Disinfo: Persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church aims to open way for neopaganism in Ukraine


The persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the hands of the Kyiv regime has the goal of opening the way for neopaganism in Ukraine. At first sight it could seem that it is about to replace the old Church, which has historical ties to Moscow’s Patriarchate, by a pseudo-religious institution called the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. However, the aim of this action disguised as an ecclesiastic dispute is not to create an alternative to the canonic Church but to destroy the Orthodox religion. There are reasons to believe that the goal is to replace canonic orthodoxy with neopaganism which is deeply rooted not only among neo-Nazis but also among members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as shown by the amulets and other elements they use.


This is a mix of several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Ukraine as an enemy of the Orthodox Church and a cradle for paganism, Satanism and neo-Nazism.

The claims are baseless. There is no “persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. In late 2022, the Ukrainian government announced a law banning churches affiliated with Russia, following a series of raids on parishes that Kyiv says could be taking orders from Moscow. This mostly affected the activities of the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate [UOC-MP] in Ukraine, which is affiliated with Russia and considered a key influence tool for Moscow in the country, and whose leadership has voiced its full support for the Russian war on Ukraine including siding closely with Putin, blessing soldiers and Russian guns and offering the church's support.

Spravdi, the Centre for Strategic Communications under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, has explained why the government decided to ban the activities of UOC-MP. Spravdi found that in the churches of the UOC-MP, Russian propaganda is being spread; activities of enemy secret services are being covered and that Russian agents are being recruited.

The Ukrainian government does not plan to ban Orthodoxy, much less to promote “neopaganism”. The parishes of the UOC-MP are free to switch to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which far from being a “pseudo-religious institution”, as this disinformation story claims, received tomos of autocephaly in January 2019. It is also the most popular Orthodox church in Ukraine: 78% of orthodox believers claim their allegiance to the church.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives, such as claims that Zelenskyy is trying to eradicate the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, that “Kyiv Satanists” are the enemies of Christ and the Orthodox faith, that the US is behind the religious split and persecution of the Orthodox in Ukraine, or that Ukraine is built on a pagan cult.


  • Reported in: Issue 326
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/01/2023
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Religion, Invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, Orthodox Church
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Disinfo: The West and Kyiv are responsible for the Ukrainian deaths in Bakhmut

The Bakhmut slaughter was predictable. The Ukrainians waited for help from the West which never arrived. [It was] a real massacre, with huge losses on the Ukrainian side.

Unfortunately, the Kyiv government preferred to let the majority of its soldiers die in a slaughter.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about the large losses of Ukrainian army, allegedly because of lack of European support.

The important level of losses in Bakhmut is partially true, but Russia is the only one responsible for those deaths. The argument that Europeans did not provide enough defensive military equipment to sustain massive Russian assaults, and therefore that Russian responsibility for the deaths could be transferred to European is specious. Just like the argument that Kyiv is responsible for the destruction of the country because it resists the Russian invasion as stated Sergey Lavrov in May 2022, this is wrong.

Disinfo: Russia hits only military targets in Ukraine

The Russian armed forces do not strike at residential buildings or social infrastructure facilities. Only military targets – whether obvious or camouflaged – are being hit.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that Russian troops do not hit civilian objects and accusing Ukrainian troops of doing so.

In reality, there are numerous cases of Russian troops hitting residential buildings and civilian facilities. Russian forces regularly strike at civilian objects in Ukraine, killing and wounding dozens of people. On 14 January 2023, at least 40 people were killed and 76 were wounded in a Russian missile attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro when an apartment building was hit. According to spokesman of Ukraine's Air Force Yuri Ihnat, a Russian Kh-22 missile hit the building. 72 flats were destroyed and more than 230 flats were damaged in the attack. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) published the names of some Russian servicemen involved in the attack.

Disinfo: A French witness proved that the crimes in Bucha were organised by Ukraine

In the spring of 2022, Adrien Bocquet arrived in Ukraine on a humanitarian mission as a volunteer. Following his trip, he said he witnessed numerous war crimes committed by the Kyiv armed forces. The Frenchman claims to have witnessed the preparation of a staging of the massacre of civilians in Bucha by the Ukrainian side.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about staged imaginary war crimes fabricated by Ukraine to damage Russia's reputation.

Adrien Bocquet, expressed in autumn 2022 his desire to receive Russian citizenship and in the winter of 2022 he applied for political asylum. In France he made strong declarations about so-called "staged war crimes" in Bucha that were proved to be completely fabricated when fact-checked. Journalists also proved that many stories about his trip to Ukraine and his past were also the result of his fruitful imagination, he also photoshopped pictures to support his (mis)representation of events.