Listen to the Russian silence

Russia has been inundated with appeals from around the globe. The entire world is urging the Russians and their president to do something about those “pro-Russian separatists” in the Ukrainian Southeast. The international community, intellectuals, and Ukrainian media breathlessly beg us to remember our love of peace and remind us to resist evil and keep our minds on Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi.

— Peace! Peace! Peace! Mercy!

This is what we hear 24/7.

And threats also come from the same mouths voicing the entreaties:

— Sanctions! You’ll starve to death! We’ll drive you back into your caves! Into your barracks! We’ll strip you of everything, we’ll take it all, buy off everyone, and twist your arm! We’ll crucify you!

And what is heard in response? What do our counterparts hear from the Russian President? What do they hear from our nation?

10257332_619507034807922_5425667235252359059_nA heavy, overpowering Russian silence, like the calm before a storm, has descended upon the world.

Women’s tears have been shed and dried. Men’s faces, so recently twisted with disgust and rage, have now relaxed.

Silence. A sanctified Russian silence has descended upon the world, against which all howls, all entreaties, all fluttering banners, and Sieg Heils, “death to our foes,” “Glory to Ukraine,” and demands now seem especially pathetic and irrelevant – like drunken demands to play “We Will Rock You!” in a concert hall before the beginning of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

The time for that music has passed. We will not be listening to rap, blues, or rock. Those have become irrelevant.

Now the world will be treated to a Russian symphony.

But so far the first notes have not yet pierced mankind’s immense heart. Right now the world hears only silence. The Russian soul has thus decreed, and no power on earth is capable of checking the onslaught of this silence. The indefatigable howling is beginning to trail off hoarsely, and the seasoned orators are now choking on their carefully prepared, erudite words.

The silence continues.

Silence, as huge and powerful as a bear, arrives – pressing down on the globe, stifling it in an iron embrace.

They are still trying to scream, to keep themselves from believing that the inevitable is already occurring, to prevent the horror from spilling down from the mind that has now grasped everything, descending to the heart and freezing it. But increasingly the screams sound like squeaks.

The Russian soul has thus decreed and, not for the first time in human history, God is in agreement with her.

And if God be for us, who can be against us?

Why are the Russians silent?! Why is their president silent? Why do they not answer?

The fear behind these questions continues to mount.

There is an ever greater understanding of the proper answer to them.

Russia no longer has anyone to talk to on this planet. Russia has no worthy interlocutors. For Russia there is no topic that is worth discussing with anyone.

Russia is silent. Russia is terrible in its silence.

Christ Acheiropoietos. A 12th-century Novgorod icon from the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.
Christ Acheiropoietos.
A 12th-century Novgorod icon from the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.

Her silent gaze is fearsome because it understands everything, it transfixes, leaving no place for any hypocrisy, forbidding anyone to conceal even a single instance of the most carefully constructed baseness, or any betrayal, no matter how shrouded in justifications, or crime.

Where? Where was it that they have encountered this unnerving gaze before?

Oh yes … in Russian icons.

That’s the gaze of the Russian God.

The Russian God.   Is God Russian?

Yes. Today God is Russian.

And now all the Heavenly Host are Russian. And St. George has exchanged his spear for an RPG-7.

This is the gaze of Russia. This is the gaze of God.


…The Russian silence is terrible. Because it is a condemnation.

As this silence descends upon the world it is no longer possible to obscure the truth about oneself behind distracting clamor.

Russia is silent. And in that silence, they feverishly try to recall what it was that their mighty leaders once said about Russia. “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Is that so?

And they understand the answer: it is simply that Russia is God.

And if Russia is God, then “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” must apply to her.   She will repay.

Soon the first notes of the new Russian symphony will resound throughout the universe. It will strip away every mask and like a breath of fresh air it will invigorate the whole world – soul by soul. It will leave behind nothing that is stale or old. It will make all new. It will rumble like thunder, it will sweep through the world like a storm, and it will rattle the immutable and reduce to dust all that seemed eternal.

But for now, a Russian silence has entered the world.

Listen to the silence.

Source in Russian: Odnako (originally published on May 6, 2014)


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