Zelenskyy Is Not Exiling Orthodox Christians from Ukraine
The post is negligent towards the context when it claims that “Zelenskyy is closing down churches and arrests priests”. Specifically, the law provides for curbing the activities of churches connected to Russia, after a series of searches that have shown that they receive orders from Russia. This is mainly directed towards the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, which is linked to Russia and considered the key tool of influence of Moscow in Ukraine. Spravdi, the Centre for Strategic Communication within the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, determined that Russian propaganda has been spreading in the churches, activities of enemy services are being covered up and Russian agents are recruited there.
Fox News US.
Zelenskyy is closing down churches and arresting priests.
Тhe post also shares video material from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. The video shows Carlson talking to Meghan Basham from Daily Wire with the following narrative ”President Zelenskyy is arresting and prosecuting Orthodox Christians from Ukraine” and that “it is shameful that the Western media are not reporting this, even though they see it.…”.
This post, however, lacks context because the information about the situation with the Church in Ukraine is not important. Namely, the Ukrainian government, as Reuters reported in December 2022, is drafting a law that would ban churches affiliated with Russia, in order to prevent Moscow from weakening Ukraine from within.
In a move condemned in Moscow, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council told the government to draft the law following a series of raids on parishes that Kyiv says could be taking orders from Moscow as Russia wages war on Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The law stipulates that religious organizations with “management centers” in Russia must change their names and explicitly identify their ties with Moscow. The law prohibits these organizations to send their members to the Ukrainian army. This law was challenged before the Ukrainian Constitutional Court, and in December 2022, this court declared it constitutional. That opened the door to forced renaming.
Zelenskyy ordered the laws to be adopted in the autumn of 2022, pressured by several cases of priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church collaborating with the Russian Army.
From October to December 2022, the Secret Service of Ukraine carried out several searches of the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and in the homes of the clergy across the country, and found Russian propaganda, proof that some of the priests had Russian citizenship.
Finally, in December 2022, based on the decision by the National Security Council, Zelenskyy demanded the Cabinet of Ministers to draft a law that would ban religious organizations affiliated with Moscow, noting that the law must be in compliance with Ukraine’s obligations imposed by the Council of Europe.
The Russian Orthodox Church and its leadership actively support Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. The Ukrainian Secret Service has registered cases where the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was involved in justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine and collaborated with the Russian troops in the occupied territories.
In December 2022, Andriy Pavlenko, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was convicted by a Ukrainian court of spying for Russia.
At the end of 2022, Zelenskyy called the Ukrainian Members of Parliament to find a way to prevent the operation of the Orthodox Church under direct control of Moscow.
Zelenskyy said that a law is necessary to disable the operations of religious organizations linked to centres of influence in the Russian Federation within Ukraine, referring to the Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
After this, Dmitry Medvedev called Zelenskyy an enemy of Christ and the Orthodox faith. This is not logical, however, because according to the Pew Research Center from Washington, 78 percent of the Ukrainians identify themselves as Orthodox.
Due to all of the above-noted facts, we assess that the post lacks context when it claims that “Zelenskyy closes down churches and arrests priests”. The post conceals information that the arrested priests were convicted for cooperation with Russia. The point of the new law is to prevent Russia from installing its networks through the Church in Ukraine, for which the Security Services of Ukraine already warned.
Specifically, the law will ban churches affiliated with Russia, after a series of searches performed proving that they received orders from Russia. This is mainly directed to the activities of the Ukrainian Church – Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, deemed as the key tool of influence of Moscow in Ukraine.
Spravdi, Centre for Strategic Communication within the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, explained that the Government decided to ban the activities of this church. Spravdi found that there Russian propaganda was being disseminated, that activities of hostile services were concealed and that agents were being recruited.