State-owned Russian newspaper TASS reported Tuesday that Aleksei Pavlov, an assistant secretary on the Security Council of Russia, has called for the “desatanization” of Ukraine.
“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 TASS, Pavlov said he didn’t know how many covens of satanists there were in Ukraine but that he expected it to be in the hundreds. “Some of them were created ‘having been sharpened in advance for a specific purpose and flock’, others ‘simply existed as branches of richer patrons,’ others— ‘and did in the form of a kind of closed joint-stock company with a couple of hundred small-town adepts,’” the TASS story said, quoting Pavlov. He also highlighted the fact that the Church of Satan is an officially recognized religion in the U.S. and that its influence has been spreading in Ukraine since the 1990s.
Claims of Ukrainian and Western Satanism are part of the media landscape in Russia. When Putin announced the illegal annexation of territory in east Ukraine, he accused the West of “outright Satanism.” In May, the Kremlin-owned news organization RIA Novosti claimed it discovered the remnants of a witches coven where Ukrainian soldiers consecrated weapons with blood magick. “A satanic seal was found on its wall, evoking associations with Hollywood films about evil spirits,” RIA said at the time.
On the Russia-1 television channel, satanism has come up repeatedly. “Who is the Ukrainian God? It’s the devil, basically,” a guest on one of Russia-1’s shows said, according to a translation by Russian Media Monitor’s Julia Davis. “And when we’re surprised at the cruelty of these people, there’s nothing to be surprised at. That’s paganism. It demands human sacrifices. It demands blood.”
Pavlov cited Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin ally who has repeatedly framed the conflict in Ukraine as a holy war against satanism. In a Telegram post on Monday, Kadyrov once again said the war was a fight against satanism. The Chechen strongman said that Muslims and Christians had to unite to fight the West to push back against Satanism, same sex marriage, and the disappearance of the words “mom” and “dad,” according to a translation from Novaya Gazeta.