From the “Russian world” to Russia’s war: Trajectories of Moscow’s orthodox diplomacy in Ukraine – English versionYulia Kurnyshova
IntroductionYuliia Kurnyshova is a visiting scholar at the Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen with a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation
Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union a generation ago and since then has had periods of revolutions, upheavals and reforms. By many indicators, the process of gaining sovereignty has been uneven and is still on-going. Russia’s soft and hard power projections have hindered Ukraine’s development as an independent state, but the current war made clear that Ukraine is not going to tolerate any longer its submission to Russian policies.
The usage of the term “soft power” in regard to Russia should be conditioned by special remarks. As an authoritarian and repressive state with a relatively weak innovative economy Russia can hardly be attractive for other states, and thus doesn’t fit into the definition that the authors of the soft power concept originally implied. Thus what is at the core of Russian “soft power”? President Putin answered this question back in 2013: “We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilization in every nation for thousands of years: the values of traditional families, real human life, including religious life, not just material existence but also spirituality, the values of humanism, and global diversityPresidential Address to the Federal Assembly. Source: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/19825.” In this quote the reference to religious and traditional values vividly stands out amongst others things. This speech was just one of myriad others that clearly attested to Russia’s determination to become a leading normative power in the preservation of traditional and conservative values on a global scale.
As I will argue further, by doing so, Russia seeks a restoration of the great power status for itself and pursues the imperial model of its political and civilisational identity. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is a “partner in crime”, as its ambitions also go as far as domination in the Orthodox world, while the instrumentalization of the spiritual aspect of Orthodox Christianity serves the purposes of Russian neo-colonial expansion in the so-called “near abroad”.
Ukraine as object of Russian hybrid warfare
Much before the full-scale invasion unleashed by Russia in February 2022, Ukrainian society was a target of “preparatory” psychological warfare in several domains: media, religion, and historical memory. The goal of these actions was twofold: to cultivate the loyal public opinion among those groups of Ukrainian society who were sympathetic to pro-Russian attitudes, and to create ruptures and cleavages among those who were taking an opposite stand. The ROC became an indispensable part of hybrid warfare and a medium of promoting the “Russian world” doctrine, the pivotal element of Russian soft power projection.
The share of believers among adult citizens of Ukraine is an average of 70%, of which the majority identifies with Orthodoxy (62% in 2020,). At the same time, religious identity itself has much less weight for Ukrainians in comparison with civic or regional identity. Answering the question "With which social community do you identify yourself first of all?", 68% of respondents picked up "citizens of Ukraine", 16% - "residents of my city (village)", 8% - “residents of my region", and only 3% - "people of the same faith as myself"The main features of religious self-determination of citizens of Ukraine: trends 2000-2021. Source: https://razumkov.org.ua/uploads/article/2021_Religiya.pdf. Even though Ukraine is predominantly a faith-loyal nation, there is no dominant church in society, which is due to the historical division of the territory of Ukraine between various state entities and high politicization of the church-state relations. In modern times three Orthodox churches (beyond other congregations) functioned in Ukraine: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) and Ukrainian Autocephalous Othodox Church (UAOC).
In 2018 the union of the UOC KP and UAOC led to the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU); however, soon after, the Honorary Patriarch of the OCU Filaret announced the restoration of the Kyiv Patriarchate, which was supported by individual bishops and groups within UOC KP. As a result, under the two legally recognized Orthodox Churches - OCU and UOC MP, de facto there exist three Churches, including the UOC KP. In contrast to Russia, where the Orthodox Church became the major religious partner of the state, and to a great extent merged with it, a different type of state-church relations was formed in Ukraine, where plurality of religious organizations was complemented by their formal separation from the state.
UOC MP, loyal to Moscow, has been operating on the territory of Ukraine for a long time. It used to have the broadest network of parishes in Ukraine (approx. 12000, in comparison with 7000 parishes of OCU). UOC MP has under its jurisdiction parishes in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk. To the contrary, in the occupied Crimea, the UOC KP was subjected to massive persecution and is gradually being pushed out of this peninsula. Of 45 parishes of UOC KP that existed in 2014, only 7 remain operational nowadays. This enables the Kremlin to use the religious factor to promote the ideas of the "Russian world" among Ukrainians. UOC MP, as a part of the ROC, adheres to the ideology of its Moscow head office, which during the Russian-Ukrainian war, indirectly and sometimes openly, sided with the aggressor.
For the ROC, its multiple parishes in Ukraine is a quantitative indicator that makes the Moscow patriarchy the largest Orthodox church in the world and formally justifies the claims for primacy among other Orthodox churches - not by tradition, but “by the fact". In addition, the influence in Ukraine is what makes the ROC a particularly valuable political instrument in the eyes of Kremlin.
Russian ideological foundation for expansion
The Russian doctrinal toolkit is grounded in an assertion of Russia's exclusive dominance in the Moscow-centric Eurasian space, historical missionism and, ultimately, the justification for the aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s ruling elites emphasize that Russia is a unique civilization (which comes in two versions - the Russian Orthodoxy and Eurasianism) with its own distinct culture and historical achievements, such as the victory in World War II. The Kremlin has also repeatedly stressed its commitment to Russian traditional values, which are depicted as a core part of civilizational identity. The numerous appeals to the “common cradle of Slavic peoples” were supported and gratified by the ROC, an institution that de-facto merged with the state and became a political tool rather than a source of spiritual guidance. As traditional (predominantly meaning religious) values have become more and more a dominant theme in Russian public discourse, the ROC gained the role of the most prominent institution in Russia, a content provider of and a guardian for legitimizing the strategic notions of traditionalism and conservatism.
The most recent twist in Russian mainstream discourse happened in the beginning of autumn 2022, when the Ukrainian army started a counteroffensive in the occupied regions. The Kremlin recommended the state and pro-government media outlets to draw parallels between the war in Ukraine, the baptizing of the ancient Rus, and the Battle of Neva against SwedesThe Kremlin has prepared a new manual on how propaganda should talk about the war. Source: … Continue reading. The invasion of Ukraine is justified by the actions of the “collective West”, which has been attacking Russia for almost a thousand years in order to divide it and seize the resources of the country, as well as to destroy the Orthodox faith. One of the goals of the “special operation” is identified as “the fight against atheists” who are described as “rapists, robbers and murderersIbid.”.
Due to the demoralization and social marginalization in the troublesome decade right after Soviet Union collapse (major political overhaul, unemployment and inflation, depreciation of savings) , a significant part of the Ukrainian people has been receptive to conservative values. Until 2004, there was a broad electoral base in Ukraine that voted for such slogans as “Russia is our main partner”, “The state is the key provider of social benefits”, and “Orthodoxy is the common religion of Slavic brotherly peoplesReligious life and civil society. Source: https://m.day.kyiv.ua/uk/article/poshta-dnya/religiyne-zhittya-ta-gromadyanske-suspilstvo”. Unsurprisingly, Russian religious diplomacy found a broad constituency in the country.
This social trend was significantly undermined by the Orange Revolution of 2004, and 10 years later - by the Revolution of DignityBoth revolutions were closely related to the geopolitical choice of Ukraine and aimed at the European integration, as opposed to the orientation towards Moscow.. Not quickly, and not among the entire population, but a significant part of Ukrainian society has been gradually shifting in the direction of democratic self-awareness, which implied distancing from Russia and an orientation towards European normative order. This made Ukraine different from Russia, where nostalgia for the Soviet past and authoritarianism have become a long-term social trend, which explains why two Ukrainian revolutions have significantly stoked the flames for a more intensive imposition of soft power that ultimately culminated in war.
After 2004 Russia has doubled its efforts to exploit the atavisms of the Soviet era and play on the sense of continued frustration of those Ukrainians who still failed to find themselves in the new reality of Ukrainian nationhood. Moscow put a premium on the mixture of Soviet nostalgia and Orthodoxy. As an observer has aptly put it, "Now faith is concentrated in the Leader and the Fatherland" and the victory day of “May 9 (over Nazi Germany in 1945) became a New Easter, with St. George ribbon as a symbolic substitution of the Orthodox crossBoth revolutions were closely related to the geopolitical choice of Ukraine and aimed at the European integration, as opposed to the orientation towards Moscow..” The concept of the "Russian world" duly reflects this sort of indoctrination aimed at achieving a cultural and political unity based on the proliferation of Russian language, Orthodox religion, and anti-Western sentiments. For Ukraine it meant the erosion of its peculiar ethnic and civic identity, and its replacement with a Russian version of pan-Slavic Orthodoxy. The ROC played a leading role in the promotion of these narratives, adding to them a sacralized content and strengthening its integrating principles, including references to the baptism of the Kyiv Rus as an alleged confirmation of the common historical destiny. At the III Assembly of the "Russian world" in 2009, the head of the ROC described the need to preserve the "common Orthodox civilizational space" in geopolitical categories of countering globalization, exemplified by the "West", and particularly by European Union as a source of liberal emancipation. In this sense, to a certain extent, the RОC has adopted the Soviet "realist" discourse of confrontation between the West and the East. The concept of a “canonical area”, which means a zone of exclusive preponderance of the ROC as a chief religious institution, appears to be an analog of spheres of influence and zones of vital interests. Geographically, it coincides with the core of the "Russian world", and includes, apart from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but is not limited to them. In the ROC worldview, this imagined core radiates exclusive connections with the globally dispersed groups of ethnically Russian and Russian-speaking minorities, and extends to supporters and sympathizers of Russian culture all across the world, particularly in the territory of the former USSR. Therefore, by claiming its monopoly in the so called "homeland", the ROC reproduces the Soviet geopolitical thinking with its division between "western" and "eastern" blocs. The ideology of the “Russian world” has thus become a Russian version of the “Monroe Doctrine”.
To achieve these far-reaching plans, Russia invested a lot of resources in the construction of its soft power projected through the Kremlin-controlled media, educational institutes and cultural centers, and supported by the state and by Russian oligarchs. A number of coordinating bodies were created to deal with the implementation of soft policies, including the Russkiy Mir Foundation (established in 2007), the Gorchakov Fund, and Rossotrudnichestvo - a governmental agency in charge of investments in soft powerFor detailed analysis see Study of institutions of cultural diplomacy of the Russian Federation. Ukrainian Institute 2022. Source: … Continue reading. Russia also perfectly grasped the importance of propaganda and heavily invested into media and other propaganda mouthpieces, including Russia Today, Sputnik International, TASS, Russia Insider, Russia Beyond the Headlines. Importantly, in its soft power endeavors the Kremlin joined forces with global conservative movements, including the Roman Catholic Church, different evangelist movements in the United States, and thousands of pro-life, pro-family, and anti-abortion traditionalist NGOs all across the West. For example, the relationships between Russia and Holy See remained rather cordial despite the outbreak of wars in Ukraine and Syria, with Putin met Pope Francis for three times during 2013-2019 and the Joint Declaration between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church has been signed (Havana Declaration of 2016). Among the western conservative forces which praised the Russian leadership for its defense of traditional values were: the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, that extolled Russia as a “Christian savior of the world” and the World Congress of Families, named it “the hope for the world right now”A Right-Wing International? Russian Social Conservatism, the U.S.-based WCF, & the Global Culture Wars in Historical Context. Source: … Continue reading. ROC appeared to be very helpful in this respectPatriarch Kirill: Human rights are a heresy, a revolution against God. Source: https://www.rosbalt.ru/moscow/2016/03/20/1499460.html.
Ukraine starts to wake up
The Russian soft power projection has gained some results in Ukraine. Starting from 2004, political life in Ukraine was marked by attempts of breakthroughs to democracy followed by periods of rollbacks. The Party of Regions was the main political force in Ukraine that supported ideas of the Russian world, and its leader Viktor Yanukovych was blessed by the head of the ROC to take office as the President of Ukraine. In his fight against political opposition (supporters of the European integration course), Yanukovych relied on "political Orthodoxy", which meant facilitation of activities of the ROC and the UOC MP, and promotion of the idea of "unity of Holy Rus", which in translation to a secular language implied fostering relations with Russia. However, in the course of the Revolution of Dignity Ukrainian society made its choice in favor of a closer association with Europe and its liberal values, making Yanukovych flee to Russia in search of personal protection.
For Russia, the events of 2013-2014 in Ukraine were milestones in terms of changing the ideological paradigm and the open transition to Russian imperial expansionism. Russian leadership declared its readiness to protect Russian minorities, or "compatriots living abroadPutin pledged already in 2012 to protect Christianity worldwide. who were proclaimed objects of Russian paternalism and unsolicited care and protection, rather than partners within the frame of state - diaspora relations. Since the start of the war in Donbas in 2014 as a direct outcome of this policy, the ROC has been completely loyal to the Kremlin, which was evidenced by the numerous statements by the Moscow patriarchate. Starting from March 2014 the Patriarch Kirill in his appeals to Russian and Ukrainian co-believers has consistently reproduced and solidarized with the manipulative and mythologized interpretations of the unity of the two Slavic peoples as the predominance of Russia over Ukraine. At the height of the war-by-proxies in Donbas in 2014, Patriarch Kirill named Russia “one of the few countries in the world which builds its foreign policy in accordance with moral values and international law“Patriarch Kirill set Russia's foreign policy as an example to other states,” Interfax, March 18, 2014, Source: http://www. interfax-religion.ru/orthodoxy/?act=news&div=54255.. He conducted a special prayer "for unity and peace in Ukraine", calling for "the prevention of disunity and spiritual blinding of the people who have lived in the bosom of Orthodoxy for more than a thousand years", and against the destruction of "eternal values constitutive for the heritage of historical Russia", which in Ukraine was largely perceived as a cynical sloganeering. Russian Orthodox priests in eastern UkraineThe Sviatohirsk Lavra of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) hid militants and weapons. Source: https://risu.ua/svyatogirska-lavra-upc-mp-perehovuvala-boyovikiv-i-zbroyu-general-mayor-zsu_n88686 and the CrimeaPriests of the UOC consecrated military equipment and blessed the military exploits of Russian servicemen in Crimea. Source: … Continue reading have openly sided with pro-Russian separatists, blessing them and letting them store ammunition in churches.
The official statements of the UOC MP contained declaratory and abstract calls for peace, but did not condemn the invasion of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, preferring to qualify the war in Donbas as "fratricidal confrontation", "civil conflict", "discord and enmity", or "a clash of interests of the West and the East"The Pray for Ukraine. Source: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3679183.html; About the main events in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2015. Source: … Continue reading. At the beginning of the war, the UOC MP and religious structures close to ROC in Ukraine"Union of Orthodox Citizens of Ukraine", "United Motherland" (SPSU), Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods of Ukraine (SPBU), Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Oleksandr Nevsky, All-Ukrainian Public Association … Continue reading sent a humanitarian mission to the area of demarcation with the occupied territories, which rhetorically was accompanied by the Russian world propagandistic narrative. According to eyewitnesses, UOC MP messengers distributed literature consonant with the mainstream political, ideological and historical narratives of RussiaIs Ukraine a fragile mosaic? Society, media, security and prospects September 2021. Source: … Continue reading. Indicatively, illegal armed units on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk have openly declared their commitment to the Moscow-patronized Orthodoxy. As one of the leaders of the Donetsk armed separatists said in summer of 2014, “the Russian Church has blessed us for the war we are waging. This is a war for the Russian world, for Novorossia, for freedom from fascism"The Russian Church has blessed us for the war we are waging," - terrorist leader Gubarev. Source: https://censor.net/ru/v289527 .
Tomos as a matter of security
The proclamation of the autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchy (known as tomos) in 2019 created a new context for the relationship between the ROC and Orthodox churches in Ukraine. Although the UOC MP retained control over the majority of parishes, at the same time, in the minds of Ukrainians, it suffered significant reputational losses due to explicit associations with Russian intervention. Against this backdrop, Ukrainian autocephaly of 2019 was, in many respects, an indirect response to Russian invasion. As the UOC KP received official recognition from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the ROC broke off relations with the latter. The UOC MP did not recognize the existence of the OCU, calling the effects of autocephaly a "split." For the Russian imperial idea the emergence of a unified and autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church poses a direct geopolitical threat. The formation of separate churches, as shown by the experience of Central European countries, contributes to the maturing of nation states, which is conducive to the drop of Russian influence.
The appearance of the autocephalous OCU created a situation similar to the beginning of the 1990s, when mass-scale transfer from one jurisdiction to another occurred, along with the redistribution of property. Despite those changes UOC MP remained the largest religious institution in Ukraine. However, the number of parishioners of the UOC MP is currently decreasing, while the number of parishioners of OCU, on the contrary, is on the rise: In 2021 58% of respondents identified themselves with the OCU, while only 25% associate themselves with the UOC MPReligious self-identification of the population and attitude to the main churches of Ukraine: June 2021. Source: http://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=1052&page=1&t=9 . Such dynamics reflects the negative attitude of citizens towards the position taken by the UOC MP that did not condemn Russian attack against Crimea and Donbas, did not recognize Russia as a perpetrator, and did not distance itself from the Moscow Patriarchate, thus creating risks of using its network to promote the ideology of the "Russian world”. This explains multiple public initiatives aimed at banning the ideology of the "Russian world" as a political instrument of submission and intimidation of Ukraine. Indicatively, in December 2021 polls showed that about three quarters of Ukrainians perceived Russia as a hostile stateFifteenth national survey. Ukraine during the war. Employment and income. July 23-24, 2022. Source: https://ratinggroup.ua/research/ukraine … Continue reading.
At the same time, not all Ukrainians cheer tomos. Many observers noted the politicization of the entire issue of autocephaly, which, in their opinion, became part of the then president Petro Poroshenko's electoral campaign. Many believers did not attach much importance to the changes and traditionally kept going to churches that were more familiar and closer to them, regardless of their affiliation. About 44% of residents of the eastern and southern macroregions of the country in 2019 thought that obtaining tomos was a mistake that further divided Ukrainians belonging to different congregations, and only 18% agreed that it was a necessary and important step towards the independence of Ukrainian statehoodA. Hrushetskyi, N. Lihachova, G.Petrenko, Information sources, media literacy and Russian propaganda: results of the all-Ukrainian public opinion survey. Kyiv, 2019. Source: … Continue reading.
In the Aftermath of February 24, 2022
From 2014 until the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion the Ukrainian branch of the ROC somehow managed to maintain the status quo and maneuver between its Moscow patron and Ukrainian perishers, yet after February 24, 2022 the UOC MP turned into a potential collaborator in the eyes of the majority of Ukrainians. Although the head of the UOC MP Metropolitan Onufry condemned Putin's actions and called for de-escalation of atrocities, he emphasized that the current war is a “sin of Cain”, because both peoples are “brothers”. Moreover, the UOC MP put the blame for Russia's attack on Petro Poroshenko and the OCU who were lobbying for tomos that allegedly became one of the justifications for the Russian military offensive.
The difference in values and ideas preached by OCU and UOC MP is huge. The OCU calls on its believers to be patriots of Ukraine, demanding from Russia to stop aggression and debunking Moscow's propaganda. Yet the UOC MP has never called the war with Russia what it really is, hiding behind general calls to end the so-called "fratricide" and preaching for "reconciliation," which many see as a de-facto capitulation to Russia. The confidence in Ukraine’s ability to repulse Russia's offensive also varies significantly among parishioners of different churches: the highest percentage is among the church-goers of the OCU (96%), the Greek Catholic Church (85%), with significantly lesser confidence shown by parishioners of the UOC MP (68%)Socio-political matters during the full-scale invasion of the troops of the russian federation on the territory of ukraine - the fourth wave of research. April 2022. Source: … Continue reading
It is notable that the war gave the impetus to many previously “dormant” processes inside Ukrainian society. For example, the church in general, along with the army and volunteers, has traditionally enjoyed considerable trust among Ukrainians. However, sociological surveys conducted during the war showed that the level of trust in the church has significantly decreased and is now at the level of 12%, which is much less than trust in the army (71%), the president (58%), volunteer organizations (38%), medical doctors (30%), and the National Police (20%)Ibid..
As a reaction to the war, attitudes towards everything connected with Russia have also become more critical. The perception of the Russian state has been quite negative since 2014, and since February 2022 numbers rose significantly to almost 100%. The transformation of the public views of Russia and Russians attests to further shifts in national identity of Ukraine. Since the restart of the war Ukrainians revisited their interpretation of common history and culture, moving further away from the Russian mainstream. The most notable shifts included the downgrading of the Soviet-time May 9 holiday – nowadays only a small number of Ukrainians treat it as the ‘Victory day’, thus intentionally alienating themselves from the Russian historical narrative. Attempts by the government to substitute the Soviet era May 9 Victory day with the European May 8 Day, taken since 2014, usually faced massive opposition within society, but since February 2022 what was seen as government-imposed narrative turned into an almost universally accepted approach as majority of Ukrainians voluntarily drifted from Soviet/Russian views of the WWII.
Similar shifts occurred with the linguistic self-identification: according to the polls the number of Russian-speakers decreased from 26% in 2021 to 15% in late spring 2022The tenth national survey: ideological markers of the war. April 27, 2022) Source: … Continue reading. Many Russian-speaking Ukrainians switched to Ukrainian in daily life after the invasion. For them it was a political gesture, a demonstration of the affinity to Ukraine and of the rupture of personal ties to Russia. For many this trend further escalated into rejection of Russian culture, including literature, music, movies, as well as Russian and Soviet toponymicsHunder, M. What's in a name? Ukraine plans to rename streets linked to Russia. April 27, 2022. Source: www.reuters.com/world/whats-name-ukraine-plans-rename-streets-linked-russia-2022-04-27/. The war enhanced individual Ukrainian and European cultural identity for most Ukrainians, while elements of Russia-oriented self-identification are gradually vanishing from the Ukrainians’ mindscape.
Against this background, the share of Ukrainians who identify themselves with the OCU increased from 42 to 54 %, while the association with the UOC MP decreased from 18 to 4 percentsDynamics of religious self-identification of the population of Ukraine: results of a telephone survey conducted on July 6-20, 2022. Source: … Continue reading. By this time, approximately 600 parishes and monasteries throughout Ukraine had already been transferred from the Moscow Patriarchate to the OCU. Given the scale of the UOC MP web in Ukraine, by losing its parishes, the ROC would lose its status as the largest Orthodox church in the world. Besides, in March 2022, two draft laws were submitted to the Parliament of Ukraine, which envisage the prohibition of the UOC MP in the country.
Given these developments, on May 27, 2022 the metropolitan Onufry has convened a Council of UOC MP in order to proclaim autonomy from the Moscow Patriarchate. But, in practice, the Council’s declarations were not in conflict with the ROC, with the exception of the lukewarm disagreement with the patriarch Kirill's militaristic statements. Apparently, from the UOC MP side it was an attempt to avoid the sanctions that the Ukrainian state could possibly impose, and to calm down Ukrainian civil society, but at the same time to preserve ties with Moscow.
In this essay I have shown that Russian geopolitical discourses are often intertwined with religious narratives. Domestically, the ROC is a key component of Russia’s conservative turn. From a foreign policy perspective, the ROC’s accentuation of cultural and religious affinity with Ukraine is a political instrument leveraged to emphasize the incompatibility of “traditional” Orthodox values with the liberal emancipatory agenda of the EU. By blending religious diplomacy with transgressive geopolitics, Russia manipulates widely spread religious feelings as well as the veneration of Orthodoxy in an effort to detach Ukraine from the Euro-Atlantic West. Against this backdrop, the ROC’s soft power can be characterized through the lens of conservative rhetoric that blames the West for imposing liberal emancipatory lifestyles on Ukrainian society. In this vein, Russia’s protection of the Orthodox identity is portrayed as an alternative to the West. The systematic distribution of anti-Western narratives by the ROC and the Moscow-exported conservatism attempt to capitalize on the existing trends of social traditionalism among the Russia-loyal minority groups.
To substantiate the legitimacy of war, Russia produced numerous myths about “spiritual bonds”, but they hardly led to practical implications. Russian soft power towards Ukraine has ultimately failed. Russia has entered the phase of active use of hard power, disregarding international law and principles of humanity. Therefore, for the official Russian discourse, a failure in the war against Ukraine will mean a "mental catastrophe", the collapse of the main "spiritual pillars" in which the contemporary Russian political regime is grounded.
|↑1||Yuliia Kurnyshova is a visiting scholar at the Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen with a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation|
|↑2||Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. Source: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/19825|
|↑3||The main features of religious self-determination of citizens of Ukraine: trends 2000-2021. Source: https://razumkov.org.ua/uploads/article/2021_Religiya.pdf|
|↑4||The Kremlin has prepared a new manual on how propaganda should talk about the war. Source: https://meduza.io/feature/2022/08/01/v-kremle-podgotovili-novuyu-metodichku-o-tom-kak-propaganda-dolzhna-rasskazyvat-o-voyne-my-ee-prochitali|
|↑6||Religious life and civil society. Source: https://m.day.kyiv.ua/uk/article/poshta-dnya/religiyne-zhittya-ta-gromadyanske-suspilstvo|
|↑7||Both revolutions were closely related to the geopolitical choice of Ukraine and aimed at the European integration, as opposed to the orientation towards Moscow.|
|↑8||Both revolutions were closely related to the geopolitical choice of Ukraine and aimed at the European integration, as opposed to the orientation towards Moscow.|
|↑9||For detailed analysis see Study of institutions of cultural diplomacy of the Russian Federation. Ukrainian Institute 2022. Source: https://ui.org.ua/sectors/research-sectors/study-on-russian-cultural-diplomacy-institutions-2/|
|↑10||A Right-Wing International? Russian Social Conservatism, the U.S.-based WCF, & the Global Culture Wars in Historical Context. Source: https://politicalresearch.org/2016/02/16/russian-social-conservatism-the-u-s-based-wcf-the-global-culture-wars-in-historical-context|
|↑11||Patriarch Kirill: Human rights are a heresy, a revolution against God. Source: https://www.rosbalt.ru/moscow/2016/03/20/1499460.html|
|↑12||Putin pledged already in 2012 to protect Christianity worldwide.|
|↑13||“Patriarch Kirill set Russia's foreign policy as an example to other states,” Interfax, March 18, 2014, Source: http://www. interfax-religion.ru/orthodoxy/?act=news&div=54255.|
|↑14||The Sviatohirsk Lavra of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) hid militants and weapons. Source: https://risu.ua/svyatogirska-lavra-upc-mp-perehovuvala-boyovikiv-i-zbroyu-general-mayor-zsu_n88686|
|↑15||Priests of the UOC consecrated military equipment and blessed the military exploits of Russian servicemen in Crimea. Source: https://www.religion.in.ua/news/ukrainian_news/28585-svyashhenniki-upc-osvyatili-boevuyu-texniku-i-blagoslovili-na-ratnye-podvigi-rossijskix-voennosluzhashhix-v-krymu.html|
|↑16||The Pray for Ukraine. Source: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3679183.html; About the main events in the life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2015. Source: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/4344884.html|
|↑17||"Union of Orthodox Citizens of Ukraine", "United Motherland" (SPSU), Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods of Ukraine (SPBU), Orthodox Brotherhood of St. Oleksandr Nevsky, All-Ukrainian Public Association "Orthodox Choice".|
|↑18||Is Ukraine a fragile mosaic? Society, media, security and prospects September 2021. Source: https://icds.ee/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/ICDS_Report_Resilient_Ukraine_Delicate_Mosaic_Teperik_et_al_September_2021_UA.pdf|
|↑19||The Russian Church has blessed us for the war we are waging," - terrorist leader Gubarev. Source: https://censor.net/ru/v289527|
|↑20||Religious self-identification of the population and attitude to the main churches of Ukraine: June 2021. Source: http://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=1052&page=1&t=9|
|↑21||Fifteenth national survey. Ukraine during the war. Employment and income. July 23-24, 2022. Source: https://ratinggroup.ua/research/ukraine pyatnadcat_obschenaci_opros_ukraina_vo_vremya_voyny_zanyatost_i_dohody_23-24_iyulya_2022_goda.html|
|↑22||A. Hrushetskyi, N. Lihachova, G.Petrenko, Information sources, media literacy and Russian propaganda: results of the all-Ukrainian public opinion survey. Kyiv, 2019. Source: https://detector.media/doc/images/ news/archive/2016/164308/DM-KMIS_Report_05_2019_web.pdf.|
|↑23||Socio-political matters during the full-scale invasion of the troops of the russian federation on the territory of ukraine - the fourth wave of research. April 2022. Source: https://gradus.app/documents/231/Gradus_Report_War_4_ua.pdf.|
|↑25||The tenth national survey: ideological markers of the war. April 27, 2022) Source: https://ratinggroup.ua/en/research/ukraine/desyatyy_obschenacionalnyy_opros_ideologicheskie_markery_voyny_27_aprelya_2022.html|
|↑26||Hunder, M. What's in a name? Ukraine plans to rename streets linked to Russia. April 27, 2022. Source: www.reuters.com/world/whats-name-ukraine-plans-rename-streets-linked-russia-2022-04-27/|
|↑27||Dynamics of religious self-identification of the population of Ukraine: results of a telephone survey conducted on July 6-20, 2022. Source: https://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=eng&cat=reports&id=1129&page=1|
Yulia Kurnyshova, "From the “Russian world” to Russia’s war: Trajectories of Moscow’s orthodox diplomacy in Ukraine – English version". Bulletin de l'Observatoire international du religieux N°39 [en ligne], septembre 2022. https://obsreligion.cnrs.fr/bulletin/from-the-russian-world-to-russias-war-trajectories-of-moscows-orthodox-diplomacy-in-ukraine/
Yulia Kurnyshova, Université de Brême