No. 24 - 12/2017:
Religion and Politics in Ukraine after the Maidan Protests

edited by Catherine Wanner


Editorial by Catherine Wanner
Mass Media, Religion, and Politics in Ukraine: The Story of the "Bloody Pastor" by Michael Cherenkov

Oleksandr Turchynov has become one of the symbols of post-Maidan Ukraine. He is known in the media as the "bloody pastor." Two phenomena of present-day Ukraine are combined here: first, the religious diversity which allows members of religious minorities to hold political power (the "pastor" became an acting president), and second, strong religious patriotism that is common even among those who were until recently called "sectarians" (it was the "pastor" who gave an order to start the anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country). The "bloody pastor" may well fit into the post-secular scenario of the social crisis as a compelling example of the possible role of a religiously­motivated leader and a possible outline of religious-political restructuring. Both Ukrainian and Russian media see him as a spokesman for Protestantism, westemization, globalization, and modemization. They see in him a serious challenge to both the traditionalist forms of religiosity and traditional approaches to post-Soviet politics. In this sense, the image of the "bloody pastor" is the key to understanding several phenomena related to Russo-Ukrainian relations: the Russian­Ukrainian political-military conflict; the social and religious diversity of the two countries; the local versions of post-secularism; and to defining Ukrainian Protestantism as a distinct social category.

Public Religion During the Maidan Protests in Ukraine by Tetiana Kalenychenko

A sense of public religion emerged in Ukraine during the Maidan protests at the end of 2013-2014 as religious leaders, groups and organizations played a key role in the protests and in mediating between the authorities and opposition. However, using religion as a cultural resource to shape social processes presents both opportunities and serious challenges for religious organizations. In this paper I analyze different religious manifestations during the Maidan and the consequences the protests have had for religious institutions. I focus on the different dimensions of the religious components of social change as it unfolds.

Religious Rhetoric, Secular State? The Public References to Religion by Ukraine's Top Politicians (1992–2016) by Alla Marchenko

This article explores the dynamic and static aspects of the public agenda of Ukraine' s top politicians with respect to their attachment to religion and religiosity. The author analyzes official greetings conveyed by the President, the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament between 1992 and 2016. The key questions of this research refer to the possible shifts in Ukraine's public agenda toward "political de-secularization" and the imposed role of the Orthodox Christian vision of the religious sphere in Ukraine. Applying content and critical-discourse analysis, the author examines the patterns of interactions of public politics and religion: from sporadic declarations to the "recycling of tradition" and embedding religious concepts in political life.

Crimean Tatar Religiosity: Between Privacy and Politics by Olena Soboleva

This article analyzes how forms of collective religiosity have transformed Crimean Tatar communities throughout the twentieth century, and especially since the political events of the last few years. As a result of forced secularization during the Soviet period, some aspects of religiosity reproduced within local communities went through a process of "domestication" (using the term of T. Dragadze). The most widespread family rituals involved collective prayers, or Dua, including canonized religious texts and the performance of certain ritual acts. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these collective religious practices co-existed with institutionalized forms of Islam. Today, under the influence of political repressions by the new Russian administration, these collective religious practices have taken on defined political meanings and are used by the Crimean Tatars as a manifestation of resistance and disobedience.

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Euxeinos 24

Religion and Politics in Ukraine after the Maidan Protests edited by Catherine Wanner