Tuesday, May 14, 2024

    Dark PR operative for UOC (MP) Amsterdam echoes Russian propaganda narratives

    American dark PR Robert Amsterdam, who came to the UOC (MP)’s defenses, recently penned a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. That appeal, published by Turkish media, is an apologia of the said Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). The letter is structured as a compilation of narratives that have been repeatedly voiced by the mouthpieces of the said religious organization.

    Early in the letter, Amsterdam draws His Holiness’ attention to “the political and ecclesiastical conflict tearing apart Orthodox Ukraine.” It is noteworthy that, addressing the Ecumenical Patriarch, the author refers to him as the first among equals (primus inter pares), which corresponds to yet another Moscow narrative.

    Further into the text, in the spirit of Russian church propaganda, he pushes claims of the so-called “intimidation” of UOC clerics by the Ukrainian authorities. According to Robert Amsterdam, the UOC (MP) “is the target of a vicious and unlimited campaign of intimidation, perpetrated by the Ukrainian authorities.” Representatives of this church organization “have been beaten and arrested on false charges.”

    According to the author of the letter, the reason for these persecutions “predate Russia’s illegal invasion and are the product of the country’s complex religious, political, and cultural history.” Amsterdam reduces the starting point of this conflict to the beginning of the autocephalous movement in Ukraine, which arose in the 1920s. It is not difficult to guess that Amsterdam sees the problem precisely in the desire for autocephaly, and not in the destructive policy of the Russian Church both in relation to Ukrainian Orthodoxy and in general the issue of autocephaly, which he never mentioned at all.

    The same one-sided position of the apologist of Russian Orthodoxy is obvious, indicating his little knowledge of the Ukrainian church issue. One gets the impression that Amsterdam has not studied all aspects of Ukrainian autocephaly, but only uses its “authority and background” to deliberately justify the Russian stance. In other words, “the fee received is being trivially worked out.”

    Further down the text, the author expresses his conviction that the echoes of the autocephaly movement can be heard even in the present time, because now his protégés from the UOC (MP) are “threatened with closure as the and the movement for autocephaly swoops in to feed of the carcass of the Church.” Amsterdam places the blame for this on the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, who granted the Tomos of autocephaly to the OCU, and thereby “paved the way for attacks on the UOC.”

    In addition, Amsterdam, in the same spirit of Russian church propaganda, suggests that by issuing the Tomos of autocephaly, the Ecumenical Patriarchate “whether intentionally or not – aligned itself with the forces of Ukrainian nationalism.” In his opinion, such actions on the part of Constantinople “opened a Pandora’s box” because “the OCU became the receptacle of violent resentments, which have been mobilized against the UOC.”

    However, such conclusions directly contradict the realities of life, the circumstances of the time and generally – common sense. After all, as you know, the Tomos of autocephaly resolved the long-standing problem of division in Ukrainian Orthodoxy. Finally, the merger of the three branches of the Ukrainian Church into one took place.

    This matter has been of concern to Ukrainian society throughout the entire recent history of Ukraine’s independence. It especially intensified after the Russian aggression, unleashed in 2014. However, this aspect, as well as the glaring facts of support for this aggression by the UOC hierarchs, are deliberately ignored by Amsterdam.

    However, this is what became the problem of the so-called attacks, not the Tomos. The UOC itself, by its actions and deeds, opened the Pandora’s box that Amsterdam mentions and from which it is now suffering. However, UOC’s new apologist prefers to remain silent about this, which only once again proves his incompetence.

    Further, in the letter, Amsterdam mentions the legislation that would “outlaw the UOC”, which, in his opinion, is the “latest expression of the Government’s enmity against the Church.” Amsterdam believes that “if it passes into law, Ukraine will be in flagrant breach of international law.” In addition, in the best traditions of Russian propaganda, Amsterdam scolded one of the authors of the law, Viktor Yelensky, who, in his opinion, is a “product of Soviet education”, who once “published an anti-Semitic diatribe against Jews”, and is now targeting his protégés. As a result, Amsterdam calls on the Ecumenical Patriarch to oppose the bill.

    Thus, this whole letter is nothing more than a simple sharing of Russian religious propaganda theses. After exploring the content, it becomes obvious that its author did not dig deep into the entire problem of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, but only relayed, presumably, the theses from the Russian guidebook that had been passed on to him in advance. It is obvious that this is exactly what Amsterdam sees as his main mission in the matter of protecting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate).

    However, with such one-sided letters and such an approach to the case, Amsterdam only proves his incompetence. It can be assumed that if he continues to be guided by a similar toolkit in his work, he will turn from an “experienced journalist” into an amateur columnist.

    Source: Spiritual Front of Ukraine Editorial Board

    It should be recalled that, earlier we posted a translation of an article by Oleksandr Kyrylenko, religious analyst, co-founder of the Spiritual Front of Ukraine, which was initially published by fosfanariou.gr

    The piece entitled “Black PR man of the UOC (MP) Amsterdam reproaches Ecumenical Patriarch for backing ‘Ukrainian nationalism’” can be read here.