I write this post from an ultra-modern train in Poland on my way from Warsaw to Kyiv this afternoon, where I was unexpectedly served two little complimentary hand-crafted prosciutto sandwiches at my first-class seat! A far cry from the uneatable breakfast sandwich I received just before landing yesterday morning on the British Airways flight to London (the Brits aren’t exactly known for their food I suppose), from which I caught a connection to Warsaw. Unfortunately, I still have two more train rides to go – neither of which I expect to be this fancy – before I get to Kyiv tomorrow morning. All of this makes me a bit crazy that I can’t just fly to Kyiv yet, or even Lviv, after almost a year, but that’s a subject of a prior post (Back to Bucha With the Airports Still Closed).
This gives me plenty of time to spell out exactly why I am headed back to Bucha. The answer is obvious. I need a vacation…
Just kidding, though Kyiv was an awesome place for a vacation before the invasion, and will be again. I could tell that from the first time I was here in March. In fact, Kyiv is one of the most intriguing places to visit in the world given its exceedingly rich history, which I am just now beginning to really appreciate as I take the online Yale course of Timothy Snyder’s on YouTube (Timothy Snyder: The Making of Modern Ukraine. Class 1: Ukrainian Questions Posed by Russian Invasion). I even got the premium subscription so I could download the lectures to my computer as I’m not expecting super-reliable broadband in Bucha and Kyiv if last time is any indication.
No – the main reason I’m going, in addition to screening the film for those that are in it in Bucha, Kyiv, and Lviv, is I am on a hunt for Satanists. That’s right – Satanists, which will surprise me greatly if I find any unless I interview some Russian Orthodox spy-priests along the way. Which I don’t think is what Putin means when he says his reason for invading Ukraine is to de-Satanize the place, which has evolved from de-Nazifying the country, which is what he told his citizens at the beginning – but I guess they didn’t find many Ukrainian Nazis after all.
It appears that what he and the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church (not to be confused with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) really mean are those in the LGBTQ+ community. This group I will most definitely look to find this time around, though I’m thinking Satan is not who they worship as just about everyone I’ve met in Ukraine is a bona fide, cradle-to-grave, Christian. But here’s a taste of what is going on in the theological arena, which is a HUGE component of why this war is taking place:
Claims of Ukrainian and Western Satanism are part of the media landscape in Russia. When Putin announced the illegal annexation of territory in east Ukraine, he accused the West of “outright Satanism.” In May, the Kremlin-owned news organization RIA Novosti claimed it discovered the remnants of a witches coven where Ukrainian soldiers consecrated weapons with blood magick. “A satanic seal was found on its wall, evoking associations with Hollywood films about evil spirits,” RIA said at the time. Russian Politician Calls for ‘Desatanization’ of Ukraine (vice.com)
As you can see, all of Europe and the USA, and presumably Canada, Australia, Mexico, South America, and all free peoples everywhere that tolerate individual liberties, are part of this rather large group of Satanists. Now, given that I am from the USA, and have never actually met any avowed Satanists, I'm thinking it’s going to be tough going trying to find one. But try I will, as well as look for a diverse group of interviewees, including mayors, Bohemians, academics, priests, professionals, workers, etc.
Fortunately, I have other reasons to go. Most of all it’s time to begin Trek to Bucha’s (Trek to Bucha - Tour Info) promotional efforts, and I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the promo tour than in Ukraine. Of course, missiles are still flying but I’ve convinced myself – and my loved ones – that it’s no more dangerous than living in the gun environment all Americans live with. That is to say, the chance of being killed is certainly there, but extremely remote. (See the post On this Thanksgiving Weekend Ukraine and USA Share Two More Things: Thankfulness and Violent Death Rates.)
I also want to see how recovery efforts are going, especially in Bucha and Irpin which I wrote about in Trek to Bucha Epilogue: Force Majeure (Act of God) – Part 1 (Economics). But what really sealed the deal for my explanation of going back to Ukraine now is to shoot the sequel: Back to Bucha, and to catch up with the stars of Trek to Bucha, lend support, and witness their Spirit.
Am I a bit nervous? Of course. I’ve never experienced missiles flying overhead, or kamikaze Iranian drones. But don’t worry about me. I visited Fr. Yaroslav at Christ the King UCC in Boston (Christ the King Church (christ-the-king-ucc.org) before I left, and he assured me my guardian angel is still with me!