By Kostas Onisenko
The church issue in Ukraine and Russia’s attempt to use it for its own purposes is a threat to Ukraine’s security. This view was expressed by the Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, Valeriy Kondratyuk, in an article published in the Ukrainian online newspaper ZN.ua.
In his article, Kondratyuk referred to various risks in Ukraine, which has been facing Russian aggression. He referred not only to the military aspects of the issue but also to other fields, such as economics, communications, etc.
Moreover, according to the head of the security service, Russia’s goal is to gain full control over the situation in Ukraine, and, according to him, Russia uses a number of tools, many of which are part of the so-called hybrid war. One of the issues he referred to is the Church issue, which he considers to be one of the tools used by Russia against Ukraine.
In particular, Kondratyuk states in his article the following:
One of the forms of pressure used by Kremlin against our country is the promotion of the “Russian Orthodox Church” concept. The Russian security services, which exert influence in the religious sphere, use the Russian Church either as a “hard power” (by organising of protests, which can easily lead to serious clashes with security authorities or provocateurs), or as a “soft power” (by influencing the faithful).
In this regard, Russia uses all available technologies to prevent the process of the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and, therefore, manipulates the feelings of the Ukrainian faithful and tries to maintain their influence over them.
Another special operation organised by Kremlin is their efforts to create and legitimise militias that would be responsible for maintaining order in various parts of Ukraine and within the parishes. They reportedly strengthen pro-Russian organisations, such as the “Cossacks”, which are trying to assume responsibility for an enhanced role in policing at a local level in order to maintain public order. In particular, such cases have been reported in the Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Zaporizhia.