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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Russia Downgraded to “Not Free”

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The “conversion of Russia” proclaimed by Fr. Robert Fox and his fellow Fatima revisionists after the non-consecration of Russia in 1984 just keeps barreling along. On December 21, 2004, Alicia Burns of the Digital Freedom Network (DFN) reported (based on a Radio Free Europe story) that “for the first time since the fall of Communism, Russia is listed as ‘Not Free’ in the Freedom House’s annual survey Freedom in the World.” (Freedom House is a worldwide “liberty” think tank.)

According to DFN’s summary of the report, “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assaults on free speech and capitalism, as well as his government’s interference with free elections in the Ukraine all contributed to the demotion.” Apparently Freedom House has not been in touch with Fr. Fox, who insists that Russia has undergone a “miraculous” transformation since 1984. While Freedom House is downgrading Russia to “not free”, Fox is upgrading her condition to “converted” — like some delusional physician pronouncing a cadaver to be on the mend.

DFN notes that “In a press release from Freedom House, Executive Director Jennifer Windsor said, ‘Russia’s step backwards into the Not Free category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country’s law-enforcement system’.”

Freedom House also noted developments that have been mentioned in this column, including “the corrupt elections process the country experienced in late 2003 and early 2004… After Parliamentary and Presidential election results favored President Putin and his party, he acted to consolidate his authority, targeting the wealthy oligarchs, namely Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who remains in jail awaiting trial. Mr. Khodorkovsky’s oil conglomerate, Yukos, was confiscated by the government and auctioned off under suspicious circumstances December 19…”

And, just as this column has predicted, “The coming year for Russia could bring more of the same, and President Putin may attempt to change the country’s constitutional limit of two terms for the president, opening the door for a third term."

Twenty years after the Consecration-That-Wasn’t, Russia is a dictatorship, the Catholic hierarchy in Russia operates out of a back office in Moscow, and the Pope can’t even wangle an invitation to visit unless the Catholic Church “renounces all proselytism” among the Orthodox. But Fr. Robert Fox goes on conducting his “Fatima Family Apostolate”, as if his work still had something to do with the Message of Fatima. Well, actually, Fr. Fox’s work does have something to do with the Fatima Message: namely, covering it up for his friends in high places.