Ukrainian Uniates mark 70th anniversary of Stalin's attempt to wipe them out


RISU, 4 March 2016


Russia took over repressive methods from the totalitarian soviet system. It is important to know the method of action of a repressive apparatus whose mechanisms are still operating in Russia in order to realize well what is now happening in Ukraine and is called a "hybrid war."


About this on 4 March in Kiev spoke historian Vladimir Viatrovich, the director of the Institute of National Memory, during the presentation of the exhibit "Toward the light of resurrection through the thorns of the catacombs," drawing during the days of the 70th anniversary of the false council of Lvov (1946) an analogy between the attempt to liquidate the UGKTs and today's aggression by Russia.


The scholar emphasized that the policy of the soviet regime against Ukraine was and remains a policy of genocide. An essential element of that genocide was the destruction of the Ukrainian national church, which began in the large Dnieper Ukraine in the 1920s and 1930s, when the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was effectively destroyed, and then the methodology of destruction of everything Ukrainian was exported after 1939 into western Ukraine also.


"Literally from the first weeks of the existence of soviet power in western Ukraine was begun the unfolding of a repressive policy against the UGKTs as the national church. These processes accelerated after the death of Metropolitan Sheptitsky in 1944 and culminated in the false council of 1946. This was not simply a sad page of our history, which must be remembered; it is necessary to study it in order to understand the mechanism of action of the totalitarian soviet system that is being applied today also. This is a classic example of what is today being called a "hybrid war," a classic example of how coercion, repression, and information provocations are applied. If one sees how at that time, in 1946, at the false council in Lvov voting was by raising hands with observation on the sides, then we recall the Crimean referendum of 2014 and how voting proceeded in annexed Crimea. The repressive mechanisms of 1946 are being applied by Russia still. Society is naïve and blind to how they are being manipulated on Russia's part in the sphere of politics and religion. This has continued, beginning from the 1940s," Vladimir Viatrovich stressed.


He thinks that it is necessary today to reveal maximally the truth about the repressions against the UGKTs. There is information about this in the KGB archives, where there are hundreds of cases regarding the repressed priests of the UGKTs from the 1940s through the 1980s. All this enormous volume of materials was copied by a group of historians and students of Kiev University in 2008-2009, and when in 2010, during the presidency of Yanukovich, the archives were again closed, then this was not so horrible because the materials already were in electronic form and it was impossible to conceal them. Now, thanks to decommunization, access to the archives is already irreversible.


Regarding the UGKTs itself, which despite liquidation and persecution survived in the underground and is now developing successfully, it is necessary today as never before to recall this history, because it is yet another story of our victory.


"Soviet authorities did not manage to liquidate the UGKTs. And the emergence of this church from the underground gave an impetus to a broader national democratic movement, which put an end to the existence of the whole USSR and all of those people who fought with this church. This should inspire us today, when Ukraine is in the state of war. We should recall that in the very worst situations we triumphed," Vladimir Viatrovich concluded his speech. (tr. by PDS, posted 4 March 2016)

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