Russian Orthodox bishop: QR code is strengthening control over people


Eastern Europe


A man wearing a face mask and protective gloves sits in front of the Central Mosque in Moscow. Photo AFP, Alexander NEMENOV

QR codes are not "the seal of antichrist" but strengthening the means of control over people is a threat and causes concern. That is the opinion of Bishop Savva (Tutunov) of the Russian Orthodox Church in Zelenograd.

"I do not think that the QR code is the seal of the Antichrist", the bishop wrote on his Telegram channel according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

People have asked the bishop several times what they should think about "neither buying nor selling without the sign of the antichrist", as the bible book of Revelations teaches. "If you stick to the letters, then sell, and you can buy, although not everything. For example, you can buy and sell medicines and essential products without restrictions, and almost everything can be bought and sold through home delivery. And before the introduction of QR codes, something could not be bought or sold without external identifiers, for example, real estate."

Threat to evangelism

The Bishop of Zelenograd, just northwest of the Russian capital Moscow, noted that in connection with the introduction of QR codes, "apocalyptic associations" arise, and "the strengthening of the means of control over a person carries a threat, including a threat to Christian evangelism."

Earlier, Bishop Savva wrote in his Telegram channel that the comprehensive introduction of QR codes is causing the anger and concern of many Russians, as it is a "technology of universal control." The clergyman expressed doubt that "this technology will be forgotten and put in a dusty box of a forgotten server room immediately after 80 per cent of people are vaccinated."


Meanwhile, Islamic religious leaders in the Urals discuss the possibility of introducing QR codes for visiting mosques in the Sverdlovsk region. Earlier, the vice-governor of the Sverdlovsk region Pavel Krekov said that the authorities recommend making churches, mosques and synagogues COVID-free zones; still, the final decision is with the leadership of the confessions.

"Our situation in this regard is difficult", Artur Mukhutdinov, chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in the region, told RIA Novosti. "For example, for Friday prayers, people do not fit in the mosque. There are not enough mosques; many people come to the street. Religious leaders, of course, can call people so that only those who are vaccinated and who have a QR code or who have been ill come. But who will check them? How feasible it will be is a question."

The religious leaders have not yet made a decision.

Hit hard

Russia has been hit hard by the coronavirus. For weeks now, the number of coronas in the country has been breaking record after record. The low vaccination rate of 35 per cent and the continuing distrust in Russia's own Sputnik V vaccine are not helping.



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