Monday, 7 April 2008

Reflections on Soviet and Modern Russia

The following are from my journal while traveling to Russia. They are incomplete and rough in every way, so cut me some slack...


The shake of the car is unsettling and lulling at the same time. The train pulls and shakes and jolts, all the while surging forth into the utter darkness. As we journey eastward towards Moscow I can't help but marvel at our past. The tensions, the hate, the confusion and the ideals of the Soviet era all still lingering. They are a residual echo of lost souls and futures.

Yet today our train rattles onward, carrying Americans to partake in the overwhelming force that is materialism. It has taken hold of America, Russia and all who will listen to its voice. A siren calling good men to her idolatry. She may be tied to liberty, but she does not have liberty at heart. Not the Common Good but the goals of the hedonist.

Moscow lost the utopian ideals of communism in exchange for this sirens beauty. Abandoned one false hope for another. Russia is now privy to the faults and foibles of a new dictator. She grinds and lies and cheats, in the U.S and now in Russia. But may we never forget that Moscow stood for ideals never made manifest; and now joins our bondage to the materialism we call freedom.


Moscow is Beauty. It glows at night with an almost magical antiquity and color. The cold bites in the wind, yet the bustle of the city leaves you warm as you travel. The Soviet Union has been broken, so much so that the statues and monuments that once stood as a symbol for communism are now a product sold to tourists, themselves used for the ends of capitalism.

The people move quickly, flowing rapidly through the metro, or streets. The metro itself is a testament to the grand dream of the USSR. That each human could forego personal wealth so that the community could have a lavish form of public transportation. One with marble stairs and bronze statues of wheat. It is like walking through a palace, one that was built for the people of Moscow. I can see its charm, the glorious society that they could build together. One where even the metro is paved in gold.

The Marxist and the Christian look towards hope. A hope of a better world. Yet the Marxist is under the false allusion that humans can undo the core of humanity, and the Christian assumes that we must daily struggle and be taken in by Grace. The world Marx envisioned was on of total equality: one where all people can prosper. This hope will eventually be fulfilled, not by the quantified reason and inner goodness of Man, but by the redeeming Blood of Christ.

So stands Christ the Savior church in Moscow. The enormity and beauty of which is breathtaking. Its high ceilings and golden domes, its icons and candles; They radiate in worship, calling sinners into the awe and pwer of a majestic God. While I walked across its polished marble floors I was stirred in absolute wonder.

Moscow seeks and yearns to find a utopia for her people. Marxism left her scared and empty, depraved and robbed of her own cultural heritage. I can only pray that the Church can bind her wounds.