Saturday, March 2, 2024

    UOC (MP) issue becoming lever for meddling in U.S. election

    The interview hosted by Robert Amsterdam, an American lawyer hired to defend the UOC (MP) in the international arena, with Tucker Carlson, an American conservative propagandist and Vladimir Putin adept, caused quite a stir. Even Elon Musk, another sympathizer of MAGA and the Kremlin, shared a fragment of the interview his platform, posting a comment: “Priests are being imprisoned??”

    I will not go over what’s been said in that interview. It is better to point out what’s not been mentioned. The interlocutors chose not to speak about the charges on which several priests had indeed been imprisoned, while other cases are still being investigated. Amsterdam and Carlson also hushed down the fact that the bill passed at first does not specifically designate the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate) as it concerns any religious organizations affiliated with the aggressor state. So by claiming that the new legislation aims at banning” the UOC (MP), some of its clerics and their foreign “protectors” indirectly confirm that the UOC (MP) is actually part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    I will not dwell on Amsterdam’s comments because it’s what lawyers do – they put their client on a pedestal while slamming their opponent. The problem is the worrying enthusiasm with which American conservatives have seized on the issue of the “persecuted Church”. This resonating interview has more than 46 million views. And although some directly pointed out the lies in the comments section, far fewer people actually read those comments.

    Another problem is that a significant number of GOP members and supporters are also religious conservatives. Among them is Mike Johnson, the newly elected House Speaker. He belongs to the conservative wing of Baptist Christians, stands for cutting aid to Ukraine, and promotes the idea of revising the principle of separation of Church and government. And there are lot of his fellow GOP members who share such views.

    So the Carlson-Amsterdam interview targets precisely such viewers. We all remember that the U.S. will soon dive deep into the presidential campaign so we will definitely be seeing more and more such anti-Ukrainian slurs and, accordingly, against the Democratic Party led by Joe Biden.

    In times of peace, this could be seen as simply American domestic political strife. But now, in the face of Russia’s full-scale aggression, this is actually meddling in the U.S. election. Nothing new for the Kremlin… On October 20, the United States released its intelligence conclusions on Russia’s previous interference in the American elections: “Moscow is using spies, social media and Russian state-run media to erode public faith in the integrity of democratic elections worldwide.”

    And in such a situation, UOC (MP) leadership, sponsors like Vadym Novinsky and their henchmen act deliberately. They consciously allow Moscow to use them against their own country. Some Russian propagandists are already openly rejoicing over an opportunity, with the help of the new allies such as Tucker Carlson and other conservative Republicans, to undermine the Biden administration.

    I wonder how the majority of the hierarchs, priests and believers of the UOC (MP) feel when they know that they are being exploited to the detriment of their own country’ security just because of their unwillingness to officially sever relations with the Moscow Patriarchate?

    Oleksandr Kyrylenko