Art and Faith

Monday, 18 February 2008

Ilya Repin. For the Motherland! A Hero of the Recent War. 1878

For the Motherland! A Hero of the Recent War

Ilya Repin



Of course, everyone is talking of the recent unilateral declaration of independence in Kosovo by the UÇK terrorists. This painting reminds us that Russia has deep and lasting ties to the region, ties which are all the stronger due to the shared Orthodox faith of Russians and most native Balkan peoples. America has no such ties, and it has no special interests in the region, despite the recent blatherings of neocons in Washington. The subject in the painting above is an ordinary soldier of the Russian army at the time of the Russo-Turkish War in the late 1870s. The fronts were in the Balkans and on the Caucasian border. Orthodox Russian warriors freed most of the Balkans from the oppression of the Ottomans. Sadly, at the Congress of Berlin, some of the other European powers (shades of Kosovo!) forced Russian troops to withdraw from some regions and the Ottoman persecutors returned to power in those localities until the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. The ordinary people of the Balkans have never forgotten that Russia freed them from the Ottoman yoke, and I can assure you that Russian forces today would be welcomed in the region, despite what a few Westernised politicians and intellectuals say. Serbia and Russia share a particularly deep and abiding bond. The casus belli for the Russian-Turkish War was that Russian volunteers were serving alongside their Serb brothers in the fight against the Ottoman oppressor. In 1914, Russia went to war rather than to see Serbia humiliated by the Catholic Hapsburg aggressor. In 1999, Russia supported Serbia, but, the effects of the smuta following the collapse of the Soviets prevented effectual aid. In 2008… Russia is ready, America isn’t. America’s going to be awakened from its opium dream of “the only superpower” soon. God willing, it won’t take a war to do it.


Blog at