Orthodox Deacon Who Called For End To War In Ukraine Flees Russia

By Idel.Realities

Russian Orthodox deacon Dmitry Bayev, who openly criticized President Vladimir Putin and the government for launching an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, has left the country for an unspecified destination amid pressure from security authorities.

Bayev told RFE/RL on April 12 that he left his job at the John the Baptist Church in the city of Kirov a day after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on February 24.

He then placed several posts on the VKontakte social media network calling for an end to the war in Ukraine and for Putin to be brought to justice at an international court.

After that, police searched the 33-year-old deacon's apartment and the Investigative Committee launched a probe against him, accusing him of distributing false information about the use of Russia's armed forces, which, after recently adopted legislation signed by Putin, is a punishable offense that carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Following that, Bayev says, he left the country along with his family.

In early March, hundreds of Russian Orthodox clerics called for an immediate stop to the war in Ukraine, but the church's leader, Patriarch Kirill, has openly supported the invasion and Putin.