День пограничника: Day of Frontier/Border Guards!

День пограничника!

Frontier/Border Guard badge.

On the 28th of May in 1918 the Russian Frontier/Border Guard was established and former President Yeltsin declared 28 May as a day to keep the tradition alive of honouring the men and women who guard the earth’s longest borders. Border Guards’ today face the modern threats of terrorism and drug-trafficking as opposed to the old days of catching spies and smugglers.

Border Guard hot spots include the Caucasus region where the government annually allocates billions of dollars to modernize frontier outposts.

28 May, Day of the Border Guard.

Today is  День пограничника in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


150 Moscow protesters arrested Sunday

At least the protesters were resourceful. Anywhere there is a My-My (Moo Moo) restaurant is a good place to be. What wonderful food at reasonable prices, so hats off to the protest leaders–you get extra points for choice of location this time. The Mendeleyev family has eaten at this “My-My” many times and it remains a favourite.

Familiar logo of “My-My” (Moo Moo) restaurant on Arbat street at the Pushkin statue.

Citizens were asked to wear white on Sunday and walk the streets of central Moscow. Many ended up at the small protest camp at Pushkin Plaza on Arbat.

Russia has banned protesters from using normal style megaphones in marches and rallies so protesters have adapted to smaller units as worn by Ilya Ponomarev, fresh out of jail from his arrest on 06 May.

Meanwhile at City Hall, the Moscow Times reported that Police detained some 40 people outside the Mayor’s Office, where gay rights activists gathered to protest anti-gay legislation pending passage in Moscow but already passed in several Russian cities.

For the most part arrests were conducted in a less brutal fashion that recent displays of brute power by Moscow police and Russian Interior Ministry troops.

Swedish singer pushes Russian grannies aside for Eurovision win

So the voters have made their final decision and Sweden’s Loreen has clinched the top spot at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her dance hit “Euphoria.” It is a great sounding song (see below) and she performed it well but not before she had to brush aside some sweet old Russian grandmothers.

Juries and television viewers from across Europe awarded Loreen a total of 372 points, with a win that ended in the early hours Sunday in Baku, Azerbaijan. With the win Sweden will receive hosting duties next year. The preliminary dates set for the two semi-finals are 14 May and 16 May 2013, with the final planned for the evening of 18 May 2013.

Our favourites, the Russian Babushki (Grannies) came in second!

NTD television did a great interview with the Russian “Grannies” here:

Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Dean and Rector of Saint Catherine Representation Church, Moscow

Editors note: The relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America is very important in their respective countries and for Orthodox Christian believers of both countries. Therefore we are re-posting an announcement from the OCA website.

See below:

The Orthodox Church in America is accepting applications for the position of Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Dean and Rector of Saint Catherine Representation Church, Moscow.

While the OCA Chancery is coordinating the search for a suitable candidate, the final appointment to the position will be made by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and the Holy Synod of Bishops.

Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, CV, and three letters of reference to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America, at egtosi@oca.org or PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791.

By way of background, the position dates to the early 1990s, when Archpriest Daniel Hubiak appointed Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate. Initially, one of the churches in Moscow’s Danilov Monastery was offered for use as the OCA Representation Church. In 1999, the Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in central Moscow was made available and was reconsecrated. Since then, many improvements have been made to the historic structure.

Saint Catherine’s parish, OCA, Moscow, Russia.

Saint Catherine parish ministers to local faithful as well as English speaking residents of the city, expats, and others. Together with the Representation churches of other autocephalous Churches in the city, it serves as a visible reminder of the unity of the Orthodox Church throughout the world and the close connection between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

Interior of Saint Catherine’s church, Moscow.

Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Dean and Rector of Saint Catherine Representation Church, Moscow.

Supervisory and Job Controls: The Holy Synod of Bishops appoints the Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate/Dean of St. Catherine’s Representative Church and has direct supervisory control. The Metropolitan has oversight of the parish as a stavropegial institution. The Metropolitan, Chancellor, Director of External Affairs and Holy Synod are frequently apprised of progress, made aware of controversial or sensitive issues, and are consulted in advance on actions that may impact the policies of the Church.

Job Summary: The Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate facilitates relations of the Orthodox Church in America with the Patriarchate, ensuring proper communication. To accomplish this task, the Representative must be well-informed about the policies and accomplishments of both Churches. He must also be well-informed about the challenges faced by both Churches. While serving as a bridge of communication between the two Churches, the Representative is responsible for promoting the interests of the Orthodox Church in America in relation to the Moscow Patriarchate.

At the same time, the Representative is also a link in Moscow between the OCA and other Churches, religions, governmental and non-governmental offices and institutions, including the embassies of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Dean and Rector of St. Catherine’s Representation Church heads a parish community that is within the context of the Russian Orthodox Church. The unique role of St. Catherine’s Church requires respect for the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as communication of the special gifts of the Orthodox Church in America. St. Catherine’s Church is a Moscow “window”to the Orthodox Church in America. It serves Russian Orthodox people who choose to attend services at St. Catherine’s and also Orthodox Christians from the US and Canada and other English-speaking Orthodox Christians living in or visiting Moscow.

Major Duties

1. Promotes understanding and communicates the message of the Orthodox Church in America to a wide variety of individuals and groups. Participates in missions, delegations, and ecumenical conferences. Gives formal and informal lectures and talks.

2. Represents the Orthodox Church in America as directed in various functions, ministries and operations which advance the mission of the Church in Russia. He is to provide a “window” into Church life in North America. He may be called upon to educate the Church, diplomatic and expatriate community in Russia.

3. He is to establish a good working relationship with the Metropolitan, Holy Synod of Bishops, Officers of the Church and the Director of External Affairs. He must provide periodic reports and updates as to his work in Moscow and reports on the management of the parish in accordance with the standards of a parish of the Orthodox Church in America.

4. May be called upon to assist in organizing official trips and delegations to Russia and other European countries as directed by the Holy Synod in consultation with the Director of External Affairs.

5. Serves as the head of the parish in accordance with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America Article X, Section 4. He is the spiritual father of the flock and the celebrant of the liturgical worship established by the Church. The parish is under the spiritual authority of the Orthodox Church in America as a stavropegial institution and is also part of the Moscow deanery of the Moscow Patriarchate. He oversees the work of the other Moscow clergy assigned to the parish and is to operate the parish according to the standards of the Orthodox Church in America.

Divine liturgy, Saint Catherine’s OCA parish, Moscow, Russia.

Performs Other Duties as Assigned

Job Requirements

1. Broad and intense knowledge of Orthodox theology and the OCA mission and spiritual message.

2. Ability to absorb complex information rapidly and to apply it with little or no preparation to a variety of sensitive situations.

3. A temperament that enables defending the Orthodox viewpoint and expressing serious disagreement respectfully and without hostility, while simultaneously building good relations.

4. Ability to communicate orally and in writing clearly, concisely, and persuasively on complex and sensitive issues..

5. Ability to understand, speak and read Russian (fluency and writing ability an advantage).

Personal Relations: Interacts effectively with a wide range of clergy and laity of varying religions and ethnic backgrounds, including Patriarchs, Metropolitans, and Archbishops and other religious leaders worldwide; US (and other) ambassadors in other countries; and US State Department officials handling relations with countries in which the OCA has Church partners.

(Disclosure: Although members of the Mendeleyev Journal staff are active parishioners in ROC and/or OCA parishes, there is no connection between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Mendeleyev Journal nor between the Orthodox Church in America and the Mendeleyev Journal.)

Happy birthday to singer Luina from Kazakhstan

(A personal message from Mendeleyev)

Have you, dear reader, ever settled semi-comfortably into an airplane seat and dozed off during the take-off and upon waking you experience that nagging feeling that perhaps you’d forgotten something? Maybe something important at that.

This was how I felt today and only by checking email during the flight did I realize that we’d missed sending you a notice that we couldn’t make it down on the train for the birthday party of Kazakh pop singer Luina.

Kazakhstan singer Luina

To Olga Nastyukova, group coordinator of the union of Kazakhstan journalists of which I’m proud to be a member, I apologize for not letting you know of the change in travel plans. Heading down from Moscow to Almaty (in Kazakhstan) is always a thrill and I’ve never been to the Queens Bar so that would have been a fun party spot I’m certain.

Never fear however, Luina, I’m a fan and will introduce your music to our vast Mendeleyev Journal readship.

I hope your day was as special as you are!

Blue Buckets — Russia’s privileged drivers

When Russia’s old-new president promised to limit the number of cars which would be allowed to have the so-called “blue buckets” (blue lights with special traffic privileges), he apparently didn’t figure on that order being ignored. Russian citizens are so fed up with the special privileges of certain drivers, and often the fatal accidents they cause without fear of consequences, that they’re begun to publish photos and videos of high ranking offenders.

Some citizens say that families of officials drive cars with special privileges reserved only for important government ministers. Look at this car’s occupants and you’ll instantly recognize that they are important government officials:

Here is another from this winter:

These are NOT police or emergency vehicles, just government workers who want to get home before everybody else without having to fight the same traffic battles as ordinary citizens. Well, in this case the wife of a government official being driven somewhere. The “official” car bumps the side of a citizen’s car and then stops in traffic after passing, just to make a point:

Deaths do happen. 3 June 2011: A pedestrian had the right of way, but the family member of a government official, car license number A438MR97, decided that his right to drive speed thru a pedestrian crossing was more important than a civilians right to walk.

This illegally parked car belongs to Yuri Ivanovich Kalinin – representative in the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of the Legislative Assembly of the Penza region. The Federation Council is Russia’s upper chamber of parliament. Was Minister Kalinin taking care of business or was, as some eyewitnesses say, his wife out shopping?

Unfortunately as the country’s rulers have decided to ignore citizen concerns and the rule of law, Russians are more and more beginning to take traffic matters into their own hands. That is dangerous for everyone as seen in the next video.

Last Bell or последний звонок

They call it последний звонок in Eastern Europe, “Last Bell.” It is the last day of school traditionally ending on the 25th of May every year. The Last Bell is the last day of school for eleventh year students as students across the former Soviet Union countries attend 11 years of school, instead of the usual 12 as in most Western countries. Unlike the West, schools in the East emphasize academics over sports and other activities.

Last bell uniform. (Photo: Ilya Varlamov)

The attire for Last Bell is quite specific. Today young girls will be outfitted in short dark dresses with white lace aprons, white knee-high socks and black shoes, and white hair bows. Boys will wear business suits accompanied with a colourful shoulder sash. Except for the short skirt lengths, these uniforms date back to the time of the Tsars as part of a standard school uniform. Today’s uniforms are more conservative but for the “last bell” students have made this attire a long-standing tradition.

(photo: trinixy.ru)

Today really is the very “last bell” for those who are finishing school and part of the traditional ceremony is for a bell to be rung by a first-year primary school pupil. Today after school you can see the graduating students nearly everywhere.

Parts of the “Last Bell” ceremonies are akin to a graduation ceremony but the last bell includes all students and is a day long event. Senior students come on the stage to receive a school medal and receive congratulations from teachers. During the ceremony there are plays, poetry and literature readings, and musical exhibitions as well.

“Last bell” senior program.

As part of the program some of the students and selected parents address the teachers to formally thank them dedication and hard work over the years on behalf of training the students.

Last bell parade. (Photo: bobruisk.ru)

Tears will fall when students sing Прощальная песня (the farewell song). The song is called “Когда уйдем со школьного двора” which literally is “When we leave from the school yard.”

Today 11th year (senior) students have a week to prepare for the grueling State Examinations begin (Единые государственные экзамены or ЕГЭ) or Unified State Exams, which they must pass to meet the high-school requirements. While they receive their ‘school medal’ today, their official diploma won’t arrive until they have completed and passed  state exams.

Kids will be kids! (Photo: Ilya Varlamov)

Senior students in Moscow usually gather on Manezhnaya square near the Kremlin, Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) or at the other places to party, drink alcohol, and play in the city fountains. Markets near schools are supposed to restrict alcohol sales but somehow kids find a way to purchase it.

Last bell beer off limits near schools. (Photo: Ilya Varlamov)