Priest Alexander Shumsky on Mark Zuckerberg’s Visit to Russia

Priest Alexander Shumsky is an influential priest and writer residing in Moscow. His views are endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church. I found this article as fascinating as it was repulsive.

Translated from http://ruskline.ru/news_rl/2012/10/03/lomonosov_ili_cukerberg

A few days ago a young American millionaire with the characteristic name of Mark Zuckerberg showed up in our country. He is the creator of so-called Facebook. Zuckerberg arrived as a big boss who cares not in the slightest for the aborigines. He even demonstrated it in the way he dressed – he wore a grey T-shirt. I wear this clothing under my shirt after I go to sauna. American Mark Zuckerberg strolled around in this underwear while meeting the representatives of our scientific and political establishment.

He came here like a thief, a TV anchorwoman Tatiana Mitkova told us. Apparently Mark Zuckerberg came for our bright people. He wanted good software and IT engineers, naturally young ones. Somebody would say, “Oh, he is not forcing them to go, he is buying them. Why do you call him a thief?” Formally speaking, Zuckerberg is not a thief; he follows the law, otherwise he wouldn’t be a Zuckerberg. But, as Vladimir Lenin used to say, “It follows the letter of the law but it mocks its spirit.” I think it’s a thieves’ law that allows some Zuckerberg to visit us and buy whatever he wants at his pleasure.  It was impossible in the Soviet times and we created great science, stepped first into the space, and built the best weapons in the world. What’s better for Russia – to ban Zuckerbergs from robbing my Motherland or this liberal one-sided system where we lose everything and gain nothing back, except Zuckerberg’s dirty T-shirt as memorabilia?

Somebody will say, “If you pay as much as they pay, there will be no brain drain.” But, Russian and Russians could never compete with Zuckerbergs on the field of finance. It’s an axiom. So, for us to survive and to become a great country again, it is necessary to introduce the protective custody for our intellectual resources. Whether we want it or not, we have to think back to comrade Stalin. He understood these issues very well.

I felt like crying when I saw the meeting of Mark Zuckerberg with Moscow University president, Viktor Sadovnichii. They met in the University library. Naturally, Zuckerberg, was showing off his underwear and Sadovnichii tried to express joy on his academician’s face. Then, something unexpected happened. Zuckerberg pulled out a black T-shirt with a hood saying Facebook on it. Sadovnichii, with a forced smile, put this jersey on. It looked stupid and humiliating. A baby millionaire forced an acclaimed Russian scientist, a vice president for the Russian Academy of Science, a respectful man, to put on a black robe with the letters in a foreign language. It looked like an initiation, simultaneously public and secret. I can’t understand why Viktor Sadovnichii agreed to it. There is no way he could have liked it. Nobody stuck a gun into his face to force him. Why did he bring himself to such shame? I can’t judge Viktor Sadovnichii though. I felt such a burning shame at this moment, as if it was me wearing a Zuckerberg overall.

The whole event had a symbolic character – Russian science was publicly humiliated. Then, I recalled how Viktor Sadovnichii had stepped back under the liberal pressure before, how he let go on a very important issue. I am talking about the Unified State Exam (similar to the SATs). The Moscow University president fought it harder than everybody else. This contraption destroyed our education. If Sadovnichii had stood fast, things could’ve gone differently. Even if he had to step down as a president, he would still keep the Russian scientist honor. Nothing is more important than honor and integrity. Unfortunately, Sadovnichii had failed then as he failed now.

Viktor Sadovnichii, the university entrusted to you was named after Michael Lomonosov.  Ask yourself, how would he feel if he saw you, a Russian scientist getting into Zuckerberg’s black robe? Trust me, dear Viktor, I am not trying to judge you or offend you. But what I saw on Tuesday, hurt me deeply.

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