war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

VII. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion



1. Overall overview

The beginning of 2014 characterized with tendencies to worsening of religious freedom level and attempts of state’s activity control increase of religious organizations with the purpose of limitation of their participating in social and political life of country. However after Revolution of Dignity and change of country’s government the positive changes took place in the field of state confessional relations in combination with appearance of the new threats for the religious world and religious freedom. An exception to a national context became only those territories of Ukraine, which in the conditions of social and political crisis became the objects of aggression on the part of Russia and the scene of the fighting with gaging of the Russian troops and weapon, Autonomous Republic of Crimea and part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where other fundamental rights and freedoms generally accepted in the democratic world except for freedom of thought, conscience and religion, stopped actually to be provided.

Since March 2014 the religious pursuits on the eastern Ukrainian cities controlled by pro-Russian separatists assumed terrible proportions and forms as a murder and torture of religious figures and believers, military gains of cult and other buildings (temples, prayer houses, monasteries, social centers and all that) and the use of their by militia fighters as the fire positions. All Christian societies and religious figures became at risk of life and health except the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow patriarch) and some other.

At the same time the military aggression of Russia in Crimea with its subsequent annexion entailed the complicated legal affairs related to impossibility of activity on the peninsula of religious organizations registered according to the legislation of Ukraine. Russian power officially put forward the demands to reregistrate the religious societies in Crimea in accordance with the requirements of legislation of the Russian Federation, to integrate them into the Russian religious centers and to submit all legal entities under jurisdiction of the Russian right.

As at the beginning of 2014 the amount of religious organizations in Ukraine attained 37209, of which 35646 religious societies are registered and 1653 are acting without creation of legal entity. The network of religious organizations in comparison with a previous year increased insignificantly — of 0,5 % (of 214 religious organizations), that almost equals an amount which the number of unregistered religious societies diminished to[2].

In Ukraine 89 centers of religious associations and 295 diocesan administrations, bishopric, dioceses and others have been registered, which present about 50 confessional directions in the obedience to the state statistics[3]. 369 missions, 83 fraternities, 206 spiritual educational establishments, 13104 Sunday schools are active. In the 500 monasteries the monastic vow are carried out by 6917 monks. In obedience to official statistics for today 32456 priesthoods take care of religious businesses that on 1143 more than last year, from which the foreigners are 760 persons.

In the conditions when the majority of Ukrainians consider themself Christians as to the sociological questioning, the religious situation in Ukraine characterizes by absence of dominant church. Over the years of the state’s independence the multi-religion established as a sign of variety of religions, cultures and languages in the Ukrainian society. This fact is a positive factor in the assurance process of conscience and religious freedom, and also counteraction of the separate displays of discrimination, on religious grounds.

Depending on a region the support of the considerable part of the local population is used by different churches and religious organizations. At the same time there are cases of more loyal attitude toward some confessions and preconceived attitude toward other on the part of separate representatives of the local agency of Slate power and local government authority. To a certain extent the reason for this is that the representatives of the top state’s guidance public identified themself earlier with one of confessions, ignoring at that the principle of state’s urbanity or neutrality in relation to all religious organizations, the observance of which would be helpful in the conditions of the Ukrainian multi-religious society. The conception of state confessional relations of Ukraine more expressly explains the constitutional principle of state’s and church’s separation, but this project was dismissive of already over 10 years without the proper attention of the Verkhovna Rada and Government regardless of its approval by All Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations[4].

During 2014 there were about 30 draft of a bills related to the questions of activity of religious organizations, freedom of thought and religion under consideration of the parliament. However swingeing majority of these projects have been not considered even in the first reading, although quite a number of them gained support of religious community and would substantially improve the legislation of Ukraine in the field of state confessional relations. Consequently, with the electing of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of VIII convocation all these legislative intentions have been acknowledged declined and a newly elected deputy corps will be working in this sphere from scratch.

2. Freedom to manifest the religion and faith

As it was registered in the reports of rights activists over the past years, freedom of religion can be adequately realized by citizens of all religions in Ukraine. Notwithstanding that Law of Ukraine “About the freedom of conscience and religious organizations” needs the perfection and bringing to correspondence with the necessities of modern public relations, on his basis the favourable terms were formed for development and annual growth of religious organizations network. However the absence of national policy in the field of freedom of religion, effective system of state agencies in matters of religions and legislative recognition of democratic model of state mutual relations and religious organizations instead of the soviet totalitarian vision of church’s role in the public life, result in complications of religion freedom realization, especially at local level.

To the most positive changes of 2014 the experts determine the constitutionalization of a Churche as a real, but not conditional institute of civil society during the events of Maydan in winter of 2013–2014 years[5]. The social and political position expressed by different churches and religious organizations in the first time so contrasted with the state’s official position. It creates not only opportunities for feeling the churches of own subjectivity, which is not based on a closeness to the state institutes but also fastens objectively urbanity which is a pre-condition of religious freedom in multi-religious society and a component of supremacy of the law.

The position of churches and religious organizations in presentation of objective information about freedom of thoughts, consciences and religions, character of interreligious and multicultural relations, linguistic situation in Ukraine was also active at the international level. It was especially important, when the separative movements in Crimea and Donbass accompanied with military aggression of Russia began to be warranted by Russian MASS-MEDIA allegedly by oppressions of Russian, culture and Moscow orthodoxy presented in Ukraine. For the search of ways of reconciliation, understanding and deescalation of religious intolerance in Donbass the delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations took part in interreligious round-table in Oslo (Norway), where a dialog was held with the religious figures of Russia[6]. Before then the similar dialog of leaders of the Ukrainian and Russian evangelic churches was held in Jerusalem (Israel).

2.1. Organization and holding of religious peaceful meetings

The attempts to strengthen the government control of religious organizations activity were first public engaged in the letter of the Ministry for Culture of Ukraine to the chapter of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church from 03.01.2014[7]. The ministry declared that the religious activity of priests during the peaceful protests on Maydan of Independence in Kiev was carried out with “violation of requirements of legislation of Ukraine about the right of conscience and religious organizations”. By that it was meant the requirements of antiquated norm of part 5 Article 21 of the Law about the necessity of procurement of permits by local authority 10 days before the desired date of public peaceful action of religious character.

Such position of the Ministry for Culture as a specially authorized central organ of executive power in the field of religion was not only incompetent taking into consideration that the priests carried out the important peace-support mission during the peaceful protests on Maydan preventing violence and bloodshed but also nonlegal[8]. At first the priests satisfied the religious necessities of their participants during the actions of protest or came forward as participants of protests, however they didn’t hold their own activities. Secondly the norm of authorization-based procedure of public peaceful meetings of religious character contradicts the position of the provision of Article 39 of Constitutions of Ukraine which enshrined the notification procedure of their organization.

It is an evident example that the resonance corrections to the Law of Ukraine “Freedom of conscience and religion organizations” (including the ch. 5 Article 21) have been accepted in October though they did not carry in itself substantial threats at first sight however have been used afterwards by the mode of Yanukovych against religious organizations[9]. In such a way the initiatives as to the exception of this antiquated norm from text of the Law obtain more actuality that have been offered in the draft bills No. 508a and No. 508a-1 “Freedom of peaceful meetings” which have been not considered by the Verkhovna Rada of VII convocation.

Moreover at the highest point of the protests on Kyiv Square the resonance “dictatorial acts” with gross violations of procedure have been adopted by ex-pro-government majority in parliament on the 16th of January 2014. In particular the Law No. 721-VII contained the rider to the Article 5 of Law of Ukraine “Freedom of conscience and religion organizations” of such content: “Extremist activity by religious organization is forbidden”[10]. Obviously that introduction of such prohibition in the conditions of absence of extremism concept definition and sanctions for such activity in the legislative field of Ukraine testified to intent of the mode of Yanukovych to use this norm as an instrument of pressure and active voice limitation of religious organizations in social and political life of country. On the 28th of January under public pressure the noted laws have been acknowledged such as lost force[11].

2.2. Religious tolerance and parachurch conflicts

The annexation of Crimea, active situation on the east of Ukraine on ideological grounds of religious geopolitical “Russia’s space” and with participation of battalion “Russian Orthodox Army” and also the absence of timely response to it on the part of authorities of Russian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Orthodox Church changed the public opinion of Ukrainians. Society sharp negatively looked the aggressive actions of Russian power and religious grounds used by separatists on the East of Ukraine for explanation the pursuits of Christians of other confessions which not belong to the Moscow patriarchy. For some politicians, local businessmen, public activists and priests the patriotism increasing among Ukrainian society gave a reason for realization of intentions as to change of canonical jurisdiction of Orthodox societies of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP in different regions of Ukraine with the purpose of their passing to the canonical submission of Ukrainian Orthodox Church КP.

Although according to the Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine “Freedom of conscience and religion organizations” the state acknowledges a right of religious community for free changing of subordination in canonical and practical arrangements by any religious center (management) working in Ukraine and outside, an anxiety is caused by the facts of application of political, economic or religious pressure in the processes of transition of Orthodox communities from one confessional jurisdiction in other. Similar incidents have been observed earlier in the time of different governments and presidents but this year their amount substantially increased amid a difficult social and political situation.

Appearance of new or blowing of old hot conflict points in the Inter-Orthodox relations sometimes accompanied by the captures of temples, pressure and intimidation of believers, by limitation of possibilities for public worship of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP in a number of regions of Ukraine. According to the data of Chancellor of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP metropolitan Anthony: “10 temples are occupied for today”. It was temples in Rivne, Volyn, Ternopil and Lviv regions“[12]. In turn the press secretary of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP Archbishop Yevstratiy marked: “Gossips of various kinds about Kyiv patriarchy have been broadcasting, aggressive operations are allegedly conducted against Moscow patriarchy, and allegedly someone plans to take temples. It’s not true. If the society wants to pull out of Moscow patriarchy and join Kyiv, nobody has a right to limit it”[13]. These facts testify the threat of sharpening of parachurch confrontation, which Ukraine experienced in the first half of 90th of the 20th century.

In many instances such confrontation takes place by actual self-removal from office of government authorities and local government bodies, and frequently — by actual instigation to such confrontation on the part of local government bodies. In response, the prime minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk on results of meeting with the members of All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organization ordered to the leaders of Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Kyiv municipal and regional state administrations “instantly to take measures aimed at preventing the intensifying of interchurch relations, including the capture of cult building”[14].

One of positive examples of minimization and resolution of intra-Orthodox conflicts can be given the signing on the 13th of November 2014 of Memorandum about United Ukraine and United Ukrainian Orthodoxy Church between the local leaders of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP, Ukrainian Orthodox Church KP, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. It was a case in the document that “all orthodoxy churches of the Rivne region condemn an incitement of religious strives and captures of the Orthodox temples by one confession to other” and “does not deny the religious will expression of habitants of Rivne as to confession according to the law of Ukraine” Freedom of conscience and religious organizations“[15].

It is possible also to estimate positively the creation in Ministry of Culture of Ukraine the Working group specialized on questions of settlement of actual interchurch conflicts. This group entered the representatives of Ukrainian Orthodox Church MP and Ukrainian Orthodox Church KP, specialists-officials and experts.

In general this situation testifies that the national policy in Ukraine is not enough in the field of state-confessional relations and effective system of religion state authorities which serve to prevent an escalation such as interchurch conflicts, take operative reacting measure with involvement of law enforcement agencies and all-round study such conflict situations before registering changes in the charters of religious communities that decided to change their canonical subordination.

2.3. Status of legal entity for religious organizations

The Law of Ukraine “Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” does not oblige the religious communities to register as a legal entity, allowing actions without notifying authorities of his creation. At the same time till now still remains actual the question of registration procedure inconsistency of statutes (regulations) of religious organizations as required by Article 14 of the framework Law and their state registration procedure as legal entities with follow data entering in the Unified State Register of the Law of Ukraine “Law of Ukraine “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs “. These two procedures are in no way interconnected in the legislation of Ukraine. Therefore as received still remains several thousand religious organizations acting with a legal status but have been not state registered and have not filed your personal data in the Unified State Register. In 2012–2013 the Ministry of Justice in conjunction with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and the Institute for Religious Freedom developed a draft bill aimed at procedures simplifying by religious organizations the separate legal identity by means of introducing the principle of “single window” according to sample of social organization registration. However this legislative initiative has not been submitted to the government and the Verkhovna Rada[16].

There are local aspects for registration of statutes (regulations) of religious communities. For many years remains the problem with the registration of religious communities in Kiev. For unknown reasons structural subdivision of the Kyiv City State Administration requires from the founders of the religious community to indicate in the title the affiliation to a specific area of the city. In the future this kind of territorial restrictions in the titles of a religious community will cause difficulties in relationships with other authorities and legal entities.

From time to time update the discussion about the reasonability of granting the status of a legal entity for the most religious association not a religious center (management) as today. However the positions of the leading religious organizations and experts in that regard are different. The refusal appeal cases in registration of religious organizations demonstrate disproportionate the state’s intervention in religious freedom, when an administrative and judicial practice based on the fact that the registration of religious organizations made dependent on the decision of the state institutions, has a certain doctrine (beliefs) a religious character or not. This is due to the fact that the authorities in order to prevent registration of pseudo-religious organizations prefer very complicate the registration procedure, while ignoring the need for constant monitoring of the activities of registered religious organizations for timely response in case of violations of the law.

As a striking example to optimization necessity of public authorities activity may serve the registration of religious community “Bozhychi” by Culture Department of Cherkasy Regional Administration in May 2014. The social activists have found shortly that this community is not only filed false information about their religious affiliation, but for a long time has been carrying occult activity harmful for the health of the citizens and rendering charged services. In this manner the system of state bodies of religious affairs need of reforming, including quality improving of officials training and the proper number of specialists and professionals, recovering of regional structure of the state body on religious affairs and building relationships with the central office.

3. Social and charitable activity of religious organizations

Social and charitable activities activation of religious organizations to meet the needs of victims during the protests on the Maydan, internally displaced persons from the Crimea and eastern of Ukraine, support the Armed Forces of Ukraine and humanitarian assistance to the residents of separatist-controlled territories of Donbass exacerbated preexisting problems of statutory regulation of charitable cause and humanitarian aid[17].

The elimination of the end of 2012 the Commission for Humanitarian Aid under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on behalf of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, according to religious organizations, significantly complicated the process of customs clearance of humanitarian supplies and created corruption factors. Difficulties arise also in documenting the facts of humanitarian aid distribution, the personification of the recipients of humanitarian aid and the requirements to act as fiscal agents for them in certain cases.

As measures of operational designation by order No. 102 of Prime Minister of Ukraine from the 13th of October, 2014 on the Ministry of Social Policy was imposed the task “to take urgent measures to accelerate the clearance of humanitarian aid received by religious organizations for further distribution in the areas of ATO and among temporary displaced persons “. At the same time it was entrusted for the State Emergency Service in partnership with the Ministry of Social Policy “to establish effective cooperation with religious organizations on issues related to social facilitation of temporary displaced persons”.[18]

In addition the conditions inequality of religious organizations activity the legislative rules was lead when the parliament lead in the hands of local authorities the questions about tax rate reduction or utility tariffs instead of universal rule adopting.

As an example, in accordance with paragraph 265.4.2 of the Tax Code of Ukraine the local councils may establish additional benefits for the newly imposed tax on residential properties owned by religious organizations. However at the time, when the Kyiv City Council in the decision dated on the 03th of July 2014 rejected all religious organizations in any relieving taxation on residential property (seminaries hostels, monasteries, etc.), the City Council of Mukachevo of Zakarpattia region in the decision of 26.12. 2013 No. 1018 approved a list of 4 religious organizations — diocese, meeting house, convent and monastery of the Roman Catholic Church and monastery of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP), which were exempted from property tax. At the same time Bogoduhiv town council of Kharkiv region in the decision of 01.31.2014 No. 1752-V decided to release all religious organizations fully from this taxpaying. Thus in some towns and villages the religious organizations can use decrease of burden of taxation or utility tariffs and in others are obliged to pay on a par with commercial entities. Violation of equality of religious organizations can be considered the cases local authorities set tax or tariff discounts only for certain religious organizations and not for everyone.

4. Alternative (non-military) service

The mobilization of reservists citizens beginning in March 2014 for the first time in the history of Ukraine showed the absence of legal mechanism for constitutional guarantee ensuring about the replacement the military duty through the alternative (non-military) service if its implementation contradict to the religious beliefs of a citizen (ch. 4, Art. 35 of the Constitution). In the article 23 of the Law of Ukraine “On mobilization training and mobilization” are defined the categories of reservists persons not eligible for army draft according to mobilization. Among them are listed “other reservists citizens or certain categories of citizens in cases prescribed by law.” However, in practice the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the military commissariats considered that to such cases do not belong those provided by the Law of Ukraine “On alternative (non-military) service”[19].

Consequently during 2014 took place the cases of induction into military service under mobilization of such categories of religious citizens who:

1)  did previously an alternative (non-military) service, had to be stroked off from the military registration and dispensed with a call-up for military training in accordance with Article 24 of the Law of Ukraine “On alternative (non-military) service”;

2)  received religious beliefs after forced military service, belong to the acting religious organizations in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, faith which does not allow to use of a weapon, and put an application for exemption from military service within 7 days in accordance with Part. 2 of Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine “On alternative (non-military) service”;

3)  are the priests, who served in one of the registered religious organizations despite of the norm of release from their military service in the Article 30 of the Law of Ukraine “ Concerning Military Duty and Military Service”.

The representatives of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Culture and the military commissariats agreed with the impossibility position of applying the Law of Ukraine “On alternative (non-military) service” even on the principle of analogy of law. State officials distinguished call-up for the mobilization and military training, although the mobilization call-up in most cases lies in the direction of conscript for military exercises with next sending them to the military service.

As a result the practice of constitutional rights violation of religious citizens to alternative (non-military) service in conditions when the defense emergency in Ukraine has not been announced, explained by government and military command as a lack of legislative regulation of this issue in terms of mobilization. In this case the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine said that the work on the legislative solution to this issue “to be implemented after the stabilization of the social-political situation in Ukraine”[20].

5. Activities of chaplains in the Armed Forces of Ukraine

On the 2th of July 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued the directive No. 677-p about the military clergy service establishment (Capellan service) in the Armed Forces, National Guard and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Relevant provisions were assigned to be developed by Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. This government initiative is a step toward the normative regulation of activities that have been carrying out by chaplains on a voluntary basis over the years by means of implementation of positive world experience to meet the religious needs of the military men. It is assumed that the priests, who have been offered and successfully qualified by religious organizations, will have been employed with conclusion of respective employment agreements in the Armed Forces, National Guard and the State Border Service and will belong to the personnel of these military units. The initiative to develop the Capellan service provision took over the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, attracted to the relevant working group the representatives of interested churches and religious organizations, the National Guard and the experts from the Institute for Religious Freedom.

On the 29th of August the Council for Pastoral Care of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, consisting of representatives of seven churches and religious organizations, approved the worked out draft of Regulation on military clergy service (chaplains) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is expected that this Regulation will be approved by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine after necessary departmental approvals. The main task of military chaplains will be pastoral care guarantee of soldiers and reservists of the Armed Forces, National Guard and the State Border Service. According to the approximate calculations of pastoral care for military men of Armed Forces of Ukraine they need up to 180 military priests (chaplains), whom they plan to conclude the employment contracts with. Also the draft of Regulation envisages the involvement of freelance priests to meet the religious needs of the military men.[21]

According to experts, on the one hand, the religious needs of military men (especially those that are in the area of ATO) can be covered by assigning a chaplain in appropriate division. On the other hand, the lack of a strong secular tradition in Ukraine creates the risk of rights infringement of those military men who find themselves in a religious minority or even religiously indifferent. In particular we are talking about the threat of pressure on such persons on the part of the commander’s staff (a similar case was considered by the Strasbourg Court in the case “Larissis and others against Greece,” 1998) or abuses on the part of chaplains. Therefore the government bodies and interested religious organizations should control peculiarities of constitution of the Capellan service in Ukraine for purposes the military commands and chaplains to be committed to the prohibition principles of proselytism, respect to religious or atheistic beliefs of each military men, voluntary guarantee of pastoral care declared in the draft of Regulation.

It seems to be expedient also the activities settlement of chaplains in different spheres of social life (military units, places of confinement, health care facilities) by adopting a separate law or amending of existing legislation. This is due to the fact that the legislative framework for adopting of bylaws or departmental regulations is sufficient for several questions as to functioning of Capellan service. In this context is useful the work draft bill No. 3143 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine” (regarding the introduction of the Institution of Clergy (Chaplains) for military, law enforcement), which have not been reached the Verkhovna Rada of VII convocation.

6. Religious educational institutions and religious education

On the 1th of July 2014 the Parliament adopted a new version of the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education”, which changed the attitude towards the role of religious organizations in the educational process, leaving behind the Soviet atheistic approaches[22]. Opportunity to the state recognition of diplomas of higher religious schools solves the problem of equalizing the social rights of their students, alumni, researchers and academic staff. The Article 3 of the Law provides an opportunity for religious organizations to participate in higher education provision relating to the functioning of the higher religious schools. In the matter of higher religious schools management the Articles 13, 42, 44 of the Law logically refer to the features provided by the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.”

Innovations are the provisions of the Article 24 of the new law version providing the licensing possibility of higher religious educational institutions that wish to register their own issued diplomas of higher education in United State Electronic Database of Education. In this case the highest religious schools being ready to issue the higher national diplomas gained the right to be accredited according to the educational program. Final and transitional provisions of the Law on Higher Education have been equated to the nationally recognized documents Diploma of Higher Education, Degree level and Academic ranks of teachers (teaching and research and teaching staff) and members of the Dissertation Council issued by the highest religious educational institutions, which educational programs in the specialty “Theology” have been licensed and accredited according to national procedure. There is an opportunity of creation and activity of postgraduate studies, doctoral studies, of own Dissertation Council in subject area “Theology”.

The law provides that with the participation of representatives of religious organizations will be adopted new regulations and normative legal acts for the legal and institutional support of these innovations. Such changes can really be considered as a breakthrough in the field of legislative regulation of theological education and science in Ukraine, the functioning of religious schools and state recognition of diplomas of their graduates. At the same time the Verkhovna Rada of VII convocation disregarded the draft bill No. 2051 on granting to religious organizations the right for establishing of educational and other institutions of state educational standards, despite his support of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations. Existing legislation, on the one hand, discriminates in fact the religious organizations as compared to other legal entities (public associations, charitable organizations, commercial organizations) which have such a right. On the other hand there is no legal mechanism for the implementation of freedom of parents guaranteed by international documents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions, particularly in religious schools and preschools, which activities are widespread in the democratic countries of Europe of[23].

7. Recommendations

1. For the Cabinet of Ministers to instruct the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine together with the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine to develop a strategy to protect and restore infringed rights for freedom of conscience and religion on the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and in the zone of ATO in East Ukraine, which should include practical measures and recommendations for the Ukrainian citizens and religious organizations on the methodology of violations and inflicted harm documenting, statements execution in international institutions and monitoring missions, lawsuits preparation in the European Court of Human Rights.

2. For the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to adopt the draft Concept of state-confessional relations in Ukraine as a law approved by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations.

3. For the Cabinet of Ministers to instruct the specialized ministries with the assistance of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations to develop and prepare for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada a draft bill on such legislative changes:

1)  of the simplification of status obtaining of a legal entity to religious organizations by implementation the principle of “single window”;

2)  of replacement of the anticonstitutional provisions of the Regulations h. 5 Article 21 of the Law of Ukraine “Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” relative the requirements for obtaining permits for the organization of peaceful religious meetings 10 days before requested date on the provisions which will consistent with the Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine and general practice of peaceful meetings, other institutions of civil society;

3)  of reduction the list of regulatory bodies defined in the Article 29 of the Law of Ukraine “Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” and entrusting to the central executive body specialized in religion, the Council Ministers of Crimea and regional, Kyiv and Sevastopol city state administration and local governments with the state monitor compliance of legislation on freedom of conscience and religious organizations.

4. For the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to reform the system of state bodies of Religious Affairs, which should include the restoration of the central executive body for Religious and Ethnic Affairs and its regional structure, building cooperation between regional offices and the central office of this body as well as quality level improving of officials training and adequate number of specialists and professionals. In this case it is appropriate to extend the competence of the central executive body of Religious Affairs to make decisions on the recognition the relative goods as humanitarian assistance being received by religious organizations within its social and charitable activities.

5. For the local governments to comply with such approach in legislation that would provide the equal conditions for all the activities of religious organizations without granting preferences to certain confessions, in particular by deciding on the establishment of lower tax rates and utility tariffs.

6. For the Cabinet of Ministers to instruct the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine together with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with the assistance of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations to develop and prepare for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada a draft bill on the right of citizens of Ukraine for the replacement the military conscription on alternative (non-military) service under conditions of mobilization/or position if its implementation contradicts religious or other beliefs of a citizen.

7. For the Cabinet of Ministers to instruct the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine with the assistance of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations to develop and prepare for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada a draft bill on the introduction of the Institution of Military Clergy (Capellan service) in military and law enforcement.

[1] The Section was prepared by Max Vasin, executive director of Institute for Religious Freedom. A Gratitude in preparation of this section to such experts: Dmitry Vovk, Vitaly Gren’, Alexander Zaec’, George Reshetnikov, Alexander Sagan, and to such organizations: Institute for Religious Freedom, Institute of Philosophy named after G. S. Skovoroda of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

[2] Statistics — The year 2013 was unfavorable for the development of churches and religious activities: lang=uk

[3] Report of the network of churches and religious organizations in Ukraine No. 167 dated 01.01.2014 (Form 1) approved by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine from 03.19.2014:

[4] The concept of state confessional relations in Ukraine (draft) // Magazine “National security and defense.” — No. 8 (92). — K., 2007:

Developed by the Institute for Legislative Forecast and Legal Expertise refined by Centre of Razumkov with participation of representatives of religious organizations, experts and parliamentarians.

[5] Collection “Maydan and Church. Chronicle of events and expert analysis”:

[6] Meeting in Oslo: dialogue instead of propaganda: 7

[7] Ministry of Culture considers the prayer and religious rites of Church on Euromaydan as law violation: lang=uk

[8] Expert: the position of the Ministry of Culture as to UGCC has significant incompletes in legal terms:

[9] An open letter of social organizations and activists to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych for necessity of law prohibition No. 10221 to avoid restrictions of religious freedom in Ukraine: lang=uk

[10] Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine” On the Judicial System and Status of Judges “and procedural laws on additional measures to protect the safety of citizens” dated 16.01.2014, No. 721-VII:

[11] Law of Ukraine “On the Repeal of Certain Laws of Ukraine” dated 01.28.2014, No. 732-VII:

[12] Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony: We hear open calls for aggression against the canonical Orthodoxy: tye-prizyvy-k-agressii-v-adres-kanonicheskogo-pravoslaviya/

[13] Lord Yevstratiy about unity of Churches and the hand of Moscow:

[14] Yatsenyuk entrusted to the ministers to cooperate with the churches more actively in the social sphere: lang=uk

[15] Historic event in region Rivne: the various confessions have signed a Memorandum of Ukrainian local church. Moscow Patriarchate condemned the Russian aggression:

[16] The Ministry of Justice agreed with the proposals of the Ukrainian Council of Churches as concerns: lang=uk

[17] The Government complicated the import of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in particular to the churches: lang=uk

[18] Yatsenyuk entrusted to the the ministers to cooperate more actively with the churches in the social sphere: lang=uk

[19] It is stated in the letter to the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine dated 08.07.2014 No. 322/2/6735 in response to the appeal of “Institute for Religious Freedom.”

[20] It is stated in the letter to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine dated 11.08.2014 No. 2567/18/13-14 in response to the appeal of the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine.

[21] Council of the Ministry of Defense has approved the Regulation on the Capellan service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine: lang=uk

[22] Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” dated on 01.07.2014, No. 1556-VII:

[23] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. International UN document dated on 16.12.1966:

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