Moscow and Kiev weaponizing orthodox Christmas

By Nina Bachkatov

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine leaves no stone unturned, witness the saga around Christmas celebrations, epitomized in two extravagant pictures: that of the Russian president celebrating the Nativity in an empty church; and that of a crowd of men in uniforms attending the mass in Kiev’s Pechersky Caves just ‘liberated” from the All Russia and Moscow Patriarchate by presidential decree.

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The religious touch in Belarus

By Nina Bachkatov

Since August, Belarus looks like a ‘semi-frozen’ conflict zone. The country is deeply divided, between resilient but resolute opposition, rigid and brutal authorities, competition between opponents who are in exile and those who stayed in the country. In consequence, a political vacuum had developed that is calling for foreign and national troublemakers to step in. Continue reading “The religious touch in Belarus”

Religion and politics around Ukraine

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The latest episode related to the recognition of a Ukrainian independent Orthodox church demonstrates, once more, how toxic is the confusion between politics and religion. On 14 September, the Russian Orthodox Church announced the rupture of most of its links with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The relations have never been easy between the Moscow Patriarchate, home to the largest Orthodox community in the world; and Constantinople Patriarchate – the primus inter pares of world orthodox churches but without real power. There is no Vatican in the orthodox world. Continue reading “Religion and politics around Ukraine”