2014-10-18 15:23:00

Archbishop warns against corruption, populism before Ukraine elections

(Vatican Radio) Ahead of the Ukrainian general elections, set to take place on 26 October, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has called on voters to act against corruption and on political candidates to steer clear of populism.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, urged Ukrainians to stick together as they look ahead to a new government.


The elections come after a year of change and unrest in Ukraine. A civil protest movement that began last November, known as the Euromaidan, claimed about 110 lives and led to the toppling of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in February. An interim government was set up, which was soon followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March.

Eastern Ukraine has been rife with conflict ever since, with pro-Russian separatists taking up arms against the Ukrainian military. To date, the conflict has claimed more than 3,600 lives and has displaced more than 100,000 people.

Referring to a message issued by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops, Archbishop Shevchuk told Vatican Radio Ukrainians must be united heading into the elections and “not think about new positions, new honours, new profit” but “how to save our country, how to preserve a free and independent Ukraine”.

His appeal to voters is primarily “to act against corruption” and “not to sell their votes”, reminding them that a candidate who tries to buy votes is not capable of “keeping to the moral level of  voters’ demands and of Ukrainian society”.

Political candidates, instead, have been urged to avoid populism and making promises they will be unable to fulfill.

Report and interview by Laura Ieraci

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