Myroslav Marynovych “during this hard time, I personally will pray for the moral reckoning of Russian nation”

2022-03-07 11:00

Myroslav Marynovych, Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Co-Founder of Amnesty International Ukraine, and a Founding Member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, had a speech at the online round table discussion "Ukrainian Churches in the Time of War" on March 4, 2022. Organized by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies. The main points of the speech:

Let me highlight three important elements of ongoing war of Russia against Ukraine in general. First a short overview of the situation. The world overestimated the strength of Russia and underestimated the strength of Ukraine. The world trusted Putin when he boasted that his tanks would reach Kyiv in two hours, today is the ninth day of war and Kyiv has not yet surrendered. Realizing that the ground operations do not bring him success, Putin gives orders for rocket attacks which kill mostly civilians and children. Moreover, today the nuclear station in Zaporizhzhya was damaged by a rocket. Unfortunately, the west sees how the Ukrainian cities are turning into ruins but is afraid to anger Putin by closing the sky of Ukraine. Today it was a shock for many Ukrainians to hear the decision of NATO not to close the Ukrainian sky. We are afraid that we will experience the real humanitarian crisis.

However, we do not lose our optimism. The reason is simple and is based on faith! Putin based his actions on lie, hatred and violence. All the three elements are the three natures of evil or devil. Instead, the Ukrainian position is based on truth, there is enormous wave of compassion and solidarity among the Ukrainians and it was not we who started the war. We are ready to stop thew war as soon as the Russian troops leave the Ukrainian territory. So, we are hoping that God is on our side! Putin displayed an almost psychotic hatred of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

So let me reflect on lie a bit more… We are Christians and one of the cornerstones of our Christian life is truth! It is exactly what is under the attack of Russia. The Kremlin has launched a powerful information war against our country across the globe. Russia is distorting our desire for independence and the nature of democratic processes in Ukraine. The “fascist leak”, “nationalists seizing power” and “understate” are just a few examples of the cliches, which the Kremlin uses to disorient the world community. Blaming Ukraine and NATO for threatening Russia, Putin started the war, justifying it with the need of “denazification” of Ukraine. Lies, lies, endless lies! By these lies the Putin regime seeks to elude responsibility and we Christians know the biblical metaphor of it: Putin becomes like the mockingbirds of Isaiah “made lies their refuge and in falsehood have they taken shelter.” Isaiah 28, 15

The second point is how to solve the problem? The world has lost eight years trying to cajole the aggressor all the sanctions were aimed to restrain Russia, and Putin just ignored them. It is absolutely obvious that all the previous sanctions were ineffective, because they were belated. Why politicians didn't see that because there was a precondition that the language of strength would trigger the third world war. So the dilemma values versus safety was sold in favor of safety. You might object my conclusion about ignoring values, however let us look to the situation with the 1994 Budapest memorandum. According to the letter, the USA, the UK and the Russian federation promised to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In reality Russia has annexed Crimea and occupied a part of Ukrainian territory and now is leading the war. What was the reaction of the other two guarantees? The official answer shocked me! The Budapest memorandum was simply a declaration, it was not legally binding. The moral failure of the Budapest memorandum is enormous! Of course, we Ukrainians feel deep gratitude to those nations first of all the United States and the UK, which have clearly expressed their support for Ukraine and made some practical steps in this direction.

However, we all see that these steps are partially ineffective, because they are belated. So, I see a huge trap, ignoring values brings such disturbances into the life of the world that it is precisely what they want to protect – security, that is under threat. And the latest weeks just confirmed, that we are closer to the world war three even more than in the year 2014. So, it has to be obvious for the Christians that the fundamental solution to the security dilemma lies not in the political but in the value sphere. Any attempts to guarantee security at the expense of values will not produce a lasting effect. Distorted values will give rise to changes in the international or which will become even more dangerous. This conclusion is confirmed by the famous words by Benjamin Franklin “those who are ready to give up essential liberty to obtain a temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!”

And finally let me reflect on the spiritual roots of this war. I will base my conclusions on my former experience of a prisoner of the soviet gulag. I am sure the present world crisis is based on the greatest falsification of the 20th century made after the World War II. The 1945 Yalta conference led to an immense injustice: a double standard in evaluating the criminal behavior of two totalitarian regimes. The Nazi regime was publicly condemned, while communist crimes were kept hidden for security reasons and were never brought to account legally or morally. But sooner or later that clandestine evil had to emerge as the seed for a new world conflict. The demonic evil power at the core of the communist system had to sooner or later metastasize. The world had to reap what it had shown. The present criminal regime in Russia is the fruit of these seeds! So, the 21st century can be successful if it brings all the 20th century accounts to a close and does not allow them to poison our world today.

This requires a total catharsis, that is not only bringing all communist crimes to justice, but also seeing to it that they are atoned for as George Weigel recently stated: “Putin's Russian regime is a danger to the Russian people and the world and will likely remain so until the kind of moral and historical reckoning, that took place in Germany after World War II takes place in Russia.” The well-known Russian intellectual Iouri Afanassiev was even more resolute: “should such a Russia be saved with the despotism of the autocratic authority, where the individual and the majority of the population have become the object of repression? My answer is no! We need to save, but not that Russia and not this regime, we need to change the paradigm of Russia.” I totally agree with him, and this goal might be achieved only through the moral reckoning of the Russian nation, that will lead to its liberation.

During this hard time, I personally will pray for this moral reckoning of Russian nation. Thank you!

Video of the Rpund table