Ukrainians in Portugal caution about ongoing impact of Russian Orthodox Church on youth

April 22,2024 299
Ukrainians in Portugal caution about ongoing impact of Russian Orthodox Church on youth

Ukrainians in Portugal have appealed to the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, Paulo Rangel, urging him to resist manifestations of Russian propaganda in Portugal. The community emphasized that occupiers, including the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), continue to corrupt Portuguese youth.

“On March 24th, a national stage of the international competition of young declaimers Clássica Viva took place in Albufeira. At the event organized at the Pokrov  Christian Center of Spiritual Culture (ROC MP), 8 students from 3 Portuguese cities participated. They recited poems by famous Russian poets. Vladimir Iaroshevskii, the cultural advisor of the Embassy, presented gifts and certificates to the competition winners. In addition, the best participants of the competition will perform on the international stage and also go to the ‘Artek’ children’s center in Crimea,” the appeal published by Pavlo Sadokha, UWC Vice-President and President of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal.

Ukraine is currently involved in military operations to reclaim the Crimean Peninsula and all other territories occupied by Russian forces. Additionally, the appeal highlighted that Putin intends to employ Portuguese children as a “human shield” to protect against Ukrainian forces. It also stressed that traveling to occupied Crimea is illegal.

“At the beginning of the Russian invasion in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he is not concerned about the prospect of war with Ukraine because in case of hostilities, the Russian army will stand behind Ukrainian citizens – including women and children, that is, use them as a human shield. In fact, this terrorist and criminal tactic continues to be practiced by the Russians,” the text says.

Simultaneously, the Russian Church engages in propaganda efforts in Albufeira. The Pokrov Christian Center of Spiritual Culture there defends Kirill Gundyaev, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church and an ideologue of Russian fascism. He has repeatedly given his blessing for Russian military actions against Ukrainians, a point underscored by Ukrainians living in Portugal.

“At the beginning of the massive invasion, our organization warned about the danger to Ukrainians due to the activities of pro-Russian associations in Portugal. Unfortunately, we see that some organizations, which have the support of the Russian embassy, ​​continue their activities against Ukraine and Ukrainians on the territory of Portugal,” the text says.

The community urged the Portuguese government to implement every possible measure to safeguard children from the lethal threats they face in the occupied region of Crimea. Additionally, they requested actions to stop new offenses and provocations by the Russian embassy in Portugal and affiliated groups of the ‘Russkiy Mir.’

Earlier, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recognized the Russian Orthodox Church as an instrument of Kremlin propaganda.

Cover: Sofiya Shovikova