July 25, 2016 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ
Translated by J. Arnoldski
Large-scale provocations and new bloodshed could rock Ukraine in the coming days. Ukrainian neo-Nazis have announced a mobilization of their ranks and the role of their enemy has been assigned to the Christian pilgrims and participants of the Holy Procession.
The Holy Procession for Peace, Prayer, and Love in Ukraine as it is called began simultaneously in the East and West of the country. One part of the Holy Procession set off on July 3rd from the Svyatogorsk Lavra (the large and famous monastery) in Donetsk region and the second began on July 9th from the Pochaev Lavra in the West. The two processions are to meet on July 27th in Kiev where they will hold a prayer service in Ukraine’s main holy site, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
The procession is taking place with the blessing of both Metropolitan Onufry, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). Church and religious issues in Ukraine are extremely complex. Three state-recognized Orthodox churches operate, the only canonical one of which is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The remaining “churches” are supported by the state for political purposes. The Galician part of Ukrainian neo-Nazis support the Greek Catholic Uniate Church, a former part of the Russian Orthodox Church which adopted the Roman Catholic creed in 1596 and became pledged subservience to the Roman Papacy of the Vatican. The Greek Catholic Uniate priests of Galicia were the main creators of the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism and Nazism. Stepan Bandera, the founder of the largest branch of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (the “Banderite” or “revolutionary” wing) was the son of a Uniate priest. Such nationalist Uniates are known for hating both the Orthodox and Roman Catholics, and it was they who perpetrated or at least led the massacre of the Polish population of Lvov on June 29th, 1941 and the Volyn massacre of Poles in February-July 1943. These were the loudest, but by no means the only actions perpetrated by the OUN.
The main enemy of the Uniate neo-Nazis from the non-canonical churches today is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In this confrontation, they are supported by the most radical part of Ukrainian neo-Nazism professing paganism. This group includes the “Patriot of Ukraine” and “White Hammer” organizations and others. The majority of such Ukrainian neo-Nazis fill the ranks of the Interior Ministry’s Azov regiment (whose founder and first commander is Andrey Biletsky) Immediately after the victory of the Euromaidan, Ukraine witnessed attacks on Orthodox churches and priests of the UOC-MP. The majority of believers in Ukraine belong to the parishes of the canonical church of the Moscow Patriarchate, hence why the state is compelled to somewhat smooth over such conflicts.
While this article was being written, both Holy Processions were not far from Kiev. The neo-Nazis’ forces have hastily assembled to meet them. Near Borispol, a camp of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists headed by Nikolay Kokhanivsky (a Uniate by profession) has been set up. Kokhanivsky has stated that his fighters are ready to go to any measure to stop the Holy Procession. “The Moscow Patriarchate represents a threat to Ukrainian statehood, and the OUN has as one of its aims completely expelling it from the territory of Ukraine,” Kokhanivsky has announced.
The OUN’s militants’ operations are being ideologically supported by the former head of Ukrainian Greco-Catholics, Lyubomir Guzar, who during the Euromaidan had called for the overthrow of the “gangster government” of President Yanukovych. Guzar has denounced the Holy Procession for Peace, Prayer, and Love in Ukraine: “These holy processions are such cynicism that it is difficult to even imagine something worse.”
As Life TV channel has reported, the neo-Nazis have so far shied away from attacking the pilgrims since a special Berkut unit from the Ministry of Internal Affairs has arrived at Borispol and intimidated the assembled neo-Nazis.
As Berkut forces and neo-Nazis accumulate, the situation from the Euromaidan is being repeated.
The participants of the Holy Procession, including Orthodox pilgrims, priests, women, children, and the elderly, will meet the Uniate and pagan neo-Nazi militants tomorrow in Kiev. But Berkut will prevent a clash. President Poroshenko is not interested in mass clashes and bloodshed nor is he interested in a spiritual victory off the canonical church in the capital of post-Maidan Ukraine. The neo-Nazis, moreover, hate President Poroshenko no less than they hate President Putin. He has been charged with being a Jew and oligarch whose regime has been called an “internal occupation” by these neo-Nazis.
It is the neo-Nazis who are interested in large-scale provocations. If this happens, such will be directed not only against the UOC-MP and Orthodox pilgrims, but also against President Poroshenko and the Ministry of Internal Affair’s special units (Berkut and others). Important and perhaps bloody events will take place tomorrow and the day after both in and near Kiev. In the worst case scenario, this could give impetus to a new bloody confrontation in Donbass as well as Ukraine.