Ukraine and Orthodoxy
Walter Russell Mead gets some facts badly wrong here:
That makes the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox both interesting and important. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church doesn’t appear to be longing for a closer relationship with Moscow. This drastically undercuts the potential strength of pro-Russian forces in the east and substantially enhances the chances that, in the end, Ukraine will look west.
The error here is that Mead assumes that one of the three Orthodox jurisdictions in Ukraine represents all of the Orthodox in the country. The Kyivan Patriarchate is in a schism with the Moscow Patriarchate and as such its position in the current upheaval is not surprising. It may still be important for other reasons, but it is not because it tells us anything about the strength of “pro-Russian forces.” The Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is in communion with Moscow accounts for a large percentage of Orthodox Christians in the country, and so to the extent that religious divisions line up with political ones there is reason to assume that the Kyivan Patriarchate’s support for the protests would make those in communion with Moscow even less likely to sympathize with the protesters.