Zelensky’s Bloody War Against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Due to a Western press blackout, I had been unaware of the ferociousness of the war that Zelensky is conducting against the Ukraine Orthodox Church until reader guurst sent this tweet:

Apparently prompted by the incident above, Mark Sleboda provides a comprehensive account of this situation in a new post, Zelenskiy’s Pogrom Against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I strongly urge you to read it in full (it is particularly well documented) but nevertheless hazard a recap below.

Sleboda depicts the Orthodox Church led by the patriarch in Moscow as being cohesive from the 14th century notably even during the Communist era when it was in some disfavor but not disallowed, through the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. After that, political jurisdictions didn’t match up with the map of the patriarch’s authority, but the squabbles weren’t unmanageable.

That changed with the 2014 Maidan coup. Even though the Ukrainian Orthodox Church suspended its ties with the patriarch in Moscow as of February 2014, denounced Patriarch’ Krill’s backing of the Special Military Operation, and planned a procession to support the Azov goons Ukraine forces besieged in the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.

Nevertheless, these efforts to show loyalty to the regime were not sufficient, since the objective was deRussification. From Sleboda:

A decision was made following the US-backed Maidan Putsch in 2014 that in order to permanently geopolitically divide Ukraine from Russia that the cultural and religious bonds uniting the two peoples must be severed as well.
The creation of a new “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) with a new Patriarch in Kiev was pushed by the Kiev Putsch regime and manufactured into being in 2018.

The Kiev Patriarch Filaret even gave CIA ops chief, Jack Devine, an award for his support in the creation of the new ecclesiastically- independent Ukrainian Orthodox church. Incidentally he gave an award to US neocon John McCain as well. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Since seizing power 2014 and accelerating dramatically in the last year, the US-backed Putsch regime in Kiev has been carrying out a very real pogrom against the Orthodox churches and parishioners across Ukraine who do not accept the rule and strictures of its new ly manufactured Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)…

Zelenskiy has given an address declaring the regime’s “crackdown” on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its parishes, priests, and parishioners and drafted legislation to ban and outlaw the Ukrainian Orthodox Christian church completely,  ominously intoning “We will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul.” Because the regime apparently is now dictating even what happens in Ukrainian’s souls.

The Kiev Putsch regime’s intelligence services, the SBU have also launched inquisition-like raids at monasteries and churches across the country under the guise of “counter-intelligence measures” to hunt for and root out “collaborators” and “traitors of the Ukrainian people”, searching for such damning evidence as prayer books or religious literature still in the Russian language or icons of Russian saints that prove they are acting as subversive “cells of the Russian world”.

Priests have been physically dragged out of their churches, imprisoned for their heretical views, and sometimes, as in the case of Father Sergey Tarasov of Kiev,  even executed in cold-blood. Parishioners as well have been harassed, beaten, and dragged out of their churches, often in the middle of mass.

Mind you, it isn’t as if governments haven’t more than occasionally oppressed particular religions, although generally speaking, that has occurred to suppress, ostracize, or even better yet, force into exile the ethnic group practicing that religion.1 Here, the Ukraine government is clear that its assault against the Ukraine Orthodox Church is a manifestation of its program to root out All Things Russian.

The Western press is misleading citizens by hiding the true face of our falsely sanctified ally in Kiev, who has shut down opposition press, opposition parties, and jailed opposition leaders. Or perhaps this is the kind of democracy that is coming to America, witness the spread of tech-enforced censorship via banning and shadow banning, demonetizing, and search downranking.

In particular, our media ignores Nazi brutality and Ukraine’s continued enthusiasm for it. In case you think I am exaggerating:

And yes, the new fake Orthodox Church of Ukraine hearts Bandera:

Needless to say, the specter of violence in a church is upsetting, particularly to those with a strong religious upbringing. From IM Doc:

Unfortunately, the picture of the blood all over the floor of the church brings back such memories for me sitting on my Greek Grandfather’s lap as a 4 or 5 year old kid.

Defiling a church and slitting the priest. What would he have made of this.

I can hear him in his own voice in Greek reading the ancient stories of when someone dared enter the Temple of the Gods and God forbid attack a priest of the Gods.

The Greeks had a very special punishment for this type of person. It was very rarely used for much else other than high treason and defying the Gods.

The Brazen Bull. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazen_bull

My grandfather would delight in telling me how the horns of the bull had been fashioned to acoustically amplify the screams of the condemned. And how they would place inflammable material in the bull as the person and the material burned – they had holes in the horns that would begin to blow out the smoke – and eventually it would begin to whistle like a teapot. The entire city was forced to watch.

He was very dramatic. Maybe that is why I did not choose a life of crime.

And from GM, who knows quite a lot about that part of the world and recaps the origin story of Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with a few additional details:

Galicians are monsters indeed.

They’re not quite Orthodox though, although many are.

Remember that Galicia split off from Russia 800 years ago. Volynia was recovered after the partition of Poland so it was in Russia for more than century before it was lost again after WWI. It was still Banderized, but still, Galicia is where the real source of all the evil is.

The result of all that time spent inside Catholic Poland and Austro-Hungary was the Uniate Church, which is supposedly Orthodox but is in union with the Pope in Rome:


Which is now the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, centered on Galicia.

That’s still only 15% of Ukraine though, the great majority are proper Orthodox.

But then in 2018-19, as part of the preparation for the war, an autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, separate from the Russian-affiliated UOC (Ukrainian Orthodox Church), was created, with the help of the Patriarch in Constantinople.

Starting a couple months ago, they have been raiding the real UOC churches and replacing the priests with the fake OCU, under the pretext that the UOC priests are agents of Russian influence. And raiding it is — you can assume a lot of the gold and icons there are being sold on the black market.

This is actually backfiring though — there were protests against this even in Ivano-Frankovsk, because apparently people take canonical rules seriously, and they don’t see the OCU as the real church, so once it takes over, they are left without a church. There was even one video of the mother of a dead Ukrainian soldier begging the SBU to wait a couple days so that she can bury him properly, because otherwise it would not be done under the proper right.

Imagine people in Ivano-Frankovsk — as rabid core Banderistan as it gets — protesting against the SBU. But it happened.

But yeah, back to the initial question — yes, Galicians are monsters. And slashing a priest’s throat is nothing compared to what they are capable of. This pales compared to the stories from WWII. Or even some of the things that were done last year.

Problem is “Galicia” now stretches all the way to Kharkov…

Sadly there won’t be a “Truth and Reconciliation” light at the end of this tunnel.


1 One departure was the dechristianization of revolutionary France. Some of this development was bottoms-up, since there was a pent-up hatred against Church officials for their wealth and corruption. But the new regime was also broke. One of its first measures was on October 10, 1789, to seize ecclesiastical property. None other than the then Bishop of Autun, Talleyrand, read the introduction to the motion on Church holdings.

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  1. sinbad66

    Gives context to why Zelenskiy is blowing off Putin’s Orthodox Christmas cease fire, calling it a cover up to gather up Russian forces.
    Killing a priest in a church? There’s a special place in hell for someone like that….

    1. timbers

      Almost makes you wanna support the Never Kevin gang of 20 or so if only make it a tiny bit harder for America’s lovely incarnation of the German WW2 like leadership gang in Kiev.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        The whole truce was designed for a Western audience, in attempt to plant a seed that deep down the Russians are good people and thus the West won’t supply the Ukrainians with anymore weapons. Did Putin do it as a favour for Erdogan? Probably.

        There’s reason that the Chinese call Russia, “the fighting nation”.

        Sadly the West only fears ruthless Russians they don’t fear peacenik Russians.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Non western audiences. The US has been ranting Russia isn’t open to negotiations. I think this is in response to 3rd world countries pointing out Western behavior. Putin just responded with an event that would give Ukraine an edge and arguably put pressure on him to extend. The mobilization process is basically done.

      2. Rip Van Winkle

        Good to see one of the 20 from southern Illinois holding out. I wouldn’t think their priorities are on the other side of the world. She doesn’t seem like a right-wing-crazy to me.

        On the other hand all but one of the Indiana Team Red fell in line for McCarthy, so far. Including a newly elected Houchin, a protegy of Dan Coats (swamp). Spratz still voting “present” represents the well-off Carmel, Zionsville and Fishers, but also Muncie where the manufacturing plants disappeared about 50 years ago.

  2. Stephen

    If you want to create a totalitarian state modelled on various such entities of the 1930s then these steps are unfortunately totally logical. An independent Church of any form, even if not Russian in character is a competitor. It needs to be brought under the thumb. Quite apart from the looting opportunities.

    How the collective west can just accept all this and continue with the clear lie that this is a cuddly, liberal regime standing for freedom is beyond me. Except, of course, for the reasons you point out. It is a precursor for what the elite want to put in place in the US and Europe.

    By lauding the multi ethnic and multi faith aspects of Russia, Putin seems to stand more clearly for classical liberal values than any major current western leader seems to. I recall various pictures where he has been photographed with senior clerics of various Christian plus Islamic and Jewish faiths.

    My belief is that this type of behaviour by Ukraine and the west will not play well in the Global South. Much of Africa and Latin America is very religious. A Muslim friend of mine also reminded me that people of faith often respect other people of faith. Even if it is a different one. Prior to western “help”, much of the Middle East even had a long history of different faiths living alongside each other. I can fully believe that none of this would play so well in much of the Middle East either. Putin’s ceasefire for the Orthodox Christmas paradoxically might do though.

    This war increasingly does look like a clash of values but Putin’s are more attractive to much of the world than the ones that Ukraine and the west stands for. Including to western populations themselves when able to cut through the propaganda maze. All of this portends a very long struggle. Another Thirty Years War, perhaps.

    1. Alan Roxdale

      How the collective west can just accept all this and continue with the clear lie that this is a cuddly, liberal regime standing for freedom is beyond me

      It’s making a lot more sense to me as time goes by. The internal ideological contradictions, seen most obviously in this Azov movement, actually seem to be a kind of framework. Intellectually the positions are contradictory, but they only need to work emotionally to serve raw political ends. This is regime change though hearts over heads. The commitment of the international political class to actual rules/laws is tissue thin, so even absurd emotive contradictions are enough to sway them.

      This is piercing the proverbial frog with perpendicular hot pins, pinning it down even from contradictory positions. Seen from the goal of imposing political will, this makes sense. To the frog it is insane only if it thinks the only way to cook a frog is to boil it in water.

      1. Stephen

        I agree.

        For exactly the same reason people seem able to condemn what they say is “Putin’s aggressive, unprovoked war” and fail to self reflect on the west’s pattern of very recent unprovoked wars of choice.

        This comment from Yves also made sense to me, and applied more broadly than just the US: “ Or perhaps this is the kind of democracy that is coming to America, witness the spread of tech-enforced censorship via banning and shadow banning, demonetizing, and search downranking.”

        Power is the real driver.

    2. Kouros

      “How the collective west can just accept all this and continue with the clear lie that this is a cuddly, liberal regime standing for freedom is beyond me”

      One just needs to remember the conversion of English from Catholicism under Pope to Anglicanism under the King of England.
      – killing of priests, check.
      – killing of those of faith, check in spades

      Looting of Church’s wealth and redistribution of land among Henry the 8th’s followers, check.

      In the Anglosphere, historically, that is the thing to do, no questions asked.

  3. JohnnyGL

    Yikes, this kind of stuff is starting to look like the 1980s-era dirty wars in Latin America. Rampaging murderous gangsters killing with impunity.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Murdering priests in their own churches is usually not such a good idea. Somebody should ask King Henry II how well it worked out for him having Thomas Becket murdered in his church. But for Zelensky, there will be no redemption. And ultimately, there will be none for this CIA-created Ukrainian church either. Thing is, this Ukrainian church is going to be the cause of serious trouble between Poland and the Ukraine going forward. The Poles, being Catholic, hate the Russian Orthodox church already and just recently I saw a video of Polish mercs burning an Orthodox bible as fuel. So how will Catholic Poles feel about this Ukrainian Church that honours and celebrates the memory of Stepan Bandera. And you know that it is only a matter of time before Stepen Banderra is made a Saint in this church.

    And where the hell is the EU on all this religious discrimination? What about the so-called right of religious freedom that they have talked about in the past.

  5. Alan Roxdale

    Probably the long term goal will be to change practices/rites/etc, probably adopt the latin alphabet also, so as to westernise the Ukrainian Church or at least permanently split it from standard Orthodoxy (especially Russian). Even if this only works for the ruling minority political class (e.g Vietnam, Ireland, etc), that’s OK. This type of religious conversion/division was standard among all the European empires even well into the 20th century.

    As to the EU, as long as the new churches are cool with freedom of capital and a few pride flags, the loss of a few turbulent priests won’t get in the way.

    1. GM

      The really long-term goal is to make them Catholic.

      I don’t think most people appreciate how much of the hatred for Russia in the West derives from the Great Schism of 1054. Not so much from that moment specifically, because Russia wasn’t a major factor for the West at the time, but from everything that happened in the subsequent centuries.

      Orthodoxy was on the brink of extinction in the 15th century after Constantinople fell. Russia remained the only Orthodox country (with a lot of direct transfer from the Balkans and the Greek lands of monks, scholars, books, culture, etc, prior to that and in the aftermath), and not only remained Orthodox, but became a great power.

      Without Russia becoming a great power, Orthodox Christianity would have gone the way of the Church of The East. Which was actually the largest Christian church in the middle ages, stretching from the Levant to the Chinese coast. But was then nearly entirely wiped out first by the Mongols and then by the Turkic expansion, and was finally finished off in the Middle East by ISIS a few years ago — it will now have to survive as a diaspora scattered around the world.

      In the real timeline, there were the Armenian and Assyrian genocides circa WWI, which were quite successful on the territory of what is now Turkey, but enough Armenians and Assyrians remained outside to prevent a complete extinction.

      Armenians survived directly because “outside Turkey” meant Russia.

      But in the alternative timeline in which there is no Russia, they are probably wiped out completely, and perhaps much earlier, and the same fate would have awaited the Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians.

      There has never been much love in the Catholic (and later Protestant) heart for the Orthodox. Remember that the West played a key role in killing the Byzantine Empire with the Fourth Crusade, it never recovered after that.

      It’s also curious to note that the direct clash until the 19th century was only between Poland and Russia. But after that we got Napoleon, the Crimean war, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and now this.

      Which may actually turn out to be the most serious attack on Russia in history. This is another underappreciated point. Whatever you may think about true loyalties and the British practice of instigating continental wars to weaken their rivals, nominally Russia fought Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler with Britain as a nominal ally. Now it is the entirety of Europe plus the US against Russia with the explicitly stated idea to break it up and subjugate it. The Crimean war wasn’t fought with such objectives and didn’t feature the US.

      1. Lex

        Thanks for the concise recap. This is what was on my mind but I doubted my ability to sum it up without unnecessary tangents. I don’t think many in the west understand this facet of what’s happened and what’s developing.

        Russia and Orthodoxy are also problematic for the west because they don’t have the same animosity to Islam. I’d rate that primarily in there being geographic proximity since forever and it’s not a statement that they’ve never been in opposition to each other but that they have traditionally found a way to live next to each other. I’m not sure the west is fully understanding the current rapprochement in Western Asia between Orthodoxy and Islam either, or maybe it is and that’s part of the current anger because only Russia could be the bridge.

        1. GM

          Orthodoxy is also greatly problematic because it’s much more ascetic, non-materialistic and focused on mysticism than Western Christianity.

          That has generally been a disadvantage — there is a reason why the Scientific Revolution happened in the West and not in the East. It would likely never have happened in the East as the intellectual climate was just not conductive to it — while Catholic monks were doing early forms of scientific experiments, tinkering with engineering to improve their agricultural tools, trying to root their theological arguments in formal logic, etc., Orthodox monks would sit alone in some cave and contemplate their intimate personal relationship with God.

          This is also why the West conquered the world and not the East.

          But, on the other hand, it created fertile ground for communism, as paradoxical as that might sound, and thus for a viable alternative to Western capitalism to develop. Communism required great sacrifices in the early years and rejection of consumerist society (it failed when it made the mistake of embracing it), and that was much easier where there was a cultural tradition that celebrates suffering, asceticism, etc.

          And that is another reason why Western Europe dislikes Eastern Europe.

        2. garden breads

          “Religious” tensions are created and dissolved when politically convenient. Orthodox Russia joined the Holy League with Poland-Lithuania, Austria, Venice, and the Holy Roman Empire in 1686 against the Turks. Pope Innocent instigated the rapprochement.

          1. Soredemos

            I’m glad to see someone else engaging in some pushback here. As a filthy materialist communist, I’m completely unswayed by these idealist portrayals of history.

            Also, Galicians are ‘evil monsters’? I don’t have any sympathy for strange Polish revanchism, but when you’re throwing around fairy tale/comic book terminology like this you’ve completely given up on even pretending to be doing any kind of rational, sober analysis. It’s weird to see this kind of stuff being amplified by naked capitalism of all places.

      2. Stephen

        AJP Taylor, possibly the most prominent mid twentieth century British diplomatic historian (and I think sympathetic to the Soviet Union) used to argue that an Anglo Russian alliance was the ideal. As you say, it has been key to the major European conflagrations of the past couple of centuries. Despite the Russophobia that breaks out at various points in the UK.

        1. Old Sovietologist

          Always good to see some one mention AJP Taylor. It was Taylor who fired my love for history and ultimately become a historian myself.

          As late as 1980, undergraduates couldn’t attend classes in post-1789 European history without having to deal with Taylor’ head-on.

          Fast forward to today and students can become post-1789 European history majors—even achieve doctorates in the field—without noticing that Taylor existed.

          There are few academics who have still have Taylor on their student reading lists

          1. Stephen

            Wow. I had no idea that he was no longer required. He was absolutely essential reading when I took my A Level in Late Modern European History. That was in the 80s though…..guess that pure play diplomatic history is not the fashion these days either.

            1. Ludus57

              I still remember that during the 1960s Taylor would do programmes on the BBC in which he would stand in front of the camera for half an hour and simply talk without the aid of notes or graphics, etc, on the chosen historical subject.
              He was without doubt a very great historian, and he demonstrated his total mastery of his subject.

      3. Alan Roxdale

        I don’t disagree with historical facts, but I have disagree with this kind of grand narrative stuff. I have an altogether more cynical view of our political leaders, and I don’t think they care one jot about religion, or even Russia all that much. Russia is simply the nearest big “other”, geographically, culturally, religiously, which large western empires can drum up conflict with when their populations start to grumble. The factors you mention are part of the drumming up certainly, but I don’t think they are the underlying cause. Just things it can hide behind.

        There are efforts in the West and in Russia to re-cast this as an ideological/existential/Book-of-Revelations conflict. But like the Church attacks in the article involving the theft of gold, I think the underlying motivations of the main actors are purely venal.

        The cruelest point in all this is how ordinary people have lost control of their own lives, and now even their own faith. “Geopolitics” is a totalitarian practice.

        1. Stephen

          At the risk of repetition, I agree. Power is the goal. Power for its own sake. Cloaked in whatever ideological wrapper is needed to justify the latest misadventure. As I understood from your earlier comment, this is why inconsistency does not matter to the people driving this. The values at stake are therefore acceptance of subjugation versus defiance.

        2. GM

          No doubt cold hard geopolitics, meaning the usual fight for control over resources, is the primary driver of decision making at the level of elites.

          But it doesn’t explain how Russophobia just exploded among regular people.

          Just go back over the last year and watch all the random little everyday acts of it, in real life and online.

          There is a deeper cultural reason.

          1. Soredemos

            The explanation is super simple: we have two generations or more of people in the west for whom ‘Russian’ has been synonymous with villain. The Cold War may have ended, but the type-casting of Slavs as generic bad guys never stopped.

            There’s literally nothing more to it than that: it’s been politically convenient for over a century to vilify the giant power block on the other side of the world that won’t submit, ‘Russians as villains’ has never left the popular consciousness, and so it’s extremely easy to revive it back to full strength when needed.

        3. Lex

          These religious-cultural aspects aren’t the prime drivers but they do matter. They have long mattered to the Papacy and they are fully felt by plenty of believers on all sides. To step back from this particular situation, the US has claimed that its violent geopolitics have nothing to do with Islam as a religion but you’d have a hard time convincing many Muslims in the areas affected that US behavior hasn’t been crusade-like and combined with statements from US leaders and public reaction to Islam it gets difficult to argue away that facet.

          Partially the problem stems from national leadership doing geopolitics without taking into account undercurrents of culture and religion, or worse, leveraging them to further geopolitics.

      4. Paleobotanist

        It has not only been Poland invading Russia from the West prior to 1800. It has also been the Swedes (Alexander Nevsky), Prussians and Lithuanians, etc. There have been many wars and invasions on the western frontier of Russia for the past 800 years. We have form here. I can’t blame the Russians for looking at us and feeling nervous.

        1. GM


          But Poland shared the largest border, thus had the most conflict, and the phenomenon of being invaded from way out there in Central and Western Europe is new in the grand scheme of things

      5. garden breads

        Alexander Nevsky would disagree. Pope Gregory IX sent the Teutonic Knights against the Baltic States and Russia ending in the battle of the ice 1242. There were many Catholic vs. Orthodox Russia clashes besides the Poles before the 19th century.

      6. hk

        With regards Ukraine, the Orthodoxy-Catholic divide is even starker. The entire Uniate Catholic Church in Ukraine came about because of an arrangement between Vatican and the formerly Orthodox church in the area, with mediation by the Polish king, in an alliance specifically against Muscovite Patriarchate. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, being both Catholic (against Russia) but not Roman (against Poland) has been closely linked with the Ukrainian nationalism since 19th century, especially with the encouragement from the Habsburgs who wanted to play them off against both Russian and Polish influences. For its part, Russia, both empire and Soviet, has harshly persecuted the Uniates (the way it didn’t against the Latins), to the degree that only the formerly Austrian areas retain significant Uniate populations. So no love is lost between Uniate Catholic Ukraine and the Orthodox Russia. So there is a significant historico-religious dimension to the conflict between (West) Ukraine and Russia.

      7. garden breads

        Catholic Poland and Orthodox Russia fought many common enemies – the Teutonic Knights, the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and even were formal allies at some times as in the Great Northern War against the Swedes. Unfortunately the nationalists in each country believe their own potted edited histories.

      8. Kouros

        I am sorry to blow your bubble, but Orthodoxy kept going strong in the Romanian occupied lands, despite the fall of Constantinople, the occupation of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, by Turks (it went strong in the occupied areas as well). For centuries, due to vast donations of land by Romanian boyars, the Orthodox Churches in Greece (Mount Athos, etc.) lived quite well.

        Check even now the faithfulness of the Romanians. For me, an atheist, is a bit upsetting. However, it is in the high 80%. And that was despite Russia (as soon as Russia started coming to close, Romanians changed to Latin alphabet; they changed to Slavonic in early 1300 due to the encroaching Catholicism of Hungarians and Poles).

        1. GM

          True, but, as you pointed out, Romania used the Latin alphabet, likes to think of itself as a Latin country (even the name is telling), etc.

          I am not sure it would have survived as Orthodox without Russia being there to anchor the Orthodox world.

          1. Kouros

            Have you noticed my mention of Romanians using Chirilic alphabet that was for over 350 years) as a defense against the Catholic Hungarian encroachment? When the danger started coming from the east, then they moved to Latin script. Also, they were speaking a Romance language, which was essential to differentiate from the Magyars and from the Slavs.

  6. tevhatch

    There is also quite a bit of Henry VIII in this, the seazure of the lands, artworks, and bank of the churches is being done by Svoboda Militia’s very own “church” cum scam. Zelenskyi knows his time is short, and he’s taking a slice from every scam he can authorize, plus buying himself some protection short term. Valeriy Zaluzhnyy better watch his back.

  7. spud

    the same thing is happening in kosovo. bill clinton and the people he represents, are hell bent on wiping out the sub-human MAGA people, err, they mean slavs. and total subjugation is their goal, that goal is global, to all peoples.

  8. Cas

    I’m in the fundamentally-this-is-about-power-and-resources camp. That doesn’t negate the social/cultural conflicts, which are chum for the masses who won’t win any power or resources from the conflict, regardless of who prevails.
    I read somewhere a reason for the attack on the orthodox churches is the SBU is arresting priests and using them for prisoner exchanges since Russia is holding many Ukrainian soldiers. The only example I could find quickly is this one, so I don’t know how common the exchanges are, but given how many soldiers Ukraine has lost, it sounded plausable to me.

  9. anon in so cal

    Along with its pogrom to annihilate the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a Ukraine law firm launched a program to assist residents of Western Europe to hunt down ethnic Russians throughout the EU in order to “cleanse” Europe of Russians.

    “The obvious desired end result is that the Russian in question will be arrested and deported, or perhaps even worse.”


  10. Chris A

    As a Greek orthodox Christian, I wonder what the patriarch in Constantinople received an exchange for his actions. I haven’t really seen anything written about this. We all assume he was a CIA stooge but……

    1. Kouros

      Good question. Same question would work for Greek Church’s possessions in Israel, invaded by settlers…

  11. reason

    You people I suppose also are aware that Ukraine has applied for EU membership and what that would imply for the requirements imposed on their political system? And you seem to think it wants to become a totalitarian state? And that after 20% of it’s people have escaped to the West and many of them would return if the war ends? You seriously believe that?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It does not “want to become a totalitarian state”. It has become a totalitarian state. That’s what banning opposition parties and opposition press, jailing opposition leaders, killing and disappearing journalists, and having security goons (the SBU) in authority means.

      1. tevhatch

        Yes, in deed and word. And I think of Jill Stein in handcuffs for expecting the Green Party could participate in presidential debates and Green Party removed from the ballot in many states, Julian Assange/Barrett Brown/Alexei Wood/etc.etc. jailed and tortured for journalism, and the New Jim Crow book is 23 years but things look worse. The USA peoples were defeated by the Fascist, probably when the pilgrims landed, if not at Jamestown. Cotton Mather could “Doublethink” and “Newspeak” with the best that Orwell could create.

      2. reason

        You do realise that it is in the middle of a war, on it’s own territory and not of it’s own choosing? Not to mention looking at how it’s opponents are behaving?

        1. tevhatch

          By mass-killing Russian ethnic Ukrainians, Hungarians, and Roma, plus ignoring Mink 2 agreement while rearming to complete ethnic cleansing, it made it’s choice. I guess that’s not a reason to Her Totenkopf reason.

    2. Don

      Neither being nor becoming a totalitarian state is much of a barrier to joining the EU and no impediment at all to being embraced by the Empire. Just slap a fig leaf on it and Robert’s your father’s brother.

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