Monday, March 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Is Putin truly the villain?

By
From page A11 | March 21, 2014 |

“The defiant Parliament of Crimea set out on a perilous confrontation course with Kiev on Friday by adopting a constitution that in effect declares the restive Black Sea peninsula independent from Ukraine.” Thus reported Los Angeles Times journalist Mary Mycio, in her May 21, 1994, article.

The crisis in Crimea and Ukraine is not new, but longstanding and complex.

Our Washington politicians seem determined to pick sides in every conflict around the globe, Libya, Egypt, Syria and now Ukraine. Perhaps they have watched too many old Westerns where good guys are – good; and the bad guys wear black.

In the real world of geo-politics, there are no men in white hats, but only those wearing various shades of grey. Is the provisional Ukrainian government the good guys, even though it includes leaders of Svoboda, Right Sector and other neo-Nazi parties? Is Russian President Vladimir Putin truly the man in black?

Whenever Russia acts in a way our Washington politicians do not like, they shout from the rooftops, “Putin is trying to restore the Soviet Union.” After all, there is no blacker hat than the Soviet dictators of the past.

The Soviet Union was rabidly atheist and anti-Christian. I know this first-hand, because I smuggled thousands of Bibles to Christians in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Republics before the Iron Curtain fell. Twice all churches in the Soviet Union were closed, under Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev, and priests and ministers were killed or imprisoned. Millions of Christians were sent to the gulags or murdered during the 70 years of Soviet dictatorship.

When I first visited Moscow in 1985, a city of 10 million people, the communist authorities only allowed 42 Christian congregations to officially operate in Moscow; and only one Jewish synagogue was allowed to officially function.

Today, the Christian church in Russia has undergone a tremendous revival and rebirth. More than 300 congregations now function in Moscow, and there are plans to build many more. Tens of thousands of churches have been built or restored in Russia since the fall of communism. Three out of four Russians currently profess faith in Jesus Christ.

Vladimir Putin is not anti-Christian, an atheist or a communist. He was baptized as an infant, frequently attends church services, including at the newly built Sochi cathedral just before the Olympics, and is pushing for the Christian Church to have increasing involvement and influence in Russian government and culture, particularly in the area of education.

These things do not make Putin a good guy. It does however, illustrate that he has a very different agenda than the communist dictators of the past.

Putin is a Russian nationalist. He is not trying to revive communism or to rebuild the Soviet Union. His stated goal is to restore Russia’s power and security. Putin’s goals and actions may not be compatible with Ukrainian, European Union or U.S. interests, but that does not necessarily make him a movie villain, either.

Russia is not our enemy, and neither is Ukraine. Besides, we need Russia’s help to maintain sanctions and pressure on Iran and North Korea. They are the real black hats.

The Rev. Dan Molyneux is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]

The Rev. Dan Molyneux

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PornacMarch 21, 2014 - 6:15 am

    I guess the Vatican will be annexing parts of Italy soon.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickMarch 21, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    Vatican is a tiny (the smallest in the world) country located entirely within the city of Rome, Italy. thy have no interest in increasing there territory.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 21, 2014 - 7:37 am

    Thank you, Pastor Dan, for giving some context to recent events. Perhaps if our "leaders" cared more about OUR country than pleasing international bankers and the military-industrial complex, we might be made to appear wearing "black hats" by the world corporate media and intelligentsia. You know the pre-flight instructions to the passengers on a plane? The attendants advise that when the oxygen masks fall that you need to put yours on first so that you can then help others. Our country needs to right itself first before we even think about helping others around the world... and I'm not just talking about money... our morals, ethics and treatment of one-another needs fixed first.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UnabashedProgressiveMarch 21, 2014 - 7:52 am

    I'm curious; what is meant by "the intelligentsia?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • UnabashedProgressiveMarch 21, 2014 - 7:49 am

    Moreover, the United States' global swagger is based, in part, on spreading the gospel of democratic self-determination---something the citizens of Crimea did at the voting booth. Now, because of new Cold-War-style fears, that particular characteristic of free peoples does not apply to the ethnic Russians and Rus speakers in Ukraine who wish to ally themselves with their historical brethren. What is happening in Crimea is not an example of potential appeasement; it is, essentially, a population saying, "We'd rather live next door with our cousins."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickMarch 21, 2014 - 3:34 pm

    Crimea voted in1990 to join Ukraine. now they voted to join Russia. what would you do if you had 30,000 Russian troops watching your vote? the leader of north Korea received 100% of the vote. now that is an extremely popular man.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMarch 21, 2014 - 11:24 am

    Obama is a horribly weak hated leader serving yet to be identified masters. By contrast, Putin is a strong wildly popular Russian nationalist who seems to have annexed what has always been Russia's----Crimea and the shipyards at Svestapol! Where do think Russian Navy ships are built at? Duh! Along comes ignorant Obama who just lost the war on terror and now by diplomatic failure wants to resserrect the cold war that we already won and paid for! Keep Putin and get rid of the traitor Obama! How may we help to that noble end?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RickSteeleMarch 27, 2014 - 7:11 pm

    Well, at least we know who Ge

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

2 drivers killed in same area, an hour apart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 16 Comments

 
Easter activities, events abundant

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Christians begin Holy Week with Palm Sunday celebrations

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
My guide to dining out

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

Local governments post week’s meeting times

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Top young spellers to compete for Solano title

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Police investigate shooting off North Texas Street

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Vallejo police seek leads in weekend homicide

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Biz Buzz: Wiseman officer names Perez to key post

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

 
Biz Buzz: Re/Max hires new Realtor

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Biz Buzz: PAL receives donation from glass company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

 
Analysis finds unequal pay for women on California Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Songwriter injured in California crash; motorcyclist killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Taylor Swift wins artist of the year at iHeartRadio Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Court ruling opens door for federal execution of murderer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
 
Police: 2 bodies found in NYC building explosion rubble

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Waving fronds around the world, Christians mark Palm Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Air Canada plane makes hard landing short of Halifax runway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Small tsunami generated in Pacific after earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Living

Community Calendar: March 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: March 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Parenting: If a father is abusive, a mother must act

By The Washington Post | From Page: B8

 
Horoscopes: March 31, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

TVGrid March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Michelle Obama declares ‘Black Girls Rock!’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
.

Sports

 
Spartans Final Four-bound after 76-70 OT win over Louisville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Duke back in Final Four after 66-52 win over Gonzaga

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Apology for wrong anthem for El Salvador before game in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Montoya holds off Power to give Penske 1-2 sweep at St. Pete

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s Randle chases school scoring record, title at NIT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamlin wins for 25th time, and fifth time at Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hamlin wins for 25th time, and fifth time at Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker wins hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oakland OF Josh Reddick won’t be ready for start of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

California Chrome heads to Britain, to race at Royal Ascot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vettel wins Malaysian GP to end Mercedes streak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Joe Gibbs on son: most courageous person I’ve been around

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chodounsky defends slalom title at US Alpine Championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

South Carolina earns 1st Final Four berth, beats FSU 80-74

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Turner says Saturday regional finals highest-rated in decade

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Graveman pitches into 7th inning as A’s beat Brewers 7-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Cain goes 4 innings in Giants win over LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C. March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baby Blues March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

B.C. March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Rose is Rose March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Beetle Bailey March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

For Better or Worse March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sally Forth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Get Fuzzy March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Word Sleuth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Bridge March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Sudoku March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Cryptoquote March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8