Russian priest under investigation after criticising military


Eastern Europe


Russian orthodox priest. Photo EPA, Leonhard Simon

The Russian Orthodox priest Nikandr Pinchuk faces criminal prosecution for opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

According to Pinchuk, the war is a “mortal sin”. This reports the news website Forum18. After being fined for comments like these in March, Pinchuk is now under investigation for the repeated offence of “discrediting the Armed Forces” after he posted a critical text on the social platform VKontakte. There, he condemned the actions of the Russian military. The post, as well as the account, have been deleted since. Although he is a suspect, Pinchuk has not been arrested.

Fr Nikandr Pinchuk. Photo Nikandr Pinchuck

Pinchuk opposed the war on religious grounds. According to himself, he has committed no crime. “I am a priest and have the right to denounce evil, regardless of who is involved and the political situation”.

The Russian news website E1 reports that the Russian Orthodox Church “has nothing to do” with Pinchuk. According to them, Pinchuk belongs to a group of dissenters that formed after the split of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) under the leadership of Metropolitan Agafangel. This church is officially a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church under Moscow’s leadership.


The Russian news website The Insider reports that on June 8th, a criminal case was opened against Doctor of Theology John Kurmoyarov for distributing “fake news” about the Russian army. In a video called ‘Who will be in hell and who will be in heaven?’, Kurmoyarov suggests that the Russian military will go to hell. “In paradise, ‘blessed are the peacemakers’. “Peacekeepers”, do you understand what the problem is? And those who unleashed aggression will not be in paradise.”



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