Ukrainian Archbishop: Vladimir Putin Replicates the Crimes of Joseph Stalin

Hulton Archive/Getty

ROME — Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk compared the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin to those of Joseph Stalin, who intentionally starved to death millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s.

“Ukraine is experiencing the thirty-fourth day of this terrible, bloody war that the Russian army brought to the peaceful lands of our homeland Ukraine,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in a video message Tuesday. “Our cities and villages trembled again from the bombs and explosions. Once more innocent blood was shed this day.”

In his address, the archbishop decried the forcible deportation of Ukrainians from their homeland to Russia, reminiscent of those carried out by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin.

“Various voices full of weeping and despair appeal to me, in particular, from those who are forcibly deported from Ukrainian soil,” he said. “We see that just as entire nations were deported from their lands under Stalin, the same is being repeated today on Ukrainian soil.”

Moreover, no humanitarian aid could be delivered to the city of Mariupol in these days and no humanitarian corridors have been opened, he said, “meaning that many people in the surrounding towns and villages had nothing to eat. They starved to death, not just from bullets from the invader.”

The archbishop’s words would have resonated with his Ukrainian hearers, who remember the millions starved to death in the Holodomor, the Ukrainian genocide engineered by Stalin from 1932-1933.

The body of a young woman near Poltava during the man-made Holodomor famine in the Ukraine, former Soviet Union, Spring 1934. (Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

These days, “we have seen the horror left by the occupier in our towns and villages, particularly after their liberation,” Shevchuk said. “Destruction, devastation, not only mutilated buildings, but also mutilated human destinies, mutilated bodies of those who were tortured, who were abused.”

Despite the atrocities, “Ukraine stands. Ukraine is fighting,” he declared. “Moreover, the Ukrainian army liberates our cities and villages and with its courage the Ukrainian people amaze the whole world, with their readiness to fight, with their strength the Ukrainian people really feel that this war is a patriotic war, although it is undesirable and senseless.”

The archbishop also called on other nations and people to show courage in opposing the crimes of Mr. Putin despite his threats.

“I call on the whole world to stand up for our Ukrainian people in the ways that you can, so that Ukrainians can live on their native Ukrainian land. And so that no one might drive them into captivity as they have been for centuries,” he said.

In order to do good, “one must be brave,” he insisted. “In order to follow the path of truth, one must have courage.”

“Today I want to call on all our listeners, all those who hear the voice of Ukraine and beyond: Do not be afraid to do good!” he said. “Do not let the devil intimidate you, to lead you astray from the path of Christian and universal righteousness!”

“Today, Russia is a threat to all those who want to do good to Ukraine,” he declared. “Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to do good! Do not be afraid to be in solidarity with those who suffer!”

“Because good has its own power, which will always be victorious,” he said. “Stand with Ukraine. Make your choice, do good! Let us fight fear before the devil and he will flee from us. And the truth will shine in all its power and beauty.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.