Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated his wish to form a single 'Russian world'
Hundreds of experts sign declaration denouncing religious ideology driving Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine
Hundreds of experts have signed a declaration renouncing the religious ideology driving Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Eastern Orthodox Christian scholars from around the world have supported the statement to express their horror at the suffering in Ukraine and the weaponization of Christianity in Russia.
The declaration, which is now available in over 10 languages, has been signed by over a 1,000 people so far.
Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated his wish for Russia and Ukraine (together with Belarus and other Eastern European states) to form a single “Russian world” with a common language (Russian), political centre (Moscow), spiritual centre (Kyiv), church administration (the Russian Orthodox Church), all united under one leader (Putin).
The declaration, organised by Dr Brandon Gallaher from the University of Exeter and Dr Pantelis Kalaitzidis, from Volos Academy, is designed to raise awareness and protest about how – rather than condemning the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church continually repeats Kremlin propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” intended to protect the break-away Donbas region of Ukraine against Ukrainian aggression and Western ideas, such as gay rights.
Scholars and others have signed the declaration because they want to uphold the original teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Among other things, their declaration affirms:
- That the church should not subject itself to the state, or become an agent of the state for the promotion of geopolitical goals, dictated by personal ambition or the assertion of superiority of one group over another, such as Russians over Ukrainians.
- That love is the core of the Christian message and that the making of war is the ultimate failure of Jesus’s law of love.
- That Christians are called to be peacemakers, not warmongers, to stand up for justice and to condemn injustice.
- The declaration also condemns “false news” or disinformation, such as calling the war of aggression against Ukraine a “special military operation,” as contrary to Christian principle of truth.
Dr Gallaher said: “The “Russian world” ideology pits itself against a supposedly corrupt and degenerate West, with Ukraine as the principal front line. As a result, both the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, and President Vladimir Putin routinely justify the invasion of Ukraine on the basis of bringing it back into the fold of the “Russian world.”
“The reality is that the “Russian world” ideology reinforces Vladimir Putin’s personal and geopolitical ambitions. Putin wants to create a greater Russia by restoring the boundaries of the former Soviet Union under his dictatorship.
“We hope as many people as possible will sign the declaration to draw attention to how Putin is abusing religion to serve as his propaganda instrument. This is wrong.”
The full declaration (with translations) is available on this website:
A Cover letter by the Coordinators of the Drafting Committee (Revd Dr Brandon Gallaher (University of Exeter) and Dr Pantelis Kalaitzidis (Volos Academy) is found here:
A list of the signatories is found here:
Date: 22 March 2022