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In today's #vatniksoup I'll introduce the head of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome, Jorge Mario Bergoglio AKA Pope Francis (@pontifex). He's best-known for praising Russian imperialism and for failing to condemn Russia for their genocidal war in Ukraine.
As most of you know, Pope is the head of the Catholic Church, and thus holds significant religious and political power and influence. For example, in the 21st century, Pope Francis played a key role in in brokering the 2015 improvement in relations between the US and Cuba.
Francis has also advocated for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide and has also been sympathetic toward the LGBT community. Additionally he has called for action against climate change.
In light of this, it seems strange how Pope Francis has acted after Russia launched their full-scale invasion in Ukraine. To be fair, Francis visited the embassy of Russia in Rome to condemn the attack, and additionally called President Zelenskyy. But soon after this...
..the weirdness began. In Mar 2023, just one day after more than 80 missiles and drones were launched at Ukrainian cities, bringing death and destruction, he stated the war was fueled by "several imperial interests".
In May 2022, he suggested that Russia's invasion was "somehow either provoked," continuing that he's "simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys". He also claimed that NATO was "barking at the gates of Russia".
In Aug 2022, Francis described the killing of Alexander Dugin's daughter, Darya Dugina, as "a case of innocents paying for the Russo-Ukrainian War". Ukraine criticized this, stating that Dugina was "one of ideologists of (Russian) imperialism" and not an innocent victim.
In Nov 2022, Francis gave an interview to Christian magazine called America. When asked about his "seeming unwillingness to directly criticize Russia," and why he was "preferring instead to speak more generally of the need for an end to war, an end to mercenary activity...
...rather than Russian attacks," he stated that "Generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati and so on."
These utterly racist remarks reduced the Kremlin's responsibility on the atrocities in Ukraine, maybe somehow suggesting that the soldiers from the big cities don't commit any war crimes. He's also pondered whether it's "right for Western powers to arm Ukraine."
In Aug 2023, the Pope sent a video greeting to the All-Russian Meeting of Catholic Youth in St Petersburg. During the speech, he addressed the youth by saying that "You are the descendants of great Russia: the great Russia of Saints, rulers, the great Russia of Peter I,...
..Catherine II, that empire – educated, great culture and great humanity." These legacies have often been used by Putin as a justification for his brutal war in Ukraine, and it's yet another tone-deaf statement from Francis regarding the war in Ukraine.
Francis' efforts to bring Russia closer to the Vatican began already in Feb 2016, when he met with Russia's Patriarch Kirill in Havana, Cuba. This was the first time leaders of the Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate met, ...
... and it was a big propaganda win for both Kirill and the Kremlin. At this time, Russia was already waging war in both Syria and in Ukraine, and some considered this meeting to "indirectly give a boost to Mr. Putin," and his imperialistic war efforts.
It is of course common knowledge that Patriarch Kirill AKA Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev is not the holiest of men. In fact he used to be part of the KGB. Also, his fortune is estimated to be around 4 billion USD, and he owns a lavish palace in Gelendzhik.
Most of Kirill's wealth came through corruption, when his church was given a privilege for duty-free importation of cigarettes during the 90s.
To be fair, Francis has also strongly condemned the war on many occasions. He's warned pro-war Kirill to not become "Putin's altar boy", he's stated that Ukraine has "a lawful right to defend itself." But these statements became irrelevant after the Pope praised Russia's..
...imperialistic past, blames the poor and uneducated for the cruelties in Ukraine, and states that the war in Ukraine may have been provoked by NATO. In the end, the former are quickly forgotten, whereas the latter are used as propaganda for years to come.