Oleg Tsarev: The Russian World on the Eve of the Most Serious Challenge

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



At the beginning of next year the most serious challenge for all its thousand-year existence will be thrown at Russian civilisation. The future of the Russian world will depend on how we will react to it.

Whatever one might say, the Russian world is a world built on an imperative of truth, justice, equality of all before God, and faith – our orthodox faith, the sources of which are in Kiev. To destroy the unity of the orthodox world is to destroy the future of the Russian world. A thousand years of our Russian civilisation. For one thousand years it was tried to conquer us, to break us, to force us to our knees, to divide and pit us against each other – and it didn’t work. It didn’t work because Orthodoxy is the foundation of our civilisation.

According to the information that I receive from Kiev, the deputies of Filaret – the patriarch of the UOC (Ukrainian Orthodox Church) of the Kiev Patriarchate – holds active negotiations with militants from Right Sector over the capture of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. At the present time it’s not even the idea about capture that is being coordinated, but concrete plans are already being developed. The situation is well understood in the Lavra, but there aren’t any forces and possibilities to defend it. The Lavra will be seized over several months, specifically when the decision on the date of its capture will be made on Bankova Street (the street where the building of the Presidential Administration of Poroshenko is located).

Unfortunately, in Ukraine, unlike in Russia, where all church shrines were handed over to the church, the Pochayev and Pechersk Lavras belong not to the church, but to the state. A small group of several People’s Deputies, which I was also a part of, constantly brought up the question about handing over these shrines to the church. A few months prior to Maidan we practically succeeded to persuade Yanukovych to make this step, but the vice speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and deputy from the Communists Adam Martynyuk acted against it, and, under the pretext of not raising controversial issues in the Rada that are capable of provoking an ambiguous reaction in Ukrainian society, our question was postponed. Thus, now the Ukrainian authorities have a formal opportunity to dispose of these assets at their discretion.

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The idea of capturing the Lavra in order to in the future create a united local church led by Filaret that is hostile to Russia, having transferred the Lavra to Filaret’s adherents, is supported by Poroshenko and his foreign curators. Such a decision is being made proceeding from several reasons.

The first one. Poroshenko, like Kravchuk and Yushchenko – leaders of Ukraine who had an anti-Russian stance, were always supporters of the Ukrainian local church. The Metropolitan of the UOC-MP (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate) Onufry relates to both Poroshenko and the nationalist policy of the post-Maidan authorities very frostily (if not to say negatively), which irritates Poroshenko.

The second one. World powers like the US, the EU, and Russia found a consensus on Ukraine in the Minsk Agreements and pressure is being put on Kiev to put an end to the war in Donbass. Waging war in Donbass is forbidden for Ukraine [the West doesn’t let Kiev stage an offensive since it would be routed, again – ed], Ukraine already disconnected the electricity and water supply to Crimea, but the internal political situation in Ukraine urgently demands new objects for aggression. There is a need to channel and steer negative energy of destruction towards external and internal enemies. All the monuments to Lenin in the country have almost been destroyed. The country urgently needs new enemies. Now there is an aim – the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. 26,000 parishes. There are plenty to work with.

The third one. Striking a blow on the Russian authorities and Putin personally on the eve of elections, as well as capturing the Lavra and, in the short term, destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will cross out the idea of a united Russian world. From a strategic and geopolitical point of view, Ukraine’s exit from being subordinated to Moscow Orthodoxy is an even bigger loss for Russia than the loss of Crimea for Russia, if it was speculatively possible to imagine such a loss. Despite the fact that Russia’s population is threefold more than Ukraine’s, in Ukraine there are more orthodox communities and more orthodox believers than in Russia. The loss of Ukraine and the recognition and transition of Filaret under the direct control of the Byzantine patriarch catastrophically reduces the weight of the Moscow Patriarchate, and thus of Russia itself.

The capture of the Kiev and Pochayev Lavras, and then the numerous captures of orthodox parishes all over Ukraine, when armed militants will drag orthodox priests out of temples by their beards against the backdrop of Russia, which won’t be able to do anything to defend its brothers in faith, can deal considerable damage to presidential approval ratings and the level of support for the Russian authorities in Russia.

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Russia’s enemies always understood that it is impossible to defeat Russians whilst they are united. They also understood that Russians since time immemorial are primarily united not so much by language as it is by a single orthodox faith. When there was no radio, nor TV, nor a single language not just at different ends of the Empire, but even in neighbouring villages, Russian people hardly understood each other. It was precisely faith that was always the main marker of division into “yours” and “theirs”. It is precisely for this reason that the Poles tried to impose Catholicism on Ukraine by fire and sword, and then, having being convinced that it is impossible to complete this task by force, they made the decision to complete it via deception, introducing Uniatism – externally similar to Orthodoxy, but alien to us in its essence. Leonid Kravchuk also walked along the same path, creating his, still unrecognised by all, Ukrainian church led by Filaret.

It’s not for nothing that the Bolsheviks, fighting against autocracy, breaking the Russian Empire, fought against the church. Orthodox faith is the solution fastening the souls of people in one single unit – the Russian state. It’s not for nothing that at the next stage, during the Great Patriotic War, the church was again allowed, in order to rally the mobilised country – the Soviet Union – and to remain standing in the face of an ultra-boundary threat. Whilst an Orthodox Church with its sole center in Moscow still exists, there is confidence in the preservation of the possibility of restoring the united cultural and economic space for Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and other republics of the former Soviet Union.

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According to the information that I receive from Kiev from my colleague politicians, deputies, and from the Lavra, the decision on capturing the Kiev Lavra has already been made, and capture will take place over several months. After the Lavra has been captured by radicals and Filaret’s followers, they will also start the mass capture of churches and parishes across all of Ukraine. There are no forces in Ukraine capable of preventing the implementation of this scenario.

It is also very bad that both in Ukraine and in Russia there aren’t any plans for what to do when the capture of our orthodox shrines starts. Every baptised Orthodox Christian who has a cross on their chest and belief in their soul has to know what to do if enemies will capture the Lavra, trample on the belief of our ancestors, and attack the temple where they were christened when they were little.

I will attentively trace the situation connected to this question and inform readers. Only a miracle is today capable of saving faith in the cradle of Orthodoxy. And it is a miracle that Orthodox Christians also hope for, crossing themselves and saying: “come on, such a thing can’t happen – God won’t allow it”. I myself have hopes not only on God, but also on the success of our Russian diplomacy. If, God willing, the described forecast doesn’t come true, then it is only because of the active intervention of our Russian diplomacy. May God grant force and success to our diplomats!

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