Abbot of Moscow-linked church sentenced to 2 years in prison for praising terrorists

The abbot of one of the temples of the Vinnytsia Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) was convicted for praising terrorists.

Source: Security Service of Ukraine (SSU); Vinnytsia Oblast Prosecutor’s Office; Ukrainska Pravda

Details: The circumstances of the case indicate that the abbot in question is Dmytro Tikhov, age 54, whose detention was reported by Ukrainska Pravda in November 2023.

Investigation materials indicate that the churchman parroted the Kremlin’s narratives about a “civil war” in Ukraine on his Telegram channel and praised Givi, Motorola, and Zakharchenko, fighters in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.

Tikhov reposted publications and comments of the Russian Orthodox Church, which justified the occupation of part of Ukraine’s territory and glorified Russian occupiers.

The abbot also shared personal comments, in which he attempted to discredit the Ukrainian military and insulted the religious sensibilities of representatives of a number of religious denominations.

To conceal his criminal activities, Tikhov used a pseudonym on his social media pages.

The archpriest also spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda during his sermons and in conversations with his parishioners.

SSU agents tracked down and detained Tikhov after he attempted to evade justice by hiding at various addresses in several regions of Ukraine, the special service reports.

It is noted that the analysis confirmed the facts of his information-subversive activities in favour of the Russian Federation.

Based on the evidence collected, SSU investigators have served the abbot with a notice of suspicion under two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine:

  • Article 436-2.2 (justification, legitimisation and denial of the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine, and glorification of its participants);

  • Article 109.2 (actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutional order or seizing state power).

Considering Tikhov’s full cooperation with the investigation, he has been sentenced to two years of imprisonment, as reported by the Security Service of Ukraine.

However, the prosecution notes that the accused admitted his guilt in court but did not express remorse. Currently, the verdict has not gained legal force and can be appealed.

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