Russians dealt with the devastating fire a the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris with a mix of horror, kindness, and an acknowledgement of the decline of Europe. France has a special place in the hearts of Russians due to the connection of Moscow with Paris during the Napoleonic years. The French Republic is a favorite destination for Muscovites, although that is changing as the West declines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to send experts to help France rebuild Notre Dame.
“Notre Dame is France’s historical symbol, an invaluable treasure of European and world culture, and one of Christianity’s most important shrines,” Putin stressed in his telegram, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“The catastrophe that occurred in Paris last night has pained the hearts of Russians,” the telegram reads.
“Putin hopes that it will be possible to rebuild the cathedral and offered to send the best Russian specialists with wide-ranging experience in restoring world cultural heritage monuments, including the works of medieval architecture, to France,” the Kremlin press office said.
Russian citizens laid flowers at the French embassy, and funds were being raised to help the rebuilding effort.
“My beloved France has become a country where they smash the windows of expensive boutiques simply because they’re expensive,” Ksenia Sobchak wrote on Instagram. The reality television star and socialite said the Notre Dame fire was “karmically linked” to ongoing Yellow Vest demonstrations opposing fuel tax increases, as well as labor policies that “make it nearly impossible to fire a person,” reported The Moscow Times.
“I don’t know what will be built in this place in a country where statistics say every fifth [person] is named Muhammad, but I know that masterpieces don’t serve the mind that’s unworthy of them,” she wrote.
“Here it is, the decline of Europe,” wrote Yelena Konchalovskaya, food editor at Russia’s The Village news magazine. “It’s physically painful to watch because this fire is deeply symbolic,” she added.
“Why are they crying? The Catholic Church is dead in Europe. It is a lie. Notre Dame will be rebuilt only for tourism and money,” one Muscovite commented.
- During Holy Week, We Begin A Series Discussing Christian Persecution In The Middle East, Highlighting Nasarean.org