Putin Appointed 'Chief Exorcist' as Kremlin Whips up Satanic Panic

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named "chief exorcist" by the head of the country's Orthodox Church as the Kremlin seeks to redefine the goals of its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin, when he invaded the neighboring country on February 24, used the term "denazification," saying that was the goal of his so-called "special military operation," but now his security council is shifting to the phrase "desatanization."

Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the security council of the Russian Federation, is now calling for the "desatanization" of Ukraine, saying that there were "hundreds of sects" in the country where citizens have abandoned Orthodox values.

"I believe that, with the continuation of the special military operation, it becomes more and more urgent to carry out the desatanization of Ukraine," Pavlov said, according to state-run Russian news agency Tass.

"Using internet manipulation and psychotechnologies, the new regime turned Ukraine from a sovereign state to a totalitarian hypersect," said Pavlov.

The Russian politician added that, in Ukraine, "there are hundreds of sects, sharpened for a specific goal and flock."

Putin appointed chief exorcist in Russia
When Putin said in September that he had annexed four territories in Ukraine following sham referendums, he accused Western nations of "outright Satanism." Getty

Pavlov said he is particularly concerned about the "Church of Satan", which allegedly "spread across Ukraine" and "is one of the officially registered religions in the United States."

Pavlov said he sees manifestations of "satanism" in "calls to kill Russians" and that these are welcomed at the state level.

He said that the Kyiv government is forcing citizens to abandon Orthodox values, and is working "reformat" the minds of Ukrainian citizens, to force them to abandon centuries-old traditions, to ban the true values that the Orthodox faith, Islam and Judaism carry.

When Putin said in September that he had annexed four territories in Ukraine following sham referendums, he accused Western nations of "outright Satanism."

"The dictatorship of the Western elites is directed against all societies, including the peoples of the Western countries themselves. This is a challenge to all," Putin said.

"This is a complete denial of humanity, the overthrow of faith and traditional values. Indeed, the suppression of freedom itself has taken on the features of a religion: outright Satanism."

Since then, the term has been used more frequently on Russian state TV, while Putin's staunch ally, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has branded the conflict as a holy war against Satanism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the coordination council via a video conference in Moscow on October 25, 2022. The Russian president has been called the "chief exorcist" in what is now being termed the "desatanization" of Ukraine. ALEXEI BABUSHKIN/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called Putin "a fighter against the Antichrist" or "chief exorcist," according to local news outlets.

Kirill said that Putin is fighting against the manifestation of globalism, and "the name of the one who will claim global power will be associated with the end of the world."

Kirill told Russian citizens not to be afraid of death amid Putin's decision to mobilize reserve troops to fight in Ukraine.

"Go bravely to fulfill your military duty. And remember that if you lay down your life for your country, you will be with God in his kingdom, glory and eternal life," he said in a sermon at the Zachatyevsky Monastery in Moscow on September 22.

Kirill has justified Putin's decision to invade Ukraine in February on spiritual and ideological grounds.

Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.