Priest Ioann Burdin

Russian Priest Fined for Preaching Peace

6 May 2022

2.7 MINS

Putin moves to squelch any murmurs of dissent against his invasion of Ukraine, trampling on religious freedom and free speech. Biden is not far behind.

Any and all in-country criticism of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is now branded unlawful.

A new article under 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences allows Russian citizens to be fined between 30,000 and 50,000 roubles for speaking out against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Left-leaning Human Rights Watch explains the fast-tracked laws impose ‘strict censorship,’ banning the use of terms ‘war’ or ‘invasion’.

State Control

The official political narrative authorised by the Kremlin is that its offensive in Ukraine is a “military peacekeeping operation.”

Newsweek understood Putin’s newspeak directive to include a ban on the distribution of information which is deemed to “discredit the use of the Russian Armed Forces.”

The Kremlin’s addition to 20.3.3 coincides with laws threatening Russians with up to 15 years in gaol for “spreading misinformation” — loosely defined as ‘anything that goes against Putin’s position on the way in Ukraine.’

PBS quoted Speaker of the Lower House Vyacheslav Volodin as stating,

“[These] rules will force those who lied and made statements discrediting our armed forces to bear very grave punishment. I want everyone to understand, and for society to understand, that we are doing this to protect our soldiers and officers, and to protect the truth.”

Kharkiv HR Protection Group added that the new article punishes:

‘Public actions [suspected of] discrediting the use of the Russian Federation armed forces to defend the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens; the support of international peace and security.’

In other words, for the Russian bureaucratic caste, suppressing free speech is protecting the truth.

This places opponents of Putin’s bloodletting in Ukraine, particularly Christians, high up on the dissent suppression list.

Persecuted Priest

In early March, Kostroma police arrested Ioann (Viktor Valeryevich) Burdin, an Orthodox priest and rector of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the village of Karabanovo.

Kostroma News recounted that Burdin was charged because of statements he made during a sermon in which he defended peace.

Burdin had also published an anti-war statement he had co-signed with Archpriest Georgy Edelstein.

Part of it reads:

“We Christians do not dare to stand aside when a brother kills a brother, a Christian kills a Christian. We cannot bashfully close our eyes and call black white, evil good, say that Abel was probably wrong when he provoked his older brother.”

Hinting at Burdin being on some form of watchlist, Kostroma News mentioned his solidarity with Russia’s political opposition.

The outspoken Russian Christian held a memorial service for Boris Nemstov in late February, a man the BBC described as “a fierce adversary of Putin.”

Nemstov was murdered in 2015.

Burdin told independent reporter Lew Nescott Jnr.

“I don’t consider it possible to remain silent on this situation. It wasn’t about politics. It was about the Bible. […] If I remain silent, I’m not a priest.”

Biden in Lockstep

Although there’s no hard link connecting the two, Russia’s new laws align with United States President Joe Biden’s Four Pillars against Domestic Terrorism.

Back in June 2021, the Democrat administration released its own plans for legislating a Putin-esque persecution by conflating domestic terrorism with “(systemic) racism”, bigotry, disinformation, and political polarisation.

Meaning: Biden’s administration is adding the Intersectional handbook for Critical Race Theory to how it fights the “war on terror.”

Putin’s anti-woke proclamations, much of which I agree with, are contradicted by the Russian leader’s propensity for borrowing the same cancel culture policy and procedures.

A report from Amnesty International in August 2021 depicted the regressive trend going against Russia’s civil liberties.

Pre-Putin’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Amnesty recalled how ‘peaceful street protests have come to be seen as a crime by state officials.’

They added,

‘Nine out of the 13 major legislative amendments that have been used to curtail the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Russia have been introduced since 2014, as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests.’

This doesn’t paint Western far-left totalitarians as his political opponents — it paints them as his comrades in arms.

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Photo: PortaLuz

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One Comment

  1. Kaylene Emery 6 May 2022 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Great article Rod, thank you. It brings to mind a recent quote from Patrick Coffin ” Jesus Christ came to take away our sins, not our minds”….surely we as Christians can wake now, from that deep sleep implemented by the enemy n cemented by the left ?

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