By Kostas Onisenko
The use of Church-linked levers of influence by the Russian secret services is considered a threat to Ukraine, according to Valeriy Kondratiuk, Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine.
In an article published in the Ukrainian newspaper zn.ua on New Year’s Eve, Kondratiuk referred to the dangers that the country faces, according to the Ukrainian security service, which come mainly from Russia.
Among other things, the text states that “One of the forms of pressure of the Kremlin in our country – is the promotion of the idea of the “Russian Orthodox Church”.
The Russian secret services, using levers of pressure in the religious environment, use the Russian Orthodox Church as a “hard” force by provoking protests that can easily turn into clashes with the authorities or provocateurs and in the same time as a “soft” force by influencing the consciences of the faithful.
In this regard, Russia uses all available technologies to resist the process of establishing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, manipulating the feelings of the Ukrainian faithful and trying in every way to maintain influence over them.
In addition to creating tension through inciting protests, special mention is made of “militia” groups that some of the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine are trying to create.
“Another special creation of the Kremlin is the attempt to create and legitimize paramilitary groups within religious communities (parishes) and to entrust them with responsibilities for maintaining order. There is talk of activation of pro-Russian Cossack organizations, which are trying, at local level, to copy the role of the police in maintaining public order. Such cases have been reported in the Kiyevskaya, Vinnytsia and Zaporozhye regions.”
In general, according to the text, Moscow’s strategic goals have to do with the return of Ukraine to the “zone of influence” of Russia, which implies “the establishment of external control over the processes taking place in our country, and the cessation of its existence as an independent state”.