Russian TV Debates Whether Zelensky Is the 'Antichrist' or a 'Small Demon'

Russian TV analysts recently debated whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is the "Antichrist" after officials in his country proposed banning Russian-affiliated religious groups and churches from operating in Ukraine.

During an angry televised debate posted with English subtitles to Twitter on Friday by Julia Davis, a columnist at The Daily Beast and founder of the Russian Media Monitor, Russian analysts criticized the suggestion of the ban and described Zelensky as "satanic" and a "small demon."

"This is a religious, psychological, people's topic. We need to be very specific as to what we emphasize and not be shy about it," said Ariak Stepanyan, a member of the Presidium of the Academy of the Geopolitical Problems. "I believe that the Orthodox church should proclaim that Zelensky is officially the coming of [the] Antichrist. He is the official Antichrist."

Zelensky said during an address on Thursday night that the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council told the government to draft a law banning all Russian-affiliated religious groups, including most notably the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is associated with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Earlier in the day, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported it had found "a large number of propaganda materials" after conducting a search at a Moscow Patriarchate monastery in the Zakarpattia region. According to a report from The Kyiv Independent, the SBU searched multiple branches of the Russian-affiliated church in the past week.

According to a Facebook post from the SBU, the items recovered included "books of xenophobic content with offensive fabrications about other nationalities and religions." The SBU also reportedly found printouts of "pro-Russian songs that glorified the 'Russian land' and called for 'the awakening of the mother-Russia.'" All of the materials are being transferred to "relevant expert research," the report said.

Zelensky said in his address that the law would make it "impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine."

"Unfortunately, even Russian terror and full-scale war did not convince some figures that it is worth overcoming the temptation of evil," the Ukrainian president said, referring to the meeting with national security officials. "Well, we have to create conditions where no actors dependent on the aggressor state will have an opportunity to manipulate Ukrainians and weaken Ukraine from within."

Russian TV Debates Whether Zelensky Is 'antichrist'
Above, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, in November amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian TV analysts and hosts recently debated whether Zelensky is the "Antichrist" after officials in his country proposed banning Russian-affiliated groups and churches from operating in Ukraine. Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP

Still, the move was condemned on Russian TV with political analyst Vasyl Vakarov blaming the United States for supporting Zelensky and his politics, who described the situation in Ukraine as a "catastrophe."

Stepanyan continued calling Zelensky the "Antichrist" and said from a "standpoint of Orthodoxy" that the Ukrainian president "made a deal with the devil and he is fulfilling his obligations per this contract."

"There can be no diplomacy or familiarity with this. We should realize that the destruction of Orthodoxy and its uprooting is taking place," Stepanyan added.

Political scientist Alexander Kamkin then responded to Stepanyan's remarks, saying that he is flattering Zelensky by calling him an "Antichrist."

"He is just a small demon, but no more than that," Kamkin said. "Yes, he serves the Antichrist, he is building stone after stone."

Stepanyan responded: "My dearest, there is so much blood, a sea of blood, a sea of Ukrainian blood, a schism in the church. It couldn't be accomplished by a small demon. He is definitely the Antichrist. This Antichrist should be finished off."

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian security council launched investigations into what might be "subversive activities of Russian special services in the religious environment of Ukraine" and called for sanctioning some individuals, whose identities were not revealed, according to Reuters on Friday.

The SBU also served a notice of suspicion to an ex-diocese head for allegedly arranging an information campaign that serves Moscow with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian foreign ministry for comment.