Assistant Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Alexey Pavlov points the finger at Scientology and Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan.
by Massimo Introvigne
From the lunatic fringe of the anti-cult propaganda, which is however unleashed by the Russian powers that be when they deem it fit, accusations that “cults” are responsible for the war in Ukraine and that, more than a “denazification,” the Ukrainians are in need of a “desatanization” have now reached the highest security council of the Russian Federation.
Alexey Pavlov is the Assistant Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, a body chaired by Vladimir Putin himself and including the heads of all defense and security agencies. On October 25, he published an article in Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts), a weekly newspaper owned by the Government of Moscow. A short summary was published by the wire agency Tass.
Pavlov reiterates a theory propagated since the 2014 by anti-cultists such as Alexander Dvorkin, Alexander Novopashin, and Roman Silantyev, that “cults” organized the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine, which according to this narrative was the root cause of the Russian invasions of 2014 and 2022.
Pavlov insists on the false theory that Maidan was an American coup, whose Ukrainian executors simply “carried out the tasks that were pouring in from across the ocean,” i.e., from the United States. These tasks included eradicating traditional religious values from the minds of the Ukrainians and replacing them with the doctrines of “cults.” After Maidan, using “mental manipulation and psychotechnologies, the new authorities turned Ukraine from a state into a totalitarian hyper-cult.”
They succeeded because they were “cultists” themselves. According to Pavlov the new Ukrainian political personnel included a disproportionate percentage of Pentecostals and Lubavitcher Jews. Above all, “the first post-Maidan Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was a Hubbardist, a follower of the Church of Scientology, banned in Russia as a totalitarian cult.” This theory was first advanced in 2014 by Russia’s leading anti-cultist, Alexander Dvorkin, but even within the anti-cult community many told him that there was no evidence that Yatsenyuk, an active member of the Greek Catholic community, was a Scientologist.
Parroting arguments recently used by Russian anti-cultists, Pavlov explains that the real aim of the Ukrainian democratic politicians and their American puppeteers was to take the country “from Maidan to Satan.” He confuses Neo-Paganism and Satanism, attributes a disproportionate importance to the tiny Ukrainian Neo-Pagan movement (ignoring that there is a Neo-Pagan movement in Russia as well), and claims that Neo-Paganism in Ukraine was fueled and promoted by the United States—and Canada, since there are Neo-Pagans among the Ukrainian diaspora in that country.
Pavlov claims that the Church of Satan founded in the United States by Anton Szandor LaVey, which he calls “one of the officially registered religions in the United States,” “has spread across Ukraine” with great success, and that “Satanism finds a lively response and support from the Ukrainian authorities.” All this is demonstrably false. There are (or were, before the war) a handful of followers of the Church of Satan in Ukraine—and probably more in Russia—but they represented a tiny minority without social significance, and certainly without support from the Ukrainian government.
Embracing the most paranoid conspiracy theories, Pavlov—who is a top bureaucrat in Russia’s highest security council—tries to gather support for the war in Ukraine claiming that what started as a “denazification” is now becoming a “desatanization.”
“I believe that with the continuation of the Special Military Operation, it becomes more and more urgent to carry out the desatanization of Ukraine, or, as the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov aptly put it, its complete ‘desatanization,’” concluded Pavlov.