A martyr in the war against terror?
November 27, 2003 12:13 PM   Subscribe

A martyr in the "war against terror"? Russian Pvt. Yevgeny Rodionov, 19, was killed in capitivy in Chechnya in 1996. (pic) Today, there is a folk movement to have him venerated as a saint. Another unusual diversion in the complex and uneasy dance between the church and the right wing in Russia.

(Warning: last link includes poorly-disguised swastika; English text by Boris Badenov)
posted by gimonca (6 comments total)
What's wrong with swastikas?
posted by riffola at 12:28 PM on November 27, 2003

Interesting your link, riffola, says stuff about the right-handed versus left-handed swastika, which isn't borne out here, for instance.


posted by Blue Stone at 12:37 PM on November 27, 2003

I don't know about the directions being good or evil, Blue Stone, all I know is that Hindus use the right-handed version. I don't remember us using the left-handed version, maybe because people started thinking it represented evil because of Nazism.
posted by riffola at 12:49 PM on November 27, 2003

I'd have a hard time seeing any russian soldier in Chechnya as a hero, let alone a saint.
posted by signal at 1:01 PM on November 27, 2003

The left-handed swastika legend. 'In fact, the swastika, including the so-called left-handed version, is an ancient sun-wheel symbol used by peoples across the world, ranging from the American Indians to the Tibetans. They would hardly be likely to use the left-handed swastika if it was associated with evil. Similarly, the left-handed swastika appeared on the pre-war national symbols of Latvia and Finland, before there was any association with Nazism. The Isle of Man flag is also a variation on this theme. I suspect that the story about the left-handed swastika, like the allegation of Hitler's illegitimacy, was simply Allied wartime propaganda.'
There's an interesting piece on the history of swastikas in various cultures here.

The swastika - both left- and right-handed - has been used as a symbol by many civilisations - not just India, but also China, Egypt, Greece (you can see left-handed swastikas on Greek vases), Tibet, Japan (it is displayed in many Buddhist temples), northern European (a swastika variant forms the historical basis for the Isle of Man flag) etc., . The 'left-handed swastika' was not a symbol of evil.

With reference to Hinduism - correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it is good practice to walk clockwise around a Hindu temple (symbolising the turning wheel of life?) and maybe this has some bearing to the swastika question (on the other hand, followers of the indigenous Tibetan Bon religion, I believe, walk counter-clockwise around their holy places).
posted by plep at 2:00 PM on November 27, 2003

Yes pelp, the Hindus do walk clockwise around a temple.
posted by riffola at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2003

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