Research by a Holodomor Museum scholar about Russian religious organizations was presented in Lviv

16 June 2023

On the 8th of June, in Lviv, the Andrii Sheptytskyi Center of the Ukrainian Catholic University hosted a presentation of Andriy Ivanets’s research, a leading researcher of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide, “Support by “traditional” religious organizations of the Russian Federation for Russia’s aggressive and genocidal war against Ukraine (from the 24th of February 2022 to February 202 .)”, which has been recently published. In the Russian Federation, the “traditional” religions include Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.

The English version of the publication was presented to the public in Lviv for the first time. Previously, the text of the study was presented in Ukrainian in Kyiv.

The researcher believes that the countries of the civilized world do not always have objective information about the role of Russian religious organizations in the Russian-Ukrainian war and, in particular, about the activities of their structural units in Ukraine, so it is crucial to prepare English translations.

Andrii Ivanets noted that Ukraine is waging war for survival because Russia is committing aggression with genocidal motives – the intention to destroy the Ukrainian state and nation. There are no trifles in such a war, and the religious factor must be investigated because, according to sociology, Ukraine can be classified as a highly religious country, and the Russian Federation as a country with an average level of religiosity. In addition, in order to cover up serious crimes and other violations of law, the aggressor state increasingly uses religious or quasi-religious rhetoric, along with quasi-historical ones. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Russian religious organizations joined in supporting the aggressive and genocidal war against Ukraine, and, according to the researcher, there are even direct calls for genocide by individual religious leaders.

At the same time, Andrii Ivanets emphasized that there is a difference in the degree of involvement of “traditional” religious organizations in supporting the war against Ukraine, and we even have a case of its condemnation by the leader of the Buddhists of Kalmykia. In his opinion, it is important to find mechanisms that would stop or minimize Russia’s instrumental use of religion for criminal purposes. The study offers civilized states and international organizations, religious associations and authorities some measures to respond to the complicity of Russian religious organizations in the aggressive war against Ukraine and the genocide of the Ukrainian nation.

During the presentation, in particular, there was an exchange of views between Andrii Ivanets and the director of the UCU Institute of Religion and Society, Orientalist Roman Nazarenko, regarding the conformity of institutionalized forms of interreligious interaction in Ukraine, in particular, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, to the modern realities and needs of Ukrainian society, as well as regarding the future normalization of religious life in the de-occupied territories of the state.

The leading researcher of the Holodomor Museum handed over the Ukrainian and English versions of his research to the library of the Ukrainian Catholic University.