New Ritual Murder Accusation in Ekaterinburg

Avraham Ben Baruch,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Avraham Ben Baruch
Talmudist and specialist on intercultural situations in Israeli society

Things happen a bit unnoticed: the Federation of Russia is swinging between the glory of the renewal of the "Rossian" [российский] reality, born out of the collapse of the communist regime and the subsequent splits that broke down the unity of the fifteen original Soviet republics. 

We can check this with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the separation of small regional entities like Transnistria (Moldovian district), North and South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Tatarstan (they decided today that the Tatar language will be the official language of the "self-ruled republic" inside of the Federation of Russia). This process affects the Central Asian republics as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kirghyzia, Tadjikistan submitted to religious breaches and conflicts between Orthodox Christians, local Muslims and the residual pre-Second Temple Jews that leave the zone and gather in Israel (Holon).

This deals with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the separation of small regional entities like Transnistria (Moldovian district), North and South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Tatarstan (they decided today that the Tatar language will be the official language of the "self-ruled republic" inside of the Federation of Russia). This process affects the Central Asian republics as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kirghyzia, Tadjikistan submitted to religious breaches and conflicts between Orthodox Christians, local Muslims and the residual pre-Second Temple Jews that leave the zone and gather in Israel (Holon).

When speaking of the "Rossian" reality, I mean that the split is a point of fracture inside of the immense "body" of the former huge territory of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics whose Central and Eastern European republics of then-Czekoslavakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, German Democratic Republic. The <em>"Rossian"</em> reality means that the split is a point of fracture inside of the immense "body" of the former territory of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics whose Central and Eastern European republics of then-Czekoslavakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, German Democratic Republic allowed to extend the power of the communist empire.

At the present the territory is restricted, definitely limited as compared with how the leaders of the former Tzarist empire of Russia could envision their power and international influence. At the present the territory is restricted, definitely limited as compared with how the leaders of the former Tzarist Empire of Russia could envision to exercise their international influence.

The fall of communism brought forth the renewal of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow that had been re-established by the time when the Bolshevik revolution took place. On November 5, 2017, the State and the Church jointly celebrated the reappearance of the patriarchate that had been cancelled by Tzar Peter the Great. While the Federation of Russia cautiously commemorates the centennial of the two 1917 (February and October-November) revolutions, the Russian Orthodox Church is acting everywhere in the world via the Russian State in order to get back the properties of the Russian Orthodox Church. 

The Church officials in Western Europe are busy with the renovation of a cathedral in Great-Britain, the construction of a large cathedral in Paris, the "capture" of different churches in Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.  

The situation is quite special in Israel because of the historic territory of the Russian Delegation or Mission in Jerusalem, created 170 years ago. The creation of different states (Israel, Kingdom of Jordan, Palestinian Territories alongside with Lebanon and Syria) led the former Soviet leaders and present-day hierarchs to re-deploy the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church. 

This is not an easy task because Israel has systematically barred the patriarchate of Moscow. Patriarch Kyrill was for quite a long time the Foreign Office delegate of the patriarchate of Moscow and could not fix the problems of property as early as in July 1967... The managerial teams and executives of the Russian Delegation (שליחות של הפטריארכיה רוסית-אורתודוכסית בירושלים) waited for decades before the Israeli government accepted to return the St. Sergius hospital that had been sold by Khrushchev - the Israeli State paid it with tons of citruses... Similarly, the light train of Jerusalem is to cross a portion of the monastery of Gornensky in Eyn Karem.

On the other hand, the impact of the Delegation in Israel can be felt, in particular at the School of Bethany, located in (East-)Jerusalem, where some Israeli girls whose one  or more parents are Christian though they are duly Israeli citizens, are educated in Russian and Arabic without being taught any Hebrew, which is not legal.

When Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow urgently came to Jerusalem in 2012 in order to pay the huge debt of one million Dollars (non-payment of electricity supply used at the Holy Sepulcher by the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem), he paid a short visit to Yad-VaShem. After he deposed a wreath at the Memorial Hall, he plainly declared that he was paying homage to the victims of the soldiers of the Red Army among whom some Jews had decided to emigrate to the then-upcoming State of Israel. Period.

The leader of the Church of Moscow would never mention the Jewish State and, whilst Vladimir Putin has real connections with the former USSR Jews - he was brought-up together with Jewish friends in Leningrad, now Saint-Peterburg - the visitors and pilgrims that swarm to the Christian holy sites in Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan often show to be aggressive against the Jewish and Israeli realities.

 One can feel that the patriachate of Moscow feels and acts as a restricted structure, reduced to the new "Rossian" identity that only  would include the "faithful" from the Federation of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the Central Asian Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kirghyzia. The Moscow Orthodox managerial staff is definitely not satisfied with such a new geographic "framework". They consider themselves as the true heirs of the authentic Christendom, criticize the other Christian denominations (the Roman Catholics, the Protestants). In Jerusalem they compete with the embattled Greek-Orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem ("a bunch of 19 bishops that impose their "rules" as they say). On the other hand, they manage to buy land and properties on the Jordan River, granted by King Abdullah, on behalf of the crowds of pilgrims flowing from the East (3000 Russian Federation and 2000 Ukrainian plus some hundreds Belarussian individuals per day to the holy site).

During the celebrations of the 170th anniversary of the Russian Delegation in Jerusalem, metropolitan Yuvenal of Krutitsy and Kolomna  recalled that the Church of Moscow has been developing with large structures in the "Russian Palestine - Русская Палестина" (sic).

Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, welcomed the delegates at the City Hall during the week of celebration (November 22-25, 2017). The head of the Russian ecclesiastical mission, archimandrite Alexander Elisov, declared that the patriarchate of Moscow would appreciate if the Municipality could settle the problems of land property and cancel the project of the light train that should cross through the Gornenski monastery... He got no answer.

In the meanwhile, the Church of Russia seems to be fascinated by the analyzes of the remains of the imperial family found at Ekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk. Tzar Nicholas II, his wife and daughters and single son were shot in a small house and the bodies were burnt. Since the Russian society is reconnecting with the times that preceded the Bolshevik revolution, re-installing the influence of the traditional Orthodox Church and the patriarchate of Moscow, they also trace back to the "unfair" killing operated by "atheist and godless apparachiks".

 On November 28, 2017, a live TV program showed throughout the Federation of Russia the debates on the "conclusion of the assigned experts" whose task was to determine whether the remains were authentic and how the tzarist family perished a century ago. There is a real spirit of nostalgia or spleen tha haunts the faithful and the citizens to some level to restore the prestige of the Romanov imperial dynasty.

Subsequently, the appointed Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) explained yesterday that the murder of the tzarist family in 1918 was a "regicide and infanticide" (Tzarevich Alexey, the son of the Tzar was sick and very young).  He declared that the family has been exterminated "à la Isaac", i.e. in a form that could be considered as a <em>ritual murder</em>. He meant that the Tzar and his family had been the victims of an act comparable to the severe accusation of blood libel, last judged in the Russian Empire, when Menachem Mendel Beilis was tried,  in 1913, for having ritually murdered a teenager, Andrei Yushschinsky.

 The whole forgery created by the Black Hundreds, with Catholic fake experts on Judaics from Tashkent, failed under the pressure of the Western intellectuals and organizations. Beilis settled in Palestine and finally emigrated to the United States where he published his memoirs in Yiddish. Bernard Malamud's novel "The Fixer" is based on his account.

Beilis underscored that Detective Nikolai Krasovsky and many Russian "Gentiles" did help him to be acquitted. Beilis underscored that detective Nikolai Krasovsky and many Russian "Gentiles" did help him to be acquitted.

It is quite amazing that, yesterday, a Russian Orthodox bishop could speak of a sort of ritual murder committed on the persons of the imperial family. In a very frivolous way, he also mentioned the "Protocole of the Elders of Zion" (!). Two Jewish-born (converted to Lutheranism) fighters participated in the massacre but they were atheists and members of the Communist Party. It happened that way, but who could ever dare speak of a "revenge" over the many pogroms that were conveyed with the Tzar (often tacite) consent? The accusation pronounced at the session of the patriarchate of Moscow sounds hasty and thoughtless, bizarre and not decent.

It makes no sense for a modern hierarch of a recently reinvigorated patriarchate of Moscow to make such declarations. It immediately reaches out as a frontal accusation against the Jews, Judaism and, by ricochet, against the Jewish State of Israel.

It is a pity that this happens on the day when the State of Israel commemorates the UN partition act that paved the way to the creation of the State of Israel in a very dangerous context. Russia, Ukraine and Belarussia had voted for the partition, maybe anticipating the collapse of the nascent state that was attacked by the Arab forces.

It is also a pity that, today, on November 29, 2017, seventy years after the agreement of the Nations, most of the Russian newspapers recall the date as the day when the "Palestinian government" (there were no "Palestinians" at that time!) was deprived its rights (sic in "Kommersant").

This allusion to a "ritual blood libel" is shameful. Oceans of blood have flooded over the decades of the 20th century in the former empire, during the time of the Red Terror, the collectivization, the campaign of mass arrest and assassination after World War II. We ought to remember the terrible pogroms that ended in the murder of those fighters perpetrated when Golda Meir had asked for their release.

Finally, the real "religious-like sacrifice" was committed by the Bolsheviks who were convinced that they had to kill the Jewish and Christian faithful for the sake of the "new religion". The myth spread throughout the continents, bringing the dream of Peace, Freedom, Equality, Fraternity and Friendship among all the nations of the former Soviet Union and their comrades/comradesses ("Brüder-Brüderinnen" was the joke in former German Democratic Republic). It should be noted that, in the course of the past century, the international brigades composed of fighters that volunteered from different countries (Spain, South America, inter alia) also took part  in the Red Terror (cf. Nikita Krivocheine).

Is it possible to speak of a possible linguistic slip and twist. Did bishop Tikhon want to speak of a "symbolic murder" as some could refer to the beheading of French King Louis XVI? Hardly believable...One thing is sure: the "blood flight" of the Jews who progressively left and continue to leave baptized Europe, from the Inquisition in Spain (1492), the Shoah and Churban (1945) and now the flight of the ex-Soviet Jews that quit very ancient regions such as Central Asia (Samarkand, Tashkent). These countries are left without the life-giving seeds of Judaism and Talmudic traditions.

The twenty million of multi-ethnic Soviet victims reduce our 6 million Shoah/Churban exterminated Jews to some "drop" as compared with the numerous present-day Christian Orthodox dare pretend. They count the immense crowds of the new martyrs who perished because of their faith (ca. 60 million individuals over the 20th century), prolonging the myth of superseding the initial and unique sacrifice of the Jewish people in the course of history. There is no competition in numbering the saints.

For the sake of the spiritual values that enlightened the Russian Orthodox Church, it should be good that all religious institutions officially ask for a correction of the bishop's declaration regarding the reference to "ritual murder" and the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Протоколы сионских мудрецов".

Israel brings something definitely new to the international live stage: by refusing shameful decisions, we ought to stand firm and oppose the truth of our lives to overcome lies and insults.