Week’s milestones. Resonant murder, Themis’s stepson, and Orthodox trends
The murder of a Ukrainian lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska sparked public outrage. Mikheil Saakashvili resembles a stepson of Themis, which seriously limits the boundaries of his political activity. The behavior of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Zaporizhia once again restarted the process of forming a separate Ukrainian Orthodox church. The government decision to impose a lower speed limit in populated areas has become a real test for the perception of transformations by Ukrainian society.
The New Year’s festive atmosphere has suffered a serious blow as reports came of the murder of a Ukrainian lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska. She was slain after fighting for justice for almost two years in the criminal case against the driver who killed her cousin. On January 2, several hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Kyiv regional National Police HQ demanding an effective investigation of this murder. Several facts should be noted in this regard: ineffective public communication of police leadership, the choice of some media to present the situation as a conflict between the people and police, as well as the will to report on some of the victim’s features that she never actually had. Unfortunately, the lack of trust in law enforcement agencies and judiciary in general is one of Ukraine’s pressing issues creating problems for the investigation of almost any crime.
The government's decision to impose a 50 kmh speed limit in settlements enforced January 1 became an excellent example of the Ukrainian-style transformation. The Cabinet’s eagerness to deliver a swift response to the tragic road accident in Kharkiv is quite understandable, but it remains a mystery what exactly prevented the authorities from synchronizing this move with the actual changes in the legislation such as introducing higher fines. Therefore, the discussion about the speed limit, by and large, is a landmark for other transformations, requiring changes not only in the letter of laws, but also in the approaches to these changes by millions of Ukrainians to their implementation.
The new year started rather unsuccessfully for ex-Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. Not only has leader of the "Movement of New Forces" lost a lawsuit against the State Migration Service in the Court of Appeal, he also saw a verdict handed down against him in absentia by the court in Georgia. In his homeland, a well-known politician was sentenced to three years in prison for abuse of office. It is unlikely that the Georgian authorities will deny themselves the pleasure to demand from Ukraine Saakashvili’s extradition, while the official Kyiv will respond with highlighted understanding.
The scandalous act by representatives of the UOC-MP in Zaporizhia, where the priests refused to perform burial rites for a 2-year-old child citing his "wrong" christening by a Kyiv Patriarchate Church, launched a new round of discussion about the fate of Orthodoxy in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the calls are getting louder, albeit not without reason, for the ban on the Russian Orthodox Church’s branch in Ukraine (I should recall that at the recent bishop's council in Moscow, the independence of the UOC-MP was severely curtailed). But we should not forget that the church in Ukraine, like in most civilized countries, is separated from the state, and any repressive actions on the part of state bodies can be regarded as an attempt on freedom of conscience. The future of the creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church seems to be more promising, but it’s mostly just talk and no concrete actions in this direction at the moment.