At the height of a campaign for the Russian language in Odessa, one of its organizers, Ukrainian citizen Valery Kaurov, chairman of the Union of Ukrainian Citizens, in an interview with Interfax-Religion has explained the most painful problems facing the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine and why President Yuschenko’s brother should have given more attention to beekeeping.
- What basic problems does the Union of Ukrainian Citizens face today in defending the interests of the Orthodox Russian-speaking population?
- After the Soviet Union disintegrated and Ukraine gained independence, the basic aim facing the alternating Ukrainian authorities has been to move as far as possible from Russia and to chum up with the United States and the West. As an instrument to do it, nationalism and partition of the Russian Orthodox Church by tearing the Ukrainian Church away from it have been chosen. Indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church is the only Moscow-based structure in the post-Soviet space that has remained intact after the USSR’s disintegration. As is well known, Brzezinski used to describe it as the last principal enemy of the West to remain in the former Soviet Union. Our Church continues as a unified spiritual body with a common history, Church Slavonic as its liturgical language and saints very much revered both in Russia and Ukraine. To cut this umbilical cord is the basic task of nationalistic groups in Ukraine who have used Russophobia as subject of their policy against Russia. The ‘Galician lobby’, who have taken over in Kiev, seeks to impose on the government its ideals which are not shared by the majority in Ukraine, and this frontline goes through people’s hearts. The main thrust of this policy is to exclude the Russian language from the areas of information, education, social welfare and official proceedings and to ensure the Ukrainianization of the population. In the 2001 census, the cancellation of the question about one’s ethnic origin resulted in ‘disappearance’ of 4 million Russians. If before the collapse of the USSR there were 12 million ethnic Russians, the census turned out 8 millions. At the same time, the Ukrainian population was found to decrease from 52 to 48 millions. It means that only Russians had died. Then genocide of the Russian people in Ukraine should have been unveiled!
Ukraine’s joining NATO is another instrument used by the Russophobes in our country, so that the North-Atlantic bloc might be used afterwards to impose its ideology on the Ukrainian people and to suppress any resistance and dissent. This plan presupposes a subsequent change of the Constitution because Ukraine at present is constitutionally an out-of-bloc state. As a result our country may finally turn into a full-fledged anti-Russian state - which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church opposes, of course. So the ideologists of Ukraine’s membership in NATO have thrown in the slogan ‘Independent Church to independent Ukraine!’ They intend to make the Ukrainian Orthodox Church a national church fully separated from the Russian Orthodox Church. If that’s the case, there is every reason to believe that Church Slavonic will be forced out of the liturgy, as schismatics in the so-called Kievan Patriarchate use Ukrainian alone in their so-called worships services already today.
Besides, the Catholic unia can be seen invading Ukraine today. Ultimately, it will end in the country’s changing its faith, and the old dream of the West to make Ukraine Catholic will come true. Everybody will become schismatics first and then the state will slyly impose puppet national churches on the people in line with the ideology of the West.
Such are the problems our organizations, the Union of Ukrainian Citizens and the Odessa-based United Fatherland, are struggling with and setting the tone in this struggle.
- What does the movement for autocephaly within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate represent?
- Within the canonical Church there are some clergy who are engaged in subversive propaganda, using various heavy-handed publicists and nationalistic newspapers. What we believe immutable is that canonical autocephaly is a betrayal of Orthodoxy. The people of God will never accept it, and we will inspire and tell the people the truth through actions, missionary work and information.
- What forms are used today to propagate the idea of autocephaly for canonical Ukrainian Orthodoxy?
- Imposition of nationalism through the slogan ‘Independent Church to independent Ukraine’. They keep saying, ‘Is it that you don’t love Ukraine? Don’t we live in Ukraine? Why should Muscovites direct us?’ And this indoctrination goes on from year to year, like the 25th frame. The zombiing by mass media has been extended to the church community as well, and people including bishops seem to gradually yield to it. To live in a situation where the state preaches Ukrainian nationalism 24 hours a day and to keep one’s footing at that is something only a few can do. Naturally, retaliatory measures, our counter-evidence and a move from missionary to popular counter-attack are needed. In this we cannot do without Russia’s support. Support from Russian Orthodox parishes outside Russia and our compatriots in other countries should become part of the state policy, a real national interest, another national program. We, Russians in the church outside Russia, are 30 million and we must be supported.
- How does the work of the Union of Ukrainian Citizens develop in the Crimea? Do you have any conflicts in relations with the Crimean Tatars?
- We have our branches in the Crimea and,/i we work in close cooperation with the Crimea-based youth movement Proryv (Breakthrough - IF) which is led by Nadezhda Polyakova, a competent journalist specializing in international affairs with a good command of communication technologies as director of the St. Petersburg University information department. We have often conducted together creative actions in the Crimea, in which are young people are willing participants. Among our famous events were processions with the cross to demand the banishment of a NATO landing in Feodosia. We had our solid say there. We have very good prospects in the Crimea as the Orthodox people accept out ideas by one hundred percent. And if our actions are supported by concerned people, we can hold similar serious work throughout Novorossia and Ukraine.
As for the Crimean Tatars, they believe us to be their enemies. For them I am a very radical personality who is believed to stir up ethnic strife in the Crimea with every visit because I openly oppose attempts to capture churches and territories and to pull down devotion crosses, the so-called ‘cross-dismantling’. We came, spoke, convened round-table conferences and adopted final documents condemning the Tatars’ actions. Naturally, they didn’t like this tough position, the more so that it resounds in the mass media and evokes response. Then they realized that what they faced was not merely a public organization but a political force capable, together with the Proryv, of opposing them not only in mass street action but also at press conferences, round tables and symposia. They saw the tremendous support we enjoy among the Crimean people.
- What are principal tasks of the Union of Ukrainian Citizens in the nearest future?
- The Russian president has declared consolidation as one of the most important tasks for the Russian movement abroad. So, the Confederation includes at present as many as 15 regional organizations of Russian compatriots. We hope this process will develop. Next spring we will conduct a huge procession with the cross to last more than one day. Its aim is to ruin the process of autocephaly totally. We will lead out thousands of people to the streets in Kiev to make the Kiev authorities stop interfering in the affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, so that Yuschenko could send his brother Peter to his bee-garden together with himself to engage in beekeeping rather that partitioning the Church and could disband the commission he himself has created.