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Real revolution is the only thing that can save Ukraine

Ravaged by the forces promoting conflict, a real change of government in Kiev is the only salvation for this long-suffering country

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(New Eastern Outlook) – The junta currently in control of Ukraine is delighted U.S. President Donald Trump has become history’s most dangerous loose cannon. The oligarch controlled media in Kiev began churning out the propaganda right after Trump approved a plan to provide lethal defensive weapons to the regime. The key weapons system involved, the Javelin anti-tank missiles caused a kind-of “new toy” delight from Ukraine’s reporters. My country appears today as the international “pusher man” for an arms trade that resembles the Columbia cocaine cartels. More importantly for the people of Ukraine is whether, or not, the liberal world cartel can be beaten back. Here’s some thoughts on this.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton recently called the “US-Russian proxy war in eastern Ukraine, a seminal event of the 21st century.” The distinguished expert went on to describe the magnitude of this geo-political mess as a “toxic and dangerous”, and a catastrophe that will affect international relations for a generation. Professor Cohen is absolutely correct, but is too dignified to simply spell out the fact that the people of Ukraine (and many of the rest of us) are now royally screwed for decades. Cohen’s story appeared on The Nation, but his analysis rides the proverbial fence revealing the fact the U.S. supported liberal world order sanctioned this catastrophe for profit. I discussed their Ukraine/Eastern Europe strategy briefly in this piece on NEO the other day. The nitty gritty of the war on the Donbass is not that complicated. The guns, guts, and blood spilt on both sides of this implanted conflict are a new (perhaps) diabolical form of total war that includes psychological, tactical, and economic strategies to destroy and enemy. And that enemy is Russia.

My earlier reports have framed elements of the economic warfare levied on Ukraine and Russia, and how bankers like the Rothschilds, the Soros types, and corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont have swooped in to pick at the bones of a shattered country. However, I am no soothsayer in all this. Anyone who studies the regime change in Ukraine knows this well. The big question that remains paramount is; “Can Ukrainians be rescued from the skullduggery and carnage?” If we are honest, the diagnosis for saving Ukraine is dismal. And when I say Ukraine I mean pro-Russia bastion that is Novorossiya in the east too. While scholars like professor Cohen do help people to understand conflicts like Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, their analyses their efforts at impartiality drown in the backwash of corporate propaganda in the west. Cohen and a few scholarly others end up beating around the bush on a geopolitical situation that is black & white. This is one reason the news (fake news) coming out of key situations is so one sided in America. When the bodies pile just so high, blue collar workers and geo-political gurus must take a side. Cohen and these others will have to sooner or later stand on either side of the fence. What’s needed is a surgical, clinical, and calculating assessment of what was and is a systematic dismantling of the traditional order of things. Such an assessment in Ukraine may well reveal the motives, methods, and potential outcomes, and most assuredly who the real perpetrators are.

We already know Ukraine is being raped by the eastern and western oligarchs now. This report via The National Interest talks about the IMF’s role in saddling Ukraine with incomprehensible debt forever. So, I won’t delve into this aspect here. We also know the country will never be out from under the piling debts the Poroshenko regime is rubber stamping. The economic onslaught the liberal order has launched everywhere Russian interests lie, it’s an easily definable narrative and mission. Let’s just call this “sanction warfare.” But, what about expert risk assessments on the potential for a military cataclysm? For this I defer to my friend and colleague, the now legendary former NATO military analyst, The Saker (pseudonym).

“You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker” ― Malcolm X

Last month he published a full-fledged analysis entitled; “2018 – War or No War?” The study is extensive, but essentially points to the liberal world order’s recuperation from the Hillary Clinton bust, and frames the probable strategies for renewed U.S. aggression worldwide. For the purposes of my editorial, a focus on only Ukraine and the embattled Donbass is necessary. In his analysis The Saker puts a heave focus on the Neocons, which are for me just one component of the liberal world order cartel of families and banker henchmen. These “Neocons”, and their London banker comrades are already engaged in the raping and pillage Ukraine with unheard of fearlessness. The Saker aptly describes their aggressive and now overt actions because of their belief that:

  1. They can buy anybody
  2. Those they cannot buy, they can bully
  3. Those that cannot be bullied, can be killed
  4. And that ultimately nothing can happen to them since they are immune.

As I write this, the sound of “cooing” and dancing in Kiev and the U.S. Senate echoes in the background. So, with this dastardly ambiance setting the tone, let’s put some of this gargantuan mess in perspective.

First and foremost, we must address the question of whether or not there will be renewed war on the Donbass. For a first clue let’s consider that even the American magazine Popular Mechanics is blushing over the effectiveness of President Trump’s new toys for Ukrop Nazis. A few days ago, PM wrote that Trump’s move was “an audacious geopolitical step”, characterizing the new anti-tank missile:

“The Javelin is one of the deadliest anti-tank missiles ever designed and will bolster Ukraine’s defenses in its military showdown with Russia. The sale is aimed squarely at Russia’s large and powerful tank fleet.”

From a media analyst’s standpoint, try and imagine what it means for a technology and scientific magazine to glow in admiration at the mobility and concealability of such a weapon system, and the fact the systems will offset Russia’s tank advantage! What kind of Hollywood madness is it when the dawn of the 21st century reverts to the nuclear madness of the 1950s? Setting aside juvenile missile coolness and the funny Armageddon, the analysis we have from The Saker and other expert analysts suggests a U.S. backed offensive against the Donbass may be imminent. But before we launch into these assessments let’s consider that since Ancient Egypt the javelin has been considered an offensive weapon, and not defensive. And the Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin FGM-148 Javelin is highly effective as an offensive weapon against either tanks or fortified positions as part of a “lightning strike” ahead of all out assault. You see, the problem with journalists covering these tactical situations is that almost all have next to no experience in real-world warfare. The average geo-political or news writer figures a military offensive is just big tanks, supported by air cover, rolling over an enemy. But at the level of an Anti-Armor Platoon, Weapons Company, or Infantry Battalion, the boots take the territory and eliminate threats via “platforms”, be they air or armored, etc. I won’t get into anti-armor techniques such as the HAW- MAW-LAW referred to in this U.S. Marine Corps manual, but eliminating Donbass (for instance) armor or fortified positions at the maximum range of the Javelin might be part of a preemptive blitz assault on the Novorossiya lines. And one with minimal risk compared with the defeats the Ukraine Nazis faced before. Give The Saker’s risk assessment that a Russian intervention over a U.S. backed offensive against Novorossiya, and the desirability of the win-win the Neocon/LWO psychopaths perceive as an outcome – I’d say the odds are good for scorched Earth on a broader Ukraine front. As The Saker puts it, if Russia intervenes to save the Donbass heroes from elimination – “A Neocon dream come true: the NATO has a purpose again: decades of Cold War v2 in Europe.”

“A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.” – Fidel Castro

Returning to the media home front, we discover the once venerable Washington Post effecting part of the psychological warfare on the public. The Jeff Bezos run paper proclaims President Trump’s new weapons for Ukraine policy is “a worthy application of the ‘peace through strength’ principle of President Ronald Reagan.” So, all the geometrical warfare units are in place, with Donald Trump ready to destroy the “evil empire” instead of Ronald Reagan. And in the meanwhile, on the other side of the shaky Minsk II ceasefire, Novorossiya’s frontline trenches get hammered with almost continual bombardment from the Kiev junta. On this line, I spoke with independent journalist Patrick Lancaster from the trenches while finalizing the draft of this story. This video of Lancaster with pro-Russian forces confirms there is no real ceasefire. When I asked Patrick about the caliber of the mortar or artillery fire, he told me; “I was told when the fighting slowed, that these were 120-millimeter artillery rounds after the range and trajectories were calculated.” If Lancaster’s position was shelled with 120 mm artillery, then the Minsk ceasefire was certainly breached by the Kiev side on this night. And while the shells fall outside Donetsk, the organization charged with oversight for Minsk, the OSCE busies itself counting how many cars and trucks cross the border to Novorossiya.

In conclusion, all we need assess really is where all the “pressure” is being exerted from, in order to determine who the real aggressor in Ukraine is. And any genuine evaluation shows that the overwhelming pressure in this situation is from west of the Donbass and Russia via the aforementioned psychological, tactical, and economic elements. Russia’s role was and is reactionary and defensive at every level. This can be proven actually, and if you read the headlines from Google News, you’ll always find Russia accused of meddling in elections in Mexico, or Vladimir Putin being responsible for some other catasrophe. RussiaGate simply will not go away, the pressure is full on, and anybody who cannot see this is blind as a bat. In a world where any Russian military maneuver is deemed some kind of “full scale war simulation,” and any NATO operation a standing defense of democracy and the American Way, the writing is literally on the wall. Reading this week that Europe is now a “victim” of Russia’s new oil strategy, even though the U.S. and allies exert every influence to ensure Russian gas does not flow west, I think of Nero fiddling as Rome burned. What apathy and insanity must have plagued great Rome for the world’s greatest empire to collapse from within?

With all the set pieces of strategy in place, and with the western publics fully indoctrinated via propaganda tools and societal distractions, the “pusher man” set the stage for the economic onslaught on Russia. Then, practice runs at tactical strategic operations were turned up after Iraq and Afghanistan. Libya and Syria, then Ukraine were met with innate apathy by society. Today, the volume and intensity is being turned up in the face of only a modicum of resistance, at least in the view of the “order” bent on complete domination. So, in my humble estimation, a seared Ukraine seems unavoidable. That is, unless Russia’s Putin can pull out another defensive miracle. It seems to me the only thing that can save Ukraine is the people of this ravaged country.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – JFK

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The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

The problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

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Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well.According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel”Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

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Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

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