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The Trinity Monastery in Tyumen: A testament to faith in Siberia

Culture, conflict, and incredible craftsmanship have shaped this architectural gem that has survived the ravages of time

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We are very pleased to present an article from the great Professor William Brumfield, (Wikipedia), Professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA.

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Professor William Brumfield is among the world’s foremost experts on Russian architecture, and he has a genuine heartfelt love for the Russian culture and people. His work in photographing some of Russia’s most famous, and obscure sites has gone a long way in preserving these parts of Russia’s national heritage, by drawing attention to their beauty and need for preservation. One of the most beautiful aspects of looking at the Professor’s work is that by Providence, you can actually see the amazing reconstruction of Holy Russia, which has occurred since the 1990’s. Just look at this image and compare the Monastery then and now.

In the center, is the Professor’s photograph taken in 1999, surrounded by more recent photos. One can clearly see the monastery has been restored to its former glory. The way his work helped to draw attention to the need for this restoration will not be forgotten.
This earned him the respect of Russians, and an honorary fellowship in the illustrious Russian Academy of the Arts founded in 1757.

His most recent masterpiece takes the readers to the farthest reaches of the world: “Architecture At The End Of The Earth, Photographing The Russian North (2015). (Amazon). The Amazon copy is quite affordable. and a must for any lover of Russian architecture, as his classic “A History of Russian Architecture” provides a great overview of Russia’s glorious culture as portrayed in her monumental works.

Russia Beyond the Headlines has happily joined in at making Professor Brumfield’s available.

Hats off to William Brumfield; we wish him a heartfelt Многая Лета – Monogaya Leta (Many Years) for all his work in preserving Russia’s ancient culture!

Professor Brumfield’s work has opened a portal into Holy Russia. May all those who wish to see enter therein, and be amazed at what beauty she has to offer the world.

And so it was that “Beauty will save the world.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

As you look through his article on the Holy Trinity Monastery, just remember this is what it looks like now, after its glorious restoration:

The following material originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines

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The Trinity Monastery in Tyumen: A testament to faith in Siberia

Culture, conflict, and incredible craftsmanship have shaped this architectural gem that has survived the ravages of time.

Tyumen. Trinity Monastery. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul (left), Trinity Cathedral. East view from Tura River. Sept. 4, 1999.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky developed a complex process for vivid color photography (see box text below). His vision of photography as a form of education and enlightenment was demonstrated with special clarity through his images of architectural monuments in the historic sites throughout the Russian heartland.

In June 1912, Prokudin-Gorsky ventured into western Siberia as part of a commission to document the Kama-Tobolsk Waterway, a link between the European and Asian sides of the Ural Mountains. The town of Tyumen served as a launching point for his journey north to Tobolsk, located on the Irtysh River. While there, he photographed the Trinity Monastery, one of the oldest in Siberia. My photographs of Tyumen and Tobolsk were taken in the late summer of 1999.

Trinity Monastery. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, southwest view. June 1912.

Gateway to the east

The opening of Siberia for Russian colonization during the late 16th and 17th centuries is the story of the conquest of vast distances in a severe land by enterprising Russian merchants, whose commercial interests coincided with the tsars’ appetite for eastern expansion. Tyumen, founded in 1586 on the site of a Tatar encampment at the confluence of the Tura and Tyumenka Rivers, is considered the earliest permanent Russian settlement in Siberia.

Trinity Monastery. Trinity Cathedral, southeast view across Tura River. Sept. 4, 1999.

Tyumen was established on the initiative of Boris Godunov, the power behind the throne of Tsar Feodor I, who became tsar himself in 1598. Godunov was aware of the importance of Siberia in part from his association with the Stroganov family. The Stroganovs had sent a detachment of Cossacks from their commercial center at Solvychegodsk into Siberia to challenge the power of the Tatar ruler, Khan Kuchum.

The band of Cossacks was commanded by Yermak Timofeevich. Yermak’s origins and identity remain a matter of dispute, but it is likely that he and his men had engaged in brigandage and river piracy before enlisting as mercenaries for the Stroganovs. Although the dates are open to question, it appears that in the fall of 1581, Yermak captured Chingi-Tura (later Tyumen) but abandoned it in order to proceed to Kashlyk, Khan Kuchum capital. Yermak defeated the khan in 1582 during a battle near the Irtysh River. Yermak himself died in a surprise raid in 1585. 

Trinity Monastery. Bell tower&Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, northeast view. Photo: William Brumfield. Aug. 29, 1999.

Like most early Russian towns in Siberia, Tyumen served as a garrison fortress for Cossacks and other troops who protected trade routes, particularly with China, during the 17th century. Tyumen’s location on the Tura River provided a direct link westward to the gateway town of Verkhoturye, which was founded by Boris Godunov on the Asian side of the Ural Mountains in 1598. To the northeast of Tyumen, the Tura flows into the Tobol River, which in turn joins the mighty Irtysh near Tobolsk. Given its favorable location, Tyumen was destined to play a significant role in the development of Siberia.

Kiev in Siberia

There are no architectural remains from Tyumen’s first century. The early buildings were of wood (including the stockade walls) and were susceptible to fires, such as the one that destroyed most of the town in 1695. Subsequently, the Siberian Office in Moscow encouraged the use of brick and stone for major buildings. Masonry construction also reflected the views of the young Tsar Peter I (the Great), who undertook the expansion of the Russian presence in Siberia despite the burdens of a major war with Sweden. However, large fires continued to devastate the town (in 1705 and 1766), and the lack of qualified masons impeded construction.

Trinity Monastery. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, bell tower, south gate. Southwest view. June 1912.

The most imposing early brick structures are at the Trinity Monastery, founded in 1616 (date uncertain) on the high right bank of the Tura River on the northern edge of Tyumen. Originally dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, the monastery was transformed in the early part of the 18th century by an energetic Ukrainian prelate, Filofei (Rafail Leshchinsky), who in 1702 was designated Metropolitan of Tobolsk and Siberia.

Leshchinsky studied at the Kiev Spiritual Academy and subsequently rose in the hierarchy of the renowned Monastery of the Caves in Kiev. It is therefore not surprising that the architecture of the Trinity Monastery displays Ukrainian Baroque elements. The center of the monastery is dominated by the Cathedral of the Trinity, built in 1709-1715. From the exterior detailing to the form of the cupolas, the structure shows Ukrainian ornamental motifs to such an extent as to suggest completion by a Ukrainian builder.

Trinity Monastery. South gate, bell tower, Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. Northeast view. Photo: William Brumfield. Aug. 29, 1999.

The Trinity Cathedral was closed in 1923 and its interior was vandalized during the Soviet period. Additionally, its structural integrity was threatened by the construction of a water plant between the Tura River and the north wall of the church. This site actually had been the location of the monastery’s second church, dedicated to the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (also known as Saints Zosima and Savvatii), completed in 1717 and razed in the 1940s. Unfortunately, there is no record that Prokudin-Gorsky photographed it or the Trinity Cathedral.

In 1711, Filofei resigned his position as Metropolitan of Siberia to become abbot of the Trinity Monastery. At the end of 1715, he resumed leadership of the vast Siberian Metropolitanate, but after five years, he again retired to lead the monastery until his death in 1727.

Trinity Monastery. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul&bell tower. Southeast view. Sept. 4, 1999.

Filofei’s connections with the imperial court were necessary to continue construction at the Tyumen monastery. Peter the Great needed experienced masons for the building of St. Petersburg and had issued a ban on masonry construction elsewhere in Russia between 1714-22. Soon after the revocation of Peter’s construction decree, Filofei began planning for a third church at the Trinity Monastery — the Church of Saints Peter and Paul — together with brick walls, an entrance gate and a monastery residence. The lack of material and labor delayed foundation work until 1726, and the monastery’s resources rapidly diminished after prelate’s death the following year. Construction resumed some ten years later with the completion of the brick walls in 1739, the bell tower in 1741, and Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1755.

Prokudin-Gorsky’s superb view of the Peter-Paul Church from open space outside the south wall shows a cruciform structure related to the Ukrainian Baroque, thus suggesting the completion of plans before Leshchinsky’s death. It is possible that the original domes resembled the two-tiered cupolas typical of Ukrainian architecture and still seen in the nearby Trinity Cathedral. A fire in 1842 damaged the roof and led to a rebuilding with traditional onion domes that are visible in Prokudin-Gorsky’s and my own almost nine decades later.

Trinity Monastery. Bell tower with Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. Southeast view. Aug. 29, 1999.

Although documentary evidence is lacking, the church design has been attributed to Semyon Remezov, the main architect of Tobolsk at the beginning of the 18th century. It bears resemblance to both the Church of St. George at Kiev’s Vydubetskii Monastery and the Church of All Saints (1698-1701) over the Ekonom Gate at the Monastery of the Caves — monuments that would have been familiar to Leshchinsky.

The large attached bell tower with a conical crown follows a pattern widespread in the 16th and 17th centuries. Recently restored and returned to active use, the Trinity Monastery once again graces the high bank of the Tura River.

Trinity Monastery. From left: Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, bell tower, south gate&wall, Trinity Cathedral. Southeast view. Aug. 29, 1999.

In the early 20th century the Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky devised a complex process for color photography. Between 1903 and 1916 he traveled through the Russian Empire and took over 2,000 photographs with the process, which involved three exposures on a glass plate. In August 1918, he left Russia and ultimately resettled in France with a large part of his collection of glass negatives. After his death in Paris in 1944, his heirs sold the collection to the Library of Congress. In the early 21st century the Library digitized the Prokudin-Gorsky Collection and made it freely available to the global public. Many Russian websites now have versions of the collection. In 1986 the architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield organized the first exhibit of Prokudin-Gorsky photographs at the Library of Congress. Over a period of work in Russia beginning in 1970, Brumfield has photographed most of the sites visited by Prokudin-Gorsky. This series of articles will juxtapose Prokudin-Gorsky’s views of architectural monuments with photographs taken by Brumfield decades later.

See more at: Russia Beyond the Headlines

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Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin’s anti-fake news law is brilliant, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. This law is brilliant, for it hits the would-be slanderer right where it counts – in the pocketbook.

We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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