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#16 - JRL 7003
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003
From: Isaac Tarasulo <birs1987@yahoo.com>
Subject: Had the Russians Celebrated Christmas On December 25th?

The Washington Posts Anne Once More Perpetrates Christmas Fraud/ [JRL 6616]

Newspapers like to prepare in advance some nice sentimental Christmas stories. In the Washington Post this desire has became an obsession. The newspaper especially favors Christmas stories written by the selected Jews; no amount of effort or expense is spared to achieve this goal. Lately, these stories are written by two journalists who when it is in their interest claim to be of Jewish origin: Ted Gup and Anne Applebaum. Last Christmas, Ted Gup came up with an anti-Semitic oeuvre that described his Jewish equivalent of Bin Laden, a CIA employee, Sidney Gottlieb (my answer is available upon request). This year, in another custom-made Christmas story, Ted came out of closet after 50 years of hiding and proclaimed himself to be Jewish.

Anne Applebaum, a newly made Washington Post editorialist, has a long history of writing Christmas stories. Being Jewish by birth, and admiring Christmas can greatly help someone to be published and even get hired by the Washington Post.

The Washington Post Magazine published Annes first Christmas story on December 15, 1996 (my answer is available upon request). In this opus she reminisced of how being a Jewish girl surrounded from all sides by the Christians, she learned to enjoy Christmas. And with fervor of a true Catholic she exclaimed: Why cant everyone experience the same cataclysmic joy as she did. She basically suggested that Christmas should become an official American holiday unifying and nullifying all other minor religions. What can one do with the so-called Jewish Christmas enthusiast eager to share her wild emotions and discoveries with others? Luckily, there arent so many as to cause employment problems for the Washington Post.

In her new important position and with little knowledge and ideas to share with the readers, Anne dishonestly reports from Moscow how the Russians celebrate Christmas in her article Santas Russia, on December 25, 2002. According to Applebaum, the salvation of Russia can only be achieved through copying Western Christmas.

This article turned out to be the only one published on this subject in the whole world. Not one Russian newspaper or television station even mentioned anything about celebrating Christmas in Russia on December 25, 2002. Among the problems and preoccupations of the ordinary Russians in terms of priorities Christmas doesnt make the first thousand. But this certainly wouldnt stop Applebaum from writing about it. What is surprising is Annes shamelessness with a lot of extreme chutzpa in distorting the past and present with all kinds of lies and innuendos. Did Bob Kaiser read this garbage before it was printed? Just one example: "During the Soviet era, Christmas as such was abolished Every single Annes sentence is either a lie or distortion.

In Russia Christmas is observed on January 7 and not on December 25th. In addition, the Russians also celebrate for the second time on January 13th the New Year according to the church calendar. And what our astute Anne noticed in the store windows were New Years toys and attributes that the Russians and non-Russians as well, do not associate with Christmas. The New Years Eve celebration officially started on December 26, and is a completely secular undertaking. To the envy and regret of stubborn Catholics, the New Years Eve celebration is the most popular holiday for all who were born in the Soviet Union, whether they are the Russians in Moscow, New York, or Tel-Aviv, or the Azeris in Baku and the Georgians in Tbilisi.

There isnt even a scintilla of religion in the Russian celebration of a New Years Eve; it is more of a pagan celebration of miraculous powers of the Russian God, Vodka. Western mass media, in particular, American TV networks somehow associate Christmas only with the Catholics and the Pope. Certainly, after a dozen of networks show us thousand times the same images of the Vatican with the Polish Pope in one day, who would associate Christmas with any Protestant denomination. That doesnt make the December 25th very popular with the Russians.

The Russians, as true Orthodox, to say it mildly, have little love for the Catholicism. There is no discernible change in this regard between the Soviet Union, Tsarist Russia and Putins Russia: this total repudiation of Catholicism and Catholics is not spread to Protestants, Baptists and Evangelicals. Even Putin cannot persuade or force the Russian Patriarch Alexii II to let the Pope come to Russia even with a short visit.

Applebaum generously cites the number of the Catholics in Russia as 500,000. As a matter of fact, there are maybe 5,000 practicing Catholics, mostly ethnic Poles. The majority of the Russian Germans who didnt emigrate yet are either atheists or Protestants. The number of ethnic Russians who are Catholics could reach several hundred converts, with a dozen of Russian-born priests. The Catholics in Russia are mostly Polish with about 200 Polish priests who are in charge. It seems as though the Vatican does everything to make itself unpopular.

The last drop to break Russias patience with the newly granted religious freedoms was the Vaticans decision to organize in Russia four full-fledged Catholic dioceses. The Russian Orthodoxy itself needs another 50-100 years to recover from the wounds inflicted by Communism and considers all attempts to proselytize as subversive.

The subject of Western Christmas in Russia exists only in the unrestrained fantasy world of Anne Applebaum, the provocatrice, and her generous Washington Post paymasters. They simply cannot allow other people to maintain their own traditions.

In spite of the Washington Posts Anne, in spite of all their problems, the Russians are having a truly joyful celebration of the New Years Eve. In the field of Christmas there is nothing that the Russians can learn from the West: there is little religion left in Western Christmas either. But the commercial aspect will inevitably contaminate Russia too.

Isaac J. Tarasulo
Bethesda Institute for Russian Studies

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