Orthodox archpriest Novopashin, a voice of FECRIS in Russia and anti-Ukrainian hate speech

HRWF (23.11.2022) – On 23 November, Bitter Winter published an investigation paper entitled “Russian Anti-Cult Leader: ‘The US and Ukraine Use Satanists to Destroy the Whole Orthodox World’.” By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter (23.11.2022) – Archpriest Alexander Novopashin is the Vice President of Russian umbrella anti-cultorganization RATsIRS, which Novopashin still claims is affiliated with FECRIS, the European federation of anti-cult movements based in France.

Novopashin has repeatedly accused the governments of Ukraine and United States of using Satanists to exacerbate anti-Russian feelings in Ukraine and conduct terrorist attacks and sabotage operation in Russia. Bitter Winter has continued to denounce the absurdity of these claims, which are part of a Russian propaganda whose purposes are largely domestic, since in the West Novopashin and his friends are quoted mostly to be ridiculed. On the other hand, their influence in Russia should not be underestimated.

In an interview granted on November 8 to Novosibirsk SM News and republished on his own website on November 17, Novopashin went one step further than usual, and accused the United States and Ukraine of “waging war against the entire Orthodox world, not only against Russia.”

Starting from the arrest at the beginning of this month in Simferopol, Crimea, of young Ukrainians presented by the Russian security forces as Satanists who allegedly planned to blow up the local Russian Orthodox church of St Nicholas, Novopashin stated that “the whole of Ukraine has become a horror movie, and the directors and screenwriters are U.S. intelligence officers.”

Misquoting, and misspelling the last name of the late British scholar of esotericism Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Novopashin claimed that the United States government uses criminal Satanic cults that practice human sacrifice for its own purposes. Through “aggressive brainwashing” the U.S. tries to spread Satanism everywhere, but nowhere has it been more successful than in Ukraine. “What the United States managed to achieve in this regard in Ukraine may have exceeded all the expectations of the employees of overseas intelligence agencies themselves,” Novopashin proclaimed.

The spread of Satanism and Satanic crimes in Russia, according to Novopashin, “is connected with the work of the Ukrainian special services under the patronage of the United States. In fact, the destructive ideology is not imposed by the United States directly, but through the Ukrainian army department for psychological attacks on the enemy (CIPSO). The entire methodological base of the CIPSO is written according to the standards of similar NATO units,” which operate with the same nefarious purposes in other European countries. Throughout Europe and indeed the whole world, Novopashin is “convinced that Satanism and the occult is overseen by the US.”

The Special Military Operation, the anti-cultist insists, was needed to “crush one of the main centers of Satanism, which is in Ukraine.” However, Novopashin is afraid that many Russians still do not understand what this “fight between good and evil” is all about. Those who believe that the US simply want to destroy a rival superpower are mistaken. The aim of the US is to destroy the Orthodox Church, not only in Russia but everywhere.

One reason is that the Orthodox Church defends the traditional values that the Americans hate. But the ultimate motivation is that “Satanism and the occult,” which dominate American and Ukrainian politics, seek death and destruction and ultimately try to unleash the end of the world.

“What Orthodox Christians used to talk about—about the Apocalypse and Armageddon, about the last times —now literally everyone began to talk. Because against the backdrop of ongoing events (same-sex marriages, the desire to legalize pedophilia, gender reassignment, endless wars), this became clear even to those people who previously treated such a term as Satanism with mockery or sharp rejection. And now they have accepted this term as the most accurate and complete characterization of the current state of affairs.”

The Orthodox Church is the last obstacle before the Apocalypse. This is why the US needs to destroy it, Novopashin believes.

HRWF comments

For decades, the Russian branch of FECRIS has sowed hatred towards a number of non-Orthodox communities in the minds of the Russian population.

For decades, the Russian branch of FECRIS has also fed their propaganda inspired by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church with anti-Ukrainian hate speech.

For decades, FECRIS’ Russian branch has paved the way to Russia’s war on Ukraine with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church whilst FECRIS, based in a secular country (France) known for its laïcité doctrine, claims to recognize the right to freedom of religion.

For many years, FECRIS’ vice-president, has been the controversial Russian Orthodox propagandist Alexander Dvorkin, declared persona non grata in Ukraine since 2014 and despite this ban, he is still a member of the board of directors of FECRIS.

For decades, taxpayers in France have, without their knowledge, been misused to finance FECRIS.

It is time for President Macron to listen to Bitter Winter, the recent protest of 82 Ukrainian scholars on religious issues and other whistleblowers who have repeatedly rung the alarm bell and warned against the infiltration in France of the extremist ideology of Russian radical nationalists.

It is time for President Macron to put an end to the financing FECRIS’ hate speech against Ukraine.

HRWF ANNEX: List of organizations affiliated to FECRIS’ Russian branch and mainly headed by Russian Orthodox clergy


1)Новосибирское региональное отделение Центра религиоведческих исследований


Novosibirsk Regional Department of the Centre for Religious Studies


The Chairman of the Regional Department Board of the Centre for Religious Studies – Archpriest Alexander Novopashin, РАЦИРС1 Vice-President


2) Саратовское региональное отделение Центра религиоведческих исследований


Saratov Regional Department of the Centre for Religious Studies


The Chairman – Alexander Valeryevich Kuzmin


3) Центр по вопросам сектантства при соборе св. благоверного кн. Александра Невского (Новосибирск)


St. Pious Prince Alexander Nevsky Cathredal Centre for the Issues of Sectarism (Novosibirsk)

The Head of the Centre – Oleg Vladimirovich Zaev


4) Информационно-аналитический центр свт. Марка Ефесского (Тверь)


Saint Mark of Ephesus Informational-Analytical Centre (Tver)


The Head of the Centre – Archpriest Alexander Shabanov, РАЦИРС Vice- President, the Chairman of the Missionary Department of the Tver Diocese


5) Центр по проблемам сект и оккультизма (Томск)


Centre for the Issues of Sects and Occultism (Tomsk)


The Head of the Centre – Maxim Valeryevich Stepanenko, the Head of the Missionary Department of the Tomsk Diocese
Е-mail: k-istine@mail.ru


6) Миссионерский отдел Тульской епархии.


The Missionary Department of the Tula Diocese


The Chairman – Archpriest Oleg Kuzminov Secretary – Alexei Victorovich Yarasov


7) Миссионерский отдел Санкт-Петербургской епархии /The Missionary Department of the St. Petersburg


The Vice-Chair – Priest Georgy Ioffe
Secretary – Valeria Alexandrovna Rychkova


8) Камчатский апологетический центр свт. Патриарха Ермогена (Петропавловск-Камчатский)


Kamchatka Apologetic Centre of St. Patriarch Yermoghen (Petropavlov- sk-Kamchatsky)

The Head of the Centre – Priest Mikhail Neverov


9) Просветительский отдел Ташкентской и Среднеазиатской Митрополии РПЦ


The Enlightenment Centre of the Tashkent and Middle Asia Metropolis of the Russian Orthodox Church

The Chairman – Priest Sergyi Statsenko


10) Общественный центр “Гражданская безопасность” (Ярославль)



Public Centre “Civil Security” (Yaroslavl)


The Director – Evgeni Olegovich Mukhtarov


11) Миссионерский отдел Рязанской епархии вопросам


The Missionary Department of the Ryazan Diocese


The Chairman – Priest Arseny Vilkov


12) Информационно-консультационный центр по тоталитарных сект (Ставрополь)


Informational-Consultative Centre for the Issues of Totalitarian Sects (Stavropol)

The Head of the Centre – Anton Yurievich Skrynnikov


13) Центр помощи пострадавшим от деструктивных сект (Казахстан) Help Centre for Victims of Destructive Sects (Kazakhstan)


14) Информационно-консультационный центр им. преп. Иосифа Волоцкого при Минской епархии Белорусского Экзархата


Reverend Joseph Volotski Informational-Consultative Centre of the Minsk Diocese of the Belorussian Exarchate

The Head of the Centre, the Adviser on the Questions of New Religious Movements of the Minsk Diocese – Vladimir Alexandrovich Martinovich


15) Антисектантский проект “Гнев” (Новгород Великий) Anti-sectarian Project “Anger” (Veliky Novgorod)


The Leader – Alexandr Igorevitch Chausov


Source: Freedom of religion or Belief, Anti-sect Movements and State Neutrality: The Case of FECRIS

Photo 1: Alexander Novopashin. From Telegram.

Photo 2: Novopashin lecturing. From Telegram.


Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

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