Kiev, November 29, 2018
The Ukrainian state intends to use martial law to intimidate Ukrainian citizens who do not support the government’s push for a new autocephalous church in Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada Deputy Yuri Pavlenko believes.
The situation could encourage more church seizures as well, Deputy Vadim Novinsky believes.
Any provision of the law can be selectively applied to those who are not supporters of autocephaly, the former Ukrainian Minister for Family, Youth, and Sports Affairs, former Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights, and current People’s Deputy from the “Opposition Bloc” said yesterday on the show Pulse on station 112 Ukraine.
“It’s discrimination at the place of residence. By introducing martial law, they want to scare people who do not agree with their actions,” Pavlenko said.
Pavlenko also said the state does not have the power to fully ensure martial law, but the authorities will use it against political parties, protest social groups, and all opposition.
Ukrainian lawmakers voted on Monday to introduce martial law for 30 days in border areas with Russia following a naval confrontation off the Crimean Peninsula in which 3 Ukrainian ships were taken captive and 24 sailors were detained. Martial law began yesterday.
Meanwhile, the People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Vadim Novinsky goes further, saying the implementation of martial law coupled with the expectation of receiving a tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople could lead to the seizure of churches from the canonical Ukrainian Church.
Writing on his Facebook page, Novinsky noted that martial law was introduced in those areas where the canonical Ukrainian Church is strong, which could negatively affect the already tense religious situation in the country, having the possibility of encouraging radical forces to go on the offense against the Church, the Deputy believes.
“If the government gets at least some kind of encouraging signal from Istanbul regarding the tomos [of autocephaly—OC], nothing can stop the regime’s henchmen in their desire to seize churches and radically reshape the religious map,” he writes.
“Martial law gives them this opportunity, despite Petro Poroshenko’s assurances that civil rights will not be violated and that the state will not interfere in the Church’s affairs,” Novinsky noted, adding that he intends to closely monitor religious rights in the areas where martial law has been implemented and to promptly inform international organizations and diplomatic missions about any violations.
During the session in which the Verkhovna Rada discussed adopting marital law, Parliament Speaker Andrei Paruby declared that whatever happens, it will not stop the process in realizing a new, autocephalous Ukrainian church.
Moreover, as the Director of the Ministry of Culture’s Department for Religious Affairs and Nationalities Andrei Yurash stated in an interview with ZIK, the declaration of martial law could, in fact, speed up the process of creating the new church.
While the implementation of marital law does not directly affect the religious sphere, Yurash said, “it can further catalyze everything that happens in society and that society expects. This could inspire large social groups towards quickly realizing their strategic expectation of a united local church.”
Footage has been released in which three of the detained Ukrainian sailors admit that they intentionally provoked the Russian ships into taking action in order to justify further sanctions against Moscow. The men admit they received repeated Russian warnings but continued their admittedly provocative actions.
Given this admission, it is not unlikely that the provocation was also aimed precisely at speeding up and ensuring the process of creating the new autocephalous church.
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