- Valery Kuvakin. The Church, the School, and Constitutional Values. If the Orthodox Church continues to fuel the fire of religious discord by encroaching on education and other areas, our multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country will break apart… “Fortunately, there is an alternative; unfortunately, it largely remains on paper. The alternative is the Constitution of the Russian Federation”.
- Humanism and its Aspirations. Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933. “Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone”. The document, created in 2003, was signed by many prominent Humanists who are public figures, philosophers, writers, and scientists, including 21 Nobel laureates.
- From the archive of Yevgeny Fainbeig, Russia’s outstanding physicist and philosopher, Credo (the Meaning of Human Life) . “In the general sense, the meaning of human existence is to preserve the miracle of life, while accepting the great responsibility to nature that, by sheer chance, endowed us with this miracle…”
RUSSIA. TOPIC OF THE DAY
- Do they really Remember? How could it happen that the shadow of outrageous nazism is looming in Russia – the country that sacrificed so much to defeat the fascist Germany? This question was asked by Vice Admiral V. Berezin, Captain 1st Rank S. Mozgovoi, and a group of students who met for a round table discussion hosted by a Moscow secondary school. The meeting was dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the eventful winter 1941 battle near Moscow.
- Sergei Mozgovoi, Russia’s New Threats. “For the second time already the new Nazi marched through Moscow. In the year of our Great Victory anniversary, between 3 and 5 thousand youngsters swarm the streets of the capital Hero-City throwing up their hands in a nazi salute and chanting fascist slogans like ‘Sieg heil!’ or ‘Russia for Russians!’…” “The Genie is out of the bottle… The ever-expanding epidemic of grassroots nationalism is practically beyond control”.
- Military Officers Against Neofascism. The International Union of Soviet Officers circulated an address warning about the rise of nazism and neofascism in Russia today. “Narrow-minded politicians and outright provocateurs are doing their dirty political business on the blood of millions of their compatriots, using nationalism to destroy Russia”.
- Gaumarjos! [Vivat!] by human rights advocate Yury Jibladze. “This is not Nazi Germany of the 1930s, not the eve of Crystal Night. This is not from a history textbook. This is our own country today. This is a disgusting anti-Georgian campaign unleashed by Russian authorities and taken up by xenophobiacs of all stripes, who had long waited for a signal from above…”
- Education Ministry Washing its Hands of It All, by Sergei Mozgovoi. “The current debate around the school course in ‘Basics of Orthodox Culture’ has demonstrated the cynicism of the Orthodox Church which succeeded in partially deluding the public using manipulative techniques and administrative resource…”
- Attachment 1. On Religious Education in State School and Freedom of Conscience Violation. Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Enlightenment and Education section of the RF Human Rights Ombudsman’s Expert Council.
- Attachment 2. In Defense of Freedom of Conscience. Resolution adopted by the Second Human Rights Congress and the Third All-Russia Civil Congress.
- “The increasing presence of the Church in schools, its mounting pressure on science and other spheres of secular life is not accidental” – “this is a deliberate attempt to reinforce the charismatic nature of our present government...” – Felix Rudinsky’s interview to Credo.ru.
OUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
- Globalization and the Freedom of Consciousness by Sergei Buryanov, lawyer and Board Co-chairman of the Freedom of Conscience Institute. “Overcoming narrow ethnic mentality and replacing it with planetary consciousness is becoming the challenge of our time. This can be achieved primarily through the reinforcement of individual consciousness of every society member, as well as self-awareness based on the free choice of worldview”.
HUMANISM ON THE PLANET
- The First one on the Baltic. Report on the 1st Baltic Humanist conference “State, Secularism and the Humanist Challenge” November 11, 2006, Stockholm, Sweden) by Gennady Shevelyov, director of the St. Petersburg RHS section website and RHS conference delegate. “There was so much interest in the conference, the 114 participants were representing not only the Baltic sea states but also countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Iceland, even Canada and Israel…”
- Mikhail Bogoslovsky. On the Freedom of Conscience and Worship in Modern Russia (presentation at the conference). “Generally we can talk of freedom of action for religious organizations. But the extent of this freedom depends on the type of religious organization…”
- Fyodor Zann-kai-si, Lyudmila Andreeva, The Future of Humanism in Contemporary World. Vladimir section of RHS held a multi-regional round table meeting under the title “The Destiny of Humanism in Russia and Around the World: Current Problems”. Participants included philosophers from Moscow, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Kolomna, and Nizhny Novgorod, many prominent artists, educationists, university and school students… Discussions were focused, among other things, on the encroachment of clericalism in the field of education and in the general society.
RELIGION, SOCIETY, EDUCATION
- Vladimirskiye Vedomosti, a regional newspaper, features a debate about the suitability of establishing a school course in ‘Basics of Orthodox Culture’.
- The debate was provoked by a RHS member, professor Fyodor Zann-kai-si. In his article, Faith Means Duty and Responsibility, he pointed out, referring to the controversial course in ‘Basics of Orthodox Culture’: “Those who press for its immediate introduction are either unaware of the complexity of the issue, or are in pursuit of their own corporate or other (say, political) interests, or are just uneducated individuals with poor knowledge of history, forgetful of its lessons…”
- Sergei Minin, priest: It Is Our Common Task to Introduce the Child to the World of Culture. “Information about the values that shaped national culture … the moral values based on Orthodox Christianity, is vitally important and meaningful for every child, irrespective of his or her ethnic or religious identity”.
- Valentina Avraamenko: “Russian Church Is My Homeland” . The newspaper reader explains eroding values and morality among the young generation by the “earthliness of the society which is severed from the roots of Russian culture, the Orthodox Christianity”.
- Boris Zemets, school teacher, shares the view of Fyodor Zann-kai-si: “’The Basics of Orthodox Culture is à religious discipline and has nothing to do with Culturology. Its introduction in school is gross violation of the Russian Constitution. The only things we experienced on the mass scale were collectivization, subbotniks and 'socialist competition’. While faith is highly personal…” The Battlefield is Human Hearts.
HUMANISM AMONG DOCTRINES
- Nikolai Shikhardin, The Marxism-Christianity Dialogue: Roger Garodi’s Humanist Project. “As a synthesis of Christian and Marxist Humanisms, Garodi (the renowned French Marxist philosopher) promotes the idea of God-Man – i.e. human being having discovered within himself the qualities which place him close to God… With the capacity for unlimited self-making and world-making, the human being becomes ‘creator in the image of God’”.
PEDAGOGY OF HUMANISM
- Touring Museums with a Guitar. Bus tours are “unaffordable to many children, and not each of them has a full set of parents, either. … Drinks, grass, sex…” Yevgeny Glushakov, poet and youth soccer club director, describes how he took club members under his care (qualified as “tough children”) to museums around Moscow.
- Vsevolod Lishin, scholar and educationist, presents a moral typology of the personality in the essay On Ways to Restore Humanity (Travels from Hut to Home, or from Castle to Lonely Campfire). “With individual self-esteem high enough, one’s social worth depends on whether one accepts others as equals (at least as individuals deserving respect and non inferior to himself), or takes his precious personality to be a priori the best and hence authorized to determine the destiny of others”.
- Volodar Kraevsky, member of the Russian Academy of Education, writes in his essay, Hamburg Score in Science and Education: “Attempts to reform the national education system through social segregation and commercialization failed”. What’s next, then?
LESSONS FOR TOMORROW
- Alexander Loktev, The Waves of Memory. Biographic sketch of Nina Savoyeva, an outstanding lady doctor who went as a volunteer physician to the Kolyma prison camp, one of the most horrible sections of GULAG. “I thought my knowledge and my help was most needed THERE…”
COMMENTS, OPINIONS, LETTERS
- By Definition, Doctor Must Heal… Response by med. Dr. Vsevolod Lyashenko, RHS member, to the articles on euthanasia from the ZS 2006 issue ¹4 (41). “It is unacceptable to dilute the doctor’s social status by asking him, once in a while, to take someone’s life…”
- When I Think of the Unknown… Nikita Golobokov’s essay on ‘The Unknown’, the book by V. Kuvakin and V. Kovalyova. “As far as I can remember, metaphysics has died and resurrected more than once. The quintessential of metaphysics, in my view, is the philosophy of the unknown…”
- Science and Human Values - international academic symposium (Moscow, May 25 – 27, 2007)
- Problems of Modern Humanism – international face-to-face/virtual participation academic conference (Nizhnevartovsk, March 6, 2007)
- “And Have it Etched Within the Souls…” Poetry by Grigory Goldshtadt
- Graffiti on the Iconostasis. Selected thoughts by Andrei Koryakovtsev. “Atheism is unselfish attitude towards God followed through to its logical end …”