An interesting perception concerning not only the Russian Orthodox and the Vatican but also the Ukrainian Patriarchate.
"The great irony of John Paul’s “Russia policy,” according to observers here, is that the pope who began by rejecting John XXIII’s and Paul VI’s Ostpolitik – a policy of softening tensions with the Soviets, which a young Karol Wojtyla saw as lacking nerve – is today recycling that Ostpolitik in an ecumenical key. The Soviets are gone, but the “don’t rock the boat” mentality survives. Replace “socialism” with “Russian Orthodoxy,” and the picture is the same: a strategy of de-escalation through soft policies and softer speech.
There is a consensus that John Paul has gone to extraordinary lengths to advance relations with the Russian Orthodox, whose doctrinal and liturgical traditions he obviously reveres – so much so, in fact, that some Catholics fear the local church is being sacrificed in the bargain. Protestantism in Russia is growing by leaps and bounds, they say, while the Catholic church sits on the sidelines for the sake of a murky ecumenical moment that never seems to arrive.
Make no mistake: Russian Catholics are fiercely loyal to the papacy, and they feel a special bond with John Paul. At the same time, however, some wonder if the approach to Catholic/Orthodox relations in John Paul’s Vatican doesn’t end in the same stance Wojtyla himself once abhorred: accommodation…"