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Ukraine’s Neverending Ideological War

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Ukraine's Neverending Ideological War

Ukrainian radicals light flares during a rally outside the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine March 14, 2020. IMAGE: Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Since the 2014 coup, Ukraine has been remaining in the state of the permanent ideological war with external and internal ‘enemies of the state’ that allow themselves to not declare a full support to the current course of the critical regime and even criticize its actions.

First, Kiev and affilated radical paramilitary groups launched a terror campaign against opposition politicians, journalists, bloggers, activists and even ordniary people that have a point of view alternative to that provided by the regime propaganda. Then, they banned or supressed most of independent local media and banned Russian TV channels that provide another look at the current situation. Six years since the coup, neo-Nazi radicals still attack peaceful activists that do not support actions of Kiev and call for the real fight on corruption, defense of the national interests and the peaceful settlement in the region of Donbass.

According to the official Kiev propaganda, Ukraine is in the state of an open war with Russia. However, Ukraine has never officially declared this (through the Parliament bill or the introduction of a martial law). Ukrainian media outlets describe self-defense forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) as the Russian Army and Russian mercenaries. However, the prisoner swaps between Kiev and the LPR/DPR demonstrate that an overwhelming majority of exchanged people (and returned to the DPR and the LPR) are Ukrainian citizens. A minor part of them are the Russians that came as volunteers to help the DPR and the LPR. While the Russian support to the breakaway republics is not a secret, it remains unclear how after six years of “war with Russia”, Kiev still cannot find Russian soldiers supposedly deployed in eastern Ukraine.

In recent years, the propaganda war also expanded to the religious sphere. With help from the Washington establishment and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Kiev created the puppet Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which supports its agressive policy and the neo-liberal narrative that dominates in the West. Nonetheless, now, when it appeared that the project of the ‘independent church’ failed and it’s just a pseudo-church propganda construct, representatives of this organization, like Metropolian Olexandr (Okelsandr Drabinko), call to ban the canonic Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) in Ukraine.

The issue with this plan that even if such an unprecedented move is supported and employed by Kiev, it will not lead to any increase of the popularity of the ‘independent’ Ukrainian church. Instead, it will lead to more religious tensions in the country amid the already developing social and economic crisis, and the smoldering civil war. On the other hand, attempts to destabilize the situation in the country and further play into the hand of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that still keeps a notable influence over top members of the current presidential administration, the Parliament and the ‘indpendent church’, which was created during his presidency. According to local Ukrainian sources, the Poroshenko group is now intentionally fueling religious and national tensions in central and western Ukraine in order to exploit the situation to strengthen own positions ahead of the new round of the battle for power within Ukrainian elites.

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