Friday, October 15, 2021

    Russian Orthodox Church lobbyist nominated for post in ethnic policy agency

    Yuriy Reshetnikov, an avid supporter of the ROC in Ukraine, a protégé of Vadym Novysnky, a lawmaker who sponsors the latter, and former deputy head of the Presidential Office Serhiy Trofimov, may take the position of deputy chief of the State Service for Ethnic Policies and Freedom of Conscience, also referred to as the Ministry of Religions.

    Reshetnikov has been officially tapped for the post, among other candidates, as reported by the Relihiyna Pravda outlet, referring to the National Agency for Civil Service.

    It should be recalled that in late February 2021, Yury Reshetnikov branded as “dangerous” the bill that would allow banning through court any religious organization for collaborationism and actions aimed toward the encroachment on the country’s independence or non-recognition of Russia’s aggression. He claimed the new bill was “a threat to freedom of conscience and the activities of religious organizations based on internal guidelines,” calling out the draft law’s text as “manipulative.”

    Although the bill refers to prosecuting religious organizations for denying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, collaborative statements, and other actions to the detriment of Ukraine’s independence, Reshetnikov for some reason spoke of “inciting religious hatred” and in no way mentioned ROCinU’s separatism in Crimea and the occupied areas of Donbas.

    He also noted that “the bill’s authors were guided by their hate toward the UOC (ROCinU – ed.).”

    Earlier, Reshetnikov called the founding of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine a “split and struggle for temples.”

    Reshetnikov also criticized the bill on military chaplaincy, claiming it restricts access of representatives of the Russian Church in Ukraine to the Ukrainian military, which, incidentally, is fighting in Donbas to rebuke Russian forces

    It should be recalled that religion is another front on which Russia has launched a massive campaign against Ukraine. The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church denies Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, also recently delivering an address at a meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry. Onufriy sees nothing wrong with ROC chief Kirill’s attitude to Ukraine, as he himself called not to consider “DPR” fighters Ukraine’s enemies, while his bishops consecrated monuments honoring militants, as well as flags flown on Russian warships in the occupied strategic port city of Sevastopol. Also, the Moscow Patriarchate priests in Crimea would even bless Russian sailors ahead of their combat missions, while the governor of the Svyatogorsk Lavra believes that it’s Ukraine that unleashed the war.

    According to a number of resolutions and other official documents by the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the European Union, other international and Ukrainian institutions, the Russian Federation remains an occupying power in relation to Ukraine. At the same time, the clerics with the Moscow Patriarchate, including the ROCinU, continue to provide comprehensive support to the Russian occupation forces in Crimea, consecrating military hardware and working out the optimal scheme for having their priests deployed in Russia’s combat positions and ensuring their participation in the Caucasus 2020 military exercise. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the ROCinU preaches peacekeeping efforts, calling on parishioners to forgive the invaders and also holding rallies outside the Verkhovna Rada and the President’s Office.

    The ROCinU earlier explained they had rallied “for the sake of religious peace” and against the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew. The Myriany, the ROCinU’s front NGO, also told reporters they belonged to the Moscow Patriarchate but stood “against renaming the UOC.”