Monday, August 27, 2012

Freedom from Speech in Russia

This story has been bothering me for a while but I hated to bring it up just because talking about it tends to turn me into a rather unpleasant character. I refer to the group of Russian feminists (I shall not lower myself to using their stage name, and they need no publicity from me) who recently desecrated a church in Moscow and have been sent to prison for it. Well, at least two went to prison for what they are claiming was an expression of “free speech” aimed against Vladimir Putin. Two others must not have had quite the same liberal martyr-complex as the two jailbirds as they fled the country rather than face the consequences for their actions. Since the escapade, the group has become the “flavor of the month” of mindless celebrities who like to pretend like they are “edgy” and “political” and all that “fighting the man” nonsense. They have saluted the group in concerts and called on President Putin to release the two culprits from prison. Sorry folks, but the President of Russia cannot just decide to not enforce certain laws for certain people, he’s not the President of the United States after all. However, no one should be having any sympathy for these horrible, horrible, attention-seeking little potty mouths.

No one should be giving any support to anyone who has any sympathy for these miscreants and if I ever see a roadside protest with people holding “Free -their name here-” it will be very hard for me to fight the urge not to veer off the road and see how many I can take out. There, you see: unpleasant character, it’s happening already. This is just such a frustrating story! First of all, from what these girls did and said, there was almost nothing to do with Vladimir Putin, just a sacrilegious tirade. Now, let me say for the record that I am not a huge fan of Putin, though were I in Russia I would probably say he was better than the alternatives, but I am certainly no adoring sycophant of his and, frankly, I get a little uncomfortable when I Orthodox churchmen praising him so highly. That sort of praise should be reserved for the Orthodox Tsar and no Russian government will ever have my full and enthusiastic support until the Romanovs enjoy their own again. If these girls had gone out into Red Square and held up “Putin Sucks” signs I would not have been bothered at all and probably would have even felt at least a little sorry for them if they had been carted off to prison for that. But, that wasn’t the case here.

To me, this has nothing to do with freedom of speech but rather, freedom from speech. These malcontents can think what they like and say what they like but when they decided to barge into Moscow’s main cathedral and spew their sacrilege on holy ground, I have a very, VERY big problem with that and were I in charge they would have received some corporal punishment in addition to their prison sentence for acting like foul-mouthed spoiled children. Freedom from speech can be just as important as freedom of speech, otherwise it tramples on the basic freedom of everyone else to choose exactly what they wish to listen to. Your freedom of speech does not extend to a right to harass people who want nothing to do with you, nor does it give you a “right” to desecrate holy places. And this was not just something offensive, it was not just a slight annoyance, it was an invasion; an attack. I have heard some people compare this to the “Mohammed cartoons”. They are not even in the same ball park. A cartoon can be ignored (Christians already ignore tons of insulting cartoons all the time) but a group of attention-whores barging into your place of worship, interrupting you in your worship and screaming blasphemes is something you cannot ignore; that is something you have to deal with because they are robbing you of your freedom to live your own life and forcing you to listen to them and deal with them. Alright, fine -the Russian authorities dealt with them; at least the ones who didn’t run away, leaving their comrades high and dry.

Freedom of speech is fine, for the most part, it is one of those freedoms that should be so taken for granted there is no need to list it. However, this incident shows just how warped it has become. That what these feminazis did could be considered by anyone to be an expression of “free speech” proves that ignorance is alive and well (as if more proof were needed). Your freedom of speech means you can say what you like, it does not mean you can come into my place of worship and force me to listen to you. Put your rant on a CD or write it in a book and those who want to hear it or read it can do so, but what these vile creatures did was not that, not simply expressing an opinion, it was an attack, it was a sacrilegious assault on both the church and the senses. Besides which, they didn’t even say anything terribly opinionated if you look at the filth they actually spewed. Putin was hardly even mentioned in their so-called “poem”, mostly just a lot of swear words directed at the church. Any dispassionate observer could not fail to come to the conclusion that this was more an attack on Russian Orthodoxy than on the Russian presidency.

The fact that anyone would even think of claiming this had anything to do with free speech shows how the meaning of the phrase has been twisted out of all recognition. Today if you say the wrong thing about the wrong group of people the authorities will cart you off in handcuffs because that does not count as “freedom of speech” and yet desecrating a church or having readily available pornographic channels on TV, yes, that, THAT is protected as “freedom of speech”. This is the only time when I think President George W. Bush was right when he said, ‘they hate us for our freedom’. Well, if by freedom you mean the freedom to sell smut and insult religion, yes, the people in question probably do hate that. This latest incident in Russia, however, has nothing to do with free speech really. Again, if these miscreants wanted to make a political statement about how much they dislike Vladimir Putin they could have done so by recording a disc, writing a book, wearing placards and marching up and down the street and, in my book, it would have been fine. Again, no government in Russia will ever have my full support until the Romanovs are put back. What happened here was an invasion and nothing political about it, only the most vulgar and despicable sacrilege in one of the holiest places in Russia in a simple effort to gain fame and notoriety. It is positively sickening.


  1. Thank you for the rant. Of all the ways people can protest over Putin, it has to be the stupidest and the most disgusting that gets the attention of the West. And they still have support. Worst of all, there has been a copy-cat incident in a Catholic Church in Cologne, Germany. The copy-cats have been given an even longer sentence than the original Russian band, yet the hypocritical liberals will ignore them and focus on the "freedom loving rebels fighting the dictatorial state".

  2. I won't even discuss this with most of my friends, as they all swallowed the American media/celebrity rot and even mock the Orthodox Church for urging clemency "within the law." What they did was reprehensible regardless of what country, or what government, or what Church they were targeting as a sure-fire road from obscurity to fame. Well, notoriety has its price...

  3. The fact that Patriach Kiril I openly supports Putin, even calls him a “miracle from God” is where my concern lies.
    How the hell a religious man can call an ex atheist KGB agent as “ a miracle from God”; the only “miracle from God” for Russia in my book is the restoration of the Tsar to His proper Throne.


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