Family values the Russian Orthodox Church way?

Olha Moskalenko writes that the Ukrainian authorities declare their concern about strengthening the family and notes that they would seem to think that the ideas of Russian Orthodoxy should become the foundation for this.

On Sunday, to mark International Family Day, President Yanukovych stated that a “strong family is the main component of a person’s happiness and success; it is the basis of a prosperous society”. This was also the focus of the first National Parents’ Forum  held at the end of last week in the centre of Kyiv.


Its stated objective was to protect society from “the inculcation of anti-family technologies”. The organizers were the NGO Parents’ Committee of Ukraine and the People’s Council [Narodny Sobor]. At a press conference, the Head of Narodny Sobor, Ihor Druz stated that the forum should popularize traditional family, moral and spiritual values of the Ukrainian people.


The author notes that from the beginning of the press conference it was clear that something was not quite right. Druz began his address with a detailed apocalyptic picture of Ukraine’s future: “in 5 years children in Ukraine will be brought up like in France, Canada and Germany. All because young Ukrainians are studying sexual education, children’s rights and gender theory”. It is specifically “the unspiritual western civilization” that is responsible for all Ukraine’s problems: for the wave of juvenile crime, the increase in the number of abortions and suicides among young people, for the fall in the birth-rate. Concluding his futuristic horror film, Druz suggested that Ukrainians as a nation would die out in no more than 50 years. He found room even for world conspiracy.


“With one hand our government helps to give birth by increasing payments for the birth of a child. With the other it cow-tows to transnational corporations and international foundations which have money of entirely dodgy origin. And this money changes our legislation.” “emissaries of western governments come to us to destroy our family institution, just as they destroyed it at home”.

A similar refrain was heard in the address of the Co-Chair of the Parents’ Committee, Johanna Kerestyna who attacked contemporary school education and the European model of the development of society. “Help lines”, disciplines on the rights of the child and – the most terrible – the inculcation of juvenile justice (the right of a child to take his parents to court) were the evils of the contemporary world capable of destroying society.


The theme of a world conspiracy reached its logical conclusion in her address: juvenile justice made it possible, according to her, to take children away “from Orthodox Christian parents and send them abroad for adoption”.  There “almost all are infertile or homosexuals and therefore can’t give birth to normal children”.  The westerners, in her words, would stop at nothing in their wish to entice as many children as possible and the only way to survive was to accept the ideas of the Russian world.  The role of Russian Orthodoxy was also pushed by Father Gennady.


Although no specific plan was proposed, the guidelines were probably supposed to be given by the last utterances of the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kyril on the concept of the Russian world.


The author points out that this first forum could seem something of little importance were it not for a few details. It was held in the very centre of Kyiv, in the Trade Union House on Khreshchatyk St, and with the support of the Minister of Education Dmytry Tabachnyk’s ministry. So, she writes, the Russian world is quietly, but confidently beginning to stride through Ukrainian lands.

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