Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that during a search, together with the management of the prosecutor’s office and the National Police, it found on the premises of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) a distribution network for materials that “kindle religious strife”. The corresponding announcement appeared on December 5th on the website of the SBU.
During the past few days, as the Ukrainian security officers said, they carried out searches in the administration premises of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] and the private buildings that belong to this organisation. They managed to discover printed materials that, according to them, have signs of inciting religious and interfaith strife.
The photos of leaflets and books that security officers deemed to be “extremist” were posted on the website of the SBU: the leaflets “We Protect Orthodox Belief”, “Unity of Christian Church and the Sin of Church Schism”, “Brothers and sisters! Be Careful! Jehovah is a totalitarian sect!” (Jehovah’s Witnesses are recognised as an extremist organisation in the Russian Federation), the book “Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the state. Relations to the ATO and the church schism. Questions and answers”.
The SBU noted that it had already managed to carry out examinations at the Ukrainian research institute of technical-judicial examinations. There it was confirmed that the materials found in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] contain propaganda of religious intolerance and offend civil feelings.
In the same day the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that the unifying sobor of the church will take place on December 15th. In addition, the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs Zoryan Shkiryak suggested to impose criminal liability for “promoting the Russian world” and denying the “aggression of Russia” in the country.
“The draft law is very good, but in my opinion we have to apply criminal liability for the recognition and promotion of the ‘Russian world’ and for insulting the Revolution of Dignity, instead of ‘information space of national interests of the Ukrainian statehood’. For propaganda and non-recognition of the aggression of Russia against Ukraine there has to be criminal liability. Too high a price was paid in more than 11,000 innocently killed Ukrainian citizens and our heroes,” stressed Shkiryak.
On December 1st it became known that the same Shkiryak published a post on his Facebook page where he allowed himself to issue numerous insults towards the Metropolitan of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the deputy of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Pavel. Among other things, the official called the bishop “Pasha Mercedes”, “a direct agent of influence of the Kremlin”, and a “rat”.
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