Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

ANDRIY BARANSKYY

The Lavra in Kyiv

In a centuries’ overdue move, and one that is going to lead to more Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Constantinople Patriarchate approved Ukraine’s split from the Russian Orthodox Church overnight. It is being called the biggest split in all of Christianity in a thousand years.

Russian Orthodoxy was forced on Ukrainians over several centuries, finishing with the forced conversion of my family’s Ukrainian Catholic villages in the west of the country when Churchill gifted the country to Stalin after the Second World War (thanks for that, Winston!).

What will happen now? Well, in anticipation of this move, the Russian military has already stepped up attacks in Ukraine’s east, with people being killed in record numbers again. It has to be understood that Russia’s Church – in the past decade or so – has become a weaponised political party that effectively runs the country, behind only Vladimir Putin.

Additionally, experts are predicting staged attacks on Russian churches, so that Putin can blame them on “fascist Ukrainians”, and attack and invade even more.

What I’m worried about is attacks on the thousand-year-old Orthodox monasteries and cathedrals in Ukraine, such as the Lavra complex in Kyiv. I sure hope they’ve stepped up security at those locations.

This move removes a major aspect of Russian colonialism from Ukraine.

I’m not sure why Russia never comes up alongside the likes of France and Britain and Spain in discussions about colonialism and cultural appropriation (because people think Russia is romantic?). The Russians were just as brutal as anybody else (see the Holodomor). And – unlike other nations – their behaviour is ongoing (see the annexation of Crimea, the invasion and occupation of eastern Ukraine, the ongoing invasion and occupation of one-fifth of Georgia, and the illegal occupation of Moldova).

The next few weeks are going to be chaotic for Eastern Europe.

The Week: 19th – 25th February

^^^^

I have no idea why it keeps starting partway through!

Plenty of Winter Olympics-watching happened this week. The best moment was Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir winning ice dance gold.

R.I.P. to Emma Chambers

Kyiv Ukraine Euromaidan Memorials Sonya Heaney May 2016

This week marked four years since the pro-Russian snipers opened fire on the public in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The war rages on, even though I haven’t seen it in the Australian, European, or American news for a long time.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko won the men's aerials freestyle skiing gold medal to break Belarus' dominance in the event at the Winter Olympics..

Ukraine did win a gold medal in Pyeongchang, however!

My review of Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Lisa Kleypas News

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Out Soon

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Reread: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Bombing of London Library

On 23rd February 1944 The London Library came within a few feet of being totally destroyed. Bombed Second World War Two0241_-_The_Art_Room_19440238_-_

Ukraine offers free metro rides for poetry buffs

Taras Shevchenko (centre) died in St Petersburg in 1861, after a long period of exile imposed by the Russian authorities

The metro in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, is offering free rides to people who can recite a poem by Taras Shevchenko.

Shevchenko died in exile in Russia after being convicted of using the Ukrainian language in his work (the Imperial Russians seriously disliked people using their native languages).

Ukraine has a massive literary heritage – some of “Russia’s” most famous literary figures are actually Ukrainian.

I cannot imagine this poetry-for-free-trains idea working in most countries! One article about it is here:

Free metro rides for Kiev poetry buffs

(One day – probably in about 1600 years – the Western media will catch up with post-Soviet Eastern Europe and start calling Ukraine’s capital city KYIV instead of “Kiev”!)

In Kyiv

We flew into Ukraine’s capital city this morning  and visited the main square for the first time since the revolution (the square where there were the burning tyres, and had the drums, and then all the demonstrators were being shot by the pro-Russian authorities).

We are now in a Crimean cafe on the square, one we have visitied plenty of times in the past. They are flying Ukrainian and Crimean flags together; the Crimean Tatars don’t want to be ruled by Russia!

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Just a Note

I am leaving Canberra today and will be flying to Europe tomorrow. I will be in Ukraine for about a month and then Italy for about a month. I have blog posts (including reviews of upcoming books) scheduled for that time, but I’m not sure how often I’m going to be able to get onto a computer and manage my sites!

By the way, this is Kyiv (which you probably know by the Russian name, Kiev), Ukraine’s capital city. It is gorgeous, but nobody knows anything about it!

20th February Snipers

Today is the anniversary of the mass murder in Kyiv, Ukraine. During the Euromaidan, the revolution to overthrow the corrupt pro-Russian government, on the 20th of February 2014, pro-Russian and actual Russian snipers were sent into the city centre to shoot and kill dozens upon dozens of civilians.

The world has all but forgotten about the war in Ukraine now, but it has not ended. I still have family members who are refugees, we will be visiting them in Ukraine in a few weeks.

Pro-Russian snipers shooting Ukrainians in Kyiv, Ukraine. 20th February 2014.

Russians in Romance

The-Professionalby KresleyCole

Edit on 3rd of May: Since I posted this, Russians have hacked at least one of the sites I linked to. I’ll be optimistic and keep the links up just in case anything changes.

You know this current trend in the romance genre for books about “sexy” Russian criminals? It’s actually making me sick. I do think poorly of people who are seeking these books out and enjoying them, despite what Russians are currently doing to Ukrainians and other people in Eastern Europe.

The argument that it’s just a fantasy? Sorry, doesn’t cut it. It’s like saying, “Gee, I know Germany just invaded Poland and started killing the locals, but those Nazi bad boys are just so hot.”

Vladimir Putin Adolf Hitler

I’m very close to the situation in Ukraine. One of my family members is high up in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and has been conducting the funerals of Ukrainians murdered by the Russians. I was watching the live video feed the day the snipers came out and started slaughtering the people. I saw them die. I have relatives who were guarding the barricades in the capital city. I’ve stayed on the main square in Kyiv – the heart of this conflict – many times, including only a few months ago. One of the times – late at night – our building was investigated by those awful military police who were doing the killing. I just accidentally saw the crime scene photos of the latest Ukrainians who have been abducted, tortured and murdered by the Russians (in that picture, one of the victims is a well-known politician; the other is a teenage boy).

This torture and murder has been going on for months, and more and more people are disappearing.

And yes, I even have family in Russia. Of course they’re not all bad, but they are citizens of a country that runs entirely on misinformation and propaganda – and most of them believe it.

Russian soldiers invading Crimea Ukraine

Russian soldiers in Crimea in the early days of the invasion.

I know that when it comes to romance books all kinds of things get written off as ‘they’re just fantasies’. But this is one line I will judge people for crossing.

“Hot” is an odd way to describe the average man in today’s Russia. I’ve been to Russia multiple times – and not for the prettied-up, propaganda-laden tourist experiences most people see on their riverboat cruise. One of the times, our building was stormed by two jeep-loads of men with machine guns. The building is on Nevsky Prospekt, for God’s sake – the most famous and touristy street in the whole bloody country! A HUGE proportion of Russian men are drunks who beat their wives. They carry bottles of vodka and beer (at the same time!) around the streets at ten in the morning. They all chain smoke. Their life expectancy is lower than third world countries, due to the drinking, smoking, drug use and the rapidly-rising AIDS rate. I’ve personally witnessed more than one anti-gay parade.

And – get this – so many of them hate Westerners and have no qualms about saying it to your face.

What’s so sexy about that?!

Russia R.I.P. Ukraine Russian Propaganda

American Jounralist Reporting on Ukraine Abducted by Russians

That second tweet? It is from an American journalist, quoting a Russian, and shortly afterwards he was abducted by the Russians.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, almost without fail every time I post a picture of Ukraine or Ukrainians somewhere – my blog, Pinterest, Tumblr – I get Russians making stupid or even nasty comments on it, very often informing me all of Ukraine is Russia (funny, because Ukraine existed for centuries before Russia did!). I posted a picture of my ninety-one year old Ukrainian grandmother holding a little Ukrainian flag, and cruel things were said about her. My grandmother, who lost half her village to Russian gulags!

I’m sorry, but I’m just so over all the gushing Russian criminal romance book fans I come across on Goodreads and blogs and everywhere else. Vladimir Putin has turned his country into a cancer on the world, the Soviet Union take #2, and there’s a war on the horizon. I know, because I have family and friends who are going to be recalled to fight it.

I was telling the truth – this fad is making me sick.