Putin has “earned the hatred of the whole world”

Putin’s invasion earned hatred

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has “earned the hatred of the whole world,” according to the leader of Orthodox Christianity.

“We are entering a new era of cold war,” Patriarch Bartholomew (pictured) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople said in a Turkish-language broadcast interview.

“We do not know what will happen next. I hope this cold war period will last a short time. I hope World War 3 won’t break out.”

Patriarch Bartholomew praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for “setting a very good example for his people” in resistance to the Russian invasion.

At the same time, he rebuked Putin for inflicting “a great injustice” on Ukraine.

“Ukraine was liberated 30 years ago, but they continue to be brothers. They continue to be coreligionists, yet Putin has declared a war against them,” he said.

“Putin is a very intelligent and dynamic leader, so it is not easy to understand how he decided this. Putin did himself an injustice. He earned the hatred of the whole world.”

That rebuke could prove to be a severe blow to Putin’s ideology. Kremlin officials have used the traditional links between the Russian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian believers to secure Russian political influence in Ukraine.

“This is a tectonic move,” former Turkish opposition lawmaker Aykan Erdemir, senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner.

“I find this potentially as impactful as the role [the] Vatican played toward the end of the Cold War.

“Although the ecumenical patriarch is different from the pope, the impact of his words on the Russian hegemonic project could be as destructive as the impact of Pope John Paul II’s impact on the Soviet hegemonic project.”

Putin regards Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine as “a single large nation, a triune nation”. He has pressured Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko to bring Russia and Belarus into a formal “union-state.”

Ukrainian officials believe that Putin wants to force Zelensky, or a future Ukrainian leader, to follow Lukashenko into the union-state.

Meanwhile, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has offered moral legitimacy to those ambitions. This was evident in the prayers for peace he offered in the days since the invasion began.

“God forbid that a terrible line stained with the blood of our brothers should be drawn between Russia and Ukraine,” he said on February 27.

“May the Lord preserve the Russian land. When I say ‘Russian’ … the land which now includes Russia and Ukraine and Belarus and other tribes and peoples.”

Patriarch Bartholomew, by contrast, expressed “solidarity … spiritual, moral, [and] through prayer” with the defenders of Ukraine as he praised the Ukrainian government for refusing to cave in to Putin’s demands.

“They do not want to surrender, and they are right,” he said in the broadcast interview.

“Why should they surrender their freedom to the invader? Because right now, Ukraine is under Russian occupation. Will we say war or occupation? It’s the same. A very bad situation, a foreign country, but a coreligionist and a neighbour at the same time.”

Those rebukes could provide an effective antidote to Putin and Patriarch Kirill’s justifications for the war, analysts suggest.


Washington Examiner

The New Yorker

The Conversation


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News category: Palmerston, World.

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