Today (April 9, 2012) in the Dnieper district court in Kiev another hearing was held on the case of fraud by the financial group “King’s Capital.” One of the suspected persons in this process is the pastor of the Embassy of God church Sunday Adelaja. An Independent News Bureau correspondent succeeded in talking to Andrey Fedur, a lawyer defending the pastor. In an exclusive interview, he spoke about the background and details of this criminal case, and also shared his opinion on a number of important issues related to the social and political life of Ukraine.
Part Three. Church and Politics
– Andrey, you told us you have mentioned before that in order to overthrow power, people must demonstrate strong will. But how can they show strong will if so many of them are literary mesmerized by the numerous sects and all sorts activists? Yet today in court you are defending, one of the leaders of such a church, who is also accused of fraud.
– I want to say that I do not see all these religious cults as the official public opinion tells me to, but have my own stance on the matter. Religion, in my opinion, in many cases is used to strengthen the secular power. A striking example of that is Orthodoxy. And officials of these agencies have always fought for power, and will continue to fight.
As for Sunday Adelaja, I must admit, he did not commit those crimes he is accused of. The prosecution of Sunday Adelaja regarding fraud is absurd. The religious community, which he heads is massive, and many do not like it. That is the main reason for the persecution.
– But you can see everything on video recordings of his worship service.
– The first “argument” that always appears is a video. I used to speak ironically with the investigators, saying if they can find at least some kind of body of a crime on the video recordings they mention, then my client will immediately plea guilty. Generally, the problem with Sunday is not that he had committed a crime.
– But that he is mesmerizing Ukrainian people?
– No. The problem with Sunday is different, and I know exactly when and how it all began. He is not the one who started it all. Actually, he was a victim of this action. The fact that a current “prisoner” of Lukyanovka jail Yuriy Lutsenko stirred up all this trouble and his goal was not Sunday (they wanted to use him just as an instrument), but another man. And he publicly talked about it..
– Do you mean Chernovetsky (mayor of Kiev city)?
– Yes. But he is much smarter than the organizers of this process, so it all ended in nothing. But this situation is different. The persecution of Sunday started while the Yuliya Timoshenko political party was in power. Now it seems like the political party has changed and changed dramatically, and therefore the persecution should have ended in theory, but … it still continues.
– I remember a moment in the video of his worship service, when, after the government changed, Sunday announced that he had seen God in dream, and he told him that the case against him will be closed.
– So you want to know what it all has not ended yet? Because the problem is about protecting the victims of “King’s Capital’s” deals, it’s all about the church. And when I started to study this issue, I did not anticipate that there would be such a huge project, and because of that, there would of course be conflict. That Sunday has created in Ukraine one of the largest churches, or call it how you want…
– Maybe – a sect?
– As you wish. But it’s better to take another description -an organization or group which appears to be larger than any of the existing churches in Ukraine in numbers, and even more significant is its standard of order! Why did I say any? Because the Orthodox churches are not united. And this is a serious problem. Some leaders of the church need to discredit any serious competitor. That’s the problem.
Once I was in this church. Well, I have never seen in any church before such a number of presentable (in all respects) people. I did not have opportunity or time to explain to myself and understand why they need it. But to concede that all those people are not able to understand what’s going on – would mean not to respect myself.
– And still how did you explain this?
– Perhaps there’s a very simple explanation (like the rest of this branch of Christianity): in such churches, people are given positive information and thoughts; whereas in the Orthodox church they mostly “program” people for negative thought, suffering and anguish. And only in the afterlife they are divided into two groups – those who go to heaven and who to hell. And the more miserable you are here, the more likely you are to have a happy afterlife there. I think it is incorrect.
– Is it not the same with Adelaja?
– I will repeat once again, that I am unbiased towards all religious groups. I am no expert in this area and perhaps do not understand some important facts. I once was given the chance to the congregation (in Sunday Adelaja’s church – editor) – i talked for about 90 minutes. There were several thousand people in the audience, and none of them left. And, obviously, it is difficult to listen to one person for so long. I’ve come to a conclusion: such religious communities offer some kind of positivity. That distinguishes them from others.
In other words, just as most people allow themselves to do something for fun. Some like playing soccer or basketball – that is also a kind of mesmerizing in a way, to switch off from problems and work. And these people have found their own way.
Faith is something purely personal, peculiar to a specific person.
You remember how one of our politicians visited all churches every public or religious holiday? Why did he do that? I believe that in this respect our President Viktor Yanukovich looks proper, as he has only one church, even though it has secret services.
– But all sorts of social organizations or sects are cultivated to make fools out of people. Isn’t that true?
-Apparently yes, to get people to vote for certain candidates in elections. People have no faith in the government, in the official, secular power.
– And what do you think about the crowd at the court of your client? A lot of people standing with posters portraying Sunday as a hero, shouting something, hearing nothing, excuse me, like zombies.
– Nothing much.
– So, you approve of them.
– I do not condemn them, for sure.
– And the fact that they are constantly screaming “Pastor Sunday is an honest man” – this is pressure on the court? Indeed, in the courtroom those cries can be heard.
– You cannot put pressure on what we do not have – and we do not have courts at all. And after all, it depends – different people see it differently. Very often we are offered some sort of picture that portrays a false image.
– What is your attitude to public organizations, not religious, who are trying to influence the government by their own methods for the sake of improving the lives of ordinary people?
– Actually, I believe that the effort of collective influence on something or someone is actually very dangerous. In the same way I treat any political influence.
I see in Ukraine the opportunity for much more effective development than many people envision. The only thing I fear is a total cleanup. When the titular population (with no reference to ethnic origin) will have no place left for them in this country. I don’t want this territory to be cleaned up for others.
– How can this be?
– I’ve been to many countries and seen many things. What is now happening with Ukraine – a genocide, cleansing our territory for others. That’s the danger. I am not in doubt about the prosperity of Ukraine as a territory. Another thing, who will use this wealth – the titular population, or newcomers? Many people are coming here today. Tomorrow will be more.
If I possessed the right to pass even a single law, I would insist on the adoption of a law that prohibits grants of Ukrainian citizenship: i.e, to grant citizenship to no one, under any circumstances.
– But is it right? Do you believe that foreigners can start to build their own state here?
-No doubt. You can see that they have already started doing it through Ukrainians. I am concerned and wondering who will live here tomorrow. In particular when we implement a visa-free regime to the country, the Ukrainians should receive the same conditions and go to their country without a visa. Only with that condition, not otherwise.
– Not so long ago, Russia granted visa-free travel to citizens of Israel. That is, our neighbors have already made such an agreement.
– Yes! Personally, I am convinced that Vladimir Putin has managed to get a lot in return for this. I have no doubt that the Arab world can dislodge the Jews from Israel overnight. As soon as the right moment comes this will happen. It is clear for many and primarily to Jews. Knowing some facts from history, one can realize that we need different staging areas, including our territory.
It is appropriate to return to the church problem. I believe that the Russ Orthodox Church should not be located in Moscow. That is if it is really Russ Orthodox Church and not Russian (as in the country).
– Where should it be? May be in Kiev? You are afraid of a possible invasion of foreigners, but if Russians start to come – would this not be the same thing?
– The Russ Orthodox Church should be in Kiev (where it was born). As for the relations and positions of Kiev and Moscow, I always say this: the only ones who are not united today on the planet Earth – the Slavs. Only they are at war with each other. Personally I will support the Slavic Union, by analogy with the European Union. We must create the same union – the Slavic one. Kiev should perform roughly the same function as Brussels in the European Union.
Ukraine has a lot of problems. One of them is the reluctance of the Slavs to unite. They do not value labour anymore – honest and constructive labour! A very disrespectful attitude toward the ground has been cultivated for several generations. Look at the foreigners who bought plants in Ukraine yesterday, and today they are interested only in the land – our land.
– Let’s go back to your defendant pastor, who is yet a foreigner. At what stage is the case of Adelaja and his accomplices today? Are any of the affected testifying against the pastor?
– He does not purport to Ukrainian citizenship and land for sure. Indeed, in the Dniprovsky district court of Kiev a criminal case hearing is taking place on his charge and others. Adelaja did not commit the crimes for which he was accused and, therefore, had no accomplices. He has nothing to do with the company “Kings Capital”, he is not its founder, has never worked in this company in any position, did not collect money from people in favor of the company, etc. The paradox of the prosecution is that Sunday Adelaja, who has nothing to do with this company, is a defendant in this case, and the managers of this company, who collected money from people and earned on this – are witnesses. Neither in court nor in pre-trial investigation did anyone give any evidence that they had passed money to Sunday Adelaja.
If the court makes its decision on the results of the investigation on the basis of evidence collected, I have no doubt that my client will be acquitted. But I have no faith in the objectivity of the court.
Translated by Anna Krets
Edited by Kizito Leacock