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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Americans Recognize the Russian Sanctity

American press writes about victims of the Chechen war and tells about real Russian heroes
On November 21, The New York Times published an article by the newspaper observer Seth Maidens dedicated to Russian soldier Yeugeny Rodionov. Chechen guerrillas tormented the Russian soldier to death during the Chechen war. The publication says that portraits of the young soldier are circulated about Russia. In the pictures, the young soldier stands with his shoulders straightened; the uniform is as perfect as if dressed for a parade, his boots shine and a halo is shining around his head. The face of Yeugeny Rodionov has the look of a man who respects his duty above all. It is not easy to be a soldier and a saint, The New York Times says. In some pictures the soldier is dressed in the regular uniform, but in others he stands in vestments with the cross in the hands. There is always a halo around his head.

The image of the Russian soldier is depicted in one of the churches close to St.Petersburg, together with the icons of the Blessed Virgin, Archangel Michael, Jesus and Nicolas II, the last Russian tsar who was canonized three years ago. The American newspaper says the soldier is a new unofficial saint in Russia, a victim of the Chechnya war canonized by the people's worshipping. A publication of this kind is typical of the Russian patriotic press, not an American newspaper at all.

The publication certainly contains trite statements that are traditional for western mass media such as "Russian nationalism, nationalist attitudes, Moslem rebels (about Chechens)". However, let us omit these hackneyed phrases in this particular case because in general the narration on this important subject is respectful indeed. The publication contains a number of quotations and real facts and no wheeze that is traditional for foreign publication on the issue. This is the reason why the translation of The New York Times publication soon appeared on Russia's Orthodox websites.

The American author supplies his narration with the words of the soldier's mother, of a paratrooper officer and the Russian Church high authority. On the reverse side of the pictures with the image of the Russian soldier circulated about the country there is a prayer. The words of the prayer are also published in the article. Many soldiers in this country carry pictures of the martyr with the words of the prayer and hope to remain alive in action.

This is good that thanks to the truthful publication in the US press average Americans may have a clear notion of the events that are happening in Russia. Although the tragic atmosphere of the Chechen war that has been raging on the Russian territory for several years is not quite understandable for Americans, the publication does reveal the actual state of things in the Chechen republic.

Chechen guerrillas killed Yeugeny Rodionov in the Chechen settlement of Bamut on May 23, 1996, on the day when the Orthodox Russia celebrates the Ascension Day. On that very day the Russian soldier turned 19.
Yeugeny's mother was on her way to the settlement where the son was to be executed, just seven kilometers away from the place. The death is even more tragic because Russian troops occupied the settlement of Bamut the next day after Yeugeny was executed.