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Interior Minister of Estonia urges labeling Patriarchate of Moscow as terrorist group

Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets, has asked the Riigikogu, Estonia’s parliament, to designate the Patriarchate of Moscow as a terrorist organisation.

Under Läänemet’s proposal, the Estonian Orthodox Church which operates under the Moscow Patriarchate, would also be scrutinised, although it would not receive a similar designation.

In an interview on the political program “Esimene stuudio” on ETV, Läänemets stressed the urgency of stopping the activities of the  Patriarchate of Moscow in Estonia.

While a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate Estonian Church clarified that the organisation does not report directly to the Moscow Patriarchate or Patriarch Kirill and therefore cannot be held accountable for statements supporting Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Läänemets emphasised that based on information from his ministry and a recent assessment by the Internal Security Service (ISS), he is compelled to act to sever ties between the Estonian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarch.

Referring to the wider context, Läänemets stressed that it was his duty as Minister of the Interior to propose to the Parliament that the activities of the Moscow Patriarchate be classified as support for terrorism, thus enabling legal measures to terminate its activities in Estonia. He clarified, however, that this action would not lead to the closure of churches, but to the severing of their ties with Moscow.

Läänemets emphasised the geopolitical implications, claiming that the Moscow Patriarchate is under the influence of Vladimir Putin, whom he accused of orchestrating terrorist activities worldwide.

He noted that the Riigikogu had previously recognised Russia as a terrorist state.

Since taking office in July 2022, Läänemets has repeatedly called for accountability from the Estonian Orthodox Church on security issues. He emphasised that recent developments, including a statement by the World Russian People’s Council, have escalated security concerns.

Drawing parallels between the actions of the Moscow Patriarchate and Islamist terrorists, Läänemets stressed the need to address the threat posed by the organisation’s affiliation with Moscow.

Läänemets reiterated the danger posed by their allegiance to Moscow.

With over 100,000 followers in Estonia, the the orthodox church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the country remains a significant presence, and Läänemets expressed concern that messages from Patriarch Kirill could influence actions in Estonia and potentially pose greater security threats in the future.

Source: and