Letter From New York 06 16 15 Vladimir the Saint and Vladimir the President…

Just moments ago, the sun broke through the cloud cover that has weighted the city down all day. According to the weather reports, we were to be having thunderstorms about now but, nay, nay, we have sun. But will it last? I hope so. It’s been a grey week that hasn’t done much for building happy spirits among New Yorkers.

I started the day with a delightful breakfast with a young entrepreneur I met a few years ago at a Producer’s Guild event. He has started a company called Kite, which connects large corporations with start-ups that can help solve their marketing problems. Fascinating.

Then I came to the office and worked on a whole variety of things, before sitting down to think about today’s Letter. Before I started work, though, I happened on a VICE News short documentary featuring Simon Ostrovsky, one of their correspondents who was kidnapped, detained and released by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. While in custody, he was beaten and accused of being a spy. There was an international outcry at his disappearance and three days after he had been pulled from his car, he was released, without explanation. He still continues to cover the Ukrainian conflict.

Today’s piece showed him following a Russian soldier through social media, making a very good case that the Russian soldier had been in eastern Ukraine. He posted selfies from a variety of places that could be identified in Ukraine. Russian soldiers seem to have a penchant for posting selfies on VK, the Russian Facebook.

Yet, according to Putin, there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine, not now or ever.

The young soldier denied that he was there when contacted on the phone by Simon though the pictures were pretty convincing.

We all live in a world of lies and illusions though it seems they are a little deeper when we are around Vladimir Putin.

A very tall statue of St. Vladimir, the patron saint of Russia, is being put up in Moscow and it has the anti-Putin forces striving to get it stopped. History has taught us that is not likely to happen. He will be very tall and will be set on the tallest hill in Moscow, looking down on the city. Vladimir the Saint was a Russian warlord who converted to Christianity and then told everyone he ruled that they were going to convert, too. Or else, I suspect.

The Russian Orthodox Church has a very cozy relationship with the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin, who was once a Communist and therefore, theoretically, should not have believed in God, has found a relationship with the Church a very convenient thing. They are strong supporters of his conservative views on things like homosexuality. And Putin has seen to it that there are now “anti-blasphemy” laws on the books that squelch any critics of Russian Orthodoxy.

Ah, how often in history have churches served politics and politics, churches.

Interestingly, St. Vladimir hailed from what is now Ukraine. Perhaps a connection to Russia that Putin is underscoring?

It is the 1000th anniversary of Vladimir’s death and the living Vladimir is going to squeeze every ounce out of it that he can for his own political purposes.

No one has said that Vladimir Putin is stupid. He is frightening but not stupid. He is now replacing older nukes with newer, smarter nukes that can elude anti-missile systems. Do I hear the drumbeat of an arms race?

I hope not but fear so. In a brighter note,

Pope Francis, the rock star Pope is apparently coming out in an upcoming encyclical as against climate change deniers. Parts of it have been leaked as the Vatican reminds all that it is a work in progress. But if what is leaked is true, Pope Francis comes down hard on the side of climate change being created by human actions.

You go, Francis!

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One Response to “Letter From New York 06 16 15 Vladimir the Saint and Vladimir the President…”

  1. Clarissa Says:

    “They are strong supporters of his conservative views on things like homosexuality.”

    – Plus, Putin is conducting a war on the women’s right to choose what they do with their bodies. It is a shamelessly repressive nasty regime.

    Thank you for a great post!

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