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WAR PROPAGANDA: The Russian Orthodox Church Synod, sentenced to death on Ukraine’s territory

Remains of the Church of the Ascension built in 1913 and destroyed during the Russian occupation of Lukashivka village, Chernihiv region, 27 April 2022.
©EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK  |   Remains of the Church of the Ascension built in 1913 and destroyed during the Russian occupation of Lukashivka village, Chernihiv region, 27 April 2022.

The leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church have been sentenced to death on the territory of Ukraine. Spread by the Russian media, this propaganda narrative misquotes a decision issued by the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

NEWS: The leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church Synod are considered enemies of Ukraine, “preachers of the genocide of the Ukrainian people”, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced.

Every metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in Russia is now wanted in Ukraine, the Chief Intelligence Directorate says. In Ukraine, priests will be punished under the law of war, says Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate. Kyiv authorities have also decided on the punishment that awaits the Russian clergymen: execution by firing squad.

[…]

The Russian Orthodox Church also includes the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate and is led by Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) of Kyiv. Onufriy was not sentenced to death as “enemy of Ukraine” because he opposed Russia’s special operation on the territory of Ukraine.

[…]

The Gospel was read in Ukrainian during the celebration of Easter in Russian churches.

NARRATIVE: The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has been sentenced to death in Ukraine.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In late April, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a list of all the Russian Orthodox Church clergymen who support Russian propaganda and take part in “information and psychological operations”. According to information uploaded on the website of the Chief Intelligence Directorate, the men of the cloth were given instructions from Moscow to convince young Russians to sign military service contracts.

The Chief Intelligence Directorate in Kyiv claims that Russian priests “argue in favor of the Russian aggression and support the genocide against the Ukrainian people.” Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church will be held accountable in line with Ukrainian legislation.

The webpage of the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense makes no reference to the death penalty – this is a fundamental element of propaganda narratives spread by the Russian media.

In Ukraine, the death penalty was banned in 2000, being replaced in the Criminal Code with life in prison.  Under Articles 64-81 in the Ukrainian Criminal Code, after serving 20 years of their time, individuals who were handed such sentences can request a pardon from the President. The death penalty doesn’t apply even under martial law, although Russian propaganda claims otherwise.

Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv, the First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Church, which is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate, criticized president Vladimir Putin in March, calling on the Kremlin leader “to swiftly end this fratricidal war”.

Russia did not react straight away to the message conveyed by Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv, because it contradicted the official narratives regarding the persecution of Russian speakers and Orthodox Christians by Ukraine. Now, the Kremlin justifies the Metropolitan’s criticism, claiming he is afraid he might be executed by Ukrainian authorities.

Tags: Ukraine , Russia , disinformation , War in Ukraine , propaganda
Turneul Stradivarius 2022
Propaganda de Razboi - Razboi in UCRAINA
  • Publication / Media:
    Eadaily
  • Date of publication:
    28/04/2022
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in Russia and ex-Soviet republics
  • Amplification:
    The Telegram accounts of Russian media and politicians
  • Political affiliation:
    the Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has been sentenced to death in Ukraine.
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