Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 15.10.2018
The Orthodox church in Moscow is joined at the hip to the Kremlin. When the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014, the Moscow Patriarchate strongly supported Putin’s War. Working within Ukraine as the so-called “Ukrainian” Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate works to undermine Ukrainian unity and resistance to Russian aggression. Priests loyal to the Putin-Gundyayev church bless soldiers who attack Ukrainian defenders and civilians, and even fight alongside them. The Moscow Patriarchate wages war against its ‘Slavic brothers’ in Ukraine – all in the name of the ‘Russian World’: Rooskiy Mir.
The Security Service of Ukraine has been investigating the Kremlin-front known as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). It is well-known that for years the UOC-MP has been waging information warfare in is churches against Ukrainian independence, freedom, and choice for a path to Europe and the West. What was less-well known was the direct involvement of UOC-MP figures in the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.
On October 13, Ukrainians got confirmation of direct involvement by the Moscow Patriarchate in Russian aggression against Ukraine. Igor “Strelkov” Girkin is a wanted terrorist and sanctioned individual and a Colonel in the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (the GRU). Girkin stated in an interview that monks from the Sviatohirsk Lavra (on photo) made up his personal security detail while he commanded Armed Forces of the Russian Federation troops in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Sviatorhirsk Lavra is just north of Slovyansk in Donetsk region, and it is an institution loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate. Girkin also said that “a novice of the Sviatohirsk Lavra commanded one of the units in the Slavic brigade.” Igor “Strelkov” Girkin and the Sviatohirsk Lavra monks connected Putin’s so-called Novorossiya (New Russia) project with ‘Rooskyi Mir’ messianism, and they convinced themselves that they were doing their “holy duty” fighting Ukrainians.
The ‘Rooskyi Mir’ of Muscovy imperialism is more religious than ideological, especially over a quarter century after the Soviet Union collapsed and with it the trappings of Marxism-Leninism and the October Revolution. Putin’s imperialism is more like that of the Tsars. Igor “Strelkov” Girkin is a Russian Empire nostalgist and zealot. It is natural that he would surround himself with monks, as he wages holy war against Ukrainians who dare to resist the gravity of the centre of his world. A fanatic, Girkin truly believes that the East is spiritual and the West is godless. According to him, Ukrainians must turn back to the East or they must die – Girkin and the ‘Rooskyi Mir’ imperialists will never allow Ukraine to follow a path to Western civilization.
Because the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine in 2014, there are no institutions left in Ukraine through which Moscow can influence Ukrainians – except the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate. But the Putin regime could not resist using the instrument of the Moscow Patriarchate presence in Ukraine as a hammer against the Ukrainian people. Priests of the Moscow Patriarchate openly supported Yanukovych and his use of violence against peaceful demonstrators during the Revolution of Dignity. Those priests also supported Kremlin propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation as a return to the ‘Rooskyi Mir’ and the ‘brotherhood of Slavic peoples.’
The Moscow Patriarchate acting as the “Ukrainian” Orthodox Church in Ukraine was the conduit for the Party of Regions back to the Putin-Kremlin crime syndicate. Now it is a conduit for the Opposition Bloc. Since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate has taken to organizing “peace marches” where they bus in paid protestors to confront displays of Ukrainian patriotism and national feeling. Most recently, the Moscow Patriarchate attempted to take the spotlight away from the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ that was celebrated in Kyiv. It is only through the remarkable forebearance of the Ukrainian people and the professionalism of the post-Revolution of Dignity security services that the Kremlin’s attempts at ‘provokatsya’ were unsuccessful.