ostrich with head in sand. Even if the trendline continues upward after Obamacare; he will still get credit for trying.

                    There are a lost of ways to more drastically impact healthcare costs-drugs especially. Expect any of them to be met with lots of sand from the other side because they are the party of status quo on this subject.

                    Government paying for everything is not the message I’m sending either; just for the record. The message is there is too much profit taking in healthcare because it isn’t at all a free market.


                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Most of the problems with the insurance before Obamacareless will get worse.

                      The costs will be higher, availability of services less and recourse to remedy problems truncated.

                      Two groups who will be hit hard on the price front: men over 55 who use tobacco and young males. Both groups are projected to see premiums go up 200 to 400 percent. The smokers premium will not be subsidized as the young males will be to some degree.

                      Selection of risk has to occur through underwriting, price, or rationing. For all its faults, traditional underwriting has done a better job.
                      The real problem with costs is: regulation; fraud; and the routine use of other people’s money in the first place. Obamacareless just doubles down on the problems as a solution.

                    • Daniel E. Fall says

                      Well, Fr. Hans and Bauman, here is to your proverbial heads in the sand.

                      I’d like to say nice try, but you didn’t.

                      Keep going with the nay saying. Good luck.

                      As for your one valid point about lasik and cosmetic surgery; still not entirely valid at all. Just decide whether you personally would go to the cheapest cosmetic surgeon and send me some after photos.

                      Healthcare is out of whack and the Republican party offered zip, zero, nada.

                      You can’t condemn Obama when you haven’t done a thing against horribly rising costs in healthcare.

                      The status quo isn’t working.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mr Fall, we had the BEST healthcare in the world by almost any metric you could think of (including the one that causes immigrants and foreigners to rush into and take advantage of). There’s a old cliche: “when the rubber hits the road…”

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        George, the ending of the Cold War was a great shock and disappointment to many whose whole professional life depended on its continuance. For years they have been relentlessly trying to revive it, by backing elements in our government that want to keep baiting Putin & Co with pipelines and missile installations as close to Russia as possible. Now we see in Russia, finally, a resurgence of anti-Americanism that has not been seen for a long time. SUCCESS for the old Cold Warriors. I was thinking about htis the other day…then I saw the name “Francis Frost” here, and a whole flood of recollections ensued. Surely the old men and women of the Keston Institute, too, must feel relieved, restored and resurrected to new life. F. Frost and the Keston Institute particularly targeted the Russian Church. The wrist-watch incident was seemingly sent from heaven after decades of impotent indignation about vodka merchandising! Look for more of the same, specially targeting new building programs. They tried very hard to prevent any rapprochement between both parts of the Russian Church; MP and ROCOR, and hoped that the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine would be able to block the reconciliation discussed in San Francisco back then. i don’t know what they can do in England: For a long time they placed a lot of hope on Bishop Basil Osborne who wanted to succeed the sainted Metropolitan Anthony Bloom. Now it’s too late for them: Bishop Basil was so offended by not being named Metropolitan that he fled with some naive followers under the EP in Europe and finally just lost hope and petitioned to be deposed from the episcopate and get married.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “Especially, since the Ecumenical Patriarch is of the opinion that only he has the right to grant autocephaly, a right recognized since antiquity. This is why ‘World Orthodoxy’ does not recognize the autocephaly granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America. Yet even with such “daring” as to proclaim the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, these clergy stressed that they remained within the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate.”

      The Patriarchy of Constantinople would do well to remember that the adoption of the title “Ecumenical” was a sign of the pride, and step towards the fall, of the Roman bishops. We should not address or accept Constantinople as “Ecumenical,” yes, they have a primacy of honor, but de facto they’ve been replaced by Moscow for ages and ages (just as nobody considered Jerusalem the most important see by the 1st Ecumenical Council), and lately they’ve been the source of division and schisms in their innovations like the New Calendar and their false “ecumenism.” An important part of being Orthodox is being aware that the Patriarch of Constantinople is under the thumb of the Turks (which is why all of Greece simply ignored the Patrarich when they rebelled against Turkey), that the Patriarch is educated in Western theological centers, that they don’t even have much if any actual Orthodox flock to shepherd in their own city anymore (which would keep them in touch with the actual thinking of normal conservative Orthodox layfolk, as St. Justin of Chelije mentioned if I remember correctly).

      As far as Georgia, it is a shame that they tried to test Putin/Russia like that, they should have known that that Russia wouldn’t let them use force to reoccupy provinces with a Russian population, and they should be thankful that Russia didn’t annex their whole country. Putin is no metrosexual weakling like so many of our Western leaders.

      And as far as stolen Russian elections, that’s a joke, they couldn’t have been more rigged than our recent 2012 elections with precints in swing states going 100% Obama with far more votes cast than registered voters.

      Finally, “fracking” is a desperate (some would say criminal) method to obtain resources at the cost of the environment, and I’m glad Russia hasn’t been reduced to “fracking” up their drinking water and the health of their population.

      Lighting tap water contaminated by “fracking” on fire:

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Very well said. As for the claim that “only” the patriarch of Constantinople has the right to grant autocephaly, that is belied by the historical record: the patriarch of Antioch (Peter the Fuller) granted autocephaly to the Georgian church about 400 years before the institution of Orthodoxy in Russia.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but Russia also granted autocephaly to the Czechoslovak church without incident as well. And of course an ecumenical council can grant autocephaly (cf the Church of Cyprus which was cleaved off of Antioch by the 2nd Ecumenical Council).

        This by no means obviates the very real problems that we in the OCA have, only the question of who is the grantor of autocephaly.

        • Jonathan Johnston says

          The truth is that there are no canons stating who can or can’t grant autocephaly. Going back to the Apostles, they set up churches (to operate independently) wherever they went. They ordained bishops to lead these “local” churches. Once the 5 centers of Christianity were developed in the Roman/Byzantine Empire (Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople later) Rome assumed prime importance since it was the capital of the Empire. However, the bishops of Alexandria, Jerusalem or Alexandria never reported to the bishop of Rome nor gave up any independent authority. As long as each “local” church followed Christ and was in Communion with all, there were no problems. As Christological divergences occurred, Ecumenical Councils were called to resolve these issues. When Kievan/Russia became Christian, Constantinople gave them their bishops to guide them (900’s). After the Council of Florence (1400’s) when Constantinople and all the Eastern Churches fell into heresy uniting with Rome, Kiev proclaimed itself autocephalous to remain Orthodox. They chose their own bishops and broke ties with those in heresy. And although Constantinople rescinded the Council of Florence decision some 20+ years later, they refused to recognize Russia’s autocephaly for almost 200 years. Constantinople was WRONG. As the Orthodox Church spread around the world via established churches, once these “local” churches were established, they organically became autocephalous. As long as they maintained their “Orthodoxy,” they were in Communion with all the other Orthodox and fully accepted. Where the problem with this entire “who can grant autocephaly” issue came into play was with Constantinople taking the title of “first among equals” beyond what it meant. All the title of “first among equals” meant was that the bishop of Constantinople ran the meetings when all the other patriarchs met. Also, to mediate differences among the patriarchs and since Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, they kept the official church records (copies). So, established “local” churches in different countries around the world, naturally and organically in the Tradition of the Apostles, became autocephalous (independently) operating Churches. They didn’t need permission from Constantinople, Rome or Moscow. The established churches only need to recognize these “local” churches Orthodoxy. HOW? Via inter-Communion. No formal “Bull” or proclamation. If Constantinople or any other established church doesn’t accept another “local” churches autocephaly, they must state theologically WHY NOT. Regarding the OCA and ALL the Greek Churches, the OCA is fully in Communion with all. Istanbul’s reluctance to “formally recognize” the OCA’s autocephaly is purely political as it was with Russia for 200 years. Without a solid theological reasoning for not accepting a churches autocephaly, are grounds to say that this particular church does not operate in the Tradition of the Apostles and is operating outside the norms of Orthodox Canon Law. In fact, this type of action is more in line with Roman Catholic teaching that the Bishop of Rome has full say-so about who is or is not in the Church.

          • Jonathan Johnston, hat tip to you sir.

            One of the better and more reasoned explanations concerning canonical relations.

      • macedonianreader says

        You had me with everything except “Russian population of Georgia.” They do not recognize themselves as such. Russia has an unprincipled and hegemonistic policy towards all these former republics including the Ukraine.

        I agree we shouldn’t be granting titles to Orthodox Centers to the point of infallibility. This would include Moscow. While I am pro-Moscow on many issues, especially in the resurgence of the Church, I am not ready to rubber stamp all of their policies as ultra, holy and the end all to Orthodox example. Unless, that is, we are content and blinded enough as a Church proper to usher in the Anti-Christ ourselves?

        There are many good Orthodox in many places that are not in the largest, most powerful centers that deserve their dignity and recognition. Many of which, are victims to the Russian-type of hegemonistic policies of their neighbors.

        I was never too big a fan of romance novels.

      • Francis Frost says

        Dear “Ladder”

        You are mis-informned. The occupied territories are not Russian at all, nor is there a significant Russian population in either Samechablo “South Ossetia” or Abkhazia. These territories have been integral part of the Georgian nation from ancient times.

        The so-called “titular minorities” were just that – minority populations within these regions who were given special privileges in the Soviet constitutions as a means of weakening the unity of the Georgian nation. The Ossetians are a nomadic Iranian tribe who settled in the North Caucasus in the 8th century. In later times attracted by the benefits of civilization, Ossetians began to immigrate into Georgia and integrate into Georgian society. Many intermarried into Georgian families. Joseph Stalin’s father was an Ossetian, Gimadzetan Djugaev, who “Georgianized” his surname to Djugashvili when he settled in Gori and married a Georgian woman.. We have Ossetian relatives among our own extended family. My mother-in-law’s parish priest, Father Abibos of St Nino’s church in Kutaisi is an Ossetian. It is only with the dissolution of the soviet state that the neo-Soviet Russian rulers exploited the ethnic “poisoned pill” of the “titular minorities” in an attempt to divide and conquer.

        The August 2008 invasion of the Republic of Georgia has been described as a 5 day war. In reality this war started on April 9, 1989, and has continued unabated since that time. On that date, the Soviet military fired on and bludgeoned to death unarmed college student protesters in Tbilisi, while Patriarch Ilya led the students in the Lord’s Prayer, killing two dozen young people. Outrage over this atrocity led to Georgia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. Since that time, the Russian government has pursued a continuous policy of aggression in an attempt to destroy the Georgian nation. The Russian government has used the regional authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as tools to attack the majority Georgian populations.

        The Soviet Era constitutions gave special privileges to the so-called “titular minorities” in order decrease national cohesion and weaken the conquered nations. In South Ossetia, nearly 100,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes in 1991, while Russian “peacekeepers” armed and protected the Ossetian militias during the fighting. In Abkhazia the Apsua (Abkhazian people) comprised only 17% of the population; but were guaranteed control of the local government. After Georgia declared independence, fearing loss of their status, the Apsua declared war on their ethnic Georgian neighbors, who comprised 47% of the population in Abkhazia. With the help of their allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy, the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 250,000 were driven into exile.
        For more information on this conflict you may read: “The 1992-93 Georgian – Abkhazian War: A Forgotten Conflict” by Alexandros Petersen of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

        or, the report “The Dynamics and Challenges of Ethnic Cleansing: The Georgia-Abkhazia Case” by the United Nations High Commission on Refuges at:,,WRITENET,,GEO,4562d8b62,3ae6a6c54,0.html

        Descriptions of the suffering of the victims of this genocidal campaign can be read at:

        After the 1992-93 invasion of Abkhazia, the Russian Orthodox Church created a schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Tskhumi and all Abkhazia. The “leader” of this schismatic church is the de-frocked Archimandrite Vissarion Apliaa. Despite the obvious schismatic, un-canonical nature of this so-called “Eparchy”; the Moscow Patriarchate has ordained and assigned clergy to this diocese, and has funded its work. The Moscow Patriarchate freely admits to its support for schismatic churches in occupied Georgia, as can be seen from the attached article “Unrecognized Eparchies” published by the Moscow Patriarchate and additional articles by Alexander Soldatov and Vladimir Vorsobin from It is also clear that the Moscow Patriarchate has used false accusations and heretical phyletist arguments to justify its ecclesiastical attack on the unity of the Orthodox Church. (See attached articles) This Abkhaz Eparchy has since divided into two camps, one still loyal to Moscow, the other has declared itself an “Autonomous Abkhaz Metropolia” with a self ordained bishop, Archmandrite Dorofei Dbar. The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” describes the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy in the history of the aggression against the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate.

        In the “Orthodox Occupation” television documentary, the Russian Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe is shown con-celebrating with the schismatic Vissarion Apliaa, and officially awarding him the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. This demonstrates the direct involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate in the creation of the schismatic “Eparchy” By its own published documents; the Moscow Patriarchate stands self-condemned of both schism and heresy.

        Following the 2008 invasion of Georgia, this same Vissarion Apliaa led the forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from the newly occupied Gali and Kodori districts in eastern Abkhazia in April 2009. Vissarion Apliaa was received into the ranks of the clergy by the Moscow Patriarchate without a canonical release; and Patriarch Kirill personally con-celebrated with this renegade monk in violation of the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church. Reports of the persecution of the legitimate Georgian Orthodox church by the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” and its sponsors may be read at the Forum 18 Religious Freedom web-site:

        During the genocidal campaign of 1992, Hieromonk Andrea Kurashvili and the Subdeacon Giorgi Adua ,who were restorers and guardians of the Shrine of the Repose of St John Chrysostom, were brutally tortured and martyred. You may read the their Life and Martyrdom on the Mystagogy web-site at:

        The Human Rights Watch Organization has posted updated reports on the on-going persecution of the Georgian Orthodox faithful in occupied Abkhazia

        In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

        On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

        The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:

        Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:

        A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

        By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35. The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!

        Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next.

        Despite the enormity of these crimes, His Holiness, Patriarch Ilya II and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate have followed the apostolic example of long-suffering and conciliation. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.” I Corinthians 4:9. The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate twice sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi to Moscow to conciliate. The Georgian Patriarchate offered to grant the status of a metochion to the Russian clergy operating in the occupied territories. The Russians refused that offer and demanded the right of conquest. The Russians upbraided the Georgians for “ingratitude” for “all we have done for you”. Relating this story, Meupe (Vladyka) Antony told us; “They have stolen a quarter of my country, killed thousands of my countrymen and have driven hundreds of thousands into exile, and they expect me to be grateful?” Three times, His Holiness Patriarch Ilya II has met Patriarch Kirill with only one request: to be allowed to visit his flock in the occupied territories. In September of 2011, the representatives of the four ancient Patriarchates, meeting in Cyprus admonished each Patriarchate “to remain within its own boundaries”. All of these appeals have been to no avail. The leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that they may violate the Sacred Canons and the Savior’s commandments with impunity. The tragedy of the Russian Church is that its leaders have chosen to serve a master who is not Christ.

        These past twenty years of persecution have caused enormous suffering for the Georgian Orthodox faithful. Nearly 50,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Almost 300,000 have lost their homes and livelihoods. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste. Heretics are promoted and the legitimate churches destroyed.

        Many will say that we cannot worry or be concerned about something that happened on the other side of the globe; but this attitude betrays a lack of Christian faith and a renunciation of the unity of the Body of Christ. Examples of the suffering of innocents can be read at:

        Related photo album is at:

        The Apostle Paul tells us: “For as the body is one and has many members of that one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,…and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…”
        I Corinthians 12:12-13,26.

        If we fail to stand with our suffering brethren in Georgia, then we will be cut off from the Body of Christ! It is our obligatory duty to stand for and with the victims of armed aggression and to act on their behalf. If we do not speak out on behalf of the victims of this war, then we will hear the Lord’s rebuke: “As you did it not for these the least of my brethren, so you did it not for Me.” Matthew 25:45. If we fail to reprove those who have embarked on the road to eternal torment, then we will be likewise culpable in their condemnation. We do no kindness to the Russian bishops if we “hide their sin” out of a false humility or a desire to maintain a public facade of unity.

        As long as these abominations persist un-repented and un-reproached by our bishops, no Orthodox Christian has the moral authority and authenticity to preach the “Sanctity of Life”. Repentance, like charity must begin at home. Our Orthodox Church must remove the log from its own eye before looking for specks in the secular word.

        By these abominations of wickedness, the Russian bishops have “crucified again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6), for as the Lord Himself said, “as you did it to these the least of my brethren, so you did it to Me” Matthew 25:40. And we, who stand aside, silently complicit in these horrors, what answer can we give to the crucified Lord of Glory on that day? You see, dear Ladder, it is not the Georgians’ fate that hangs in the balance; it is ours!

        If we refuse to recognize Christ in the person of these sufferers, if we do not speak out on their behalf and act to relieve their suffering; then Christ will renounce us on the Day of Judgment. “ For whoever is ashamed of Me in this wicked and adulterous generation, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of his Father” Mark 8:38 “If we deny Him, He will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2Timothy 2:13

        In a few short weeks we will again hear our Lord’s own words” As you did it not to these the least of My brethren, so you did it not to Me.” “Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Francis, a lot of what you write is true. However you leave out a convenient fact: that Michael Scheuerman (a well-known Neocon lobbyist) worked with the President of Georgia to foolishly instigate a war against Russia. The hope was to bring in NATO on the side of Georgia.

          I’m sorry, but the hatred for Russia of the Neocon/Neoliberal establishment will not abate until the US is dragged into a shooting war with either Iran or Russia –two countries with which we have no particular beef or territorial grievance.

          • Francis Frost says

            Dear George:

            Again, you are misinformed. The president of Georgia did nothing in August 2008 but act in order to protect Georgian citizens living within the sovereign territory of the Republic of Georgia.

            The excuse that “Georgia Fired First” is both untrue and irrelevant. The United Nations Charter and international law affirm the absolute right of any nation to protect its territory and its population. The Tagliavini Report admits that Georgia “fired first ” only AFTER weeks of Russian shelling and rocket attack on the Georgian villages surrounding Tskhinvali. This report was just diplomatic cover for the West’s inability to defend Georgia. The US was unable to intervene because the US is dependent on Russia for its supply lines to Afghanistan.

            The war of August 2008 was just one more episode in the on-going assault on the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Church.

            The many political myths offered by the Russian government as excuses for its aggression against the Georgian nation have been exposed by the documentary “Russian Lessons” by the Russian cinematographers A. Nekrasov and O. Konskaya. This important film is now available for viewing on the internet (in 12 segments) with English subtitles at:


            or, in the original Russian version (in 12 segments) beginning at:


            The investigative report written by Swiss diplomat, Heidi Tagliavini, and published by the European Union, repudiated every excuse offered by the Russian government for its invasion of Georgia, and its attacks on innocent civilians, its ethnic cleansing and its illegal occupation of even more Georgian territory. An analysis of that report can be read at:


            The Russian investigative journalist, Yulia Latynina, wrote a series of articles in the Moscow Times that not only deconstructed the Russian government’s version of events; but also definitively proved that Russian troops had massed in South Ossetia prior to the “official” onset of hostilities. Ms. Latynina’s work can be found at:


            There is neither moral nor legal justification for the Russian military’s attacks on Georgian civilians and the Georgian Orthodox Church. What is most troubling to the Christian conscience, is the fact that these crimes against God and against humanity have been committed by persons who publicly proclaim their allegiance to the Russian Orthodox Church, persons whom the Russian Patriarch claims as his spiritual children.

            The indifference to the suffering caused by these crimes is a sure sign of that the many who call “Lord Lord” and loudly proclaim their “traditional Orthodoxy” are in fact estranged from the love of Christ.

            “As you did it not to these the least of my brethren, so you did it not to Me.” “Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.”

            The time of “God’s righteous chastisement, which impendeth against us” is already at hand, already visible to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I think many Russians in power and government are almost mirror images of the Americans in power and government when Cuba went Communist and, equally, under the Russian defense umbrella.

              Georgia is Russia’s Cuba. Mr. Frost seems to follow the current American party-line of a renewed (at last!) Cold War. Russians see the Georgian-American president as their ‘Castro on the door step.’ They are doing their own “Bay=Of-Pigs-Thing’ now. As well, let’s not forget that it was not the Communists who took away Georgia’s freedom(s), including the ancient autocephaly of the Church of Georgia, but Imperial Russia of the Orthodox Christian Tsars. Why, our Metropolia’s Metropolitan Platon, of blessed memory, returned to America after an incumbency in the office of the Russian Church called “Exarch of Georgia” He had been the “Primate of the Georgian Church!” The restoration of the Georgian Autocephaly and the independent election of its Catholicos-Primate was accomplished by the modern Russian governments.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Again, I would ask you to investigate the connections between the President of Georgia and the Neoconservative movement very closely.

              • Francis Frost says

                Dear Mr Michaelopulos:

                Your assertion of a connection between the Georgian President and some “neocons” in the United States is an irrelevant smokescreen. As the democratically elected head of state, the president has the right to guide his country’s foreign policy and has the right to associate with whomever he pleases. Such an association, even if it could be verified, in no way constitutes a pretext or cause for war, much less the 25 year war of aggression against the Georgian Orthodox people with the murder of 50,000 innocent civilians and the ethnic cleansing of 300,000 Orthodox Christians from their ancestral homes.

                Indeed, such an assertion is both illogical and morally perverse. There is NO political excuse for murder and violence against civilians. To suggest that it is, is a moral apostasy from the Christian faith.

                You seem to be blissfully unconscious to the glaring inconsistency between your stated principles and the persons you choose to elevate as paragons of virtue. You claim to stand for democracy, classical capitalism, transparency and adherence to the Orthodox Christian moral and ecclesiastical tradition.

                At the same time you elevate as a paragon of virtue, the Patriarch of Moscow, who is documented liar, a sumptuary, a secretly married monk, and a serial and flagrant violator of the Sacred Canons, the monastic tradition, and the Savior’s commandments !

                You choose to laud as an example of Orthodox political leadership Vladimir Putin, who publicly called the collapse of the Soviet Union ‘the greatest geo-political catastrophe in history”; Vladimir Putin, who has made every effort to recreate the totalitarian Soviet State; Vladimir Putin, who nationalized the Yukos oil company depriving the legitimate investors and owners of that company of hundreds of millions in investment; Vladimir Putin who has twice imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of Yukos oil on trumped up tax charges for daring to support the political opposition; Vladimir Putin, who who has shut down or nationalized the entire public free press in Russia; Vladimir Putin, under whose rule over 300 journalists have been assassinated including Anna Politkovskaya and Natlaia Estemirova; Vladimir Putin, whose government imprisoned Sergie Magnitsky on false charges, then tortured and murdered him for blowing the whistle on government corruption; Vladimir Putin, who responded to the Magnitsky Act by banning American adoptions of Russian orphans, thus condemning thousand of those orphans, all of whim are malnourished and most of whom suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome or HIV to an early death; Vladimir Putin, who won election in a fraudulent election (exist polls in Moscow showed 25% for Putin, in Petersburg it was 27%, statistical analyses of the polling figures by outside observers showed virtual certainty for fraud); Vladimir Putin, whose KBG bombed apartment complexes in 1999 killing over 300 Russian citizens as a pretext to re-ignite the war in Chechnya; Vladimir Putin, who sent his agents to execute Alexander Litvinenko in London for exposing the KGB’s involvement in the apartment bombings; Vladimir Putin, who massacred over 100,000 Chechen civilians, Russian citizens all, in his campaign to re-conquer Chechnya, a feat he only accomplished by buying off the Karyrov clan.

                This Vladimir Putin, is the one you hold up as a paragon of Orthodox faith and virtue ???

                That, sir, is just absolutely insane !

                We indeed live in “wicked and perverse generation” and your blog gives daily demonstrations of that fact. May the Lord have mercy on you !

                PS: The former bishop of the West is also mis-informed. The communist government had nothing to do with the restoration of Georgian autocephaly. The Russian Tsar Aleksandr abolished the Georgian Patriarchate, by a royal “ukaz” that was never sanctioned by an Orthodox council. The Georgian Patriarchate resumed its own autocephaly after the fall of the Tsarist government. In 1971, Patriarch (then Metropolitan) Ilya persuaded the Moscow Patriarchate to “recognize” the “restoration” of Georgian autocephaly. The Georgian Orthodox Church was an autocephalous centuries before the existence of either the Russian state or the Moscow Patriarchate. The Russians have never “granted” the Georgians anything but oppression, violence and misery.

                There is a story that in 1811, when Tsar Aleksandr abolished the Georgian Patriarchate, St Seraphim of Sarov wrote and warned him: “Georgia is the inheritance of the Mother of God. If you cause the Georgians grief, God will send you grief in turn.” What a pity that no-one listened!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Mr Frost, any head of state (whether democratically elected or not) is competent to act as you describe. He is also responsible to his people. The president of Georgia may have the right to poke Moscow in the eyes and make cause with American Neocons (many of whom hate Christ but that’s a story for another day) but it doesn’t mean that it would be prudent to do so. The Neocons sold Georgia a bill of goods. As to why the Georgians ever thought that the Russians wouldn’t react as they did is beyond me.

                  As to your other points, I too am against the loss of any Church’s autocephaly by a hostile power.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Francis! I repeat: ” The restoration of the Georgian Autocephaly and the independent election of its Catholicos-Primate was accomplished by the modern Russian governments.” By modern Russian governments, I mean the post 1917 governments. The Georgian autocephaly had been suppressed by the Tsars, and the Church of Georgia ruled by an Exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate. I believe our Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky) was the last such Exarch. And I repeat that Georgia is to today’s Russia what Cuba has been to the United States since Castro came to power. Francis has been talking since back then, miraculously, and is as steadfast in supporting Georgia’s America-loyal President as Khrushchev’s chief of propaganda was in supporting Castro.

  5. cynthia curran says

    George you can’t say that about Orange County and San Diego, I read some liberals complain that San Diego was harder to get welfare than Houston or Dallas. La encourages welfare more since they have been more liberal for a long time, the OC and San Diego according to the Center for Immirgation Studes shown that most of those are welfare in Orange County or San Diego were foreign born and both Orange County and San Diego had less of the native born on the dole that major cities in Texas.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Oh, but Ken, you don’t understand: out governemtn is not like other governments. Our government is elected by the people and will always have the best interestes of the citizenry in mind. No need to fear. (sarcasm off).

      The question for we Christians is not which ideology to serve and support, but what we are called to do as Christians in the face of oprression (religious or political); violence; economic collapse; and governmental collapse?

      Will guns really help to positiviely address large scale disruption and/or oppression?

      • I posted the link as an interesting perspective. The second amendment was designed as a check on tyrannical government and/or threats to democratic government. Whether our government will ever reach the point where it becomes an issue is an open question. I never would have dreamed that some of the things that are happening today would be possible – the executive branch deciding outright not to enforce certain laws and bypassing congress through execute order, justifying the legality of drones and even lethal force without due process on American soil, etc.

        As for the use of force, the appropriate stance for monks is total non-violence, because they have renounced the world and do not have any family or children to defend. For those of us living in the world, there are unfortunately times when we need to use force, such as in defense of the country, or for the protection of ourselves and our families, etc. If order in society completely breaks down, then having a means to defend one’s household and family would be prudent.

        I do believe Orthodox Christianity should inform our interaction with society. All Christians of whatever political philosophy should bring with them certain core values, such as integrity, compassion, respect, justice, liberty of conscience, etc.

        • oh, dear... says

          Typical posts from your Stanislav:

          listen to him cry about his lack of dual citizenship, poor Texas baby

          Dude has definite nationalism and racism problems

          Know from whom you quote

          • Carl Kraeff says

            The second link has this interesting tidbit, one that I strongly suspect is shared by high-level (may be highest) Russian state and church leaders:

            “As such, it is we the God fearing Diaspora who must push to educate our brothers and sisters to the Christian truth and dispel the Devil’s shadow of propaganda. Only in unity of Russia, Ukraine, Trinester, Belarus, Abkhazia, S.Ossessia and Kazakhstan, can the Russ once more stand strong and independent, sovereign and truly God fearing.”

            Also please note the red herring that President Putin has been fond of: “Russia must take several steps to deal with this, to avoid the dangers of total war with NATO or it’s own eventual dissolution at the hands of Washington and Brussels.” Since NATO exists only because the participation of the United States, the clear enemy to this kind of Russian is the USA. I cannot figure out if this is a ploy or truly believed. If it is the latter, it is so far removed from reality that it indicates some sort of paranoia.

  6. cynthia curran says

    Actually, George I think Georgia’s economy is more to your liking. They practice more classical liberalism.

  7. cynthia curran says

    You know, it’s funny that you target Medicare. Medicare is more successful at keeping healthcare costs low than the private insurance companies. The public outlays may seem substantial but it pales in comparison to the hidden costs of the private system. Before you jump to the conclusion that Medicare is bankrupting healthcare, look at Florida which is building more hospitals and the medical establishment is actively courting people on Medicare. If we did away with the current crazy system and expanded Medicare, taxes would be higher but the overall cost to the taxpayer would be lower.

    Freemarket doctine in the Republican Party is the new Communism
    Believe me there is a lot of the free Market in Medocare D since most patients pay out of pocket costs and deductions. Medocare is ration to a degree but it iisn’t if it doesn’t have private groups involved. The trick is to be like California not rationing heathcare like Western Europe but averaging around the 81 age

  8. cynthia curran says

    Nate, that’s so not true. Entitlement spending is more than cash-outlays. There’s SNAP, Headstart, Section 8 housing, free ER care, free childcare, Medicaid, etc., etc., etc. The US has an entitlement problem that dwarfs Greece’s to the tune of $70 trillion. California, which has 1/8th the population of the US does have 1/3 of all Welfare spending, a lot of it driven by rampant illegal immigration to be sure, but also by the native middle class voting themselves largesse from the state fisc
    Actually, San Diego isn’t high on welfare compared to Boston, New York City and many of your old major city centers. San Diego doesn’t have many afro-american and a small white underclass, In fact both Boston and New York have higher white poverty than San Diego, Anaheim, Dallas and Houston.