Swedish Government Withdraws Funding from Russian Orthodox Church Amid Security Concerns and War Support

This decision was made after the Office for the Support of Religious Communities of Sweden (UPP) took note of the statement made by Patriarch Kirill, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who expressed support for the war in various ways and decided to become the patron of the Russian war of aggression.
At the request of the Swedish government, the Security Police provided an opinion. According to their findings, representatives of the religious community were in contact with individuals who are believed to be associated with the Russian special services. It is worth noting that the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Sweden has received significant funding from the Russian state on multiple occasions. Additionally, some of its representatives have been perceived as promoting support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the security police, there are concerns that the Russian state may be utilizing the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Sweden as a means of conducting intelligence gathering and other activities that may pose a threat to security.
The Swedish government’s assessment suggests that supporting Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, using the religious community as a platform for intelligence gathering, and engaging in other activities that threaten Sweden’s security are not compatible with respect for democratic governance and the basic principles of democracy. Hence, no requirements need to be met to grant an organizational subsidy to a religious community for 2024.
It is worth noting that the governments of European countries are becoming increasingly aware of the risks posed by Russia’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine and Western democracies. As a result, they are taking measures to restrict the funding of such actions.

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