On receiving Metropolitan Agathangel's letter announcing his assumption of the office of Patriarchal Locum Tenens, with the instruction about offering up his name during Divine service, Metropolitan Sergius, instead of giving this a joyful welcome, began a determined struggle to retain his personal power. In his first reply to Metropolitan Agathangel Metropolitan Sergius showed himself to be fully acquainted with the essence of the Extraordinary Council's resolution on the office of Locum Tenens:
"First and foremost," Metropolitan Sergius wrote, "the Council of 1917-1918 commissioned His Holiness the Patriarch, as an exception to the rules, to appoint his successors or deputies in case of emergency. The Patriarch was not to divulge the names of these deputies, except to them, but only to inform the Council in general that the commission had been carried out... By virtue of tins extraordinary commission His Holiness the Patriarch may have appointed You as His deputy in his note of 20.4/03.5, 1922 personally. His Holiness also speaks of You in His message of 2/15 July, 1923."
Rejecting in passing Metropolitan Agathangel's reference to seniority of ordination, by which Metropolitan Agathangel wished to give added weight to his rights, Metropolitan Sergius goes on to object in essence. After pointing out that Metropolitan Peter had already assumed authority, Metropolitan Sergius remarked that:
"In His Holiness's instruction nothing is said about him assuming power temporarily, until the return of senior candidates. He assumed power legally and, consequently, can only be deprived of in on a legal basis, i.e., either through voluntary renunciation or after an arch-hierarchs' court".
Two false trends can be detected in this letter from Metropolitan Sergius. Firstly, he supports the erroneous position of Metropolitan Peter, who assumed that he should remain or be considered the First Hierarch, in spite of the impossibility of Ins actual participation in the administration of the Church. It is clear that by retaining this office and demanding the offering up of his name, Metropolitan Peter was striving to prevent a seizure of power - the place of First Hierarch was taken. But in precisely the same way this symbolical retention for himself of the place of First Hierarch could prevent it from being taken by another legitimate First Hierarch, as actually happened in the case of Metropolitan Agathangel (we must not forget that there was still a third possible Locum Tenens - Metropolitan Cyril !).
Metropolitan Peter would undoubtedly have given up the office of Locum Tenens in favour of Metropolitan Agathangel, had he been aware of the situation and able to take part in it. But the fact that he was not and could not made possible all sorts of manipulations using his name. Metropolitan Sergius made use of Melropolitan Peter's name to defend the First-Hierarchical office against
both illegitimate and perfectly legitimate claimants. Since Metropolitan Sergius was administering the church in the name of Metropolitan Peter, he should also have handed over all powers to Metropolitan Agathangel in Metropolitan Peter's name. If Metropolitan Peter had not handed over his authority to deputies and not demanded the offering up of his name, the self-governing dioceses would have recognized Metropolitan Agathangel as the legitimate Locum Tenens immediately - and no struggle for power would have ensued. Even in the event of his return from exile Metropolitan Peter could not have become a "rival" to the new Locum Tenens, because his powers would have ceased at the moment of his arrest, and Metropolitan Peter could not have had any grounds for demanding them back.
There can be no doubt that Metropolitan Sergius examined all these considerations and, fearing to lose power, advanced his second and extremely threatening thesis "or after an arch-hierarchs' tribunal", hinting at the possibility to deprive any claimant to the office of Locum Tenens in this way! Since the Patriarchal Locum Tenens was a First Hierarch with full rights, to take him to court would evidently require observance of the same conditions as for taking the Patriarch to court. On this procedure the Council decision of 8/21 December, 1917 read:
"In the event of the Patriarch violating the rights and duties of his service, the question of recognizing in his actions the presence of grounds for which he could be called to account shall be decided by the joint presence of the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council. The actual committing for trial and the trial over him shall be conducted by the All-Russian Council of bishops with the invitation if possible of other Patriarchs and heads of autocephalous Churches, and two-thirds of the votes present shall be required both for committing for trial and for passing a verdict of 'guilty'."
These were the conditions required for committing the First Hierarch for trial! Meanwhile, Metropolitan Sergius had a good reason for stipulating the possibility of tryinq Metropolitan Peter before a tribunal of arch-hierarchs. Later, finding himself in a hopeless position, he was to repeat this threat again, more concretely. And he was all the more ready to apply this sanction to Metropolitan Agathangel, whose powers he did not recognize! It should be noted that the complete vagueness of the concept "an arch-hierarchs' tribunal", which had no soborny foundation, enabled Metropolitan Sergius to understand by a Council of arch-hierarchs any arbitrarily selected group of his supporters.
Thus we see that the spirit of coercion accompanied Metropolitan Sergius from the very first steps of his independent activity. And all his "canonical" tricks were invariably directed to the same aim - never to give up power to anyone!
After an exchange of letters
and personal negotiations, Metropolitan Sergius sent Metropolitan Agathangel a letter on 10/23 May threatening to remove him from the administration of the Yaroslavl diocese if he did not restore the offering up of the name of Metropolitan Peter as Locum Tenens. In reply to this Metropolitan Agathangel sent the following telegram to Metropolitan Sergius on 11/24 May:
"Continue to administer the Church. I shall refrain from any actions, the instruction on remembering Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky) I shall observe, because I propose to renounce the office of locum tenens for the sake of peace of the Church."
The same day, evidently before receipt of the telegram, Metropolitan Sergius informed the board of the Moscow diocese of the committing of Metropolitan Agathangel for trial by arch-hierarchs who were in Moscow at that time. At the same time he sent these arch-hierarchs a letter in which he explained his actions as follows:
"In the event of disobedience, I remove him by this letter from the administration of the Yaroslavl diocese... If the accused is adamant, however, I would ask you to decide whether removal from the administration of the diocese is sufficient, or, in view of the gravity of the violation of canons and the extent of the temptation produced, to impose on Metropolitan Agathangel (Preobrazhensky) a ban on divine service until Ins case shall be decided by a council of arch-hierarchs."
Thus, Metropolitan Sergius was already prepared individually to ban Metropolitan Agathangel from divine service, only with the consequent approval of a "Council" of arch-hierarchs. Let us assume that he sincerely believed in the legality of Metropolitan Peter's rights and did not consider Metropolitan Agathangel to be First Hierarch, as he sought to persuade Metropolitan Agathangel in the same letter of 10/23 May:
"We are both equally concerned that the canonical basis of our first bishop should be unshakeable, because on the legality of this power rests all the well-being of our Church..."
Indeed it does!
But here is what happened a few days later.
Quite unexpectedly, on 18/31 May Metropolitan Agathangel received from Metropolitan Peter from his place of confinement a letter informing him that he, Metropolitan Peter, had learned of Metropolitan Agathangel's assumption of the duties of Locum Tenens and welcomed him thereupon, renouncing his rights in his favour. Metropolitan Agathangel immediately informed Metropolitan Sergius of this. Naturally, Metropolitan Peter could only have received the information and sent his letter on the initiative of A.E.Tuchkov, who had personally informed him of Metropolitan Agathangel's letter from Perm (Metropolitan Peter was in prison in Moscow at the time).
It is also a fact that Metropolitan Agathangel wrote his letter from Perm after a meeting will) the self-same Tuchkov, who went there specially
to see him. Evidently, in assisting the advancement of Metropolian Agathangel, Tuchkov was relying either on his "mild" character or, most likely, on his advanced age and poor health, which ensured that he would not occupy the post of First Hierarch for long. In any case, from the canonical point of view all the confusion was removed, and Metropolitan Agathangel's rights received unshakeable confirmation even from the viewpoint of Metropolitan Sergius, so that all he could do was carry out the wishes of Metropolitan Peter, in whose name he was exercising his authority.
At that moment the inner mainspring of Metropolitan Sergius's actions revealed itself for all to see, leaving no possibility of a dual interpretation of his behaviour.
Learning of Metropolitan Peter's letter concerning the transfer of power to Metropolitan Agathangel, he literally "rushed" round to the NKVD with an urgent request for the immediate registration of himself as head of the church administration. The demands of Metropolitan Agathangel, who had arrived in Moscow and already taken over the Chancellory of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Sergius simply ignored. On 28 May/ 10 June he addressed to the NKVD another request for legalization and a draft appeal to the All-Russian flock. On 31 May/13 June Metropolitan Sergius stuck a "resolution" on the decision of the 24 bishops concerning the case of Metropolitan Agathangel to the effect that he "refrains so far" from banning Metropolitan Agathangel from divine service, since
"his action is to some extent excused (!!! - L.R.) by his receipt of a letter from Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky).”
Such was the attitude to the lawful First Hierarch by Metropolitan Sergius, who at that moment had no relation at all to the church administration, for Metropolitan Peter was not Locum Tenens at that time.
But then Metropolitan Sergius's two "ecclesiological principles" came into operation, namely, that the first bishop is the one who "is actually governing" and that force decides everything. On 31 May/13 June Metropolitan Sergius wrote a letter to Metropolitan Agathangel (already the fifth letter!) with a direct expression of his refusal to obey Metropolitan Peter, in so far as Metropolitan Peter,
"who transferred to me albeit temporarily the full rights and duties of Locum Tenens and is himself deprived of the possibility of being properly informed on the state of church affairs, can no longer be held responsible for the course of the latter, nor intervene in their administration."
And also that Metropolitan Agathangel could not assume this post as "he was earlier brought before a church tribunal for the anticanonical act committed by him."
Finally, here is the height of Metropolitan Sergius's illegitimate claims: according to him, since Metropolitan Peter "welcomes
the anti-canonical act" of Metropolitan Agathangel, he "himself becomes a party to it and is also liable for punishment." Metropolitan Agathangel's "act" is qualified by Metropolitan Sergius as follows:
"You proclaimed yourself Locum Tenens in the presence of a living lawful Locum Tenens, i.e., committed an act which is punishable by defrocking..."
By an irony of fate, or, more exactly, Divine Providence, which thanks to this permitted a misunderstanding to reveal the true motives behind Metropolitan Sergius's actions - all these "decisive" actions were totally superfluous.
Already on 26 May/ 8 June, i.e., two days before Metropolitan Sergius's second approach to the NKVD and five days before his highly cynical letter, Metropolitan Agathangel informed the authorities that he was resigning from the post of Locum Tenens. On 30 May/12 June he informed Metropolitan Peter of his resignation, in view of his "advanced age and poor health", and only on 4/17 June did he let Metropolitan Sergius know about this, beginning his telegram with the words of address: "Gracious Archpastor and Father..." It is hard to explain all the motives by which Metropolitan Agathangel was guided in Ins renouncing his already assumed rights of First Hierarch, but evidently the main one was the desire to avoid church strife, which became inevitable as a result of Metropolitan Sergius's seizing attitude.
The support which the Russian episcopate (for the most part) gave Metropolitan Sergius in his struggle against Metropolitan Agathangel was another reflection of a sad fact: the predominance of political motives over canonical ones with the absence of a clear ecclesiological consciousness. During this period Metropolitan Serglus's political orientation coincided with the position of Metropolitan Peter and the majority of the Orthodox episcopate.
The draft message to his flock compiled by Metropolitan in June 1926 and presented by him to the NKVD for consideration is for the most part written in a dignified tone, with precise confirmation of the civic loyalty of believers, the a-political nature of the Church and the spiritual separation of the Church from the state. Acquainting the bishops with his draft, Metropolitan Sergius at the same time spread the rumor that Metropolitan Agathangel had done a "deal" with the NKVD. All this made Metropolitan Sergius seem like the wise and firm mouthpiece of Metropolitan Peter's will, and the bishops preferred to side with him, not bothering to go into the anticanonical nature of his claims to lead the Church.
At this point the main mistake, for the aggravation of which Metropolitan Sergius himself did so much, began to develop namely, to rely not on Divine assistance, but on human reason, on the personal qualities of the leader of the Church, in the spiritual
battle, which only superficially seemed to be a political one. But the "gates of hell" shall not prevail against the Church only as long as she is standing on a "rock", on the kind of First Hierarchical service through which grace acts and the power of Almighty God Himself is manifested. And when it was no longer possible to preserve the First Hierarchical leadership of the whole Church, each Bishop was to become such a "rock".
But what happened was even worse: in the person of Metropolitan Sergius an anti-canonical, graceless and false church center began to emerge. And those who placed their hopes on the personal qualities of Metropolitan Sergius, his wisdom and spiritual resolve, learnt a hard lesson a year later...
In the autumn of 1926 Metropolitan Sergius was arrested.
The excuse for this was an attempt by Russian bishops to elect a new Patriarch by means of a secret collection of signatures. It was a canonically dubious undertaking (for the Council, as the living and personalized union in the Holy Spirit, cannot be replaced by a "collection of signatures", and politically it was extremely dangerous. It is hard now to establish precisely who was the main initiator of this business: according to some sources, it was Metropolitan Sergius himself, according to others, a group of bishops led by Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky). In any case Metropolitan Sergius, together with Bishop Pavlin (Kroshechkin) was in charge of the practical implementation of this project.
Most Russian bishops supported the candidature of Metropolitan Cyril, whose term of exile finished in the autumn of 1926. If Metropolitan Sergius had really wanted to ensure that Metropolitan Cyril became First Hierarch, it would have been enough for him to recognize the legality of Metropolitan Cyril's rights as Locum Tenens, i.e., to correct the "mistake" which he had made with Metropolitan Agathangel. No collection of signatures was necessary for that. When 72 signatures had been collected in support of Metropolitan Cyril, mass arrests began on the case of the "counterrevolutionary group led by Metropolitan Sergius". According to contemporary accounts no less than forty bishops were exiled in this period. The part played by Metropolitan Sergius in this case is highly suspect. While gaining a certain amount of "political capital", he promoted at the same time the removal of the main claimant and his supporters Metropolitan Cyril, at that time in Zyrian territory, was put into prison and then given an additional term, Metropolitan Sergius was to spend only a few months in prison...
How was the Church administered during his absence?
In accordance with Metropolitan Peter's instruction of 23 November/ 6 December, 1925 after Metropolitan Sergius's arrest Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovikh) became a temporary
deputy Locum Tenens. Shortly before tins Metropolitan Sergius, at the earnest request of believers, had appointed Metropolitan Joseph to the Leningrad cathedra. Realizing that he did not have much longer at liberty, Metropolitan Joseph immediately drew up an instruction on the administration of the Church in the event of Ins arrest. This document shows to what extent the false idea of deputyship had developed, according to which in order to receive the full authority of First Hierarch it was enough to have an "instruction" from the preceding "actual administrator". Metropolitan Joseph's instruction gave the impression that it referred not to the Church, but to the army, in which a single overall commander had to be retained at all costs. To this end it set up a detailed system for the transfer of power in the event of certain persons departing or returning to service, in a strictly defined order of seniority. At this time Metropolitan Joseph was completely unaware of the fact that in setting up a new system of succession to the Supreme Church Administration, he was daring to do something which not even His Holiness the Patriarch had the right to undertake.
Metropolitan Joseph indicated four hierarchs who, in strictly defined conditions, could replace Metropolitan Peter in the post of Locum Tenens, and six hierarchs who could in a certain order occupy the post of Deputy Locum Tenens. Moreover:
"if the list of named candidates for Locum Tenens should be exhausted, all the rights and duties of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, together with the said title, should canonically he granted to the existing Deputy."
Directly, however, Metropolitan Joseph urged Archbishop Cornelius (Sobolev), Archbishop Thaddeus (Uspensky) and Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) "successively" to the "canonically indisputable continuance" of their "powers". And only
"in a critical situation, if the further administration of the Church by Locum Tenentes or their Deputies should be quite impossible, this administration, within the possibilities and legal rights and commands of a sense of duty, is placed on the archipastoral conscience of the closest hierarchs of each diocese separately."
It also specified the need to refuse any compromises whatsoever with the Renovationists.
This document shows all the weak aspects of the ecclesiological consciousness of the Russian episcopate: the misunderstanding of the nature of First-Hierarchal power; the unpreparedness of bishops to administer their "Local Church" independently; and the general habit of bureaucratic centralization. It is particularly saddening, that these mistakes were shared and spread by such a morally firm hierarch, who enjoyed the people's confidence, as Metropolitan Joseph. But whereas Metropolitan Joseph, who was genuinely seeking for churchly truth
and eventually realized his mistakes in practice, later corrected them in both word and deed, Metropolitan Sergius based all his activity on these defects of churchly consciousness.
In the resultant leap-frogging of deputies the position, for example, of Archbishop Dmitri (Belikov) of Tomsk is quite natural. At the end of 1926 he convened a diocesan assembly and declared the Tomsk diocese to be autocephalous, i.e., not subject to any temporary "administrators" of the Church. One would think such actions were only to be welcomed, by allowing arch-hierarchs to carry out the 1920 Decree, and permitting only those who did not consider themselves and their flock ready for it to subject themselves voluntarily to the existing deputy, as the spiritual-moral authority. But Archbishop Seraphim (Uglichsky), who had replaced Metropolitan Joseph, embarked unhesitatingly on the path paved by Metropolitan Sergius and banned Archbishop Dmitri from performing his priestly duties! The self-same Archbishop Seraphim in a talk with Tuchkov said that he could say nothing about the conditions of "legalization", because he did not consider himself entitled to decide questions of principle in the absence of senior hierarchs. Whereas, by banning Archbishop Dimitri, Archbishop Seraphim was in fact deciding a question of far more importance than any "legalization" or "declaration": the question of the position and rights of a Bishop in the Orthodox Church. The banning of a diocesan arch-hierarch which, according to the Council decisions, is an extraordinary and exceptional event, was here performed by a temporary deputy who was clearly aware of the limited nature of his powers!
Herein lay the root of future calamities, which were quick to follow...
Metropolitan Joseph and many other bishops assumed that the main aim of the NKVD was to deprive the Russian Church of central administration and take advantage of this to create new schisms. But the real aim, as events were soon to show, was far more profound and insidious. The NKVD had no desire whatsoever to deal with a large number of schisms - the most "unpleasant" thing for the authorities was the large-scale turning of dioceses into self-governing units, which had frightened them so much in 1922. The essence of their plan was to frighten the Church with schisms in order to restrain her from "autocephalisation" and to retain the central administration at all costs. Then, having created the leap-frogging and rivalry of temporary administrators, to choose from the latter the one who would be the most convenient implementor of the NKVD program of destruction. In the spring of 1927 this choice was finally made.
At that time, when repressions against the episcopate in connection with the case "led by Metropolitan Sergius" were increasing, Metropolitan Sergius himself, to everyone's surprise, was released on 7/20
March. A month later Bishop Pavlin (Kroshechkin) was also released, together with whom Metropolitan Sergius had collected signatures on the election of Metropolitan Cyril. Finally, Metropolitan Sergius received the official right to reside in Moscow, although before his arrest he did not have this right. Metropolitan Sergius immediately and with great confidence proceeded to act most energetically.
On 5/18 May he gathered together several bishops who constituted the "Synod of the Deputy of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens". Alarmed by the very fact of Metropolitan Sergius's unexpected release, Russian arch-hierarchs were even more discouraged by the composition of this "Synod". Its members included: Metropolitan Seraphim (Alexandrov) whom everyone suspected of particularly close relations with the NKVD; Archbishop Sylvester (Bratanovsky) and Archbishop Alexis (Simansky), former Renovationists; and Archbishop Philip (Gumilevsky), who had not long before come over from the old Believer Fugitive Priest (Beglopopovtsy) sect. Also invited was Metropolitan Arseny of Novgorod, who was in exile in Tashkent. He did not send a reply, however, or take part in the work of the Synod. (N.F. Violetova, the widow of the well-known Professor Fioletov, states that Metropolitan Arseny first opposed Metropolitan Sergius's actions and only later became reconciled with him, after accepting from him an appointment to the Tashkent cathedra).
Having finally received a certification of registration (on the "non-detection of obstacles to activity"), Metropolitan Sergius embarked upon a terrible and irreparable undertaking, namely, the deliberate changing of the composition of the hierarchy in the Russian Church, which essentially created a new church organization, connected to the former one by name only. The former individual acts of disposing of Bishops, so thoughtlessly approved by many other arch-hierarchs, were now repeated on a mass scale. Exiled Bishops were sent into retirement, those who had returned from exile and were "unreliable" were transferred to remote areas, At the same time the mass ordination and appointment began of former Renovationists and in general persons close to Metropolitan Sergius who supported his program.
After the changing of the episcopate (and we remember "where the Bishop is, there is the Church"), Metropolitan Sergius made public the new spiritual position of the church organization created by him. This was done in the notorious "Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius" of 16/29 July, 1927. The key phrase in this Declaration was the statement:
"We recognize the Soviet Union as our civic Homeland, the joys and successes of which are our joys and successes, and the failures - our failures."
Formally these words do not appear to contain any fundamental departure from the position of Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter, with their appeals
for conscientious allegiance. In fact, however, this was something quite new. In the context of the real social situation these words sounded unambiguously as an expression of spiritual-moral solidarity with revolutionary ideology. It was precisely these words which ensured Metropolitan Sergius the support of the state, but they also produced a storm among the laity and the clergy. Indeed, as Athanasius the Great said, "with the ends of syllables, the ends of the universe fall apart". The most loyal declarations of Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter never contained one thing: inner, heartfelt solidarity, the merging of church spirit with the spirit of the revolution. Such a merging is a kind of "synergism" - only this time not with God. Yet powerful evidence that the spirit of true synergism had not yet died among Russian church people was this remarkable sensitivity to what might seem to be such a "fine" difference of spiritual positions. The people sensed in their heart that behind this difference lay two different paths...
The other way was defined in the Message of the Solovetsky bishops, which appeared a few months before Metropolitan Sergius's Declaration. While firmly proclaiming the principles of loyalty and a-politicalness, this Message also stated:
"With... such a profound divergence in the basic tenets of their world outlook, there can be no inner drawing together or reconciliation between Church and state, just as reconciliation is impossible between acceptance and denial, between yes and no, because the soul of the Church, the condition of her being and the meaning of her existence is precisely that which communism categorically denies" (for full text see "Dates and documents").
While realizing clearly that the Supreme Church Administration and the whole centralized structure of church organization could easily be destroyed by the slate, if the latter so desired, the Solovetsky prisoners proclaimed the principle which developed the traditions of the Council and Patriarch, but had never before been uttered so clearly and forcefully by Russian bishops:
"If the Church's suggestions are recognized as acceptable, She will rejoice at the truth of those on whom it depends. If Her petitioning is rejected, She is ready for the material deprivations to which she is subjected, remembering that Her strength lies not in the unity of Her external organization, but in the unity of faith and love of Her devoted children, She places Her hopes all the more in the invincible power of Her Divine Founder and on His promise that His Creation shall not be overcome."
Here, in fetters and dungeons, the idea of the inner freedom of the Orthodox Church began to take root in the consciousness of Russian Bishops. Attempts to detect in these liberating words a new Protestantism or disparagement of the Council principles of the Patriarchate were in vain. For the
Patriarchate itself, through which Our Lord administers the Church, is one of the expressions of the Church's reliance on the "invincible might of Her Divine Founder and on His promise that His Creation shall not be overcome," but a blessed crown of soborny church life, the essence of which has always been and remains the free "union of faith and love". Sobornost , understood as the blessed unity of the hierarchical, personal and social elements, has always been one of the most beloved ideas of the Russian religious consciousness.
The Local Council, at which the elected representatives of the Russian Church experienced moments of such blessed union, increased even more the striving to establish sobornost as a norm of church life. However, as real historical experience showed, this ideal placed extremely high demands on each member of the Church. In order to take part in soborny life, it was necessary to cultivate two abilities in oneself: firstly, the ability and desire to submit to the general law and the general good and, secondly, which proved to be immeasurably harder, the ability of each individual to be free, while avoiding sin, for sin is "overcoming" the law not for freedom, but for inner (and then outer) slavery. A refusal of the immutable demand to be free gave rise to the temptation to create a pseudo - sobornost, now not by means of voluntary mutual submission, but by means of the coercion of the whole over the individual, the general over the particular, authority over those subject to it. And then there arose in the Russian Church the danger of turning the church organism into a mechanism, the council into a faceless and weak-willed meeting; the harmony of the hierarchal and personal elements into the chancellery-bureaucratic despotism of the church "bosses".
Instead of infusing the spirit of sobornost into all spheres of popular life, the Russian Church herself was caught up in the fatal process of collapse and decay, which became the lot of Russian society and the Russian state. But it was precisely in the face of this triumphant procession of the spirit of death that the life-giving energies of true church life manifested themselves with hitherto unprecedented power. Our salvation is to find our way back through the long years of oblivion to these sources, which flow quietly at the foot of Russian Calvary; our duty - to ensure that access to these sources is never blocked again by anyone...
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