KYIV — The spokesman of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Bishop Yevstratii (Zoria) of Vasylkivtsi, commented on the preliminary results of the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. He said that the rather insignificant difference of votes between the two candidates does not allow one to talk about a definite victory of defeat of one of them. According to the bishop’s view on the Church’s future under the new president, the victor will follow the policy of Leonid Kuchma and will try to take into account his mistakes. The hierarch stressed that in view of the lack of the strong support of the population and a large number of urgent problems which are to be solved, it would not be prudent for the future president to interfere in the campaign against UOC-KP.
“Of course, the newly-elected president will not provide open and
public support of the Kyivan Patriarchate or other denominations, but I
think neither will he enter in an open struggle in favor of the
interests of the Moscow Patriarchate against other denominations.
Rather, the policy of a certain equal distance in expression of
sympathies towards the Moscow Patriarchate will continue,” noted Bishop
Yevstratii in an interview to Portal-Credo.Ru.
In his commentary the hierarch also noted that due to the fact that the reform of 2004 deprived the presidential post of its former significance, much will depend on the parliamentary election. “On the one hand, it may appear that it would be convenient for the victor to dismiss the parliament but on the other hand, the results of the election campaign and the composition of the new parliament are even less predictable than the results of the presidential election. Therefore, I think the new president will take such a risk only if he has no other political choice,” says the commentary.
As for the issue of the national Orthodox church, the bishop noted that if the issue depended on the will of the president, one could predict that discussion about it would stop. “But in reality, the issue is raised by the church itself and the society. Therefore, regardless of the sentiments and personal sympathies of the president, the issue will remain raised,” stated the bishop.