“Ukrainians said: ‘We want and will be free.’ And this is the biggest provocation the Putin regime fears,” Head of the UGCC

March 2, 2023, 09:00 175

Days before the anniversary of the outbreak of a full-scale war in Ukraine, the Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, in an interview with Ivano-Frankivsk regional television, named the grounds of Russian aggression and the role of its ideological and propaganda component, which is genocidal, spoke about the part of the Russian Church in shaping this ideology and why Ukrainians cause such hatred among Russians.

“Ukrainians said: ‘We want and will be free.’ And this is the biggest provocation the Putin regime fears,” Head of the UGCC

“I felt that perilous processes had begun long before the guns began to roar and we heard the whistle of Russian missiles over our heads,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav in an interview. “Once, at a large inter-church forum, one of the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church said the following: ‘You should not exist.’ It means the war began by denying the right to exist, initially at the ideological or propaganda level. We can see that all structures of the Russian state, including the church, were already corrupted with lies and began to fire ideological bullets at the whole world. They spoke of our state and people as ‘something,’ taking away our identity, saying there is no Ukraine and its people, only territory.”

The Head of the UGCC spoke about the root causes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its genocidal ideology, one of which is post-Soviet revanchism and the disposition of Russian society towards dictatorship and the destruction of freedom:

“We were all appalled by the ideological justifications for this war when Russia started talking about the denazification of Ukraine. It was about mass murder, and the Russian armed forces methodically implemented the utopian genocidal schemes they had been given. We ask about the reasons: from where could such a denial of the rights to the existence of an entire people with its language, tradition, and culture come? Perhaps someday, sociologists and researchers of modern societies will study this. Still, we can already see that Russian society and the Russian state are sick with the old Soviet diseases, which today have turned into a revanchist ideology that is deeply genocidal. The culture that could have given rise to the phenomenon of putinism is very morally sick. And Ukraine is a big irritant for him because it is an example that it is possible to cure the diseases of post-Soviet society, to be free, and build a democratic state with an open type of society. With the Orange Revolution and the Revolution of Dignity, Ukrainians said they wanted to be a free democratic country. They want to be free. Ukrainians said that being free is something achievable. And this is the most considerable provocation that Putin’s regime fears because it is based on the opposite. So, yes, the very existence of Ukraine is becoming a provocation for this regime, which today comes to kill us.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav considers the role of the Russian Church in the ideological preparation and support of the war in Ukraine. Can a structure that gives blessing to mass murder be called a church?

“When a religious institution begins to justify war, becomes a propaganda machine, and promotes Orthodox shaheedism, it is on the path of an Islamic state. The Islamic world has already experienced something similar. But, thank God, Muslim sages found the strength to reject and condemn this ideology. Today the Christian world is facing a challenge. If the Christian Church has given rise to an ideology — the ideology of the ruskiy mir, which is essentially genocidal… then one can doubt its ecclesiology, its churchly position. In various forums with Orthodox and Protestant theologians and church leaders, I have often reflected on this as a challenge for all of Christianity. After all, this kind of use of the Christian religion for geopolitical purposes, justifying the atrocities and crimes of a totalitarian regime, is a challenge to the credibility of preaching the Gospel of Christ to people of the third millennium. That is, de facto; we see here a great danger to the credibility of the church’s very essence, which goes beyond the boundaries of one church and even Orthodoxy. Therefore, I call on the entire Christian world to accurately assess such a murderous ideology. For if we do not have the same courage that the Muslim world had, if we, as Christians, accept the ideology of the ruskiy mir, if we do not have the antigen of Christian conscience, then this can become a great danger for the future of Christianity in the third millennium,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized.

The UGCC Department for Information

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