FRANCE: Over 80 Ukrainian scholars denounce to Macron a supporter of Russia’s annexation

In 2019, Georges Fenech, now a member of a French state institution, participated in the commemoration of Crimea’s invasion and annexation by Russia

HRWF (16.03.2023) – On the eve of the 9th anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Crimea, over 80 Ukrainian scholars in religious studies have written to President Emmanuel Macron to denounce the presence in an institution of the French state of a supporter of Russia’s annexation in 2014.


On the 5th anniversary of Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, Georges Fenech, a former member of the National Assembly (2022-2008 and 2012-2017) was part of a controversial visit in Crimea of an unofficial French delegation led by MP Thierry Mariani.


Since 2021, Fenech has been a member of the Orientation Council of the MIVILUDES, a controversial state body monitoring the activities of a number of religious or belief groups, he had been the president of from 2008 to 2012.


The three-day visit of Crimea at mid-March 2019 was organized and financed by the “Russian Foundation for Peace,” according to Mariani.


The participants were received by Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in the Russian State Duma, and Vladimir Konstantinov, a Crimean MP accused of high treason in Ukraine, sanctioned by the European Union since 2014, and a strong supporter of Putin and the Russian annexation of Crimea. They also met Vladimir Putin himself in Simferopol.


The purpose for the unofficial French delegation was to testify in France about how well Crimea was doing under Russian occupation. French journalists from Liberation recognized Fenech in a Russian documentary that flanked the visit, and Mariani confirmed that Fenech who obviously wanted to go unnoticed was part of the delegation.


In 2011, Fenech also shared the stage at a conference with a Russian extremist Orthodox clergyman, Alexander Novopashin, number 2 of the Russian branch of the French FECRIS organisation known to stigmatize non-mainline religious of belief groups.

Recently, Novopashin called Ukrainians “Nazis”, “Satanists” and “cannibals.” He drives a car with a huge “Z” printed on it, insists that Western cults were behind the Euromaidan and Ukrainian authorities, that “the special operation of denazification is carried out not only to destroy the hydra in its lair, but to  protect the whole Russian world.” He preaches that “after an end will be put to Ukrainian Nazism, some other aggressor country will appear with which the United States will begin to threaten Russia. A civilizational war cannot be avoided.”

Photo: The controversial visit of a French delegation in 2019. Georges Fenech is the fourth one starting from the right, hiding behind the other French participants. Credit: Libération

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