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PACE: Putin illegitimate, Russian Orthodox Church propaganda instrument

The Russian Orthodox Church, led by Patriarch Kirill, has been denounced as an “ideological extension” of Vladimir Putin’s “totalitarian regime” in a resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
PACE
Inside the session hall of PACE. Illustrative image: pace.coe.int
PACE: Putin illegitimate, Russian Orthodox Church propaganda instrument

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has declared Vladimir Putin’s presidency illegitimate and condemned the Russian Orthodox Church as an “ideological extension” of his regime, according to a resolution adopted on 17 April 2024.

The resolution, titled “Alexei Navalny’s death and the need to counter Vladimir Putin’s totalitarian regime and its war on democracy,” accuses Putin’s regime of waging a “war against democracy” and seeking to “redraw the European and global order established after the collapse of the former Soviet Union.” It comes in the wake of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison camp on 16 February 2024.

PACE states that it does not recognize the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin as the President of the Russian Federation, in line with its previous Resolution 2519 (2023).

The assembly reiterates its call on Council of Europe member and observer states and the European Union to “cease all contact with him, except for humanitarian purposes and in the pursuit of peace.”

The resolution emphasizes that “the abolition of presidential term limits for the benefit of Vladimir Putin violates not only the Russian Constitution but also well-established international legal principles.”

It further notes that the 2024 presidential election, in which Putin was declared the winner, “was not free and fair, with no genuine opponent to Vladimir Putin even being permitted to run,” and included polling stations in occupied Ukraine and Moldova, which violates the UN Charter and principle of sovereignty of states.

PACE’s call to proclaim Putin illegitimate mirrors that of the Ukrainian authorities, who following the fake plebiscite in Russian-occupied southeastern Ukraine, called upon nations of the world to declare the “winner” of illegitimate elections also illegitimate. 

While Western leaders condemned the elections, few went as far as to condemn Putin as an illegitimate president.

The assembly also condemns the Russian Federation’s commitment to the “neo-imperialistic ideology of Russkiy Mir,” (“Russian world”) which it says has been turned into a tool for promoting war.

“This ideology is being used to destroy the remnants of democracy, to militarize Russian society and to justify external aggression to expand the Russian Federation’s borders to include all territories once under Russian domination, including Ukraine,” the resolution states.

PACE accuses the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, including Patriarch Kirill, of championing the Russkiy Mir ideology and “declaring the war against Ukraine and the ‘satanic’ West as a ‘holy war of all Russians,’ urging Orthodox believers to sacrifice themselves for their country.”

The Assembly is referring to a “decree” adopted by the Moscow Patriarchate on 27 March which theologian Cyril Hovorun has assessed to outstrip Nazi ideology.

“The Assembly is appalled by such an abuse of religion and the distortion of the Christian Orthodox tradition by Vladimir Putin’s regime and its proxies in the Moscow Patriarchate hierarchy,” the resolution states.

It emphasizes that “incitement to commit the crime of aggression, genocide and war crimes is a crime in itself.”

The assembly calls on all states to treat Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox hierarchy as “an ideological extension of Vladimir Putin’s regime complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity conducted in the name of the Russian Federation and the Russkiy Mir ideology.”

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