Denys Brylov


Documenting Ukraine Grants

Documenting Religious Transformations as Mirror of Social Changes after Large-Scale Invasion into Ukraine

Religious actors of Ukraine, who are part of civil society, have provided active responses to socio-political challenges since 2013. If viewed from the point of view of new social movements, representatives of religious organizations, both ministers and believers, are an informal network united by a common goal, especially since February 2022, of opposing the full-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine and trying to help people affected by the war. But in addition to humanitarian challenges, war also brings with it a special space and time to review those deep convictions, existential pillars and theological foundations that give a certain understanding of meaning and remind us why to persevere and how to help ourselves survive challenging times.
As part of this research, the project is interested in how these new movements develop, cooperate or conflict with each other, which influencing factors are decisive, and how the existing networks of cooperation (mostly horizontal) can maintain their flexibility and interaction after the end of the war. In addition, the research highlights key issues that are observed by representatives of the religious environment of Ukraine, such as the breakdown of successful communication between religious leadership and ministers, the acute need for a theological interpretation of recent events; the need to support the public in coping with trauma; and the necessity of developing a vision of a strategy of action in view of the desired future and the ability to shape it collectively.
Such issues and trends are directly related to our practical work, which we have been doing since 2016 as part of the Dialogue in Action initiative, which is aimed at developing a culture of communication and cooperation in small territorial communities of Ukraine through sustainable programs in the format of facilitated dialogues, trainings, and consultations. Such programs help to foster understanding and cooperation among different groups of people: representatives of civil society, government, business, education and local religious communities.

Monitoring the Dynamics of Communication Networks of Mutual Aid and Cooperation between Religious Communities during the War in Ukraine

It is important that religious communities and their infrastructures are influential actors in this process; they are opinion leaders, sources of spiritual and psychological support, effective communicators, and humanitarian hubs not only for their communities but also for entire regions. Their state and their ability to resist conflicts directly affect the moods in the communities, the level of credibility of churches and religious leaders, and the stability of the communities in war.
In this situation, there is a great need for a systematic, comprehensive collection and analysis of information about events, narratives, cases of cooperation and mutual assistance in religious communities at the community and regional levels. This analysis will help us to understand the specifics of these networks, their role and participation in the current processes, and thereby identify the emergence or support of links between religious initiatives and aid groups.
We also plan to use the data and analysis of this network to capture potential and existing conflict cases for the further transformation of those conflicts and violence with the involvement of religious leaders. This will help to form an alternative vision of interfaith relations with more constructive potential (i.e., to move from renunciation of physical or psychological violence to joint solutions and support of the cooperation network).

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Latest Grantee's Blog Posts

  • The Longest February: One Year of Full-Scale War
    There has not been a moment since the morning of 24 February 2022 left untouched by the Russo-Ukrainian War. A wry commonplace among Ukrainians is that February 2022 still hasn’t ended – we are now in its 13thmonth. It feels both impossible and essential to reflect on the past year, to think about where we stand now, and to envision the future. Here we present a selection of publications by members of the IWM community tied in some way to the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in English and German. Many of the authors represented here are part of the IWM's Documenting Ukraine program. New items are added on an ongoing basis.