Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia Loses the War of the Churches (48)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia has a religious problem, as in the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is being exposed as a tool of the state and there is a dearth of freedom of religion which should be compared to that of the former communist state of the USSR. 

Now Russia is scrambling for a sense of validity, having Russian plans exposed which were to use religion as a way to obtain governmentally fabricated legitimacy and vice versa. 

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Unification council to take place on the 15th Dec 2018. ROC proxies decline to participate. Soon after the formal Tomos document will be issued. Ukraine will be free to have its own church for the first time in over 300 years. Muscovy’s “Russian World” ideological construct will collapse. Muscovy will further escalate, further alienating remaining undecided Ukrainians.

SBU briefs public: “In recent days law enforcers held a number of searches in administrative premises of Ukrainian Orthodox Church [UOC-MP/ROC] and private buildings, which belong to the representatives of this confession. Many printed materials containing evidence of inciting religious and confessional discord”. This proves the ROC in Ukraine has, as many have long suspected, been acting as a proxy of the Russian state.

More on Russia’s campaign to wipe out other Christian denominations in Russia.

Poroshenko: Meeting To Form Independent Ukrainian Church Set For December 15

President Petro Poroshenko says senior figures from Orthodox Christian communities in Ukraine will meet on December 15 in a bid to form a new, unified, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Poroshenko announces date of Orthodox Church’s unification council | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the Orthodox churches in Ukraine will gather for a unification council on December 15. Participants in the unification council will elect the head of the newly created independent autocephalous local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the Orthodox churches in Ukraine will gather for a unification council on December 15. Earlier it was reported that participants in the unification council would elect the head of the newly created independent autocephalous local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Its head that is to be elected will be given a tomos on autocephaly.

Moscow Patriarchate not to participate in church unification council in Ukraine | UNIAN

Head of the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Archbishop Klyment has said the UOC-MP will not participate in the unification council for the creation of an independent autocephalous local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Read alsoRussian Orthodox cleric in Kyiv accused of ‘inciting hatred’ – media “Our position has not changed. The UOC-MP will not participate in this council, since the creation of the Ukrainian autocephalous church does not meet canonical norms,” the archbishop said.

Police find printed materials containing evidence of inciting religious and confessional discord –

After the searches in eight buildings of several eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Zhytomyr region, police found evidence of organized network distributing materials inciting religious discord at the premises of the priests, the press service of Ukraine’s Security Service reports. “In recent days law enforcers held a number of searches in administrative premises of Ukrainian Orthodox Church and private buildings, which belong to the representatives of this confession. Many printed materials containing evidence of inciting religious and confessional discord,” reads the message. It is also added that 75 copies of leaflets “Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with state. Attitude towards anti-terrorist operation and church dissent. Questions and answers”, which has already appeared on the radar screen of Ukraine’s Security Services and which has already got expert’s conclusion. Namely, according to the expertise of Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise the publication “contains propaganda of religious intolerance, violates feelings of citizens due to their religious views, incites religious and confessional discord.” “The rest of the materials taken shall also be given an estimate,” the service stated. It is worth mentioning that at the same time the head of legal department of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov reported on his Facebook page that the SBU summoned 20 priests of this confession for questioning in Rivne region today. “The investigator summons the priests at 10:00. According to my information, the questioning shall be held in the frameworks of the criminal case on state treason and religious discord,” he noted. As we reported earlier, Ukraine’s Security Service conducted searches at the place of residence of Pavlo, the archpriest of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra within the probe of stirring up religious hatred, which is a subject to Criminal Code of Ukraine on November 3.

SBU accuses Ukrainian Orthodox Church of spreading materials sowing religious discord

Employees of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) under the procedural management of the prosecuting authorities and the national police have found signs of operations of an organized network to spread materials that incite to religious discord, the SBU press center told Interfax-Ukraine. “Law enforcers have conducted a series of searches at certain administrative premises of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and buildings privately owned by members of this denomination in the past few days. A lot of printed matter, the contents of which show signs of the incitement to religious and inter-faith discord, were seized following the searches,” the SBU press center said. A total of 75 copies of a brochure entitled “Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State, Attitude to the ATO and the Church Schism. Questions and Answers” have been seized among other things in the past two days, it said. The brochure has already been reviewed by the SBU and a relevant expert conclusion regarding it has already been given. According to the expert conclusion of the Ukrainian Research Institution of Technical and Forensic Assessment, this publication “contains propaganda of religious intolerance, offends the feelings of citizens over their religious beliefs, incites to religious and inter-faith enmity and hatred,” the SBU press center said. “Experts will also evaluate other seized materials,” it said. Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov, the director of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s legal division, in turn, said on his Facebook page that as of 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 20 priests of the church were summoned for questioning at the SBU department for Rivne region as part of a criminal case of high treason and religious enmity.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Jehovah’s Witnesses Only the First Denomination Kremlin Plans to Ban, Panchenko Suggests

Paul Goble Staunton, December 4 – Aleksandr Panchenko, a St. Petersburg anthropologist who specializes in popular religion, says that the ban Moscow imposed on the Jehovah’s Witnesses was “the first complete prohibition of a completely respectable religious organization on the territory of the Russian Federation in post-Soviet times.” This official move is serious and has created problems for “hundreds of thousands of people,” the scholar continues. Indeed, he says, he has “the sense that in fact there exists a list of ‘harmful sects’ or ‘harmful movements’ which has been developed by someone and which the authorities are trying to drive out of Russia completely. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were the first.” Panchenko’s comments came in an interview the Meduza news agency made with him after he was dismissed from one of his academic posts, a decision the scholar says came from outside the university and appears to be the result of his support for groups the authorities want to suppress ( The anthropologist says that he has many other academic positions and consequently isn’t trying to defend his own rights but rather is speaking out so that others will know what is going on and how it threatens an ever larger circle of people. According to Panchenko, the so-called Yarovaya packet is not the only problem. Indeed, “anti-extremist legislation existed before it” and gave the authorities enormous opportunities of misuse and abuse. The scholar says that in his view, all of Russia’s anti-extremist laws should be “completely annulled.” He admits that he has no direct knowledge of a list of objectionable religious groups the authorities want to exclude from Russian society but says there are many indirect indications that suggest such a list does exist and that its composition reflects ideas that have been circulating among Soviet and now Russian officials for more than 50 years. “We have an anti-sectarian mythology which in a certain sense is a legacy of Khrushchev’s anti-religious campaigns of the late 1950s and early 1960s,” Panchenko says. “To it have been added survivals of the Western anti-cult movement which was active in the 1970s and 1980s but now has practically disappeared. Plus, there are certain uniquely Russian developments of the 1990s.” Russians also have “a myth about totalitarian sects which in reality do not have any basis but are quite popular in society,” Panchenko says. “Undoubtedly, many government officials are infected by this mythology given the role they have played for the special services. In addition, we have the Orthodox lobby,” and more primitive notions in the FSB and MVD who are making careers with anti-sectarian actions. It is impossible to say just who was involved in compiling a list of those groups the authorities most want to eliminate, the anthropologist says. But it seems clear that it was developed not in the last several years but rather “in the second half of the 1990s.” At that time, there was “a religious boom,” and the authorities and traditional faiths were concerned. That was especially the case for the Orthodox Church which was not prepared for the competition that various Christian groups. such as the Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists and many others, presented by their missionary activity. Instead of changing its approach, the Orthodox Church sought the aid of the state against these threats. The state was concerned not only because these various religious groups had foreign roots but also because they challenged the government’s ideas about how Russians should form a single community. Moreover, it often happened that one half of a couple accepted the new and the other did not, thus creating social problems as well. This led to the rise of what people call the “anti-sectarian movement,” something based on completely “unscientific” ideas and myths. Some have their roots in the Soviet past, but many are “a home-grown post-Soviet invention,” with Russians using the word sect in the ways that Westerners use the word cult. It is impossible to say just which groups will be attacked next, Panchenko says; but “we see that even now pressure is being applied on the Scientologist church,” likely the next target. “Beyond that,” he says, “I do not know but perhaps it will involve some of the Pentecostal churches.”