Oleksandr Klymenko Official website
Articles | 1221 | 30.05.2017

Games with faith

Why did the government decide to play on the feelings of Ukrainian believers?

In media, it was started the discussion of strange draftlaw that would be considered in the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday, May 18.  By the way, it is absolutely anti-constitutional. It is aimed at destroying Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

Probably, it is just a PR of the political technologists of the power. However, desires of the country’s leadership are obvious, namely, to minimize the influence on the Ukrainians of the canonical Orthodox Church.

In particular, parishes of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) are obliged:

— to ask for state authorization on appointment of any leadership. It comes about candidacies of priests, bishops, governors and abbots even in regional eparchies;

— to sign contracts with the executive branch. Provisions of such documents are still unclear.  However, the draftlaw fixes that the Church should respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and Ukrainian laws (do they believe that it does not respect these things now?);

— to coordinate the invitation of foreign religious figures in order to carry out preaching on Ukrainian territory.

What will happen if it comes true?

Nowadays, about 14 thousand parishes of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) are operating in Ukraine. All of them will be forced to register anew during the three months. In order to do this, they will have to get a conclusion from the so-called independent experts.

Claims of the “independent experts”, which are appointed by the authorities, are unknown. According to existing realities, abbots of temples will hear different nonsense. Starting from the wrong beard style and ugly reflection of the sun in the dome. Otherwise, they can be “convincingly advised” to say “Glory to Ukraine” during the preaching or to paint the walls with Poroshenko’s portraits in the form of a Roman patrician.

If they refuse to do this, they will not receive permit and will be forced to close their temples. Millions of congregations will be deprived of the opportunity of spiritual communion and prayer.

In fact, we will have a war for the sake of temple in each village as well as it was during the Soviet times.

According to the opinion poll conducted by the Ukrainian Sociology Service in late 2016, only 8% of Ukrainians support the state’s control over the church. Such amount is nearly equal to the number of radical citizens.

Consequently, communities, which are loyal to their priests, risk to curry anger of various right-wing movements – Azov, the Right Sector and other nameless criminals under red-black flags.

Why should this draftlaw adopted and actively discussed now?

Firstly, millions of parishioners will not be concerned about impoverishment and looting the country, but switch to protecting their spiritual values. Faith is more important than bread for them.

The situation will split the society and cause severe disputes. Thus, it will divert attention from the laws, which are related to the IMF, namely, from the anti-human pension “reform”. The government is expecting that people will not pay attention to it due religious wars.

Secondly, it is an obvious attempt to indulge Poroshenko in his desire to have its own place in Ukrainian modern history – “creator of local church”.  Yes, he intends to build it on blood (there is no doubts that clashes of communities will take place throughout the country and it will not be PEACEFUL). However, we are aware of the fact that Poroshenko cannot act the other way.

It is important to say that expert commission, which analyses all Ukrainian draftlaws, believes that such document cannot be adopted. I would like to quote the conclusion of the commission:

“The draftlaw restricts the right to freedom of ideology and religion. It contains features of discrimination and divides Ukrainian citizens on religious grounds. Adoption of this draftaw can lead to new conflicts in public and religious fields in the country. It will also negatively affect the international image of Ukraine”.

Will the MPs vote for this draftlaw?

I hope no. This document –  it is a PR and work with public opinion, rather than current reality.

Although, thoughts of current power are clearly reflected in the incomplete war in Donbas. Therefore, I cannot completely exclude the adoption of this draftlaw with such serious consequences.