Exclusive: Interview With Acting President of Ukraine

By Charles Chandler, Decision Magazine   •   March 6, 2014

Viktor Hamm (right), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Vice President of Crusades, meets with Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov on Wednesday.

Kiev, Ukraine — In the midst of ongoing turmoil that has enormous global significance, God is mightily at work in Ukraine, the nation’s acting president said Wednesday in an exclusive interview for Decision magazine.

“Stories of God’s hand abound,” Oleksandr Turchynov, a devout evangelical, said during a private meeting with BGEA Vice President of Crusades Viktor Hamm.

BGEA President Franklin Graham, who preached in Kiev in 2007, requested Hamm travel to Ukraine and meet with Turchynov because of Hamm’s deep ties to the country. Born in a Soviet labor camp, Hamm has led 15 crusades in Ukraine between 1994 and 2006 as a BGEA associate evangelist.

Turchynov has declined requests from internationally prominent news organizations, but granted Decision magazine the interview that will appear in more detail in a special report on the Ukrainian crisis in April’s edition.

Hamm also has met with some of the nation’s top evangelical leaders this week while in Kiev to show BGEA’s support. Decision traveled with him to cover the story that has gripped the world.

“Truth was on the side of those who stood for their rights, and (chose not to) be slaves, without rights and without voice,” acting president Turchynov said of the near-miraculous victory of thousands of unarmed protesters over the regime of now-deposed former president Viktor Yanukovych.

“All events demonstrated the greatness of God,” Turchynov said.

A view of Maidan on Wednesday.

Turchynov was named to his position on Feb. 23, two days after Yanukovych was found to have fled the country amid a massive uprising against his regime.

During three months of protests in which Yanukoych’s Berkut riot police beat and shot protesters, it appeared the many freedom fighters had little chance in a David vs. Goliath kind of confrontation. A fiery showdown ensued and hit its violent peak from February 18-20, when Berkut snipers shot down and killed protesters. Nearly 90 have died in all.

Yanukovych, who fled on or around February 21, is now charged with mass murder by authorities in his country.

Turchynov said only God could have delivered those who refused to be oppressed any longer. The acting president noted how, during the war-like events that took place during the confrontations at Maidan (the city square), huge clouds of smoke would drift toward the Berkut riot police and away from protestors, obstructing the view of the perpetrators. Turchynov said there was also a time when a grenade was thrown near him, but that only one fragment hit him on the cheek, causing no lasting injury.

“I see God’s hand in every little detail that took place as unarmed people went out to defend their freedom and the independence of their country against a fully armed professional army, many times bigger in size,” Turchynov said. “Their faith was victorious. God granted them victory.”

God’s grip on Ukraine has been strong for more than two decades. Hamm says it’s the most evangelical nation in Europe.

Ukraine and Turchynov now face another massive challenge—overt Russian interference.  Leaders around the world accuse Russia of invading and taking over the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Turchynov asked BGEA’s supporters and believers worldwide to “pray for us so that peace would return and people would be able to live peacefully.”

His hope for another victory, preferably without armed conflict with Russia, is based on a Biblical promise.

“If God is with us,” Turchynov said, “no one can be against us.”


More of the thousands upon thousands of flowers placed in recent days at Maidan, where the confrontations happened, most ferociously from Feb. 18-20.

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  1. Michael R Kennedy says:

    If you pray for rights then you are only praying for another sort of bondage dependent on the rights typically prayed for. Pray for “God given rights”, pray for peace, and pray for the destruction of God’s enemies. This is how I believe we should pray.

  2. Ralph Saultz says:

    I was surprised to learn that Ukraine was the meost evangelical nation in Europe! So I am not surprised a man like Mr Turchynov was picked as a n interim president; God continue to bless his nation well.

  3. Virginia Stone says:

    I am encouraged that Mr. Turchynov is a Believer. We know how to pray now.

  4. Mike Holleman says:

    This interview gives tremendous clarity of the real story of events in the Ukraine. This helps Christians abroad know how to pray strategically in the spiritual battle ahead in this critical hotbed of possible war.

  5. Diane says:

    I praise God for His mighty Hand of Protection over Ukraine. May He continue to work in the hearts of the people and give them more courage to stand for their rights. They have suffered enough Lord, please bring them peace and keep the evil of Russia from those that want to remain in Ukraine. I pray for the peace of Ukraine! Thank you Lord In your Son’s name I Pray!

  6. Diane says:

    I pray for all the people in Ukraine

  7. jamil elkaraki says:

    To all of them and man kind.let us pray to our Lord jesus.for his word well never fail us.Amen we are all praying for you..

  8. Rodney Lorang says:

    What a marvelous demonstration of our Lord’s attentiveness and power, may He ever be praised, worshipped and glorified. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for your protective actions and provisions. Thank you for our brothers and sisters who have prayed and worked such long and hard hours for Jesus’ loving care to be so clearly witnessed, and for the leadership He has put in place in Ukraine. Thank you dear God, In Jesus name we pray.

  9. GEMINI says:

    It was Indeed a Joy to know that Oleksandr Turchynov believes in God & the power of the Lord’s Word. Surely as the Pharoh & his army drowned into the sea & Miriam sang & rejoiced so shall be it now as the saints in Ukraine & the world over believe and see His hand of deliverance.

  10. Josie Torres says:

    I didn’t know much of Ukraine until this invasion from Russia. To learn that Turchynov (now in leadership) is a a man of faith is a testament of the moving of the Holy Spirit there, I and my family will keep him and the people of Ukraine in our prayers.