Andrei Yurash may become the head of a new state body for religion

Andrei Yurash. Photo: Ukrinform

Candidates for the post of head of the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience are selected by adherents of the OCU.

A competition is being held in Kiev for the post of head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience, created in mid-June 2019 with the submission of the Ministry of Culture on the basis of the Department for Religions and Nationalities.

As it became known to the UOJ, out of 18 candidates, two applicants were shortlisted – the religious scholar Yuri Reshetnikov and Andrei Yurash, who has headed the Department since 2014.

The final stage of the competition – an interview with the candidate – should take place at the end of this week (the exact date is still unknown). The UOJ sources are convinced that the way the competition is being held leads to the conclusion that the authorities want to see exactly Yurash in this position.

The competition began on October 28 with an English exam, after which 9 out of 18 applicants remained. At the second stage, on November 11, candidates passed computer testing, where they had to answer 40 questions on Ukrainian law in 40 minutes. According to the test results, Yuri Reshetnikov, who was the first to complete the task, scored 39 points (1 question – 1 point), and Yurash, who stayed the longest, got the maximum 40.

Also, a passing score was got by Yulia Lialka, who headed the Department for Religious Affairs at the Kyiv City State Administration for five years, and a certain Fevzi Amzaev (a person with the same name and surname appeared in several contests for occupying positions in various public services at once).

But the most interesting thing began at the third stage of the competition, where the candidates were offered a situational task. An expert, a historian and religious scholar Igor Kozlovsky, a member of the expert council created under the Department of Religion under the Ministry of Culture, one of the participants in the Tomos advertising campaign for the OCU, developed the task and checked its results.

According to our sources, the task developed by Kozlovsky turned out to be as biased and politicized as possible: “The OCU received the Tomos. This raised more questions than answers. What should be your state policy regarding the Church?”

Candidates submitted the work sealed, without indicating the surname so that the results of the assessment were as objective as possible. Nevertheless, even before the announcement of the results, Kozlovsky went to Yurash and reassured that he had the maximum score, say the interlocutors of the UOJ.

As a result, Yuri Reshetnikov and Andrei Yurash, who received the maximum score at all stages, were admitted to the last stage of the competition, which is an interview.

Yuri Reshetnikov is a religious scholar, PhD in Philosophy, in 2009-2010 – the chairman of the State Committee for Nationalities and Religions. He graduated from the Ukrainian Law Academy (now the Yaroslav the Wise National Law Academy) and the Odessa Theological Seminary. The author of about 40 publications on issues of state-confessional relations and ensuring freedom of conscience, participated in the development of a number of draft laws protecting the rights of religious organizations.

Andrei Yurash is a religious scholar, PhD in Political Sciences, a member of several scientific, professional unions and organizations. He graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of the Ivan Franko Lviv National University. Since 1997, he has been a member of the All-Ukrainian Association of Religious Studies (since 2007 – a member of the Board) Since 2014, he has served as Director of the Department for Religions and Nationalities under the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. The author of about 110 scientific publications. One of the main lobbyists of anti-church laws and opponents of the UOC in the Ukrainian government. A person involved in the case of fabricating evidence against a cleric of the UOC investigated by the SBI.

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