By Kostas Onisenko
“Political persecutions are unacceptable,” says in a statement the Orthodox Church of Ukraine regarding the legal proceedings in which the former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is involved, who was a fervent supporter of the Tomos of Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
In an announcement issued by the Holy Metropolis of Kyiv, it is highlighted in prosecutor’s authorities that there was a risk of political persecution of the former president of Ukraine in a time that the situation is exploited by factors of Russian assertiveness.
Representatives of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine informed the fifth President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, on the 10th of June that he was suspected of being involved in the case of the appointment of the Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine in 2018.
In particular, according to prosecutor’s authorities, Petro Poroshenko acted in breach of his duties and ordered the appointment of the Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Semochko. Later, in 2018, evidence was revealed and an investigation was launched against Sergey Semochko over illicit enrichment. Petro Poroshenko dismissed him the very same year.
Petro Poroshenko told the media that he was acting in accordance with his duties as the Ukrainian Constitution stipulates that “the President appoints the high command of the armed forces.” Without going into further detail, representatives of several institutions stressed that the case could be a plan that aimed the political persecution of the former president by Ukraine’s current leadership.
After a year since Volodymyr Zelensky is in government, whose main election slogan was to tackle corruption and to punish corrupt politicians, things seem to have remained the way they were before. At a time when Zelensky’s popularity has begun to decline significantly, taking the wrong steps could damage Ukraine’s prestige and internal cohesion. Among those who have highlighted those risks are EU officials, who have been making efforts.
The announcement issued on Friday by the Office of Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv shows that there is a deep concern about the case of Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine as a whole and does not touch upon the matter of the good relations between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the former President. It is also highlighted how justice is exploited by people, who have been trying to block the ‘transition’ of parishes to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Moscow Patriarchate.
Furthermore, according to the announcement, the reason why the Church has intervened in the case is that pro-Russian media in Ukraine use pretexts, such as suspicions against Petro Poroshenko, in order to damage the image of the newly-established Orthodox Church of Ukraine.