One of the most important causes of the contemporary Russian-Ukrainian conflict is the existence of a specific, fertile substrate of various small pro-Russian organizations in southern and eastern Ukraine. In these regions, many priests and bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church support Russian nationalism. Some of them deny the legitimacy of Ukrainian independence, or preach about a Russian Donbas state. Victor Yanukovych and his political group shared this conception long before he became President of Ukraine. In his presentation Nikolay Mitrokhin will talk about the organizations and individuals who, over the course of the last twenty years, laid the groundwork for the Russian invasion of south-east Ukraine.