Andriy Derkach, an odious lawmaker from Ukraine, recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury as a Russian agent involved in U.S. presidential election meddling, has published on his personal site an address to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
A number of artists, politicians, and activists all aspiring to the “Russian World” concept have dared to call out His Holiness, allegedly “on behalf of the Ukrainian Orthodox believers”, warning him against the visit, scheduled for August 2021, which they claim would deepen the split.
At the same time, the Kremlin once again suggested the need for an inter-Orthodox dialogue on the Ukrainian issue with the participation of all 14 local Orthodox churches. Allegedly, only after an agreement is reached within such dialogue is it feasible for the Ecumenical Patriarch to come to Ukraine with a plan to reconcile the Orthodox believers.
“Two years ago, the tomos of autocephaly of the OCU was proclaimed. Today we are on the verge of great upheaval for the whole Orthodox world. Unfortunately, the tomos has become a part of Ukraine’s political life and an instrument in the shameful actions on the part of politicians. Enlisting the support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Poroshenko, potentially a war and state criminal, together with businessmen who sponsored the tomos acquisition, are causing division and unrest in the Orthodox family,” write the adherents of the” Russian World”.
Kremlin agents of influence also said that after the plans for Bartholomew I’s arrival were announced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the situation on the religious front has deteriorated, again.
Moscow’s favorite narratives about “persecution of church” are laid down in the address in the shape of allegations of alleged seizures of temples operated by the Moscow Patriarchate (the ROC in Ukraine), as well as the allegedly fraudulent re-registration of communities and parishes.
In addition, the “Ukrainian Orthodox believers”, albeit in a rather tentative manner, rather insultingly accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of raiding attempts: “I don’t want to think that the main reason [for Constantinople] to cooperate with Petro Poroshenko and the new government was solely the opportunity to seize church property on the territory of Ukraine,” the Russian agents of influence wrote.
Among the authors and signatories are People’s Deputies of Ukraine Andriy Derkach and Nestor Shufrych, pro-Russian journalists Vyacheslav Pikhovshek, Oleksandr Semchenko, Dmytro Vasylets, and stand-up artists Volodymyr Danylets and Volodymyr Moiseienko.
It should be recalled that on January 11, the United States imposed sanctions against seven individuals and four organizations that are part of a foreign influence network, affiliated with the Russian government and MP Andriy Derkach. At the same time, the U.S. government has referred to Mr Derkach as “an active Russian agent” who maintains “close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.”