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The Smoke Screen  Thanks to “Zorya” newspaper we came to know that in Dnepropetrovsk there are very rude people, who are impolite, do not respect the old, behave unethically and seem to be all evil… Let’s look at the example of the Head of the Council of Region commission for the public relations and mass media Vitalia Shilova. On the 5th channel’s air she started asking “where could 14000 copies of “Zorya” newspaper that is financed by the council of region disappear”? She was very interested where could 700 000 grivnyas from public funds vanished either. Well, she doesn’t accuse anyone of anything, the lady’s just curious. So why couldn’t the chief editor give a brief report on the pages of his newspaper give an information where do those copies go and what is the money spent on. And the problem would be solved. The newspaper made a “Scandal” column instead and started giving a list of Mrs. Shilova’s moral and ethic features and covering her name with mud accusing her of all the deadly sins and of using unethical expressions. God knows, maybe in a country where milliards of public funds come to nowhere the question about the disappearing of 700 thousands is unethical?Now let’s mention the TV program “Evening on channel 51”, where the head of the state organization “The Center for the Help to the Victims of Destructive Cults “Dialogue” Yan Nikolayevich Shchekaturov was invited. It appeared to be that “Zorya”, which is the Counsil of Region newspaper, has been publishing the sermons of Kostyantin Maksimov, the pastor of the charismatic church “the Fire of Awakening” for three months. Mrs. Shilova started asking why it is so, as according to the Constitution of Ukraine the church stands divided from the state. So, she asks, why has the regional newspaper become a mouthpiece of a religious organization? What a rude person!Well, leave the Constitution alone, the pint is that pastor Maksimov can tell all the region that the head of the “Dialogue” must be the most faultfinding, rude and unethical person in the world. The pastor used to live happily, he brought people into his organization and then he had them pay him a tithe, (Specially for those, who is ignorant we tell that in charismatic churches the flock gives 10% of its incomes to the church) and if he felt this wasn’t enough, he could appeal the worshippers to give their flats to the church. And then the “Dialogue” appeared. And this was the beginning. It turned out to be that “the Fire of Awakening” (we’re giving a quotation from the pastor’s sermon in “Zorya” newspaper that saw the world on 23.11.06) “is a filthy and horrible totalitarian sect that destabilizes the criminogenic situation, we use children as a slaves, hypnotise people and take their money and flats away, and we’ve illegally built the church building and so on”. Of course, this is what Mr. Shchekaturov tells about them. Besides he is constantly asking uneasy and definitely rude questions both in mass media and in certain organizations. For instance, the “Dialogue” is extremely interested in finding out if the running of the “Fire of Awakening” church building in Aptekarskiy Lane 6b is legal. The inspection of the State Architecture and Building Control claimed that the building wasn’t set into operation by the state commission and that it is an uncontrolled building, which is a violation of the article 18of the Law of Ukraine “About the base of the town-planning”. But the economical court (judge Petrova) accepted the right of “the Fire of Awakening” for this building. At first the Executive Committee of the City appealed the court but the pastor must have convinced them that their behaviour is against the principles of the Christian ethics and as the result those graceful people recalled their appeal. In spite of the fact that the church’s right of the property wasn’t acknowledged, to use the uncontrolled buildings one must be sure that this very building was made according to the standards of construction. To do this you must receive the permission of the State Architecture and Building Control which means giving a report about the cost of the building and paying a penalty which is 50% of that sum. Of course, nothing of mentioned was done and it seems that the pastor is not going to do it anyway.  Then, pastor Maksimov and the charity fund of his church “With Love of People” decided to raise and educate the young generation so they opened the First Christian Secondary School. Of course, the education is chargeable and the price is about 600 grivnyas per month. And again, it all will be good if not for the “Dialogue”. They go on asking their questions. They ask the city board of education, the regional one as well as the Ministry of education and science. Does this school have a license, have its teachers got a proper qualification and how will the certificates about the secondary education be given? They are definitely nosy. They got a clear answer from the city board of education and science and this answer was “NO”. The school does not have any license, moreover, there are no alternative private secondary schools in the city, no religious organizations asked for making such a school or getting a license. After all, it couldn’t get this license because according to the Law of Ukraine “About the Education” (article 6) the main principle of education in Ukraine is that the schools don’t depend on any political party, state or religious organization. This must be a spooky school then. The kids are taught (but no one controls what are they taught), but in fact it doesn’t exist. This state of things suited the pastor, if not again for the “Dialogue”. Yan Nikolayevich can’t calm down and goes on making “unethical” questions. For instance, those questions deal with the “evangelization” which “the Fire of Awakening” church is going to hold in the schools of Dnepropetrovsk. “Evangelization is a propaganda and recruiting action that is held under the pretence of anti-drug, anti-alcohol and anti-AIDS campaign” – claims the “Dialogue” – and calls the educational organizations not to let such religious organizations into education in order to protect our children’s immature souls. You can’t let everyone to work at school.  After all pastor Maksimov lost his temper. What on Earth is going on? Whatever he does, the “Dialogue” starts telling him that he must not break the laws of Ukraine and that he mustn’t neglect the legislations.
And the pastor’s vivid imagination brought him to the ancient Rome. He imagined himself as a rich patrician and Mr. Shchekaturov as a beggarly censurer and after it committed his fantasies to pages of the regional newspaper “Zorya” in an article “Who made you censurers?”
Why Rome? Maybe the pastor is fond of the slave-owning system? Why is this rubbish printed in a state press? And moreover, why does it print it in a “Spiritual Life” column. Oh, this must be a very unethical question. “And the other question – says the pastor in the newspaper that was founded, err, by the Council of Region why the religious organizations have no right to take part in the political life of the country? If I am a sinner and an anarchist, the censurers give me right to go to the demonstrations and wave with a flag and yell political slogans. And as soon as I become a member of a religious organization, I lose this right. And that’s all because of the censurers”.Have a heart, Mr. pastor, for the “Dialogue” has nothing to do with it in fact. Of course, I have a risk of making you really angry but let me remind you that it is not the non-government organization the “Dialogue” that doesn’t let you take part in a political life of the country and neither actually does its head. It is all for the article of the Law of Ukraine “About the freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”. Have you ever happened to know this law? Well, you must have lawyers in your church anyway and you use them whenever you have such a need.Unfortunately, those organizations that have to control if the “Fire of Awakening” church is functioning according to the legislations, consist of very tactful and polite people who don’t ask any unwanted or, especially, unethical questions. Otherwise, the pastor will yell about the infringement of the freedom if worship and in addition will claim them to be censurers. So, what’s then?What is going on the pages of “Zorya” newspaper? There is a very old method, which must have been known even in the Ancient Rome. Those who are not that innocent usually use it. It is very easy: you must use as much emotions, fantasies and intentions as you can. You are lucky if you have some information that is discrediting your opponent, but in case you have nothing, you ought to give facts, which cannot be confirmed or denied (or instance, an old woman, who was offended two years ago). The main thing is to obscure the issue, make your opponent look highly unappealing and thus to make people distrust him and put him under the psychological pressure just in order to teach everyone a lesson. This way, appears a kind of a smoke screen, which is meant to hide some illegitimate or even illegal activities. But anyway, I will be brave enough to ask an “unethical” question: how long is the Council of Region’s newspaper “Zorya” is going to violate the legislations of Ukraine and make a smoke screen of some charismatic pastor?  Olena Mikolayivna Bondarenko


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