PUTIN LIKENS INITIATORS OF NEW CHURCH PROJECT IN UKRAINE TO ATHEISTS OF 20TH CENTURY
Moscow will not interfere in Kiev's religious affairs, but it is ready to defend the rights of people, the head of state emphasized
TASS, 31 January 2019
The initiators of the new church project in Ukraine grossly intervened in church life, thereby recalling the atheists who persecuted priests and believers in the twentieth century. This was declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a ceremonial event devoted to the tenth anniversary of the local council [sobor] of the Russian Orthodox Church and the enthronement of Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill.
"The state and authorities of Russia consider any interference in church affairs absolutely impermissible and we have respected and will respect the independence of church life, and even more so in a neighboring sovereign country," Putin said, speaking about the situation of the church question in Ukraine. "Nevertheless, we reserve for ourselves the right to respond and to do everything for the protection of human rights, including for the freedom of religious confession," the Russian leader emphasized.
He called attention to examples where "speculation, politics, and parasitism upon questions of religious life lead to divisions among people and the provoking of anger and intolerance." The Russian president said: "It is such a project, that has nothing to do with faith, but is permeated by falsehood" and connected with the struggle for power "that is being carried out today in Ukraine." "It is regrettable that the patriarchate of Constantinople was also drawn into it. In essence, a gross interference in church life has occurred and its initiators are acting as if they took lessons from the atheists of the last century, who drove believers from church buildings and badgered and persecuted clergymen," Putin said. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 31 January 2019)
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