Russia Turned Religion Into a Weapon

by Olha Povalaieva
Monday, January 9, 2023
Russia Turned Religion Into a Weapon

Russia creates fakes about "heretics and schismatics" in the ranks of the Ukrainian orthodox church in order to discredit Ukraine and its government

The Institute for the Study of War has published data proving Russian manipulation on religion area.

After the transfer of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra from the disposal of the Moscow patriarchate to the disposal of the Ukrainian orthodox church, on January 7, for the first time in 300 years, a divine service of the Ukrainian patriarchate was held there. In response to this, Russia began to speculate in terms: it published photos of Ukrainian soldiers taking part in the Christmas service, and called it "reprisal and open war against the Ukrainian orthodox church of the Moscow patriarchate." The Russian media and the Moscow patriarchate called the participants in the service themselves "heretics and schismatics."

"The Russian response to the Ukrainian government's decision to transfer control of the Lavra to the OCU exemplifies Moscow's continued weaponization of religion in order to frame Ukraine as evil and position Russia as the protector of orthodox christian values, as ISW has previously reported," ISW.

The Kremlin "military bloggers" spread disinformation about the "military seizure of the Lavra," forgetting to add to their false testimony the information that Putin himself thanked the Moscow patriarchate for thanking the Russian orthodox church for the unwavering support of Russian troops in Ukraine.

ISW explicitly states that Ukraine does not in any way interfere with orthodox christians, and the steps that Ukraine is taking regarding the Moscow patriarchate are aimed at protecting Ukrainian culture and values from the influence of the Kremlin.

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