Russian President Vladimir Putin bathes in ice-cold water on Epiphany near St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery on Lake Seliger in Svetlitsa village, Russia, on Jan. 19, 2018. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers will plunge into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP; caption amended by RNS)

Russian Orthodox bishop assails Putin, won’t vote for him

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian Orthodox bishop has said he wouldn't vote for President Vladimir Putin in March's election — an unprecedented show of dissent by a high-ranking clergyman in the church whose hierarchs have maintained warm ties with the Kremlin.

Bishop Yevtikhiy of Ishim in Siberia said on the social networks site VKontakte that he wouldn't "vote for darkness" himself and wouldn't advise others to do so.

Yevtikhiy explained his decision by pointing at Putin's statement that the Communists imitated the Christian tradition of preserving saints' relics by putting the embalmed body of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin in a Red Square tomb — words he called blasphemous.

The independent Novaya Gazeta noted Monday that Yevtikhiy's comment marked the first time a top member of the Orthodox clergy had spoken out against Putin.


  1. I’m sure Putin’s really bummed by the bishop’s decision not to vote for him. Then again, what’s one more ballot to falsify? If he can influence the U.S. election, fixing his own should be a piece of cake.

  2. Wanna see something Strange & Suspicious? Check this out, ‘yo.

    Type in “Yevtikhiy Ishim” in search engine and what do you get?

    This article from Associated Press that you’ve just read, showing in 1,000,000 news websites.

    But 0 on background check on this “Bishop Yevtikhiy of Ishim”!

    Who is this guy, ‘yo? Like is he for real?

  3. For someone as homophobic as Putin, he always comes across as mildly homoerotic for some reason.

  4. I suspect the issue was how the bishop’s name was rendered from the Cyrillic alphabet into English. A better rendering is probably ‘Evtikhii’. There is a man of that name who is the orthodox Bishop of Ishim and Siberia.

  5. According to Andrey Soldatov, “Pomazannik okazalsya antihristom”, Novaya Gazeta, January 22, 2018, translated by Golden State Rose, “A rough online translation of the original article from Novaya Gazeta”, Free Republic, January 22, 2018:

    “The former vicar of the Moscow diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church with the title ‘Domodedovo’ and now the rector of the Epiphany Cathedral in the city of Ishim, Bishop Yevtikhy (Kurochkin) urged the Orthodox not to vote for Putin on March 18. Moreover, he called the ‘national leader’ ‘darkness’ and denounced him, albeit cautiously, as the anti-Christian. Previously, such statements were allowed only by ‘alternative’ bishops, but in no way acting hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate! In the middle of January, Bishop Yevtikhy wrote in his blog in VKontakte: ‘If what you consider to be light is darkness, then what is your darkness?! – the words of Christ. And I will go, contrary to Christ, vote for the darkness or someone advise it to do it ?! – No, no and NO!’ This exclamation is preceded by a quotation from the film ‘Valaam’ quoted by the bishop. She made a lot of noise in the Orthodox environment and, if she did not belong to the president of Russia, would surely be the reason for the trial for ‘insulting the feelings of believers’. The protest of Yevtikhy was caused by such words of Putin: ‘Look, Lenin was put in the Mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for the Orthodox, and just for Christians? When they tell me that they do not, that in Christianity there is no such tradition … Well, how can it not! Go to Athos, look, there are relics of the saints, and we have here also holy relics.’ The bishop left behind the brackets the culturological ignorance of the author of these words, and even to the identification of Holy Scripture with the ‘Code of the Communist builder’ sounded a little earlier in the same film, he also did not pay attention. … It’s no secret that Putin’s ideas about Orthodoxy are much incompatible with orthodox Christianity, but the official ROC, having agreed to play the role of the ideological department of power and the business project of the patriarch, encourages the synthesis of the cross and five-pointed star. On the contrary, the fear of the church authorities is caused by neophytes or even ‘veterans’ (such as Andrei Kuraev) who show too much interest in theology and canon law. Incidentally, a screenshot of the statement of Bishop Evtikhia posted in his blog the same Kuraev – in case the hierarch can be intimidated and forced to remove politically dangerous statements. Yevtikhy has a rather unusual biography, which partly explains his ‘freethinking’. In the 1980s he became a cleric of the Omsk-Tyumen diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, where he quickly entered into conflict with his superiors. When in the process of the collapse of the USSR the first parishes of the Russian overseas church, independent and even opposition of the Moscow Patriarchate appeared in the country, Evtikhii joined them and in 1994 became Bishop of Ishim and Siberian. In the ROCOR, he came into conflict with the conservatives opposed to the Moscow Patriarchate and took an active part in the ‘reunification’ of the two churches that President Putin initiated and which ended in May 2007 with the signing of a corresponding act in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. As a reward for his labors, Evtikhy received the title of vicar of the patriarch and titular Domodedovo department. In 2012, after the change of the patriarch, he retired to rest and received a sinecure in the form of the native Epiphany Cathedral in Ishim. The character of Bishop Yevtikhy is complex, he likes to ‘go by principle’. It is possible that his biography will make another turn, and Yevtikhy repents that he hurriedly handed over the Church Abroad to the forces he now calls ‘darkness.'”

  6. Thanks. Very resourceful of you. As a result I found the original news article, Andrey Soldatov, “Pomazannik okazalsya antihristom”, Novaya Gazeta, January 22, 2018. I posted it here just now.

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