Ukraine (MNN) — Ukraine's Orange Revolution has stuttered back to life after pro-Western parties won an inconclusive parliamentary election victory that prompted fears of renewed tensions between the European Union and Russia. However, the elections should be good news for Christians, especially if Yulia Tymoshenko is named Prime Minister.
Slavic Gospel Association supports churches throughout the former Soviet block nations. SGA's Joel Griffith says, "The way it looks right now numbers wise it seems to indicate that Mr. Yushchenko and former Prime Minister Tymoshenko, the pro-western side it looks like they may have enough with a coalition to be able to control things."
Tymoshenko was a part of the Orange Revolution that was swept into power. She was Prime Minister for seven short months before she was sacked by Yushchenko.
Griffith says, however, this election is good for the country's religious freedom. "Having a pro-western government in Ukraine, I think, is important for religious freedom. Churches in Ukraine, if you look at it in comparison to the other former Soviet republics, churches in Ukraine have been remarkably free to share the Gospel, evangelize and plant new churches."
While there is some uncertainty, Griffith says, "I think you're going to continue to see expansion of the Gospel in Ukraine, but I also think you're going to see a lot of watchfulness, keeping a close eye on what happens on the political end of things."
SGA is supporting the growing church by supporting church planting missionaries, and part of that is sponsoring the Odessa Theological Seminary. Griffith says Christians in the west need to be involved to "help support us financially and be able to support these schools and sponsor these church planters. We want to try and get as many churches planted as possible while we have the opportunity to do it."
While Tymoshenko and Yushchenko have support from the west, they don't have the same support from the Kremlin. It is thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who saw the Orange Revolution as his greatest humiliation after he personally campaigned for Mr Yanukovych, could seek retribution for the election result.
Analysts say Russia could ensure that Ukrainians pay dearly for Mrs. Tymoshenko's return to power by dramatically hiking gas prices in an effort to crush Ukraine's growing but fragile economy.