August 22, 2014

Fort Ross: Russians to help?

The Chapel at Fort Ross

Writing on Oct. 2 for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nikola Krastev reported that in recent weeks Russian government officials -- including President Dimitry Medvedev -- showed strong interest in protecting Fort Ross from closure, a move that was feared when California went into another budget crisis. Fort Ross (the name is derived from "Rossiya") is a 19th-century settlement on the Pacific coast just north of San Francisco that was established by a group of hunters and traders from Russia. Krastev says that the fort has been "spared closure" but that some Russian officials are still eager to find benefactors who could "help maintain California's first Russian settlement." Speaking on the sidelines of last week's UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for Fort Ross to be preserved as a reminder that the United States and Russia enjoyed warm relations long before the start of the Cold War. "I would like to ask our business community to help save this … [Read more...]

Medvedev Supports Religion Education in Schools

Patriarch Kirill offers a caution. From RIA Novosti: BARVIKHA, July 21 -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday expressed his support for a proposal to teach religious education in Russian state schools. He also backed the suggestion that chaplains should be employed in Russia's armed forces. "I decided to support both proposals," the president said at a special meeting on the subject. The proposals had been made by religious leaders from Russia's main faiths. The president said a pilot project would be launched in 18 Russian regions until 2012, and later across the whole of Russia. The first lessons, to involve 256,000 children and 44,000 teachers, could begin next spring. "It could be the basics of Orthodox or Islamic culture, as well as Judaism and Buddhism. Students and their parents should make this choice for themselves," he said. A course on Russia's four largest religions, as well a course on secular ethics will also be available as an option, … [Read more...]