By Theodore Shoebat
The Ukrainian parliament recently voted in favor of the government to force the Russian Orthodox parishes that are located in Ukraine to be under the title of “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.” The vote was done with nationalist declarations of “Glory to Ukraine!” by parliamentarians. Given the hatred by Ukrainian nationalists towards Russians, it is not difficult to see the motivation behind this move. This is about discrimination, singling people out and causing persecution against Russians in Ukraine.
This is also about state control over the churches, or the state putting itself above the church, which is very dangerous for obvious reasons.
The recent formation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the authority of Bartholomew I of Constantinople — which provoked the Russian Orthodox to sever ties with Constantinople — is also proof of a move towards religious nationalism that will only heighten tensions. As we read in a report from Orthodox Christianity:
Ukrainian Deputies voted 240-31 today to force the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to legally change its name, reports Interfax.
The bill was placed on today’s agenda by Rada Speaker Andrei Paruby at the specific request of the schismatic leader Philaret Denisenko, as OrthoChristian previously reported. The debate over the government’s interference in Church life led to a massive fight in the parliamentary hall.
Bill no. 5309, “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations’ as Regards the Names of Religious Organizations (Associations) Which are a Part of the Structure of a Religious Organization (Association), Whose Administrative Center is outside Ukraine—in the State Which, as Recognized by the Law, Committed Military Aggression against Ukraine and/or Temporarily Occupied a Part of the Territory of Ukraine,” was passed with shouts of “Glory to Ukraine!” reports the Kiev-based Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The bill provides that a religious organization that is part of a structure centered in another state that has committed military aggression against Ukraine must display this in its name. The name must fully include the name of the structure to which the organization belongs, with the permissible addition of “in Ukraine.” Ukraine officially considers Russia an “aggressor state,” and thus the Ukrainian Church is to be renamed the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
Religious nationalism is the desire of certain elements within NATO. When Turkey and the United States supposedly negotiated for the release of pastor Andrew Brunson, part of the deal was that Turkey would pressure the Orthodox church in Istanbul (the center for Eastern Orthodox Christianity) to make a Ukrainian Orthodox Church that would be independent of the Moscow Patriarchate. According to a report from Modern Diplomacy:
One of Washington’s main conditions for lifting the sanctions is Brunson’s release. However, there is another one – the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the author states.
In April, Kyiv, which strives to break away from the Russian Orthodox Church and create an independent Ukrainian Church, addressed the Ecumenical Patriarchate with an appeal to grant the autocephaly. According to Patriarch Bartholomew, who delivered a speech after the recent Sunday service, the still-ongoing official process is to yield the results shortly.
The previous week, in an interview to BBC Ukraine, the leader of Crimean Tatars and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament Mustafa Dzhemilev said that President Erdogan had confirmed his support in the process of granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. “I told him that today Moscow is like a Mecca for the Orthodox but after the UOC becomes independent Istanbul will take the place of Moscow,” Dzhemilev noticed. According to him, when he and Ukrainian president Poroshenko met with Erdogan on July 12, the Turkish leader assured that he would do “everything possible” for the Ukrainian autocephaly and said that he understood the importance of this issue for the Crimean Tatars.
Religious nationalism and tensions in Ukraine are very real.
In 2008, Iryna Farion, another Ukrainian nationalist leader, said: “I think that the structure that calls itself a Moscow Patriarchate has nothing to do with Christianity. It is one of the greatest threats for independent and self-sustained development of Ukraine. As long as this institution occupies the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra [an ancient monastery in Ukraine], a Ukrainian will be enslaved.”
In July of 2010, when Patriarch Kirill visited Ukraine, Ukrainian nationalists met him with signs that said, “Down with Moscow Colonizer Priest,” “Ukrainian Orthodox Church against Moscow Heresy,” and “Moscow Patriarchate — Spiritual Occupant”. On May of 2012, around thirty Ukrainian nationalists attacked a church in the Dnieper part of Kiev. They vandalized Christian symbols, destroyed the altar, damaged the Crucifix and icons and threatened the clergy. In the name of the nation, they became antichrist. In April of 2013, three hundred Ukrainian nationalists, carrying the flags of the Svoboda party, tried to storm a church in Novo-Arkhangelsk. They broke the gates and the doors of the church and tried to hit the clergy who were in the courtyard of the church (see Byshok & Kochetkov, Neo-Nazis & Euromaidan, pp. 71-72)
With such religious tension and jingoism, the country is like a room full of gasoline; all it takes is for one to throw in the lighted match of nationalist provocation and the place will implode.
Turkey and the United States are stoking nationalism in Ukraine, which has to be currently one of the most — if not the most — nationalistic country in all of Europe. It is the perfect place to spark anti-Russian nationalism. The United States and NATO are conducting policies that facilitate a perfect storm for nationalist surges that could culminate into a pernicious spring of the European peoples. Think of the Arab Spring, but with Europeans. A new dawn is appearing in the geopolitical horizon of Europe, and it forebodes a cloud of destruction, violence and turmoil. As shoebat.com reported a few days ago, the United States, with the authorization of president Trump, is building up an official military force for the Islamic country of Kosovo. The United States and Germany have been the most vocal backers of the making of a Kosovo army. This has provoked Kosovo’s neighbor Serbia — who just in the 1990s was at war with the Albanians of Kosovo — to the point that Nikola Selakovic, an adviser to the Serbian president, has threatened an invasion and occupation of Kosovo. This is occurring amidst Austria, currently under the nationalist government of the Freedom Party and the Austrian People’s Party, is backing Albanian accession into the European Union.
What was the beginning of the First World War? Austria invading Serbia.
History does not repeat exactly. It rhymes
Today Austria is pushing for Albania, and all Balkan states, to enter the EU, while at the same time Germany is currently scheming for a pan-European military force under her control. If Kosovo and Albania become part of the EU, that means that their militaries could go under the authority of German power.
Lets say that this takes place, and Serbia decides to hit Kosovo. Germany — just as it did the two World Wars and in the 90s — would want to take advantage of the crises to further empower its militarist hegemony in the region. Austria and Germany, wanting to revive the reich, would invade Serbia — just as it did in World War One and World War Two. When conflicts take place between European countries, other people get involved, and this involves mercenaries as well. For example, when Russia was at war with Chechnya in the 1990s, Ukrainian nationalists like Oleh Tyahnibok Igor Mazur, Valeriy Bobrovich, Dmytro Korechynsky, Andriy Tyahnibok, Dmytry Yarosh, Vladimir Mamalyga, and Olexander Muzychko, went to Chechnya to join the jihad against Russian troops. In the fall of 1994 to 1995, UNA militiamen fought for the Chechen mujahideen and their leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev, against the Russians (See Byshock & Kochetkov, Neonazis & Euromaidan, pp. 108, 118).
When Russia was involved in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict in 1993, Ukrainian fighters from the nationalist UNA (Ukrainian National Assembly), entered the fight.
When Russians were fighting Ukrainians in 2014, Serb fighters went to Donbass to fight the Ukrainians. So if Serbia ever invaded Kosovo, it is not far-fetched to suspect that Ukrainians, Bosnians, Croats and Albanians would travel to Kosovo to fight the Serbs (since Serbia is a major ally of Russia, and these people hate Russia). Russia would support the Serbs, but not immediately with direct military intervention. A proxy war would ensue, with Russia backing the Serbs and the United States, Turkey, Germany and Austria backing Kosovo. Turkey, aspiring to revive the Ottoman Empire, would seize the opportunity to regain hegemony and retake its former territory in the Balkans. Turkey would capitalize on its relationship to Macedonia and deploy troops to that country in the name of “bringing stability to the region.” Greece, being an historic enemy of the Turks, would become defensive and talk of war would be common amongst the Greek population. The Balkan conflict would begin with Germany, Austria and Turkey working together to control the Balkans, and from there boil over to the rest of Europe. I am not writing this emphatically, but only as a possible scenario that could spark the next world war.