Biden announces sanctions against Russia, Kremlin still weighing how to respond

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo by ALEXEI DRUZHININ/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:40 PM PT – Friday, April 16, 2021

The Biden administration said it’s expelling a number of Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions on several companies in response to actions it says the Kremlin made against the U.S.

According to reports, the sanctions were meant as punitive action against Moscow after Russia allegedly interfered in the 2020 presidential election. It also came in response to the massive SolarWinds hack blamed on Russian intelligence agencies.

“Today, I have approved several steps, including expulsion of several Russian officials as a consequence of their actions,” Joe Biden said. “I’ve also signed an executive order authorizing new measures, including sanctions, to address specific harmful actions that Russia has taken against U.S. interests.”

According to Joe Biden, the U.S. is not looking to escalate tensions with Russia, however, if Russia seeks to “violate the U.S., it will respond.”

“The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia,” Biden added. “We want a stable, predictable relationship and if Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further action to respond.”

The sanctions expelled 10 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and targeted six Russian companies that supported cyber efforts in the SolarWinds hack. Thirty-two additional individuals and entities were also named and accused of trying to influence the election and spreading disinformation.

There is no evidence, however, that Russia or any other influence changed votes or manipulated the outcome of the election.

The White House did emphasize the sanctions were not in response to a report that claimed Russia had paid the Taliban to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In response, the Kremlin condemned the sanctions, saying President Vladimir Putin had not yet decided what action he would take.

“Our approach regarding the sanctions can not change,” Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “We condemn any such aspirations of sanctions. We consider them illegal, and in any case, the principle of reciprocity is still in place — reciprocity in such a way that we can best ensure our own interests.”

Officials said they were upset the White House announced the sanctions just two days after Biden spoke with Putin. They emphasized the need for a summit and a desire to normalize relations.

Both Biden and the Kremlin said they were warned, however, that measures were coming.

Russian citizens said the relationship between the two countries is getting worse and added, dialogue between the two leaders is needed to find the roots of the conflict.

“We need to approach this issue diplomatically, to initiate meetings between the two heads of our states,” Moscow resident Evgeniy Chirkov said. “I’ve heard that Putin and Biden will be meeting on the neutral territory. So yes, to meet and to find compromises in the relationship between our countries.”

According to experts, Putin will consider the impact of the sanctions, but the action is not likely to cause him to make a 180 degree pivot in behavior.

MORE NEWS: Russia Announces Expulsion Of 10 U.S. Diplomats

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this post regarding USA and International news called “Biden announces sanctions against Russia, Kremlin still weighing how to respond”. This news update is presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local news services.

#Biden #announces #sanctions #Russia #Kremlin #weighing #respond

Source link

Russian Prosecutors Seek to Label Navalny Groups as ‘Extremist’

Russian prosecutors on Friday asked a Moscow court to designate organizations linked to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as “extremist” in a move that could ban them in Russia and result in jail time for their members.

They requested that Navalny’s network of regional offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) be added to the list of “terrorist and extremist” organizations run by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee.

“Under the disguise of liberal slogans, these organizations are engaged in creating conditions for the destabilization of the social and socio-political situation,” the Moscow prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It also accused the organizations of creating conditions for “changing the foundations of the constitutional order” and called their activities “undesirable.”

The list currently consists of 33 organizations and includes the Islamic State, the Taliban and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The presence of these groups is banned in Russia and participation in them can result in lengthy prison terms.

Navalny’s supporters have faced increasing pressure in recent months after the opposition politician returned to Russia in January from Germany.

The 44-year-old spent five months there recovering from a near-fatal poisoning attack that he says was carried out on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny was arrested on his return to Moscow and sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars on old embezzlement charges, sparking nationwide protests that saw more than 11,000 people detained by police.

His allies, however, vow to carry on.

‘Mass political repression’ 

“Putin has just announced full-scale mass political repression in Russia,” key aide and head of Navalny’s regional network Leonid Volkov wrote on Twitter shortly after the announcement from prosecutors.

In a statement on Facebook, Volkov and FBK director Ivan Zhdanov said they had no doubts about the ruling that a “Putin’s court” will make but said they will continue their work “peacefully, publicly and effectively.”

Founded in 2011, FBK has already had its assets frozen in 2019 and received multiple fines over non-compliance with Russia’s “foreign agent” law.

FBK has published numerous investigations into the wealth of Russia’s elite, usually accompanying by YouTube videos.

In January, the FBK team published a two-hour investigation into a lavish palace on the Black Sea allegedly belonging to Putin, which garnered over 115 million views.

Navalny’s allies and organizations are subject to frequent police raids and arrests over their political activities.

Earlier on Friday, a Moscow court sentenced to two years in jail a Navalny ally working for FBK over the publication of “extremist” tweets.

On Thursday, key aide Lyubov Sobol was handed one year of community service for trying to enter the home of an alleged security agent that Navalny said took part in his poisoning.

On March 31, Navalny announced a hunger strike in his penal colony, demanding adequate medical treatment for pain in his back and numbness in his legs.

His team on Monday said that Russian prison officials had threatened to start force-feeding him.

Navalny, who has lost significant weight since arriving at the facility in February, reiterated in an Instagram post on Friday that the prison authorities are threatening to force feed him.

Thanks for checking this article about the latest Russian News items titled “Russian Prosecutors Seek to Label Navalny Groups as ‘Extremist'”. This news article is shared by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

#Russian #Prosecutors #Seek #Label #Navalny #Groups #Extremist

Source link

Karelia – Russia’s Stunning Border with Finland

The Republic of Karelia has become one of the popular travel destinations in all of Russia. When one cast eyes upon its beauty, it becomes apparent why.  

The following clip taken from a Russian news network with transcript below explores some of the wonders of this majestic place.

And for those who prefer to relax in Russia, it’s worth visiting Ruskeala, a picturesque marble canyon in the Republic of Karelia. According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, in Russia, Ruskeala occupies the first place in the list of the best places for recreation outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg. What else does Karelia have? And why do thousands of pilgrims strive to visit Valaam?

Denis Davydov will tell us about the beauty and being away from the bustle of life, and about the beauty and majesty of Karelia.


Valaam is a place of strength and faith. The Holy Island has been speaking with God for more than a 1,000 years. The cloister experienced wars, and desolation in the years of religious persecution. In the 90s monks began to return to Valaam. Now again, as has been for centuries before, the spiritual center of the Orthodox Church.

Monks of Valaam:

“There is no praying on a schedule, when you are baking you are praying, just like a baker bakes bread.”

“Here, there’s no desire to reach a certain level in society, it’s absolutely irrelevant in a monastic life. And there isn’t a single person, who after visiting Valaam, hasn’t been changed in some way.”


There’s only a reference to worldly “courage,” and a variety of cucumbers in the monastery greenhouse. There are more than a hundred monks and they have their own farmstead. Fresh milk, and delicious cheese, made according to old recipes.

There’s also a trout farm in Valaam. Each enclosure has from 3.5 to 6 thousand fish. In the winter they are fed once a day. Each fish weighs 2 kg, and is ready to be cooked and served.

From late autumn until spring, the island is cut off from the outside world, and this is the best time for monks, an opportunity to be alone with yourself, because in the midst of the tourist season there are crowds of pilgrims and tourists. Last summer Valaam received 300,000 visitors. A hotel is now being restored for the visitors.

Brother Efrem, Monastery’s Administrator:

“On the base of the hotel… It won’t be just a hotel, we’re also making a spiritual center there. There are also museums, and painting and icon making schools.”


Karelia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. Last year 760,000 people visited the republic.

The closer the New Year holidays get, the fewer vacant places remain in the local hotels. People come here from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and abroad. In addition to the European neighbors, there are frequent visitors from Asia, and even Australia. It’s not just the moderate prices that are attracting the visitors.

Viktoria Vokhmina, Hotel Director:

“The untouched Karelian nature. This is a chance to experience it in comfort. We are surrounded by a forest, on a shore of Lake Ladoga.”


Tarulinna, a cozy corner on the Karelian peninsula, translation from Finnish means fairy-tale like. Fluffy fir trees stretch towards Ladoga. The forest seems to invite you to breathe, to wander or you can also race all over the snow.

The UK newspaper, The Guardian, awarded Karelia 1st place in the top ten Russian regions, attractive for tourists. The top of the article is adorned with a Ruskeala canyon photo.

Ruskeala canyon is not only a monument of nature, but also of mining. Marble was mined here since the 17th century. Many buildings in St. Petersburg were built from Karelian stone: the Hermitage, Kazan Cathedral, St. Isaac’s Cathedral. About 300,000 tons of marble were mined in the canyon during its history. It hasn’t been used for that in a long time, now, amazing photos are being made here.

A man in a boat:

“The tourists come here almost every day. During the summer, you need to sign up a few days in advance, you can’t just walk in.”


The underground lake is 70 meters deep, and it’s man-made. When the marble mining stopped, the mine was flooded. Now it’s one of the favorite diving places in the Russian north-west.

The Sortavala furniture-ski factory has been making hockey sticks and skis for the whole Soviet Union for decades. But in the 90s, the flagship enterprise fell into decline, and the whole city followed.

The youth center opened in the city 2.5 years ago. A modern equivalent of the Palace of Pioneers. And a large number of educational programs that are absolutely free: foreign languages, design, painting, and a cinema club.

Pavel Partunen:

“One week I came here right after school, and left when it was closing. Almost all the young people in the city go here.”


Every week 3,000 children go to the “Serdobol” center, as Sortavala was called in tsarist Russia. Now it’s probably the most popular building, with a youth cafe and free Wi-Fi. A fashionable place for the city’s youth.

Nina Vokhmyanina, Director:

 “The lads turn from bullies into children who write poetry, for example. And those who came here only for the Wi-Fi, are now starting to paint. This is so wonderful.”


Officially, Serdobol is open for preschool and schoolchildren. But it’s so interesting that even the adults are looking in. The locals as well as invited experts teach children. Moscow mentors, directors, linguists, and coaches come to master classes.

A pupil:

“I finished my homework, and I studied my favorite English language, I’m very happy.”


The center is built and is maintained by private donations, an attempt to save the rural youth. It’s no secret that they leave to big cities for opportunities. In Karelia, it’s Petrozavodsk. The center of the Republic is expanding and being built up.

Boris Zhadonovskiy, Acting CEO:

“The railroad divides the city into two parts, on one side is the center, and on the other side is a large residential district. People who could have gotten home in 5 minutes, had to go a long way around, in traffic.”


By the end of the year an additional bridge will be opened, which will off-load the roads. Micro-districts are growing because the Republic started a program for resettlement from old housing. The problem wasn’t solved for years, the former leader even received a reprimand from the President. The new leader is doing everything to solve the issue by the end of next year.

Artur Parfenchikov, Head of the Republic:

“We found a solution to the problem that was revealed this March: we had 24,000 square meters of emergency housing that didn’t make it into this program at all. We prepared a plan, including a financial one, to build and assign these 24,000 square meters of housing next year.”


Construction on the shores of Lake Onega began in the 18th century, simultaneously with St. Petersburg. The northern capital and Petrozavodsk are the same age.

Petrozavodsk is associated with Peter the Great. At the beginning of the 18th century Russia is at war with Sweden. The army needs guns, and ammunition in huge quantities, but it’s far and expensive to deliver them from the Urals to the Baltic. The Tsar ordered to look for iron ore near St. Petersburg. The valuable material is found in Karelia. An arms factory is built, and around it, the city of Petrozavodsk forms.

These events went down in history as the Northern War. It lasted 21 years and Russian won. We won thanks to the Petrozavodsk cannons.

Alexei Tereshkin, Museum Employee:

“Russia really defeated Sweden, and became an empire, and joined the European powers, and after this nothing was decided without Russia’s involvement.”


To this day Karelia is one of the industrial centers. There are 11 industrial towns. Metallurgical and woodworking enterprises. A pulp and paper mill was Segezha’s city-forming enterprise since 1939. Locals remember well how before, everyone was trying not to open the windows at home.

Olga Sergeeva, Segezhskiy Tsbk:

“I’ve worked in the factory since 1981.”


-In the 80’s, did it stink even from the entrance of the apartment building?

Olga Sergeeva, Segezhskiy Tsbk:

-“Yes, of course it did, now it’s a lot better. We have 13 air filters at the factory that significantly decrease air pollution.”


The factory employs more than 2,000 people. This year the company launched a paper-making machine, the most modern in the world. Their products are top in the market, and are delivered to 60 countries. World-famous brands make bags from Karelian paper.

Kamil Zakirov, President of Segezha Group:

“It comes from the northern forest natural resources, fir and pine, which give the strongest and best quality material.”


An important detail: the company isn’t just doing timber processing, but also reforestation, which is confirmed by international certificates.

The Karelian Father Frost sings about Petrozavodsk, how everyone is going to their northern city. The words from a national song during the New Year holidays are more relevant than ever.

A long weekend is a great reason to discover a region of amazing beauty.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this news article on Russian and Political news named “Karelia – Russia’s Stunning Border with Finland”. This article was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

#Karelia #Russias #Stunning #Border #Finland

Source link

Not everyone has what it takes. Roman Anin, whose home and newsroom were raided by federal agents last week, explains the challenges of investigative journalism in Russia today

Roman Anin says part of his job is knowing to expect a visit from the authorities at any moment. When federal agents showed up at his Moscow apartment last week, however, he wasn’t immediately sure why they’d come. Officials searched his home for almost seven hours, working until midnight, before questioning him for a few hours more. It was only the next day when he learned that a separate team had also raided the iStories newsroom on Friday. The searches are part of an investigation into a case of alleged privacy invasion “committed through abuse of office.” Anin is currently listed as a witness, but he believes he could face felony charges himself. The trouble stems from an investigative report Anin wrote in 2016 when he was still a reporter at the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, where he revealed that Olga Sechina (then Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin’s wife) owned one of the most expensive luxury yachts in the world. Meduza spoke to Anin about the raid on his home, why this case has suddenly returned, and what it means for other investigative journalists in Russia.

Thank you for dropping in and checking this news update about Russia news named “Not everyone has what it takes. Roman Anin, whose home and newsroom were raided by federal agents last week, explains the challenges of investigative journalism in Russia today”. This news article was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local news services.

#takes #Roman #Anin #home #newsroom #raided #federal #agents #week #explains #challenges #investigative #journalism #Russia #today

Source link

Israeli jets & helicopters strike Gaza Strip in reprisal for rocket attack — RT World News

Explosions lit up the night sky over Gaza as Israeli fighter jets and attack helicopters bombed several locations inside the Palestinian enclave. Tel Aviv said the strike was a reprisal for a rocket fired into Israel earlier.

Reports of the bombing came shortly after 1am local time on Friday, with eyewitnesses sharing alleged videos of explosions and claiming F-16 fighters were attacking.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the bombing and said it was in “response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israel earlier tonight.”

Fighter jets and helicopters struck “a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a weapon smuggling tunnel and a military post,” the IDF said on Twitter.

The rocket the IDF was referencing came from the direction of the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening – as Israel was celebrating its independence day – and struck uninhabited territory near the town of Sderot in southern Israel. 

While Tel Aviv blamed the attack on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the several militant groups operating out of the enclave, the reprisal was aimed at Hamas in line with the Israeli policy of holding that group responsible for anything that happens in the Gaza Strip.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this post on International and Russian Political updates called “Israeli jets & helicopters strike Gaza Strip in reprisal for rocket attack — RT World News”. This post was presented by My Local Pages as part of our news aggregator services.

#Israeli #jets #helicopters #strike #Gaza #Strip #reprisal #rocket #attack #World #News

Source link

Turkish Foreign Minister Confirms US Has Cancelled Black Sea Passage of Warships


Get short URL

Earlier, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Washington had notified Ankara about the passage of its two warships through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.

Thanks for checking this news release on the latest Russian News items titled “Turkish Foreign Minister Confirms US Has Cancelled Black Sea Passage of Warships”. This news update is shared by My Local Pages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Turkish #Foreign #Minister #Confirms #Cancelled #Black #Sea #Passage #Warships

Source link

US poised to impose sanctions on Russia for cyber-attacks

The US government is set to issue a wide range of sanctions against Russia, according to reports.

The move would be retaliation for cyber-attacks aimed at the US, including alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections.

The sanctions, expected as soon as Thursday, target more than 30 Russian entities and include the expulsion of at least 10 individuals from the US.

Diplomats will reportedly be among those targeted.

The administration of US President Joe Biden is also expected to issue an executive order barring US financial institutions from purchasing ruble-denominated bonds from June, sources told BBC partner CBS News.

The sanctions would come at a tense time for US-Russia relations.

In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Mr Biden said the US would “act firmly” in defence of its national interests.

Mr Biden also proposed a meeting with Mr Putin “in a third country” that could allow the leaders to find areas to work together.

In a televised interview last month, he replied “I do” when asked if he thought Mr Putin was a “killer.” He said the days of the US “rolling over” to the Russian president were done.

Last year, cyber-security researchers identified a hack in a piece of software called SolarWinds — an intrusion that gave cyber-criminals access to 18,000 government and private computer networks.

Intelligence officials believe Russia was behind the attack. The hackers gained access to digital files of several U.S. government agencies, including the Treasury, Justice and State Departments.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said in February the SolarWinds hack was “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen”.

In a report last month, US intelligence agencies concluded the Russian president likely directed online efforts to help Donald Trump win a second term as US president

The US has also publicly warned Russia against aggressive actions in Ukraine. Russia is reportedly beefing up its military presence on Ukraine’s’ eastern border.

“The hostility and unpredictability of America’s actions force us in general to be prepared for the worst scenarios,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week, anticipating the new sanctions.

Thank you for stopping by and seeing this news release regarding the latest World News items named “US poised to impose sanctions on Russia for cyber-attacks”. This news update was shared by My Local Pages as part of our national news services.

#poised #impose #sanctions #Russia #cyberattacks

Source link

Joe Biden called Putin after Russian Armed Forces were set in motion

Joe Biden’s call to Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, April 13, was prompted by Moscow’s reaction to the crisis in the Donbass. The Americans are trying to tame Putin with  carrots and sticks.

Biden called Putin after Shoygu’s speech

The US President was advised to call the Russian leader not to have Ukraine reformatted as a result of Russia’s response to the escalation in the Donbass. 
It appears that Biden called Putin following the statements from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, who announced the redeployment of two armies and three airborne units to the western borders of Russia in three weeks.

The statement that the US administration released following the telephone conversation, said that Biden asked (did not demand!) the Russian president to ease tensions with regard to Ukraine. Biden also stressed out the unwavering commitment of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In fact, this is about nothing from the point of view of Realpolitik.

Russia prepared for financial sanctions

There is always big money behind US interests. The Kremlin may have assumed that the Russian banking system was fully prepared for disconnection from SWIFT, Visa and MasterCard. Indeed, over seven years, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has created its own system for transmitting financial messages (SPFC) and the MIR card. The transnational SWFT, Visa and MasterCard systems do not want to lose such clients as Russian companies, many of which are also transnational.

USA does not need serious problems in Europe

One may also presume that the third reason behind Biden’s call to Putin was about USA’s unwillingness to deal with serious problems in Europe. The United States already has China and Taiwan in the South China Sea, let alone the always unpredictable DPRK that has withdrawn from any negotiations with the United States. The Iranian issue has been gathering pace as well: the Islamic Republic has launched the 60-percent enrichment of uranium (a nuclear bomb requires 90-percent).

Does Putin want to meet Biden in person? 

The US President proposed holding the summit with his Russian counterpart in a third country in the coming months to discuss a full range of problems that the USA and Russia are facing. It does not matter where the summit takes place  – the question is whether this summit is worth it at all. 

Not that long ago, Putin asked Joe Biden for a meeting, after the latter called Putin the “killer.” Biden preferred to fence away, so does Putin need to hurry to some third country to have a chat with his boorish counterpart? 

We do not know whether Biden apologised to Putin for his affirmative answer to the question from ABC News journalist. In a decent society, people do apologise for such things in order for the dialogue to resume. The apology from Turkish President Recep Erdogan  for the downed Russian plane in Syria is fresh in memory. Does Russia need to shrug off that insult from Biden? 

The return of Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to Washington would mean that an apology has been made and accepted. Perhaps the Americans will wait for Camilla Harris to do it in a year or two, when Biden has to retire for health reasons. 

Washington’s carrots and sticks

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that Biden’s meeting with Putin would provide an opportunity to take the Russian-American relations to a new level. “Time is running out,” said the former head of the Soviet Union. As they say, listen to Gorbachev and do the opposite, as everything that he had done did not bring any good to Russia. 

Obviously, the Americans are trying to tame Moscow with carrots and sticks, but we would like to hope that Vladimir Putin is immune to this type of policy.

Russia has held many summits with the Americans during the  recent years, and the result has always been the same – sanctions, sanctions and even more sanctions. Why not ask Washington to lift sanctions in return for the summit? Iran is walking this path already and agrees to resume the talks regarding its nuclear program provided that Washington lifts sanctions against Teheran. 

Russia moves two armies to western border

Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and checking this news release about the latest Russian news items titled “Joe Biden called Putin after Russian Armed Forces were set in motion”. This news release is presented by MyLocalPages as part of our news aggregator services.

#Joe #Biden #called #Putin #Russian #Armed #Forces #set #motion

Source link

Russia Says U.S. Troop Pullout from Afghanistan Risks ‘Escalation’

Russia said Wednesday that Washington’s plan to pull out troops from Afghanistan by September could lead to an escalation of the long-running conflict and derail peace talks.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that all American forces would withdraw from Afghanistan by this year’s 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded Wednesday saying that an American pullout in September amounted to a “clear violation” of a previous U.S. promise to withdraw troops by next month.

The drawdown, finally ending America’s longest war despite mounting fears of a Taliban victory, delays by around five months an agreement with the Taliban inked by former president Donald Trump to pull troops.

“What is concerning in this context is that the armed conflict in Afghanistan might escalate in the near future, which in turn might undermine efforts to start direct intra-Afghan negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Under the Trump administration’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban insurgent group, all U.S. troops were to leave by May 2021 in return for the insurgents’ promise not to back Al-Qaeda and other foreign extremists — the original reason for the 2001 invasion.

Biden’s decision came as Turkey said it will host a U.S.-backed peace conference from April 24-May 4 that would bring together the Afghan government, the Taliban and international partners.

Moscow said it had been notified of the conference and was awaiting a formal invitation and more information including the event’s agenda. 

Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed checking this news update regarding Russian and Political news titled “Russia Says U.S. Troop Pullout from Afghanistan Risks ‘Escalation'”. This story was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Russia #Troop #Pullout #Afghanistan #Risks #Escalation

Source link

The Amazing Colored Churches in the Kremlin of Rostov the Great

This article is from a series by the invaluable William Brumfield, (Wikipedia), Professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA.

Brumfield is the world’s leading historian of Russian architecture.  He makes frequent trips to Russia, often to her remote regions, and records the most unusual examples of surviving architecture with detailed, professional photography.  

His most recent book is a real treasure, Architecture At The End Of The Earth, Photographing The Russian North (2015). (Amazon).  This truly beautiful book was made possible by the support of a US philanthropist, and its true cost is 3 times its retail price, and we can’t recommend it highly enough.  Here is our 2015 review of it.

Bravo to RBTH for making Brumfield’s work possible, and providing such a great platform for his beautiful photography.  We recommend visiting the RBTH page, which has a slide show for each article with many more pictures than we can fit in here.

Don’t believe in miracles?  Well, we can assure you, Brumfield’s work is undoubtedly just that.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky invented a complex process for vivid, detailed color photography (see box text below). Inspired to use this new method to record the diversity of the Russian Empire, he photographed numerous architectural monuments during the decade before the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917.

Certainly among the most colorful structures Prokudin-Gorsky photographed is the Church of the Hodegetria Icon in Rostov Veliky, which he visited in 1911. My own photographs of this church were taken during several visits between 1987 and 2012.

Located some 130 miles northeast of Moscow, Rostov Veliky (the Great) is one of the earliest historically attested towns in Russia, first mentioned under 862 in the chronicle “Tale of Bygone Years.” Its main architectural ensemble is the majestic kremlin, which rises above the north shore of Lake Nero.

                                                          Rostov kremlin. Northwest corner tower & Church of the Hodegetria Icon, south view. July 12, 2012. Summer 1911. / Photo: Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky

The kremlin’s original designation was the Court of the Metropolitan, in recognition of its primary builder, Metropolitan Jonah of Rostov. After the Patriarch, Metropolitan is the highest ecclesiastical rank in the Russian Orthodox Church. Jonah Sysoevich (ca. 1607-90) was the son of a country priest named Sysoi. Tonsured at the Resurrection Monastery in Uglich, he rose through the monastic hierarchy, and in 1652 was appointed Metropolitan of Rostov by the newly elected Patriarch Nikon in Moscow.

Rostov kremlin. Northwest corner tower&Church of the Hodegetria Icon, southeast view. Oct. 4, 1992. / Photo: William Brumfield

Rostov kremlin. Northwest corner tower&Church of the Hodegetria Icon, southeast view. Oct. 4, 1992. / Photo: William Brumfield

Jonah had at his command villages with some 16,000 peasants, as well as the best craftsmen and artists of a large, prosperous diocese. Within 20 years — between 1670 and 1690 — Jonah’s builders erected not only several large churches and residences for the Metropolitan’s Court, but also the kremlin’s magnificent walls and towers.

After Jonah’s death in 1690, his work at the kremlin was continued by the Metropolitan Josephat, whose buildings included a church dedicated to the Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God. The Hodegetria Icon, which depicts Mary holding the Christ Child on her left arm and pointing to the infant with her right hand, is one of the most venerated objects in Russian Orthodoxy. A particularly notable example was held in the Dormition Cathedral in Smolensk.

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon, south facade, window details. August 21, 1988. / Photo: William Brumfield

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon, south facade, window details. August 21, 1988. / Photo: William Brumfield

Diamond accents

Completed in 1693 at the northwest corner of the kremlin walls, the Rostov Church of the Hodegetria Icon underwent modifications in the 18th century. However, its basic form, featuring a single cupola and an open gallery on the upper floor, remained. The exuberantly painted diamond pattern on its exterior was apparently instigated by Afanasy Volkhovsky, bishop of Rostov from 1763-1776, who was known to be fond of “Moscow Baroque” ornamentalism. 

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon & Church of the Resurrection, southwest view. Aug. 7, 1987. / Photo: William Brumfield

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon & Church of the Resurrection, southwest view. Aug. 7, 1987. / Photo: William Brumfield

The diamond pattern was originally imported to Muscovy by Italian architects at the turn of the 16th century. The earliest example is the “Faceted” or “Rusticated Palace,” completed with diamond rustication in the Moscow Kremlin in the 1490s. Although the diamond pattern had an enduring appeal in Russia, local builders rarely applied it in carved stone. It proved much easier to paint the facets on brick walls as a colorful trompe l’oeil. The surge of ornamentalism at the end of the 17th century saw a revival of this technique throughout Muscovy, from Kostroma to Sergiev Posad. The Rostov church is a late example.

Later history

With the death of Josephat in 1701, little else of note was built in the Rostov kremlin. Skilled masons throughout Russia were drafted into the construction of St. Petersburg, founded in 1703. With the transfer of the regional metropolitanate from Rostov to Yaroslavl in 1787, the Rostov kremlin began to decay. 

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon, south facade, upper level&gallery. Aug. 21, 1988. / Photo: William Brumfield

Rostov kremlin. Church of the Hodegetria Icon, south facade, upper level&gallery. Aug. 21, 1988. / Photo: William Brumfield

Fortunately, in the late 19th century Rostov merchants gathered funds to maintain the kremlin ensemble. In 1883, the White Chamber, built as a banquet hall for the Metropolitan of Rostov, opened as a museum of church antiquities that was the predecessor of the current distinguished Rostov Kremlin Museum. Thus, through local pride, Metropolitan Jonah’s visionary project was preserved for Prokudin-Gorsky and subsequent generations. A comparison of my photographs of the Hodegetria Church with those of Prokudin-Gorsky shows few changes over the decades.

A notable difference just beneath the roof is the disappearance of a row of iconic wall paintings, with a large image of the Virgin of the Sign (Znamenie) in the middle. It is not clear when they were originally created, but such exterior paintings were usually effaced during the Soviet period.

Rostov kremlin. Northwest corner tower & Church of the Hodegetria Icon, view from Metropolitan's Chambers. Aug. 7, 1987. / Photo: William Brumfield

Rostov kremlin. Northwest corner tower & Church of the Hodegetria Icon, view from Metropolitan’s Chambers. Aug. 7, 1987. / Photo: William Brumfield

Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines

Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed seeing this post about International and Russian news and updates titled “The Amazing Colored Churches in the Kremlin of Rostov the Great”. This news release was posted by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

#Amazing #Colored #Churches #Kremlin #Rostov #Great

Source link