Segodnia, 13 November 1996

As Christians, we cannot tempt other nations with unilateral disarmament.

Yesterday in Moscow at the Saint Daniel's monastery the World Russian National Sobor conducted a hearing "Nuclear arms and the national security of Russia. The head of the sobor is Patriarch Alexis II, who now is in the Tashkent diocese, so his greetings were conveyed by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. "The holy church is seriously concerned about the current crisis in government, society, and the nuclear industry. The mindless arms race should be ended. But we should not unilaterally pursue a sober approach to the reality that surrounds us." A conception of national security is being formulated and the restructuring of weapons is being conducted, and thus, in the opinion of the patriarch, the state and nation must determine the place and role of nuclear forces in the present and future life of the country. Without trust in the Lord and without conviction about the correctness of what is being done, genuine success in the area of nuclear energy is impossible.

For himself, Metropolitan Kirill added that "security" is a biblical word and that the Apocalypse says: "When they say, security, security, then destruction will come." There is reason to suggest that the eastward expansion of NATO and the integration of Europe, which exclude Russia, will turn out to be signs of the imminent return of the Antichrist. However, in the opinion of the metropolitan, "any prophecy always is an alternative and not a fatalistic outcome; we get what we choose." The twenty-first century will become a time of civilizational conflicts and Russia will find itself between the hammer and the anvil (East and West). "We oppose the expansion of NATO to the extent that it isolates Russia with an iron wall. Russia is not a country but a continent, and if Russia perishes, the rest of the world will perish."

It seems that all agreed that in the present difficult times there remain for Russia only two hopes for salvation, Orthodoxy and strategic nuclear weapons (SNW). Thus Washington is trying to achieve both the curtailment of native Orthodoxy and SNW. Father Konstantin Tatarintsev (a member of the Moscow patriarchate's department on relations with the military forces and security agencies) explained that "there is an internal falsehood in pacifism" and that nuclear weapons bear the sign of original sin only when they have been manufactured without prayers. Those who manufacture these weapons need a heavenly protector.

However, Pavel Florensky, a corresponding member of the academy of natural sciences, is convinced that since the bomb was manufactured in the Hermitage of Sarov (Arzamas-16), then all the Russian nuclear arsenal at the present time is under the control and protection of Saint Serafim of Sarov. This is what distinguishes our SNW from the Satanic American arsenal, which was used to destroy hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese.

Vladimir Lukin, a representative of the political bloc Yabloka and the president of the committee on international affairs of the Duma declared, in the name of the State Duma, that "our borders are at the point of collapse" from Estonia to the Kuriles, and "we will be subject to total destruction if we are deprived of our strategic nuclear arms." SALT-2 is a contradictory agreement and the duma will not move quickly on its ratification while NATO is expanding and the USA is undermining the agreement on antiballistic systems. "As Christians, we cannot tempt other countries with unilateral disarmament. If they make an attempt to attack us, our enemies will not win."

Radi Ilkaev, aide to the director of the Russian nuclear center in Arzamas-16, also considers that any major conflict will be a war of annihilation for Russia, which we cannot endure. Thus there is no alternative to nuclear weapons. Economic difficulties are hindering the manufacturers and preventing testing. "It is not possible to conduct the experiment to find out whether you have made a good weapon or not." Recently Vladimir Nechai of Cheliabinsk-70, who committed suicide, said that young people do not want to go to work to make weapons. The nation is being deceived by a false pacifism and it has not been taught to love our blessed Orthodox weapons. Complete unanimity on nuclear questions is necessary and the Russian sobor is working it out, based on Christian values. General Vladimir Shatokhin of the general staff's academy, declared: Americans call our heavy rockets R-36 (SS-18) "Satan," but for us they are guardian angels.

copyright Segodnia (tr. by PDS)