By: Padraig McGrath
The Synthetic Public Ideology of Putin’s Russia
The reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a microcosm of a broad social reality
ituated adjacent to the Crimean Parliament building in Simferopol, the newly rebuilt Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a magnificent structure. Gilded onion-domes, Greco-Roman columns and pediments – it looks every bit as classy as a well financed Orthodox cathedral should be. On entering, a question occurs to me, however – why are the icons not completely flat? The depictions of the various saints seem almost crypto-Catholic, more three-dimensional than you’d expect, not like Byzantine iconography. Novgorod it ain’t.
My friend Nikita explains that the local bishop is a western Ukrainian, so this style of iconography just seems more natural to him. Locals refer to it as “Disney-style.” I smile at this answer – is there a residual attempt toward “Ukrainianization” at work? Nikita doesn’t think so – any Orthodox bishop in present-day Crimea pushing an agenda of “Ukrainianization” on any level whatsoever would very quickly find himself without an office – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 2
By: Alexander Gegalchiy – translated by Jafe Arnold
Based out of Prague, Czech Republic, Alexander Gegalchiy is President of the International Russian Award Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting and awarding Russian and Rusyn authors for their contributions to the Transcarpathian heritage of the Russian World. He is also a member of the editorial board of “Western Rus”, a publishing project whose aim is the research and promotion of the concept of the “Russian World” specifically as it applies to Byelorussian identity.
Foreword from CSS Research Fellow and Analyst Jafe Arnold:
n the below, second installment in CSS’ new series exploring syncretic-oriented themes among the “new-old” left, particularly in the Czech Republic, we are joined by Alexander Gegalchiy, who in July 2016 posed a series of hot topics to Czech communist ideologist Dr. Josef Skala to provide his original commentary. The resultant monologue contains a number of pertinent undertones, including a critique of the modern “left”, an approach to a socialist agenda from both a “pan-European” and “sovereigntist” perspective, a recognition of the changing superstructural manifestation of proletarian issues to involve formerly “reactionary” formations of the “right,” as well as a hint that so-called progressive notions as free migration and multiculturalism in fact have quite different origins and consequences for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist motives.
An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala – Part 1
By: Dr. Eduard Popov – translated by Jafe Arnold
Eduard Popov is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies at the Southern Federal University of Russia in Rostov-on-Don. From 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Rostov-on-Don. He has actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in his native Donbass and is a key contributor to various Donbass media, such as the Lugansk-based Cossack Media Group.
Foreword from CSS Director Joaquin Flores:
he Center for Syncretic Studies finds great satisfaction in providing the following eye-opening interview, conducted by our esteemed colleague, Dr. Popov of the Russian Federation, who asked a number of pertinent questions to Dr. Josef Skala, a prominent communist leader in the Czech Republic. What the CSS has noted in a number of articles on related subjects is that there has been a steady return to the fundamental principles of worker socialism, while at the same time developing a syncretism with other socio-political phenomenon which previous generations would have, perhaps then correctly, identified as alien-class forces. Nevertheless, the further development of capitalism in the late 20th century and early 21st century has increasingly proletarianized social strata that previously were excluded from the valorization process. But today, these social strata are proletarianized, a process that has advanced in direct proportion to the total subsumption of other facets of society by capital, which may also be described as the commodification of all spheres of life.
A Review of Gubarev’s book on the Donbass Revolution and Orthodox-Communist Syncretism
By: Jacek C. Kaminski – translated by Jafe Arnold
Jacek C. Kaminski is a Polish journalist and leftist activist. He is an editor of “Socjalizm Teraz” (Socialism Now), the co-founder of the Movement for Social Justice, and the Polish representative of the International Human Rights Movement “World without Nazism.”
avel Gubarev’s book The Torch of Novorossiya is an extremely important source for understanding the essence of the dramatic political and military struggles now taking place in Ukraine. We are dealing not only with the testimony of an important participant in the events, but also the bold forecasts of a political visionary which have a fair chance of being realized.
In Poland, the 32-year old figure of Pavel Gubarev might be forgotten, but in Ukraine, and especially in Donetsk, he still has a considerable number of followers. We recall that the author was one of the initiators of the uprising in Donbass which led to the proclamation of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the civil war in Ukraine. After the victory of the Euromaidan in Kiev, he initiated the creation of the People’s Militia of Donbass which became the core of the DPR army. On March 1, 2014, Gubarev became the People’s Governor of the Donetsk region, a development which gave the signal for an uprising against the Euromaidan putschists of Kiev.
After being detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) within a week, he was released months following his arrest in the course of war prisoner exchanges thanks to the efforts of the rebel garrison in Slavyansk and the legendary Colonel Igor Strelkov. During the war, Gubarev organized logistics and supplies for Slavyansk after being stormed by soldiers of the Kiev junta and he stood at the head of the “Novorossiya” political movement. He now holds some criticisms of the current authorities of the people’s republics of Donbass, but he nevertheless believes in the realization of his idea of a Great Novorossiya. His proposed vision makes up one of the parts of the publication.
By: Jafe Arnold
CSS participates in conference “Balkans and Middle East: Interconnections and Intersections”
Left to right: Joaquin Flores, Leonid Savin, Misha Stojadinovic, Irena Aleksic
n Wednesday morning, March 24th in Belgrade, Serbia, several dozen students, scholars, analysts, and distinguished guests including diplomatic representatives from Tunisia, Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Republika Srpska gathered at the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of International Politics and Security for the conference “The Balkans and the Middle East: Interconnections and Intersections.” Organized by the faculty in cooperation with Katehon Think Tank and with the participation of the Center for Syncretic Studies, the conference sought to discuss pressing geopolitical and geo-strategic issues in the format of a scientific and diplomatic roundtable, and present Katehon’s promising new initiatives in the field of international relations. The issues specifically addressed by the conference included the refugee crisis, cybersecurity, economic cooperation amidst market crises, and the role of ex-colonial powers in conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East. The Center was represented by Director Joaquin Flores, who chaired the event, Jafe Arnold, and Novak Drashkovic.