Alexander Novopashin, Vice President of the largest Russian anti-cult organization, insisted that Russian troops are fighting “Satanists.”
by Massimo Introvigne
On September 23, Archpriest Alexander Novopashin, the Vice President of the Russian national anti-cult umbrella organization Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Cultic Studies (РАЦИРС/RATsIRS), later shortened as “Center for Religious Studies,” met with students at the Novosibirsk Regional College of Culture and Arts.
Novopashin presented the trailers of his anti-cult films “It Doesn’t Concern Me” and “Next to Us.” He said that he perceives his activity with the movies as part of President Putin’s 2020–2025 five-year “Strategy for Countering Extremism in the Russian Federation.” This strategy, Novopashin believes, implies that “the state recognizes that without spiritual and moral education it is impossible to rally the people and fill them with the sacred spirit of patriotism.” However, to “protect the traditional Russian spiritual and moral values” in Russia the state should cooperate with “the bearer of these values for more than two thousand years, i.e., the Russian Orthodox Church. So, the Church, is assigned a special role in countering extremism and terrorism.”
Novopashin then discussed the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. He said that of course it is “about saving the long-suffering residents of Donbas from the Ukronazis,” thus “protecting the entire Russian world.”
However, this interpretation is true but partial. The Russian Orthodox Church and its experts on “cults,” Novopashin insisted, are in a position to explain what is the much deeper reason for the Ukrainian campaign. It is “about counteracting the Evil that dissolves societies like a hydra with its many tentacles.” Anti-cultists know that “evil is not some metaphorical phenomenon.”
Like a horrific animal, “real evil” has absorbed the dirt of “radical liberalism, Nazism, paganism, and occultism,” all ideologies professed by Ukrainian leaders according to Novopashin. When the four ideologies come together, he said, they reveal their true essence, “Satanism.”
Why most young Russians do not perceive the “operation” in Russia for what it is, a crusade of Christianity against Satanism? Novopashin answered that they spend too much time on social media, where fake news are easily spread by foreign agents.
However, even if they follow the news on official media, the anti-cultist warned, they get “reliable, but fragmentary information, according to which it is difficult, almost impossible, to judge what is happening.” Novopashin asked the students to rely on the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the only agency capable of offering the real, metaphysical interpretation of the events in Ukraine.