Sunday, February 25, 2024

Russian Ignorance of the Past and Kowtowing to West Blamed for New ‘Krestopad’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 22 – At the beginning of Soviet times, the Bolsheviks removed and destroyed religious symbols on churches to destroy the influence of religion and promote atheism, a series of actions that Christians there then and since have referred to as the krestopad, perhaps best translated as “the removal of crosses.”

            Now, Petr Akopov, an observer for the Novosti news agency, says, Russia is experiencing a new krestopad, one that involves not the removal of symbols from churches on the way to their destruction but rather the removal of such symbols from images of churches “on coats of arms, posters, and logos” (

            And he places the blame for this development not on some secret government decree or satanist conspiracy but on ignorance and indifference and on the propensity of Russians to copy without thinking what people in the West are doing such as when Americans stop referring to Christmas as Christmas and instead call that date “the holidays.”

            Over the past year, there have been various cases in which crosses that really are present on buildings in Russia are removed when pictures of these buildings have appeared on ruble bills or on the revised coats of arms or pictures of various regions around the country, the Novosti observer says.

            Some have suggested that this reflects the recognition that the crosses are too small to be displayed electronically. Others have said that it is the product of some secret order from on high. But those are not the real reasons, Akopov says. Instead, there are two which must be recognized and fought.

            On the one hand, far too many Russians take what is happening in the West as their model. When Western countries devalue religion, some in Russia think that is the way to go and remove crosses and other religious symbols from coats of arms and the like to be “modern.” But that is a betrayal of national values, the observer insists.

            And on the other hand – and this is the more important cause, he suggests – the more serious problem is “ignorance of one’s own history and the faith of one’s ancestors,” a phenomenon to be found “in all spheres of our life” and not just among the younger generations, as some think, but in society as a whole.

            This “ignorance of Russian history forms an individual who is not capable of understanding and assessing what is taking place in the country now and so is easily manipulated. And the distance from erasing a cross to erasing the country is not that great,” Akopov concludes.


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