A Baptist Leads Ukraine

He’ll Need The Wisdom Of Solomon

Former United States President, Ronald Reagan, tells the following story from his first meeting with then Soviet Union Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev:

I said, “Mr. Premier, in America, anyone can, without fear of harm, come into the White House, pound on the desk, and say – I disagree with the way Ronald Reagan is running the country.”  And Mr. Gorbachev replied, “Mr. President, the same is also true in the Soviet Union.  Anyone can, without fear of harm, come into the Kremlin, pound on the desk, and say – I, too disagree, with the way Ronald Reagan is running the country!”

For the past few weeks, the above scenario has not been carried out in America or Russia, but in Ukraine.  And sadly, harm has resulted with 88 protesters dead and the president of that nation fleeing the country as a warrant was issued for his arrest.  And  Ukraine, which is known as the “Bible belt” of the former Soviet republics, has now installed a Baptist preacher as their interim leader.  He is the well-known Ukranian pastor of the New Life Baptist Church, located in the capital city of Kiev.

So as the world watches this crisis unfold, let me try and explain what is going on.  Ukraine is one of the youngest countries in the world.  It is just 23 years old, having begun in 1991 when the old Soviet Union broke up and fifteen of their former territories declared themselves as independent nations (Ukraine being the first to do so)…
But today, this large country of 46 million is deeply divided with the eastern half being ethnically Russian and the western half being ethnically Ukranian.  And herein lies the two tug of wars.  There is the outer tussle between Europe (pulling on their western neighbor, the Ukrainians, to join them economically) and Russia (pulling on their eastern neighbor, the Russians, to join them economically). Then there is the inner tussle between the Ukrainian voter and the Russian voter as to which way the country should go.  In earlier elections, the Ukrainian side won and began steering the nation towards Europe.  But in the last election, the Russian side won and abruptly turned  the country back towards Russia.  Today, the Ukranian half has taken back (some say unlawfully seized) control of the country and announced elections for May 25th.  The Ukrainians say the last voting, which put the pro-Russian leader in power, was rigged (which the Russian side denies).

Now here’s why Ukraine is so important.  President Vladimir Putin is old enough to recall the glory days of the former Soviet Union and so he is dedicated to re-establishing Russian pride and power (which is what any nation’s leader is elected to do).  But so much of this depends on Ukraine.  To use an analogy, to lose the other former territories (including Moldova) is as saying good-bye to distant relatives; but to see Ukraine go would be like the death of a younger brother, for there are much closer ties here (for instance, former Russian premier, Nikita Khrushchev, was born in the Ukraine).  Russia has already seen Eastern Europe turn west to America and Central Asia turn east to China, so it can ill afford to lose anymore economic partners.  As has often been said in political studies – Russia without Ukraine is a country, but Russia with Ukraine is an empire.

The bottom line?  Will the baby need to be divided?  Pray that the wisdom of Solomon will truly be found.