Even After Sheriff’s Meeting, Tension in local Slavic Community Still High

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SACRAMENTO —

A day after the Sacramento County Sheriff met with local Slavic community members, tension over Ukrainian and Russian values persists in Sacramento.

Pastor Yuriy Golas with the First Ukrainian Evangelical Church in Sacramento recently wrote a letter to President Barack Obama. The letter urges the president to “take all necessary measures to stop the military aggression of Russian against Ukraine.”

“He voiced out his opinion. He voiced his concerns,” said Florin Ciuriuc with the Slavic American Community Center of Sacramento.

Florin said the Pastor Golas was not supposed to send this letter to Obama without the prior consent of the International  Pastors Association.

“We have rules and regulations. Things like this comes to a meeting and we agree upon it. So everyone is on the same page. That way, our voice is more powerful,” said Ciuriuc,

Friday, the Obama administration voiced their own concerns that Vladimir Putin might invade another part of Ukraine. Despite numerous warnings and sanctions, Putin officially declared Crimea a part of Russia. Putin signed the papers as European leaders struck a political deal with Ukraine to demonstrate solidarity with the government in Kiev.

Ciuriuc says local the Russian-Ukrainian divide is splitting Slavic communities in Sacramento.

He told FOX40 there have been reports of anonymous messages being sent to pastors.

“During the service he had a note that was passed to him. It said do not preach in Russian,” said Ciuriuc.

Ciuriuc said there he has seen mixed messages on Facebook. Political images that seem to portray the right to free speech.

“It is not the image that concerns me, it is the message. These are images of free speech. It is not harmful until that speech relates to bad propaganda, that would drive people to violence,” said Ciuriuc,

The threat of violence is what drove the Sacramento County Sheriff to meet with Slavic community members Thursday. Ciuriuc said the meeting was helpful but did not entirely cut the tension between local Slavic communities.

“You still have some people that have one vision. You still have some people that develop hate,” said Ciuriuc.

Ciuriuc said minutes after speaking on a local radio show Friday, he received insulting and threatening phone calls from locals.

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