Monday, February 23, 2015

Archpriest’s Story about Moscow’s Last Days in 2043 Reflects Patriarchate’s Deepest Fears

Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 23 – In a short story written under the pseudonym Aron Shemaier, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, a close advisor to Patriarch Kirill, describes the end of Moscow in 2043 when “the Moscow Confederation” is attacked by “fascists from ‘Free Russia,’ Islamists from the Caucasus, and rightwing figures from Ukraine” at one and the same time.


            Moscow’s end becomes possible, according to Chaplin, because it has become “the antithesis of traditional morality” with Krasnaya Presnya renamed “Blue” to honor homosexuals, the Church having disbanded itself, and “the new social order inspired by the ideals of ‘the Great Sexual Revolution” and maintained by African legionnaires” (


            The Orthodox churchman told “Nezavisimaya gazeta” that he has employed this dystopian format to show “what could happen in 2043 if we continue to follow ultra-liberal values into a dead head. These values cannot fail to end in anything but totalitarianism because they are lifeless,” he argued (


                Such false ideas, Chaplin continued, “can be adopted only as the result of harsh information and political pressure and therefore I drew this picture of a liberal hell. The text is quite long, but those who want to can read through it” to find “dozens of social phenomena” which Russia must avoid if it is to survive.


            He added that his portrayal of Russia as having fallen into pieces over the next two decades reflected his view that “if we do not turn away from the diktat of pseudo-values, this collapse is inevitable.”  But he points to the story’s insistence that “the supporters of totalitarian liberalism hold ever smaller territories, practically only Moscow,” and have to use foreign mercenaries and nuclear weapons to hold even that.


            Asked why he wrote under a Jewish name rather than his own, Chaplin said that he is “a big Judophile” and came up with that name about 20 years ago when he began writing fiction to make his theological and political points.  Others, of course, might suggest a darker and more cynical calculation on his part.


            Something of the tone of Chaplin’s story, “Masho and the Bears,” is captured in the following passage in which the citizens and residents of the Moscow Confederation are called upon to listen to the appeal of Tasho Pim, identified as the press secretary of the president of that state who is also head of “the Assembly of Leaders of the Great Sexual-Democratic Revolution.”


            He declares: “’the fascist beasts from so-called Free Russia supported by the national revanchists of Ukraine and the Islamist fanatics of the Caucasus are treacherously planning to attack the last outpost of real freedom in Eastern Europe, [of the ideals of] our Great Sexual-Democratic Revolution.’”


            At least three things are worth noting about this story besides the light it sheds on the thinking of people close to the top of the Moscow Patriarchate who have more than a little influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin. First, it is a remarkable recognition by such circles of just how fragile the Russian Federation now is.


            Second, it underscores the increasing divide between Moscow, on the one hand, and the rest of the country, on the other. And third, following from this, it contains a virtual invitation for those beyond the ring road to attack some of those living in the name of saving Russia and the Russian values Chaplin and those who follow him prefer.


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