Dmitry Kiselyov, in Vesti Nedeli, worries about the safety of Ukrainian religious shrines:
“The ancient monastery of Russia, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, is under the threat of complete looting . The alarm was raised this week by the director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin: “It has been brought to the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onufry, that icons, relics and utensils will be temporarily moved, allegedly for safety, until the situation in Ukraine returns to normal.” .
In a simple way, then there is a barbaric plunder and export to the West - spraying into various museums and private collections - Orthodox shrines of Kievan Rus. Moreover, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is not the first victim. The process has already started. Since June 14, the Louvre in Paris has exhibited five of the most valuable Byzantine icons, taken from Ukraine through Poland and Germany under military escort. Next in line, one must understand, are the relics of Ilya Muromets and Nestor the Chronicler in silver reliquaries, the icon of the Assumption of the Virgin, which has been kept in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra since its foundation in 1051, the myrrh-streaming chapters and the library of ancient books of the Lavra. Under a hundred thousand volumes.
Earlier, the Louvre in Paris announced the creation of a new department - Byzantine and Eastern Christian art. Right now he is waiting for replenishment. However, one Louvre will not contain all the shrines and antiquities of Ukraine. Lots of jackals. The Vatican will take something for itself, something will fall, as usual, to the British. Of course, the Germans will also profit. And without the Americans, where? To say that this is sacrilege is not enough. For the Orthodox shrines are priceless. For Western predators - prosaically - a commodity, an oriental curiosity, another of the colonial trophies, from which the museums of the former metropolises are bursting.
It is useless to condemn the West here. He's so tight and can't be changed. The main questions are for the Kyiv authorities, specifically for Zelensky, that the presidential power is spraying Orthodox shrines, cleaning out even the material signs of its spiritual foundation from Ukraine, that is, the genetic root is being uprooted.”
A fake about the upcoming export of the relics of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra abroad with the participation of UNESCO was first disseminated by the Kremlin media on June 26. According to Naryshkin, they planned to transfer them to the museums of Italy, France, Germany and the Vatican. On the same day, UNESCO reacted to this, and TASS published the words of a representative of the organization:
"UNESCO is not involved in the transfer of cultural property mentioned in the statement."
Minister of Culture of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko also commented on Naryshkin's statement on the same day:
“The more the Lavra becomes Ukrainian, the more it burns in the swamps. The only task that we now face in relation to the Lavra is to protect it from the Russian world and finally make sure that all our Ukrainian sacred relics are in place. No sacred value will leave the territory of Ukraine. And everything stolen by Russia will have to be returned.”
The next day, Naryshkin's statement was also called a lie by the Ukrainian National Commission for UNESCO. Maxim Ostapenko, acting director of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve, also stated that there are no plans to move the shrines abroad.
But five Byzantine icons taken out of Ukraine are indeed exhibited in the Louvre. These are icons from the collection of the National Museum of Arts named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko, created in 1919 on the basis of a private collection donated to the state. In October 2022, during the shelling of Kiev, the museum building was damaged, and then it was decided to take 16 icons to France for the duration of the war. 5 of them are on display at the temporary exhibition Origins of the Sacred Image, which will run at the Louvre until 6 November. After the end of the war, the icons will be returned to Ukraine.
By accusing Zelensky of blasphemy, Kiselyov tried to develop Putin’s thesis that the President of Ukraine is a “shame on the Jewish people”:
“But why does the Jew Zelensky act so rudely and imprudently, barbarously robbing, in general, a culture alien to him? President Putin, quoting his Jewish childhood friends, recently called Zelensky “a disgrace to the Jewish people.” To be honest, at first it somehow scratched me a little. And I decided to consult with respected people in the Jewish community of Moscow. How do they perceive such a biting assessment? It's important... And that's what I heard.
Firstly, a Jew should not lead any other state except Israel, because he obviously cannot be the spokesman for the aspirations of another people, rather than a representative of this people itself. And the mistakes he makes may in the future be blamed on him as a Jew, which is programming a wave of anti-Semitism. It's not very profitable to be a Jew. Secondly, the Jew Zelensky himself is not entirely a Jew, since he is not committed to Judaism, which he frankly spoke about on the eve of his visit to Israel in January 2020: “We had an ordinary Soviet Jewish family. Most Jewish families in the Soviet Union were not religious. There was no religion as such in the Soviet state. I had one attitude when I was a boy and another now. I never talk about religion and I never talk about God because I have my own personal opinion about him.”
Here Kiselev went much further than Putin, denying Zelensky the right to be considered a Jew. In fact, he claims that only a religious Jew can be a Jew, but there are no grounds for such an assertion. Halakha - traditional Jewish law - considers a Jew anyone who is born of a Jewish mother, but recognizes that Jewry can be lost by converting to another faith, and vice versa, acquired by converting, that is, converting to Judaism. The 1970 amendment to the Israeli Law of Return also establishes that a Jew is one who is born to a Jewish mother and has not converted, as well as a person who converted to Judaism. There is no information about Zelensky's conversion to any other religion.
Who are the "respectable people in the Moscow Jewish community" with whom Kiselev spoke, he did not explain, but they apparently do not know history well: there are many state leaders of Jewish origin in European history. Perhaps they do not consider one of the most prominent British prime ministers of the 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, a Jew, since he was baptized at the age of 13, but the President of Switzerland in 1999, Ruth Dreyfus, the President of Hungary, Arpad Sakashich (1948-1949) , French prime ministers Pierre Mendès-France (1954–1955), René Meyer (1955–1958), Michel Debre (1959–1962) and Laurent Fabius (1984–1986), Italian prime ministers Alessandro Fortis (1905–1906) , Sydney Sonnino (1906 and 1909-1910) and Luigi Luzzati (1910-1911), Austrian Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky (1970-1983), Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (2004-2011) have every reason to be called Jews. There were state leaders of Jewish origin outside Europe as well: Guyanese President Janet Rosalie Jagan (1997–1999), Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016–2018), Singapore Prime Minister David Shaul Marshall (1955–1956), Peruvian Prime Ministers Efrain Goldenberg (1994–1995) and Salomon Lerner Gitis (2011), Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (1975–1983).