Pro-Russian forum ‘People of Peace’ held by UOC-MP is promoting war, not peace, - Hromadske

14.09.2020, 12:15
Pro-Russian forum ‘People of Peace’ held by UOC-MP is promoting war, not peace, - Hromadske - фото 1
On September 21, the forum ‘People of Peace’ is to be held in Donetsk region. It is actively prepared by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, presenting it as an initiative that will help achieve peace in Donbas.

Hromadske has analyzed the Pro-Russian slant of the event and the possible risks of its implementation.

“The Church can be a mediator” – such statements were made at the beginning of the year from the then adviser, NSDC Secretary Sergey Sivokho. It was him who prepared his Platform of reconciliation and convinced that the Church "has always been a helper and distinguished by peacemaking.” That said, he mentioned the Monastery of Sviatogorsk.

But Sivoho's peacekeeping efforts failed. Following the presentation of the Reconciliation Platform in March, he was dismissed from the NSDC and disappeared from the information list.

But they came back to the idea. At the end of the summer, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate itself launched the peace initiative. On August 17, they decided to hold an international forum 'People of Peace'.

“The Church's initiative is to involve civil society in the negotiation process... This is one of the steps on the way to achieving peace in Ukraine,” Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanych), Administrator of the UOC-MP, said at the presentation in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

The Organizing Committee consists of rock musician Oleg Karamazov, a medical professional and clergyman of the UOC-MP, Rostislav Valikhnovsky, journalist Konstyantyn Stohniy, and cultural critic Yuriy Molchanov. They also recalled the involvement of medical professional Borys Todurov, boxer Oleksandr Usyk and others.

Almost all members of the Organizing Committee are participants of the media project 'People', which was launched on the 112th TV channel of Viktor Medvedchuk.

Representatives of the Organizing Committee deny any connection with the politicians. "The Church initiates a non-political forum. No political force in Ukraine is behind this event. We are equally happy with all politicians who are focused on peace. And we are equally opposed to all politicians who promote war,” Yuri Molchanov said at the presentation. In his Facebook feed, he actively opposes the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, pro-Ukrainian ideas, and calls supporters of the previous President Petro Poroshenko 'the Sect of Porokh (Poroshenko)'.

The representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group Serhiy Harmash drew attention to the relations of the participants of this initiative with Russia, and especially to the planned venue of the forum - the Lavra of Sviatogorsk.

“This is a purely pro-Russian event, which is organized by a Church affiliated with the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church — ed.) and will be held in a pro-Russian location. We perfectly remember Girkin's story that all his personal guards during the capture of Sloviansk consisted of novices of the Lavra of Sviatogorsk,” Harmash notes.

According to the representative of Ukraine in the TCG, if the Church sought mutual understanding between Ukrainians, it would invite representatives of Patriotic communities and volunteer battalions to the forum.

The forum 'People of Peace' will be held in the Lavra of Sviatogorsk on September 21 — just amidst the local election campaign. The forum's theses, appeals and decisions can be used both during and after the elections.

“The likely threat is this: when the Opposition Bloc ‘For Life' gets a majority in local councils, its representatives can make decisions on establishing ties with the border regions of Russia. We have already had such cases,” Viktor Kononenko, former Deputy head of the SBU, explains to Hromadske.

He concludes that now Russia will try in every possible way to protect the initiative of the UOC-MP. But the Ukrainian authorities must respond. So all of this can carry the threat of resumption of the violent conflict.