Pochaev, Ukraine, October 13, 2017
Right Sector radicals in the Western Ukrainian city of Ternopil are continuing to intimidate deputies of the Pochaev city council in order to block the allocation of a plot of land to the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra. The radicals disrupted yesterday’s meeting of the regular session of the city council which was to consider the land question, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
This is now the second aggressive attempt to block the council from taking up the issue of granting land to the Pochaev Lavra, which would be used to build new structures for the brethren to live in.
In late June, representatives of the nationalist-extremist group Freedom started a fight, thwarting the city council session which was considering the question of granting permission to change the purpose of the land in question. Pochaev mayor Vasily Boiko reported the incident to the police and to the “Public Advocacy” NGO which represents the interest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to international organizations.
The incident was reported to the European community at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Warsaw.
“Activists of the Right Sector and Trident, in collaboration with the National Corpus and Freedom are ready to take decisive actions to prevent the treacherous actions of the local authorities,” Right Sector members wrote on their Facebook pages before the start of yesterday’s session.
Given the serious and dangerous pressure, the question of the land-grant was again not taken up. Despite that they achieved their desire end, the masked men continued to insult the deputies, clergy, and elderly women gathered at the meeting.
One of the deputies spoke about how they were already subjected to intimidation before the session. “If you vote, we will find every one of you, in your homes, and you will see what will happen to you,” they were told. “Is this correct? I’m a free person—the Ukrainian Constitution clearly says that everyone has the right to freedom of religion. So why do you come every time and do violence against the deputies? It is not right,” the deputy stated.