With the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, religion has shifted from a sphere of great importance in inter-state relations to the national security domain, where the sides in the conflict perceive religion as potentially posing the utmost threat and have resorted to extraordinary measures to securitize it. The author argues that at the core of the Ukrainian securitizing move was the struggle for the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which allowed weakening Russia's influence not only on the Orthodox milieu but also on Ukrainian society as a whole. Russia, viewing the loss of control over Ukraine as a danger to its national security, applied a wide range of extreme means in its attempts to torpedo Ukrainian autocephaly. Whereas in the Ukrainian case, the actor of securitization, unable to convince its audience of the need for stricter legislation and greater police control, took the route of expanding the rights and liberties of religious associations hoping to gain its loyalty. The Russian securitizing move abroad (namely, in Ukraine) was accompanied by a domestic assault on religious freedom and the defeat of hotbeds of religious dissent.



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