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. Tom Bogen says:

    Thank you to BGEA for serving the Lord so faithfully over the years. Your organization is a beacon of light for the lost, and a source of strength for the found.

    God Bless you.

  2. Joyce Paul says:

    God is our only refuge and very present help in trouble,Praise His Glorious Name! amen.

  3. Jim Wood says:

    Three of my children were adopted from an orphanage in Ukraine. We have prayed for that country for years. It has been my joy to preach there many times and we have precious friends who are living courageously through these trying days. We cling to the promises of God and rejoice that many are coming to faith as the believers shine in the darkness. And they really are shining!

  4. Cynthia Cooper says:

    The Lord has blessed me with many happy memories of dear Ukrainian friends and I join with them in prayer.

  5. Wes Janzen says:

    Please continue to pray. Music Mission Kiev and our people are in the centre of the city and while the needs are enormous many more are coming to Christ. Through friendship-evangelism concerts the “gospel of peace” is proclaimed, broadcast and bearing much fruit. Glory to God!

  6. Paul says:

    Everyone needs to please be on their knees for Ukraine. Jesus please protect your people from this invasion, Jesus we need your beautiful angels to wrap their bountiful wings around this country and allow these people the freedoms and their religion you gave to them.

    I want the Ukraine people to know that many people more people than you can realize are praying for them without ceasing and we stand behind you! We would want to be with you in your presence but for many of us we cannot do this…but we can do so much better we can stand with you in prayer to our savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Who can do all things through Him who strengthens us.
    We love you!

  7. kakobya says:

    This is great. Let God fight.

  8. Margareta Cronholm says:

    Thank you. I am so happy to read about Mr. Turchynovs love and faith in God. In Jesus Name I will pray for peace and stability for the nations. God will give you victory again.

  9. Paul Bockarie says:

    For this battle is not yours, but God’s battle, therefore no weapon,, enterprises and group fashioned against Ukraine, shall prosper, in Jesus name. Amen.

  10. Carol (and Henry) Goesel says:

    Our son-in-law, daughter, (Daniel and Laurel Bardwell) and 6 children are missionaries in Ukraine for the last 11 years. We trust God and know He is in control of all things. With all the unrest we have experienced the “peace that passes understanding”.