Ukraine’s new leader: “He is well-known as a preacher at one of the Baptist churches in Kiev”

Details from Christianity Today: 

Oleksandr Turchynov, a well-known Baptist pastor and top opposition politician in Ukraine, took office on Sunday, Feb. 23, as acting president after the Parliament voted to oust President Yanukovych.

The collapse of the Yanukovych regime follows three months of growing protests that exploded in last week’s violence, which claimed more than 88 lives. Many of these protests took place in the Maidan, or Independence Square in the capital city of Kiev.

…The choice of a Baptist pastor as acting president in Ukraine, which has had an Orthodox majority population for centuries, does not come as a huge surprise to Sergey Rakhuba, head of U.S.-based Russian Ministries. For years, he has been in periodic contact with Turchynov.

“He is well-known in political circles as a principled, honest leader, although he was somehow always in the shadow of Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed prime minister who was released yesterday.

“He is well-known as a preacher who, despite his political opposition work, preaches on a regular basis at one of the Baptist churches in Kiev, even though security must travel with him. Overall, the evangelical church is excited about Turchynov’s sudden unanimous appointment as acting president. Within the evangelical community, the post-Soviet mindset exists that a true Christian cannot necessarily be a politician. Personally I think it is great that Turchynov is calling for unification and healing of the nation.”

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