Staunton, December 24 – Andrey Klimov, the head of the Federation Council’s commission on the defense of state sovereignty, says that Moscow must prevent “the transformation of Father Frost into Santa Claus” as is already happening in Ukraine “under the influence of the West” (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=71610).
It is bad enough that American officials are celebrating moves toward the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Russian senator says; but it is almost worse that one can see in that country the beginning of the transformation of Father Frost,” the chief Russian symbol of Christmas, “into Santa Claus,” the embodiment of Western values.
Klimov delivered his opinion at a Moscow roundtable on “The Role of Cultural Aspects in the Protection of the State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation.” The holding of that session, he said, shows that Russia is ready to take seriously the protection of the spiritual “sovereignty” of the country.
Doing so requires something other than just censorship, he continued. That after all is banned by the Constitution. But vigilance is required. Otherwise, Russians will find themselves in a situation like many in Ukraine in which their true and historical symbol is displaced by a Western surrogate with all that can mean.
Not surprisingly, Klimov’s words have sparked gleeful comment by some Moscow writers. Sergey Besedin for one imagines what it will mean for Father Frost if Russia loses its spiritual sovereignty as the senator appears to believe it is now threatened with ( ).
According to Besedein, “Father Frost now having become Santa Claus will grab a bottle of cola out of the refrigerator, gulp it down, pick up his notebook computer and first order a ticket and then place an add on [an online sales portal]: ‘I will exchange a troika of horses for six reindeer! Right away!”