Pro-Russian clerics fomenting tensions ahead of Kievan Rus Baptism anniversary
Following the fake news on Ukraine allegedly trying to "bribe Patriarch Bartholomew," spun by Russian propaganda and its collaborators in Ukraine, certain representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine decided to add fuel to the fire with yet another fake report.
On Wednesday, representative of the Moscow Patriarchate, Protopriest Nikolai Danylevych, said that Kyiv allegedly intended "to create during celebrations of the Baptism of Kievan Rus a picture of mass support" for the idea of autocephaly. According to Danylevych, "free shuttle buses are being provided, whole railway cars are being booked, and many people are coming [to Kyiv] who have no relation to the Church," according to Information Resistance, a Ukraine-based OSINT NGO.
Developing his manipulative idea, Danylevich asserts that these attempts "will not help" Kyiv to influence the position of Patriarch Bartholomew, which is strange because they shouldn't – the Constantinople has been positively consistent on the Ukraine issue, thus apparently irritating Moscow.
In general, a new Russian narrative is being pushed into Ukraine's agenda - "religious war and the genocide of Orthodox believers."
Experts note that this is reminiscent of the events of 2014, when the slogan was "to protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine", and today it sounds like "protecting the Orthodox believers in Ukraine."
In this regard, a reasonable question arises: are the Russians launching the initiative only within a new round of information war or, as it was 2014, preparing public opinion for larger-scale provocations and more aggression against Ukraine under the guise of "saviors from the DPR-LPR"?
"In fact, no one wants to save those "Russian-speakers" anymore, most of whom Moscow left to the mercy of fate in Donbas. At the same time, voicing a new call, this time "To our God, our Orthodox faith and our Tsar" Moscow once again expects to recruit new 'useful idiots'," IR wrote.
As Donbas blogger Aleksandr Chernov recently reported, in the occupied part of Donetsk region, self-styled Russian-controlled "authorities" are actively collecting groups of locals to be sent to Kyiv to "support" opponents of Ukrainian Orthodox Church independence from Moscow. These people will participate in "events" organized by the so-called "UOC-MP" on the day of the Baptism of Kievan Rus.
According to information available, it is about deploying a nearly 200-strong group of men.
At the same time, participation is funded, at RUB 20,000 per person. It is noteworthy that the funds are taken from local business.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian MP Vadym Novinksy, an ardent supporter of the Moscow Patriarchate from the entourage of disgraced ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, is also contributing to artificially raising the temperature of public tensions ahead of the Baptism celebrations.
In a recent interview with LB.ua he claimed he would personally defend the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra against supporters of Ukrainian church's independence, hinting at possible violence that the Russian propaganda claims will ensue if the Constantinople grants autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.