Copyright © 2024 Euromaidanpress.com

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Why Putin fears the Ukrainian Catholic Church

Why Putin fears the Ukrainian Catholic Church
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Vladimir Putin’s assistant Yuri Ushakov said that the situation in Ukraine would be one of the central themes of the meeting on Wednesday, June 10, between Putin and Pope Francis. In itself the statement is not at all surprising. Especially since, in addition to Ukraine,  Putin also intends to discuss a number of other issues with the pope, including the situation of Christians in the Middle East — a priority for the Vatican.

But something else is of interest. Putin is preparing to discuss the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with the pope. Ushakov specifically noted that during the discussions on Ukraine they may mention “aspects of Uniate activity in the country.” And one can assume that the pope will not hear anything positive. Even the phrase used by Ushakov appears to be copied from a Soviet history textbook, where it was explained how the Uniate traitors fought with the Orthodox on Ukrainian and Belorusian lands and promoted the “Western infection.” The expression was strange even then: the Bolsheviks, as is well known, themselves fought brutally with the Orthodox Church and is fact destroyed it. But this definition was taken from imperial history textbooks. Everything was clear there. “Little Russia” and Belarus are all Russian. Orthodoxy is the Russian faith. Uniates are agents of the West. Now  everything has fallen into place.

And, by the way, the destruction of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church after the Second World War was important proof that the Communists were returning to the old imperial doctrine. These were not only repressions against the church. These were primarily repressions against civilization — Ukrainian and European. And when the Ukrainian Catholic Church began its revival during the years of Perestroika, its priests were told they did not belong here. Why didn’t they belong? Because, according to the Russian view, Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is Russian land. And the “Uniates,” associated with the Vatican, would only sow doubts about the correctness of this thesis. And this is why there was nothing wrong in Stalin’s decision to destroy the “foreign church.” Stalin knew what he was doing.

Vladimir Putin obviously considers himself the heir to Stalin. He even has additional opportunities: the Russian president, for example, can complain about the activity of the “Uniates” to the Pope himself. And the fact that he is the head of a secular state that is supposed to guarantee the equality of religions is of no concern to Putin. Because, despite all the constitutional norms, the government of that state decides by itself exactly which denominations are to be supported and which ones are to be declared “harmful.”

In Russia itself life is not that simple for the Roman Catholics either, much less for the Greek Catholics. And since in Putin’s mind Ukraine is also Russia, then there can be no room for the “Uniates” in the country coveted by the new emperor. And perhaps it is a good thing that Vladimir Putin will discuss all this with the Pope, so that the latter has, as they say, no more illusions.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here


    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!