Russia's Church Casts NATO and Harry Potter in Children's Cartoon

Putin in Church
Russian President Vladimir Putin lights a candle during his visit to the Life-giving Trinity church in Moscow, September 10, 2014. Putin has frequently backed the Russian church. Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters

The Russian Orthodox Church has apparently joined forces with the country's Ministry of Culture and military to produce a film condemning satanist foreign powers, inspired by Harry Potter and Nazism.

The cartoon, named Kids Against the Sorcerers, is intended "to entertain and educate" children about "the truth of what threatens our existence today" according to a short preview about the film posted on YouTube, by its makers.

According to the clip, the main antagonists of the picture are represented by "an academy of sorcerers and wizards" in Scotland, who "mend the minds of children with presents and magic, that create demons, invisible to human eyes" and seek to "topple our country from inside". Our protagonists are Russian military school students, who decide to rescue their peers from the castle walls of the wizard school.

The leader of the wizards is a man named Leonard, who, we are told "took to the occult and thus betrayed his homeland."

"But this is not visible," a narrator explains, with a picture of the smartly dressed Leonard, riding on his private airplane. "At first glance, he is Russian, but he hates Russia. He does not violate any laws or borders, in fact he is even very law-abiding. But he is an enemy, worse than the one 75 years ago," the narrator explains, referring to the Nazis.

"Externally, he does not show this, but he fills the younger generation with hatred for Russia, who grow into enemies of our country.These children speak in Russian, even live here, but in their souls they are in other countries."

This is where the story takes an even more confusing twist. The narrator explains that the story "takes place in the present, past and future". Not only is the story about "belief in God" against the occult, but also against the Western pursuit of wealth, propagated by an unnamed "enemy" army "seeking a rematch for its defeat during WWII" and about uniting "different people such as the Greeks and the Serbs by common faith and tradition."

According to the synopsis of the film on its website (spoiler alert) the wizards are in league with NATO, whose warships appear to threaten our protagonist's daring escape at the film's climax. With the power of prayer, the cadets summon Russia's nuclear fleet and thus, NATO retreats.

The preview itself was released in December, however it only started getting attention from bloggers earlier this week.

"We posted the video about the cartoon online on 29 December 2015," Elena Asanbekova, administrative director of the film told Russian news site Russkaya Planeta . "For a few months everything was quiet and then it all literally blew up. Over the last few days it acquired over 60,000 views on YouTube and 800 comments."

She explained the film is loosely based on a book by the same name, written in protest to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

"We wanted to tell viewers about the traditions of our country, the Russian spirit and the Russian state of many nations," she added. "We wanted to say that on Earth you should not live without God, you should not live without God and if you turn away from God's commandments he will punish you."

According to the film's site and the credits on its preview, however, it is backed by two Russian ministries, members of parliament, the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia's state motion picture fund, Gosfilmofond.

The wider release of the picture has not yet been announced, however, but its producers declared in April that they have been showing schoolchildren the picture and held a closed showing for selected bloggers.

The Russian Ministry of Culture was not immediately available to comment on the extent of its involvement in the project.