Religion can be amusing

1:52 AM / Posted by Jason Woodgate / comments (2)

Guarantee letter
The Church of Our Saviour in Syktyvkar (city located in the north-eastern part of European Russia) undertook the responsibility to municipal authorities to apply to the God for solution of city’s financial problems. This obligation is made in writing.

Translation of the text.
Guarantee letter
The Church of Our Saviour, Syktyvkar, issues this Guarantee letter on account of debt discharging for heat energy supplied to the Church by OJSC “AEK Komienergo” – the subsidiary of “Energosbit” company.

Syktyvkar, 24th of October, 2001

The Church of Our Saviour, Syktyvkar guarantees to pray to the God in order to pay off the monetary debt for heat energy in the amount of:
100.000 rubles – for November, 2001
463.000 rubles – for December, 2001

God bless you!

Presbyter of the Churche of Our Saviour I. P. Kobzar
Church festival No. 666
City hall of Kursk issued the document No. 666 concerning celebration of Seraphim Sarovskiy’s jubilee. The mishap was noticed by the authorities only when the document had already been filed. According to the authorities it is impossible to change the number. The document concerns financial arrangements connected with the celebration of the 250th birthday of Seraphim Sarovskiy. “I think it was made on purpose”, said priest Anatoliy – the superior of the Sergius-Kazan cathedral. “Somebody decided to spoil the festival. Let that sin be on the head of that person. God sees everything".
Magic icon
Ancient icon “Sudarium” which has been exhibited in Hermitage for many years and has become known as magic can really influence the human health. The first interesting fact concerning the icon was connected with the museum custodian whose post was near the icon – the woman felt leg weakness, headache, and pressure boost and finally she refused to seat next to the icon. Currently the icon is in the storage place. The physicist Viacheslav Gubanov says that it is not icon’s fault that people feel unwell being next to it. Sudarium radiates energy which makes human brain vibrate at high frequency. Not every person can stand that. Most likely the icon was purposed for the elite but not for broad masses. There is no mysticism, only physics. Super-high-frequency radiation forms “biofield” of every living and lifeless object. When a person approaches the icon it determines his/her brain radiation frequency and direction and adjusts them so that to overcome some disease or any other problem. The faithful call that a “miracle”.
Professor Pavel Goskov says: “The older the icon the more powerful its energy. We made some experiments with icons. In front of the icon we put a glass of water for charging during 10 minutes. Then the wheat grains were watered as by ordinary so by charged water. The results were always the same: the grains watered by charged water grew and were developing much better. Also we took two copies of the icon: one of them was old and the other – new”.
Eduard Zimin invented special device for high-frequency radiation measuring. According to the scientist such radiation is everywhere but most devices can not detect it. The icon was put close to the sensor developed by the scientist and in 12 minutes the radiation from the icon increased by 15 Hz. When the icon was attached to the chest the radiation frequency of the person increased by 33 Hz. “This is very good as high-frequency radiation presupposes life: the higher the frequency the more vital force you have”, says the scientist.
Willy-nilly polyglot
After faint the dweller of Anapa (city in the south of Russia) Natasha Beketova began to speak 120 languages, among them are Swahili, Farsi and ancient dialects. Natasha is now 23 and she is a saleswoman. Several years ago it was even difficult for her to study German at school. Once the teacher shouted at the girl during the test and Natasha fainted. When school nurse came the girl had already regained consciousness and started speaking unknown language. All teachers came running to the girl and English teacher recognized Old English speech. Natasha said that her name was Bonny Ann Mcdonald, took the pen and wrote: “Don’t shout at me”. The girl was taken to the hospital where she was examined and let home. It turned out that Natasha had really forgotten Russian and for three days she tried to remember it with the help of ABC book. However instead of Russia 120 languages appeared in her head: Old Chinese, English of Shakespeare period, Mongolian, Old Japanese, Arabic, French, Latin, Italian of Renaissance period, Thongho, Etruscan, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and so on. Linguists found out that the girl speaks dead languages of the nations which do not exist any more: suamu, hokko, uavualu, the language of Polynesian tribe ngoba which lived in the 6th century B.C.
Natasha went to Moscow Academy of Science where she worked with linguists, philologists, translators and orientalists. They asked Natasha to translate text of different periods and didn’t know what to say because the girl easily translated inscriptions made in rare dialects. “Most likely the faint evoked Natasha’s so called “forememory”, says Professor Tatjana Grogorieva.
Natasha has her own opinion. She thinks that 120 languages are her 120 lives. She describes her life in medieval Japan, in England of 17th century and in France where she had been Napoleon’s soldier who died from bayonet stab. According to Natasha in the last but one life she died from typhus in 1920 in Germany.

A couple of funny pictures

Under which thimble will the world be?

Phrase on the house “Thanks God”



6:18 AM / Posted by Jason Woodgate / comments (0)

Maslenitsa (Pancake week) is one of the most joyful and brightest holidays in Russia. The whole week people see off winter, make pancakes and visit each other. Some historians suppose that in ancient times Maslenitsa was connected with the day of spring solstice but after adoption of Christianity Maslenitsa went before Velikiy Post (Lent) and depended on its terms. However for the Slavs Maslenitsa coincided with the New Year celebration as far as up to the 14th century the New Year in Russia started from March. Even pancakes – essential part of the holiday - had ritual meaning: round, ruddy, hot pancakes symbolized the sun.
In 1724 in Petersburg the celebration of Maslenitsa failed. Peter the Great who liked different holidays intended to make entertaining sledge procession in a new capital of Russia but the whole night before the celebration day there was terrible snowstorm and hard frost. For several days the participants of the procession clothed in fancy dresses and masks were coming to the determined place but then because of frost went to visit friends to warm themselves.
Catherine the Great on the occasion of her coronation in Moscow organized immense masquerade procession named “Torzhestvujushaya (triumphant) Minerva”. For three days this procession traveled around the city and tried to show all human vices - bribery, peculation, red tape and others which were supposed to be eliminated during the reign of the wise Catherine.
In the course of time the variety of entertainments in cities became wider. On frozen rivers or in central squares of the cities people built wooden hills which were decorated by colorful flags, pine and fir twigs and wooden sculptures. In the beginning of the 19th century the hills of kupets (merchant) Podoznikov were the most famous. They were built in Saint Petersburg opposite the Senate and reached 26 meters in height. Near ice hills there was active trading – people sold sweets, hot tea, nuts, cakes and pancakes. But the most favorite and beautiful tradition was
sledding. Everybody who had horses went out to take part in races along the streets. Every day of Maslenitsa associated with some ceremony. Monday – meeting of Maslenitsa, Tuesday – games. On Wednesday mothers-in-law invited their sons-in-law to eat pancakes. On Thursday there was sledding. On Friday sons-in-law invited their mothers-in-law to eat pancakes. Saturday was devoted to daughter-in-law parties. And finally on Forgiveness Sunday people visited their relatives and friends and asked for forgiveness for any offensive words or deeds.
Straw man
In ancient times man and women took bunches of straw put them together in a pile and then made a doll, dressed it in female clothes – bright skirts, jackets, shawls and drove it around the city in sledges welcoming and celebrating Maslenitsa. After that people burned down the doll throwing in the fire pancakes as a funeral food. To the children people said that all rich food had burnt down in the fire thus explaining the reason why during the Lent one should eat only Lenten food.
Bear fun
Bear fun is a customary show of Maslenitsa celebration. The bear associated with the Leshiy (wood-goblin) and pagan god Veles that is why people thought that bear possesses magic healing power. Peasants believed that bear was stronger than evil forces and could save from misfortune.
Trained bears entertained people imitating rouging ladies and women making pancakes. The bear was always accompanied by “koza bodataya” (butting goat) performed by a boy dressed in a sack with attached goat head and horns. “Koza” danced around teasing the bear which became furious, growled, stood to its full height and went around its guide. That meant dancing. After that the guide gave the bear a hat with which it approached spectators who put money in the hat.
Sometimes the bear and his guide were treated with vodka and then the guide could fight with the bear. Such fights with the bear as a demonstration of human strength, smartness and courage were especially popular. Participants of the fights were not only specially trained men but also ordinary people.
Snow cities

During Maslenitsa on rivers’ banks people build snow cities fortified by towers. Many people come to this city and divide themselves in two groups: “dismounted” and “mounted” warriors. The dismounted warriors occupy the city and mounted are preparing themselves for the attack. The leader of the mounted warriors orders to start the struggle and people in the city are trying to prevent city capture by means of brooms. However the mounted warriors enter the city and then together with the dismounted joyfully destroy the snow city.
Comedy shows performed by Petrushka (see picture) were very popular in ancient times.
Petrushka’s success sometimes was based on topical and satirical performances in other cases – on simplicity and lucidity of short turns. Ususally the show started with a loud laugh from behind the curtain and then Petrushka appeared. He was dressed in red shirt, velvet trousers tucked in boots and a cap.
Fist fights is another entertainment during Maslenitsa. This tradition came from ancient times when Russian warriors fought with their enemies with fists. Face to face fight was always considered the best and the most interesting.


More aphorisms

7:33 AM / Posted by Jason Woodgate / comments (4)

Narrow-minded can live in great style.
The highest profit is from deals with conscience.
The most profitable work is to shovel up money.

It is not scary to sink swimming in luxury.
Russian cars are like macaroni without sauce: you can eat it but still something is missing.
Foreign car for Russian man is like pedigree mastiff: good and strong but the price is biting.
Some Russian deputies are like haughty turkey cocks: much pomposity, little brains.
The main problem of Russian army – “Who are we fighting for?”

Russian generals are now fighting not for Russian land but for stars.
If everybody in Russia observes laws and does not take bribes life here would be impossible.


Gazprom against Ukraine

12:57 AM / Posted by Jason Woodgate / comments (0)

Ukrainian debts for Russian gas caused Gazprom to reduce gas supplies to the Ukraine. On Tuesday 8:00 p.m. (Moscow time) the supplies were cut by 25% in addition to another 25%-reduction which took place on Monday which currently totals 50%.
The spokesman of “Naphtogaz” Valentin Zemliansky confirmed this information and said that for several hours the Ukrainian gas-transport system will operate with decreased pressure.
The official representative of “Gazprom” Sergey Kuprijanov said that by Tuesday evening the negotiations had not been started. The only reaction of “Naphtogaz” was the statement with the threat to use its wide experience and to start unauthorized extraction of gas intended for European consumers.
The Ukraine thanks to its position of transit country supplied itself with the gas for account of consumers in Europe and exceeded not only its own limits but also extracted additional supplies of Russian gas to Europe. As of 25th of January the excess of gas consumption by the Ukraine was 80 million cubic meters per day.
However “Naphtogaz” informed about the prospects to take “appropriate and dissymmetric actions”. One of them can be the reduction of Russian gas transit to Europe.
“Gasprom” noted that after double reduction of gas supply there were no
unauthorized gas extractions by the Ukraine. “European consumers receive gas as usually”, said Kuprijanov. The continuity of transit supplies through the Ukraine is controlled in the territory of Russia, Romania and Slovakia, thus gas volume is checked as on the entrance so on the exit from the Ukrainian gas-transport system. At the same time Kuprijanov said that independent inspectors still do not have access to gas-measuring units in the Ukraine.
Brussels is keeping silence as well and until now no EC country informed about the reduction of supplied gas volumes. Nevertheless “to make coordinated response concerning current situation” EC decided to convene an extraordinary meeting of European Union coordination group.
The confrontation between the Ukraine and Russia is going on and nobody knows what the end of it will be.



10:11 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

On the 2nd of March, 2008 the elections of the new Russian President took place. There were four candidates: Dmitry Medvedev (the Prime Minister of Russia), Gennady Zuganov (the leader of the Communist party), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (the leader of the Liberal and democratic party) and Andrey Bogdanov (the leader of the Democratic party). However even before the election day nobody doubted in the final results of these elections. According to Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation as of 7:50 a. m. (Moscow time) Dmitry Medvedev is winning with 70,21% of votes. By this time the Commission processed 98,4% of minutes of local election committees. Gennady Zuganov is the second with 17,78%, the third is Vladimir Zhirinovsky (9,38%) and the last one is Andrey Bogdanov (1,29%).
According to the total number of votes given for Dmitry Medvedev in the President elections, his results are even better than those of Vladimir Putin four years ago. In 2004 Putin got 49 558 328 voters and Medvedev already has 49 675 000 citizens and these are not final results yet.
Anyway now Russia has its new President – Dmitry Medvedev who, we hope, will live up to the expectations and hopes of all Russian people.


Aphorisms about love

11:09 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (1)

Love is a sickness which requires bed care.

It is as difficult to live with a person you love so to love a person you live with.

You can fall in love with a person when you get to know him/her well and

you can fall out of love when you get to know such person very well.

Love is eternal... only partners are different.

Love at first sight occurs after second bottle.

Love fire is burning stronger if you put money in it.

The kiss sounds much more quite than cannon shot but it echoes much longer.

The Bible teaches us to love people and Kamasutra explains how.


What does the beard hide?

4:00 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

Until the sixteenth century the beard in Russia was in great favor. Its absence was considered an obvious sign of men’s homosexuality. For the damage to someone else’s beard one had to pay fine in the amount of 12 grivnas (unit of currency in medieval Russia). At that time this sum was enough to buy 6 horses or 15 cows or 120 sheep. For the murder of a free woman the criminal had to pay 20 grivnas and 6 grivnas for the murder of a slave.

The fashion to shave beards came to Russia from the West in the sixteenth century thanks to the father of Ivan the Terrible Vasily the Third. According to one opinion he shaved himself to please his young wife, according to the other – because he was homosexual. This fashion did not last long and at the time of Ivan the Fourth anyone who shaved his beard was considered a heretic. Such conservatism in appearance was connected with religion: a person created after the image of God has no right to modify appearance on his own. However Russian women used rouge and ceruse so that their faces looked like masks. May be such situation can be explained by the fact that only Adam was created after the image of God and Eva – from Adam’s rib. Nevertheless having and non-cutting of beard was obligatory: this was the sign of sex and religion attribute.

For many centuries there was only one permitted type of haircut – “chili-bowl”: when hair became too long people went to market place and there the barber put a pot on client’s head and cut everything that came out of the pot. This also concerned only men as women never cut their hair because its length was the sign of beauty. However such beauty could only be seen by a husband: married woman could not go out without headwear. In 1699 Peter the Great issued a decree obligating men to shave beards, wear wigs and foreign clothes. As far as there were a lot of opponents of that innovation Peter the Great even formed special groups of barbers who looked for bearded men in Russian clothes and with one and the same scissors cut the edges of long clothes and beards. This struggle lasted for five years till the interference of “tsarsky pribilshik” (king’s profit-makers). These people, who were in charge of levies and finances, had to invent different ways of earning money for king’s treasury. One of their inventions was special levy for beards. Barbers could not shave all Russian men so it was decided to get both pleasure and profit. On 11th of January, 1705 it was allowed to have or not to have a beard at one’s own discretion but everyone who had it had to pay “beard levy” to the king’s treasury.

That wasn’t the end of repressions with regard to those who didn’t want to get rid off the beard: such men were ordered to wear special suits (“zipun”) with stand-up red collars. Special clothes were invented even for bearded men’s wives. The violators had to pay fine in the amount of 50 rubles or otherwise were sent to “katorga” (penal servitude). The struggle with hair on face continued in the first quarter of eighteenth century and then gradually Russians got used to shaving. Women also began to cut their hair in order to wear wigs. There appeared a special art of intimate hairdo – close haircuts which could be seen only by a man received by a woman without a wig. Then for several decades three women occupied Russian throne. At the time of Catherine the Great many barbers, perfumers and wigs makers came to Russia from abroad. Men were still required to shave their beards and in the nineteenth century bearded men could not be state employee. Women however had their own opinion and said that a kiss with beardless man was like kissing somebody’s bald head or knee.
In the twentieth century the Soviet government considered beards and certain types of hairdos an “ideological sabotage” and continued the struggle commenced by Peter the Great.
As we can see the history of beards in Russia has a tendency to development and endless repetition and one can be badly mistaking saying, “That will never happen again”.