Information please

I must know:
what are the monks of the Perchersk -Lavra monastery in Kiev doing this morning?

Surely they won’t leave, they won’t abandon the mummified bodies of their long-dead brethren.

I was there in 2018. This is no museum. The place is bustling with brethren, most of whom put me in mind of Rasputin: so tall that on first sight you wondered if they might be on stilts under the long black cassocks.

During the Maidan riots, the monks threw open the gates of the monastic close and offered ecclesiastical sanctuary to the people. And this at a time when, I learned in 2018, many of the wounded were afraid to go to the hospitals, fearing arrest and detention because their wounds would prove they had been involved in the protests.

I also heard that after the Communist withdrawal, “the church” wants its property, the Lavra back. Yes, but which church?

Can the Russians, no longer “Godless Communists” , at least be depended upon to revere and spare the golden onion domes, the warren of monastic cells?

I tried to research whether some of the monks might have taken to the streets of Kiev carrying croziers and icons, as they have done before. But I find no information.

Has anybody heard anything?


We all see what passes for the “news” – but who knows what it means?

According to the Russians, they are disarming the threat posed to them by the Ukranian military. They are destroying airports, missile batteries, etc. They describe it as a Special Military Operation, not an invasion – no plan to occupy the Ukraine or attack civilian populations.

However, to echo Muhammed Ali, everyone has a plan until they get smacked in the face. A lot depends on whether the Ukrainian side cries Uncle, and on whether the West tries to fight to the last Ukrainian.


Yes, but where is Onofrius, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine? Is he still in the Lavra? Could he, somehow, pull a Pope Leo and turn back the invaders? It’s specifically this ancient and very traditional monastic colony that I’m wondering about.

Their concerns are not of this world. When I was there, we were told that we trousered ladies might have to wear an apron if we wanted to be admitted to,the sacred caves. But there was some confusion as to whether we should cover our crotches or our buttocks. Turned out the day of our visit was not any important church festival, so it didn’t come up.

I was in Russia while it was still the USSR, and we visited Zagorsk, the center of Russian Orthodoxy. That was fullof blond and red haired and bearded young priests ‘n’ monks too, but we were told they were all KGB.

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Question is – Are the Russians really invaders? Or are they prudently trying to disarm a dangerous neighbor? Time will tell.

From my exposure to Russia and Kazakhstan, I came away with the impression that Russians are more Christian than the West. I would guess that the Russian military would be very careful about protecting religious sites in the Ukraine. Whether the Ukrainian leadership would be so careful remains to be seen.

Even stronger than Orthodox Christianity in the Former Soviet Union is the memory of their invasion by Europeans in the Great Patriotic War. In the bigger cities, one of the stops a wedding party would make after the marriage ceremony was to go to the Perpetual Flame memorial and lay one of the bride’s bouquets there. On a busy Saturday for weddings, the memorial would be almost buried in flowers. It is hardly surprising that Russians take the potential for any threat from the Ukraine very seriously. It is surprising that Western diplomats don’t seem to understand that.


Yes I get that. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, either. I really was just fantasizing about those monks.

But I find it annoying when people say the only reason people in the Eastern provinces welcomed the Russians is because that area had been “Russified” under the Soviets, who liked to move populations out, like to Siberia, and move Russians in. Welp, to quote HRC,what difference, at this point, does it make? People have been moving around on the globe ever since there have been people. After a generation or two, no matter the reason you ended up there, aren’t you a native of the place you’re living?

It depends upon how “sticky” one’s ethnic identification is. Consider Northern Ireland. Do the Ulstermen (and -women) who have lived there for five generations or more consider themselves “Irish” in the same sense Dubliners do? Will any of the third generation born in the “European Union” consider themselves European as opposed to Greek, Portuguese, or Italian? Did any of the population of the Soviet ’stans consider themselves Soviet as opposed to Kazakhs, Tadjiks, Turkmen, etc. after three or four generations?


This raises a lot of interesting issues. I have been thinking how America is one of the only places ever in the world where people love being mongrel: we’re proud of it! We have Lithuanian Days, Italian festivals, Polish festivals— very different from the East where you’re lower caste if you’re not a pureblood Japanese, Chinese, Korean.
And then there’s the emic-etic divide. Vis à vis the rest of the world, don’t The descendants of the Ulster Plantation people think of themselves as Irish? Maybe just a better kind of Irish…
“Europe” ain’t a country. And never will be.
And the “‘stans”—I’ve always had the impression that Soviet “rule” there consisted of yelling up the mountains: «You’re under Soviet control now!”

But, ya wanna talk “sticky”, how ‘bout religion? That’s certainly a factor, THE factor, in N.Ireland. And I think Ukraine will fracture along religious lines, too, just like “Yugoslavia” did.


Come, come, Gavin. The Ukrainians have said the Russians are invaders. And not just a few. The men are sending their families away to safety, then staying to fight.

Rule #1 – Always be skeptical about whatever is reported by our compromised media. Scratch the surface and you find that the Ukrainian kleptocrat rulers have forbidden males up to the age of 60 from leaving the country. Not enough volunteers to fight, apparently.


Rule #2 - always look at what is actually happening on the ground, as best you can. Zelensky is hardly a kleptocrat. He refused evacuation by the US and is staying to fight - for real. He asked instead for more ammo.

Putin is usually a cagey politician. He “invaded” as a police action to “protect” the two alleged breakaway provinces. But the Ukrainians are putting up a heck of a fight, and he’s limited to just how much power he can get away with without becoming a pariah. It has led to TV pics of his fighter jets rocketing non-military targets, not a good TV spot to be showing the world. He may be able to withhold info from his own people for a while, but Russia is kind of a sieve - info will leak out, and he will end up with egg on his face in his own country. He would have been smarter to simply use the leverage he had obtained on the West than turn them into a solid enemy - again. Even the weak-kneed Germans are ticked off.


Where was the video taken of Zelensky claiming he was staying to fight? Reality is that we don’t know. Maybe Kiev, maybe a US military base in Germany?

The people giving us “information” about the situation in the Ukraine are the same people who spent the last two years spreading misinformation and outright lies about the Covid scam. Caveat Emptor!


Fog of war for sure.
For certain things are getting blown up, and tanks maked with a Z are on the move.
The U.S. stock market reveals that Americans are at historically high complacency .
God willing Russia - Ukraine War will not ignite conflict beyond their borders …


The risk of wider conflict seems like the big thing to avoid. In a “normal” international crisis, there would be a rush of parties trying to find a diplomatic path to a cease fire – but for some reason, that is not happening. Instead, Europe & the US appear to be stoking the flames by cutting off contacts with Russia and claiming they will be feeding weapons & ammunition to the Ukraine. Very strange!

I am waiting for China to step forward and offer to mediate. China has some claim to be a potential honest broker in this conflict. On the one hand, China has some kind of partnership with Russia. And on the other hand, China is one of the Ukraine’s biggest trading partners and the Ukraine is a key element in China’s Belt & Road scheme. Plus the Ukraine will need a lot of outside investment to rebuild, and China has lots of dollars. A negotiation in Beijing which brought the conflict to an end would certainly cement China’s new place in the international scene – as well as sending a message to Taiwan that this would be a good time to cut a deal on reunification.