Putinism a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was

Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was – a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use of, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that are part of the West against the West. There are many reasons for this disturbing conclusion, one suggested by various Russian commentators who took part in the second Boris Nemtsov Forum at the European Parliament this week (svoboda.org/a/28124038.html). Five especially striking qualities of Putinism as a threat include the follownig. • First, the old Western anti-Communist consensus that included both capitalists and rights activists has dissolved. The existential threat communism posed to each kept them allied.

Reflections on Ukraine and the election just past

Early in November, Bishop Borys Gudziak spoke at the University of Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute about Ukraine and its three democratic revolutions in the past quarter century. To explain why they were necessary, he outlined the country’s tragic 20th century history – wars, a genocidal famine, terror, mass emigration, enormous population losses, entrenched corruption. Based as he is in Paris, where he serves as spiritual leader to Ukrainian Catholics in France and surrounding countries, the bishop noted how he routinely takes visitors to the World War I Battlefield of Verdun 150 miles to the east to illustrate the folly of war. There 100 years ago, French and German armies clashed along a 25-mile front. I could relate: I was 19 and in Europe for my sophomore year abroad, when I visited the battlefield 50 years ago.

U.S. replies to Russia at OSCE Permanent Council

Below are excerpts of U.S. Ambassador Daniel E. Baer’s replies to statements made by the Russian delegation at the Vienna-based Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The November 17 statements related to the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Border Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk. … Colleagues, I think it’s important – I’d just like to remind of one quote from our Russian colleague today – that some of us around the table point to “an external boogie man who can be blamed for Ukraine’s inability to solve its own internal conflict.”

That is rubbish. We all know that Russia is involved in this conflict, and has been for two and a half years. It’s not an external boogie man.

Sen. John McCain on U.S.-Russia relations

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on November 15 released the following statement on U.S.-Russia relations. Vladimir Putin has rejoined Bashar Assad in his barbaric war against the Syrian people with the resumption of large-scale Russian air and missile strikes in Idlib and Homs. Another brutal assault on the city of Aleppo could soon follow. With the U.S. presidential transition under way, Vladimir Putin has said in recent days that he wants to improve relations with the United States. We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies and attempted to undermine America’s elections. The Obama administration’s last attempt at resetting relations with Russia culminated in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East.

Remarks by Patriarch Sviatoslav

Following are excerpts of remarks by Patriarch Sviatoslav at the Sheptytsky Institute banquet on September 28 at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. A little over two years ago we were gathered here in this very Canada Room to support the Sheptytsky Institute, while reflecting together on the still fresh events of the Revolution of Dignity in which the various faith communities of Ukraine worked together to support a nation in its struggle for effective justice and true freedom. Ukrainian Greek-Catholics stood together with Roman Catholics, Protestants, the various Orthodox Churches of Ukraine, as well as Jews and Muslims. Together we prayed. This prayer was accompanied by spontaneous acts of incredible love and generosity.

Sheptytsky Institute to move from Ottawa to Toronto

OTTAWA – The University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto (USMC) has come to an agreement with the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute Foundation (MASIF) about the relocation of the Sheptytsky Institute from Ottawa to Toronto, as an autonomous academic unit within the Faculty of Theology. The Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (MASI) was founded by Father Andriy Chirovsky in 1986 at Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school of ministry in Chicago. In 1990, at the request of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada, this institute relocated to Ottawa’s St. Paul University, where it developed programs in Eastern Christian Studies from the undergraduate certificate through the bachelor’s, master’s licentiate and doctoral levels.

Ukrainian studies reviewed at CIUS’s milestone 40th anniversary conference

EDMONTON, Alberta – “A jewel in the Faculty of Arts” – this is how Lesley Cormack, dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, described the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) on the opening morning of the conference “Ukrainian Studies in Canada: Texts and Contexts,” held in Edmonton on October 14-15. Over the course of two days, 30 scholars and community figures from across Canada and abroad reviewed the history of the institute and the development of Ukrainian studies as an interdisciplinary field. In five roundtable sessions, they discussed the challenges and opportunities confronted by scholars in Ukrainian studies due to the changing intellectual landscape of the humanities, the corporatization of universities and fiscal constraints. The conference at the U of A’s Lister Center was attended on average by 125 people each day. About 600 others viewed the presentations live online from Canada and other countries  – the United States, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and others.

UCC Ukraine Appeal provides “Ambulances for Ukraine”

OTTAWA – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Ukraine Appeal announce that eight ambulances from across Canada were shipped on October 19 to Ukraine as part of the “Ambulances for Ukraine” project (Phase 2). Two more ambulances were to be shipped the following week. “Ambulances for Ukraine” was established in early 2015 in response to the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine brought on by Russia’s invasion and ongoing war against Ukraine. Over 9,500 people have been killed, over 20,000 wounded or injured, and over 1.7 million displaced from their homes as a result of Russia’s aggression. Four of the ambulances will be provided to clinics in Kharkiv, where a program with “mobile clinics” delivers basic health care to communities in need.

Kyiv Chamber Choir performs concert of sacred and folk music in Washington

WASHINGTON – Choral music lovers in this area received a very welcome present from the Kyiv Chamber Choir on November 6 at the National City Christian Church: an emotionally and artistically moving concert of Ukrainian sacred and folk music. This was the last of nine concerts on the Ukrainian choir’s 10-day 2016 “Sounds of Ukraine” tour that began October 28 in Chicago and continued through Cleveland, Toronto, Rochester, Hartford, Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Under the direction of its founder and conductor Mykola Hobdych, the 21-member choir (10 women and 11 men) began their concert here dressed in formal attire, singing eight examples of some of the finest Ukrainian sacred music, among them medieval chants, like “Blessed is the Man” from the Kyiv Pechershka Lavra; classical period compositions, such as Maksym Berezovsky’s “I will sing of your love and justice, o Lord,” Dmytro Bortniansky’s “Glory to the Father and the Son”; and, before breaking for intermission, a few more-contemporary compositions, among them Valentyn Sylvestrov’s “Three Sacred Songs” and Petro Turchani-nov’s “God Is with Us.”

The second half of the program was completely different, as was the choir members’ clothing, changed from formal to a modernistic Ukrainian embroidered attire when they walked back in front of the church to perform, this time without their conductor. The second half was devoted completely to Ukrainian folk music, as arranged by 10 contemporary Ukrainian composers, among them Hanna Havrylets, Ivan Nebesny and Volodymyr Zubytsky. And the Kyiv Chamber Choir’s performance was as contemporary as the music itself: singing without their conductor, with all the songs blending together without any pauses for audience applause and with the choreographed and animated movement of sections of the choir on, off and around the stage as they sang.


Sanctions on Russia to remain in place

OTTAWA – U.S. President Barack Obama met in Berlin on November 18 with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The White House stated, “The leaders also took stock of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They unanimously agreed on the continued need for Russia to fully meet its commitments under the Minsk agreements and that Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until it does so. The leaders expressed concern over the continued lack of a durable ceasefire and reaffirmed the importance of creating a security environment that is conducive to moving forward with free and fair local elections in the occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.” (Ukrainian Canadian Congress Daily Briefing)

Obama wants Ukraine deal

PRAGUE – U.S. President Barack Obama says he wants to reach a negotiated peace settlement in Ukraine before he leaves office in January. During a wide-ranging press conference in Peru on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Mr. Obama also criticized Iran and Russia’s role in Syria’s brutal civil war.